A culture of individualism results in a society of isolated individuals who focus only on their own interests rather than the common good. But we are social creatures who are called to build relationships with our neighbors and seek out security through God and community.
Individualism: The philosophy that places the interests of each person above the welfare of society. It is the subordination of the common good of many to the private good of the individual. In practice it is the sacrifice of social values to the personal desires of those who are most aggressive in demanding that society recognize their individual liberty.
Modern Catholic Dictionary
Fr. John Hardon
[A]lthough religious people often speak about community, individualism infects the religious experience of many persons. Parishes, dioceses, and church institutions appear impersonal and alienating in the eyes of many. Evangelization is not the priority it should be.
Individualism leads to harmful forms of freedom and autonomy.... Our personal relationship with Christ does not hinder our participation in the community of believers—the Church.
Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization
Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, USCCB
In a society which values personal freedom and autonomy, it is easy to lose sight of our dependence on others as well as the responsibilities that we bear towards them. This emphasis on individualism has even affected the Church (cf. Spe Salvi, 13-15), giving rise to a form of piety which sometimes emphasizes our private relationship with God at the expense of our calling to be members of a redeemed community. Yet from the beginning, God saw that “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). We were created as social beings who find fulfillment only in love – for God and for our neighbor. If we are truly to gaze upon him who is the source of our joy, we need to do so as members of the people of God (cf. Spe Salvi, 14). If this seems counter-cultural, that is simply further evidence of the urgent need for a renewed evangelization of culture.
- Individualism (The Catholic Encyclopedia)
- Catholic social teaching vs the cult of individualism (National Catholic Reporter)
- What the Catholic Church Thinks About Individualism versus Collectivism (HubPages)
- Reflections on Individualism and Catholic Social Teaching (TheMoralMinefield)
- Catholicism combats destructive individualism, cardinal says (Catholic News Service)