Followers of Acton Institute are well acquainted with Fr. Robert A. Sirico. He co-founded Acton in 1990 and was its president until November 2021. Despite shifting his role to president emeritus, Fr. Sirico is hardly slowing down.
In addition to his continued work at Acton Institute, Fr. Sirico also founded the St. John Henry Newman Institute (jhni.org) in 2021. The Newman Institute seeks to revitalize Catholic education by promoting Catholic classical curricula and reverent liturgy. He is also completing an international book-and-lecture tour promoting his newest book, The Economics of the Parables, which is currently being translated into Portuguese and Spanish.
“I’ve gone from driving a stick shift to an automatic but at the same speed, if not faster,” he quips about his current workload.
With co-founder and now-president Kris Alan Mauren at the helm of Acton, Fr. Sirico remains highly involved with the Institute. While he is no longer in charge of its day-to-day management, he still contributes by speaking at events, writing articles, and communicating with supporters. As he holds dual citizenship with the United States and Italy, Fr. Sirico is also enjoying the opportunity to invest more time in Acton’s offices in Rome.
Fr. Sirico is adamant that Acton Institute’s mission is too important to let it wander astray. “Acton’s mission is more important than ever,” he says. “The assumption that a central government power can and should solve all our problems is pervasive and pernicious. There is just as strong an impulse to submit to governmental authority as there is, for us, to resist it. And this happens among both conservatives and progressives.”
That tendency to bend to authoritarianism, to concentrate power, to let a government decide for others what is right and what is wrong is why Acton’s work remains so important. Those at the Institute embrace the responsibility to educate others about these truths, to rigorously defend them to a skeptical audience, and to exemplify them through personal action.
Acton’s president emeritus has full faith that Mauren, his friend and co-founder, will keep Acton Institute on the path of integrity and upright work. “I have incredible faith in Kris's leadership. He is acknowledged as one of the finest leaders in our industry. By sticking to our principles at the beginning, we are set up for future success. I'm excited about that kind of integrity.”
Fr. Sirico’s dedication to the principles of a free and virtuous society serves as an example to the entire organization as it strives to spread the message and be a beacon for others to look to in times of doubt.