Acton Institute Powerblog

Benedict XVI and Freedom

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Acton adjuct scholar Alejandro Chafuen argues that the new pope places the concept of freedom centrally to his thinking. And “with freedom comes an incalculability — and thus the world can never be reduced to mathematical logic,” writes Chafuen.

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Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Evelina Sernaite

    I couldn’t be more proud of a pope’s moral vision! His views have proven me that he is really the right choice! Morality can never be conservative and I hope Benedict XVI will continue to spread this message.

  • John Pinto

    I thought the Pope’s reaction to relativism was a recent reaction but I am currently reading a paper he wrote back in 1963 which indicates he has been thinking about this and responding to it for a long time. I think we have a winner here!

  • Chris Vonesch

    Excellent article Mr. Chafuen. What a breath of fresh air! Indeed human freedom, and its relation to the creative freedom and love of God, is a discourse that we in the modern world need to hear a lot more about. May God bless our new pope.

    Chris Vonesch
    Ottawa, Canada

  • Kathy Carroll

    Wonderful article! With your permission, I would like very much to link to it and quote from it in my next blog posting.

  • Peter Tate

    Excellent and insightful article. While, I don’t agree with the Cathlioc system, I have great respect for John Paul II and Benedict XVI nee Ratzinger, especailly on their views of freedom. Ratzinger seems to be on the cusp of something. The question I would ask is: "Are we worshiping the God of Aristotle or the God of Abraham?" I fear the Cathlioc Church and its Protestant offspring have been worshiping the God of Aristotle for too long. Constantine franchised the church and Augustine gave it its theology.
    The new Pope and his church has much to paganist baggage to shed. Like wise, Protestants have Gnostic baggage to shed.

    May Christ help us all to do that!

    Peter Tate
    Stuttgart, Germany

  • Diane Aymes

    Great article and very information for our Augustian priest to Pope Benedict XVI. Looking forward to his teachings and getting to know him better. Glad to be a Roman Catholic and seeing on tv, history in the making.

  • Lucas Mayenga

    It is good to have a pope of such a wonderful vision and I think he is going to unite christianity especially passing the sunday law which will change the WORLD altogether! LONG LIVE POPE!!!!!!!
    Please have a look

  • John Sly

    Excellent article alex, I agree with all of your thoughts about catholicism. I admire you

  • Michelle

    Dear Sir,
    What do you do with the teaching of Rome herself that she never changes?
    I ask about the Dark Ages that ended in 1798 and ask about the millions of people who perished on the rack, at the stake, and were tortured in every concivable way by the Roman Catholic Church.
    I quote from your article that moral convictions need "not be imposed or even arbitrarily defined by external coercion.” They might not need to be if everyone agrees, but if there are those who chose the word of God above the traditions and teaching of Rome might there be a repeat of history?
    Let us not forget the history of the Protestant movement to adhere to the Bible only as the rule of faith and practice and remember that mortal man cannot lift himself up against Almighty God. The time is coming when Jesus Himself will appear in the clouds of glory and we will then know who the true Padre is!

  • colins oyamo


  • Lito Ortilla

    Dear Sir:

    What do you mean by "the leader of the new inquisition"? It is a fact that there were millions of martyrs who died during the dark ages (time of inquisition)…
    Will there be a new inquisition under Pope Benedict’s reign? Is there a connection with the Sundal Law implementation?

  • Chris D Johnson

    Catholics tend to minimize the deaths or torture during the Inquisition. Non-Catholics usually exaggerate to an extreme.
    Not millions, Michelle or Lita Ortilla, but more like thousands and most of them were in Spain.
    Also, most of the instances of torture and death were not carried out by the Church, but by the civil authorities. However, since they were Catholics the responsiblity does end up there.


    It is time every saint got prepared for eternity. Those who have been in spiritual slamber have no option but to awake to a realization of what the enemy of light is ready to accomplish through the Catholic church. Blessed are they who have access to this information. Thank you brothers

  • Tina ureta

    Dear Sir:

    The Iquisition was"Torture", and it Was done by the Catholics, and it is Not exaggerated! It happened!
    No Pope, who is merely a Man, will force people to "their way of Liberty. Force was NEVER Jesus’s way.
    I am sure the Catholic Religion, will fulfill Revelations 17 of the Bible. As they have proven that Force is what they actively use. They will try to change the Law again and FORCE PEOPLE TO ADHERE TO THEIR LAWS.
    A SUNDAY LAW IS COMING, Force is coming.
    A repeat of Inquisition? Absolutely yes.

  • indra mulala

    I am avery happy advertist here in zambia.I would say that the pope is doing good things to blindford us ,so that whatever bad thing they will plan we will not belive it ,that it’s them who did it.We are studying Reveration from the first chruch .I have learnt that when the chruch combines with state then it’s a not a true chruch.They fulfilling the prophecy while they knowing.God bless us all amen .

  • Masesa Simplicious

    It is indeed my desire to express my gratitude to the Pope for this enlightement. Many questions about the topic of freedom have been raised for many years but it is only if understand that I have a freedom that I realise that asking questions of the same topic justify I am free.

    It’s in understanding that the choices before are a manifestation of my freedom, thus the article is objectively approached.