Common goods without public expression

I’m committed to certain common goods that have no public expression. Thomism is one, Christianity is another. This is not a complaint, and what is public for me means more than one thing (my church is visible, my Mass is with others, and I teach in a heavily pro-Thomas school.) What I’m interested in now is the peculiar sort of invisibility that arises from refusing public expression to common goods. I imagine going to a local city council meeting and asking what plans they have to encourage devotion to the true and living God. Within that forum, of course, the question is nonsensical and even embarrassing. The members wouldn’t argue or even be offended, but simply feel the sort of awkwardness and pity one feels before someone who lost his mind.

That the believer would sound like a madman is the Nietzschean death of God – the public unintelligibility of actions that a pre-enlightenment thinker took as the main purpose of human existence. The thought I’m tinkering with here is whether this death just is a common good that even its adherents come to see as their personal thing and therefore as part of a larger pluralist field, even if they see it as the true one. It would seem like we could go on believing “X is true” whether we took X as our own thing or a public thing, but this is just the premise I’m questioning. Truths are common goods, so an impediment to recognizing a good as common is an impediment to recognizing it as true. So how can refusal of public recognition be such an impediment?

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