West Cornwall, CT

by Sebastian Kaufmann

As a Roman Catholic from Chile, where there are few opportunities to meet people who aren’t Catholic, this conference was a wonderful chance to meet many other Christians of different churches and denominations. I was able to interact with a range of people, all of whom showed great interest in finding out more about me and answering my questions about them.

However, the weekend was much more than social interaction and nice meals. We had many lectures given by authorities in their subjects. The anthropological foundations lecture gave us a basis to understand and interpret the other topics. As a Catholic interested in the social teaching of the Church, I have always felt very attracted to the Christian anthropology. This lecture gave me the opportunity to consider that all social thought must be built in a correct understanding of the human being. I found the proposed approach ideal, particularly in the reflection of the human being as imago dei (image of God).

The organization of these sessions was very useful, because they gave us plenty of time for discussion and questions. The other moments, such as the meals and free time, were also excellent opportunities to continue the discussion with each other or the lecturers, who were always accessible and in a very good disposition to speak with us. We discussed economics (a topic that usually it is not very present in the theological and philosophical reflections), charity, the entrepreneurial vocation, globalization, and the relation between church and the state, among other topics.

From my first years in the university, when I studied law in Chile, I have been very concerned about the problem of poverty, the big differences between the first and the third world, the bad effects of the globalization and the injustices that many people have to face daily in our countries.

Because of the conference, I realize that I have to integrate other point of views, especially some insights into the importance of allowing the development of creativity in our societies, the concept of personal responsibility and self-government, the concept of subsidiarity, and the importance of the stimulation of the entrepreneurial vocation in order to create wealth. I do confess that I have to think much more about these issues. In that process, this conference was a good beginning.

I am very thankful for the invitation to the conference and for the kindness, good will and respect that all the lectures and the organizers had in addressing my questions and concerns. As a lawyer, a philosopher and a Christian, to have had the opportunity of being away one weekend in such wonderful place, just learning, discussing and meeting remarkable people was just perfect. I strongly recommend this experience.