Acton University 2012 begins

After a gap of a couple years, I am again participating at Acton U.

Once again, the logistics are like clockwork and the participants, from everywhere, interesting and charming and faithful.

Tonight after our supper (where I am as I write) we have Fr. Robert Sirico and Michael Novak.

(Fr Raymond de Souza just joined my table.)

More later.



There were 1100 applications and there are 800 participants. 235 are from 75 countries other than the USA.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, SESSIUNCULA, The future and our choices, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. One of those TNCs says:

    Fr. Robert Sirico…the author of the new book, “Defending the Free Market” ?!? Fantastic book!

    And Fr. de Souza, with a Master’s in economics and politics…and Michael Novak, who wrote “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism”…that should make for high-octane discussion. Wish I were there!

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Raymond De Souza???? Oh my! Michael Novak?? You are in MARVELOUS company Fr. Z! They will enjoy YOU just as much! I think you will make some good friends.
    Have fun! Please thank them for me??

  3. Pingback: Acton University 2012 begins | Catholic Canada

  4. Mrs. Bear says:

    Moving within all the movers and shakers – keep your ears and eyes open for any jobs for my husband.
    This publicly funded Ontario Catholic School system is on it’s last legs.

    Enjoy your time there!

  5. Andrew says:

    But is this group truly commited to the social teachings of the Catholic Church, which Leo XIII started rolling with Rerum Novarum in 1891? What would they make make of Pope Benedict’s enyclical, Caritas in Verite? Wouldn’t they be shocked by John Paul’s Sollicitudo Rei Socialis!

    I say this as a friend of Fr Sirico, and I have even had the opportunity to visit the Acton Institute in Rome.

    I was amazed that the guys there had never head or Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. A young Dominican tertiary (from a wealth background from Turin whose father was the founder of the journal La Stampa) who died at the age of 24, who gave over his life to works of charity, but has a famous statement, “Charity is not enough. There must also be justice”.

    Surely the economic problemes the West is experience at present, have been due to the greed which is encouarged by the capitalist order. The small factor is so important here, small government, small business, small communities being the ideal.

    I still remember my visit to St Louis a few years ago, when at the greyhound bus station, I saw a poor black man going through the rubbish. My heart went out to him, and all I did was give him a little bit of money. This prompted an incident with the officials coming outside demanding to know, “What is this all about?” They cut me some slack, when I told them I was a visitor to their country.

    As a person who loves traditional liturgy and doctrine, I am also proud that my church has such a record in emphasising the need for social justice. Prosperity is a very good thing, but is becomes wrong when others can’t share in it, and worse, others are fooled into it, when they are extended credit, that they could never hope to pay back.

    Who in the Church, ever speaks about the Catechism for Social Justice, written under the watch of Cardinal Van Thuan, the dry martyr for Vietnam, whose caused has been introduced for sainthood? Certainly that is not a prioriy for the Acton Institute.

    Aren’t Fr Sirico’s libertariain positions a cause of concern when looking at them through the lens of the Church’s teaching, a delightful individual and holy man is he is?

    Yes, I am a distributist in the manner of Dorothy Day, G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.

    Vive, the Church’ social teachings. Solidarity, subsidarity, distributism.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Isn’t Michael Novak one of the ones who said Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were wrong to oppose the US war in Iraq?

    At any rate, I hope to attend one of these years. I am on their mailing list and many of this year’s lectures looked wonderful. Which ones did you sign up for, Father?

  7. irishgirl says:

    Wow, you sure are among the ‘heavy hitters’ there, Father Z! Way cool!
    I always remember Father Sirico on EWTN during the Holy Father’s UK visit in 2010. I remember especially one time when his eyes blazed as he talked about the nutty atheists (Richard Dawkins and others of his ilk) and how much they hated Christianity, and the Holy Father in particular. I thought he was looking to punch somebody’s lights out!

  8. randomcatholic says:

    @Geoffrey: Yes, same one.

  9. SKAY says:

    So glad you are participating, Father. I am looking forward to hearing more about the meeting.

  10. randomcatholic says:

    @Andrew: Very well stated. I agree with you 100%.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Andrew — Obviously they thought you were making a drug deal, or soliciting the gentleman for sex, or possibly threatening him for money. (People at the bus stations are very protective of street people whom they know.)

    Someone picking through trash is not necessarily homeless or poor, btw. Many people make a good self-employed living by picking out scrap or recyclables from dumpsters; and obviously it’s a job where you wear your grubbies. It’s a bit illegal unless you have permission from the folks who put their trash in the dumpster. Apparently this guy not only had permission, but the folks at the station were concerned that he be allowed to do his picking without interference.

    Being a panhandler (professional beggar) in my city is a self-employment job, also. My local paper did an interesting story about the guys who do it; many make pretty good annual earnings. Things are probably different in cities with more beggar competition.

    Most homeless people are not on the street because they need money. They are on the street because the US does not coerce the mentally ill to stay in treatment and hence has very few free residential facilities anymore; or because they are poor but would rather trust their own luck rather than stay in a shelter with other poor people. A few are on the street because they are not yet poor enough to fit the standards for shelters, do not wish to stay in shelters run by particular government, secular nonprofit, or religious institutions; are claustrophobic or otherwise dislike being around too many people; or are in a city where there’s too much competition for shelter space.

    As for Fr. Sirico et al and their understanding of the Church’s teachings on justice, labor, and the like, I think you will find that they quote those encyclicals pretty often in their books. Possibly their choice of quotes would be different from yours; but it’s silly for you to think that they’d be ignorant of them altogether.

  12. Andrew says:

    Suburban Banshee, Thank you very much for your perspective on me helping the man going through the trash. I am from Australia, and I perhaps I don’tknow all that is happening.

    But I can still see the face of that man in front of me, he was elderly, and his emaciated face said it all, regarding his hunger. He didn’t know anyone was there, I just came up to him.

    The people who are involved in the Acton Institute are very bright, of course they know about hsoe documents.

    What I said is that the Church’s social teachinga and the practical implmentation of them at the micro and macro level, don’t seem to be so much of a priority. And once again I have problems with Fr Sirico’s libertarianism, in regard to things like drugs, and pornography. That being said, I like him very much, and regard him as a terrific guy.

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