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On December 4, the Acton Institute and its Rome office concluded another successful international conference, Freedom, Virtue and the Good Society: The Dominican Contribution. The 380-person overflow crowd at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas included participants from the Angelicum itself and other pontifical universities, various religious and missionary orders, diverse sectors of business, non-profits and political leadership, as well as representatives from diplomatic corps to the Holy See.

Promoted as a “sequel” to the November 2017 conference on the Jesuit contribution to building up a free and just globalized world, this conference focused on the specifically Dominican tradition in sustaining a freer, virtuous and just society.

Speakers included Sr. Catherine Joseph Droste, O.P., vice dean of theology at the Angelicum; Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, president of the Austrian Institute of Economics and Social Philosophy; Jay Richards, research professor at the Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business; and others.

Acton’s Samuel Gregg gave the afternoon’s final lecture, titled “Henri-Dominque Lacordaire: A Dominican Faces Modernity,” in which much of the moral discussion of a free and just society centered not on how politicians or business persons can be corrupted or corrected, but on how the Church’s clergy and institutions may become run afoul of the Church’s moral mission – or at least forced to sacrifice some sovereignty and religious freedom to the state.

It was a persistent, incorrigible Henri-Dominque Lacordaire who re-established the Dominican order in post-revolutionary France. He wanted the Church to be completely free of the “strings attached” to state contributions, which compromised their liberty to fully teach, preach or act as they wanted.

The Acton Institute’s next Rome conference will take place in the academic year 2019. In the meantime, you may watch the concluded Rome conference in its entirety on

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