Acton University is one of the high points of the year. It is marvelously inspirational for both the participants and organizers. The speakers find earnest students willing to learn and the students encounter teachers who are open to questions and willing to engage.
Everyone at the event unashamedly embraced both faith and freedom as the foundation of learning. This is precisely what universities were founded to be in the Middle Ages and what
they were until relatively recently in history. Today the university is an amalgam of different things: a vocational training environment, a technical school, an employment agency, a home for research and writing in every conceivable field, a place for extending youth as long as possible, a place for parties and antics, and much more. There are many wonderful exceptions to the rule, but the rule still prevails: the archetype of the university has been transformed.
Rather than merely complain about this, the Acton Institute set out to fill a need. It teaches the theory and practice of a free and virtuous society to people with a special interest in religion. This has done more than merely provide training. It has given rise to the creation of a new cultural environment for learning itself, one that revives the older
idea. I believe that this is what accounts for the happiness of everyone involved, the sense of joy one finds at the event and the overwhelming opinion that Acton offers something new and different.
This year, I spoke at length of the formation of my own ideas of freedom and my journey in the faith. There was a time when these ideas were not known to me. Discovering the political theory of freedom and then the veracity of faith were the two great events of my life. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who makes this event possible. Even in the midst of so much despair in this country and abroad, there are bright lights on the horizon. One of them is the Acton University. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico, President