Churches, tax exemption, and the common good

"What is most disturbing about Matzko’s essay is not the economic reductionism but the impoverished sense of the political and common good it demonstrates. It is a classic example of seeing like a state, reducing the complex interdependencies of our social life to a single state-centered public life. It is only by misunderstanding our life together as the bare relationship between citizen and sovereign, subject and ruler, that our contribution to the common good could be calculated by a tax receipt.

The Christian conception of the common good encompasses, as Lord Acton said best, a society beyond the state with individual souls above it. The common good is the product of both individual persons living out their vocations and institutions exercising their God ordained roles, fulfilling their duties, and sharing their own unique gifts."