The last day at Acton University was one of those once-in-a-life-time-moments when beautiful things come together to show us the possibilities of a world where faith and liberty are both cherished. It was a larger event than ever before (close to 800 attendees) and also more diverse.
We were all there to discuss the free and virtuous society and its incredible contribution to human flourishing. That's a huge topic. Rather than attempt to codify one approach, Acton University allows the faculty and students to explore many different approaches. There is a way in which the whole subject of human freedom covers much of what we call life itself in the entirety of the material realm. Therefore, it makes sense that we would never finish exploring all its ramifications.
The goal, then, is not to force some predetermined method of thinking. We take a different route of exploring the full range of thought within what we call the liberal tradition (liberal in the older sense of that term). It has universal implications, because it is undeniably true that human freedom is the essential condition for rising prosperity, invention, improved living standards, and a reduction of suffering in this world. There is a holiness to this work as we come together as a community to uplift the poor, walk in the light of the truth, and increase our own knowledge of God in the world.
This kind of exchange is essential if we are to move forward. Human liberty is a universal human right. This right is slipping away in the United States in so many ways, even as we are seeing this right expand in other nations of the world. We need to learn to celebrate the victories of others over despotism even as we develop courage to stand up for our own freedoms here at home.
I was also very pleased that my new book Defending The Free Market was released at this event. I've been deeply touched by the positive response that I've received, and invigorated in my work going foward. Thank you for everything you have done to encourage me over the years, and all that you have done to support the hugely important work of the Acton Institute.
Rev. Robert Sirico, President