Covenants Heal

“A covenant creates a moral community. It binds people together in a bond of mutual responsibility and care. It can be vast: there is, I believe, a covenant of human solidarity that binds all seven billion of us alive today to act responsibly towards the environment, human rights and the alleviation of poverty for the sake of generations not yet born. A covenant can also be small and personal: the simplest instance is a marriage when husband and wife pledge themselves to one another in an open-ended commitment to share a life. What matters in a covenant is not how big or small is the group thereby included, but the commitment. It is the undertaking of responsibility for others, knowing that they too undertake responsibility for us. In a covenant, what matters is not wealth or power but the transformation that takes place when I embrace a world larger than the self. Covenants heal what markets and states sometimes harm.”

Morality, Chapter 23, p. 326