Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MA in Theology


Theology and Religious Studies

First Advisor


Second Advisor



This thesis focuses on the evolution of the understanding of the common good in Catholic Social Teaching (CST) from John Paul II to Francis. I demonstrate that while the vision of John Paul II on the common good stressed the principle of solidarity for the good of all people and each individual, Francis made a significant change by expanding the concept of common good beyond the human good to an integral ecology. The principles of common good and solidarity are essentially related in the social vision of John Paul II. Solidarity is “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are responsible for all.” In other words, for John Paul II, solidarity entails a person’s commitment to the well-being of others and to building up the common good. Among the different principles of CST, John Paul II considers solidarity as essential for achieving the common good or integral human development at every level of society. On the other side, Francis expands the meaning of the common good primarily with a concern of the creation in CST. While John Paul II observes that peoples and nations are increasingly interconnected and interdependent around the world, Francis stresses that “everything is interconnected.” Francis’ expansion of John Paul II’s understanding of the common good, rooted in integral ecology, is an ecclesial response to environmental degradation which constitutes a threat both for the earth and for humanity. In particular, the poorest are the most affected. Ultimately, a practical case illustrates the relevance of the expansion of the common good in CST by Pope Francis in the life of poor rural communities affected by deforestation in Cameroon. I argue that the promotion of the common good in Cameroon requires our commitment to work assiduously to protect the Basin Congo Forest.

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Religion Commons