Lord Acton’s judgment on pope and king

“Acton’s ideal of the historian as judge, as the upholder of the moral standard, is the most noble ideal ever proposed for the historian,” says Josef L. Altholz in this week’s Acton Commentary, “and it is an ideal that has been rejected, perhaps with grudging respect, by all historians, including myself.” We workaday historians can have no higher ideal than Acton’s second choice, impartiality or objectivity. Continue Reading...

State and society each has its own sphere

“The question that now demands our full attention is this,” says Abraham Kuyper in this week’s Acton Commentary, “What attitude should Christians adopt in the face of the socialist movement?” And then it is beyond question that we too should be moved to profound compassion by the disorder of our society and the great distress that has resulted from it. Continue Reading...

God or man? Whittaker Chambers’ ‘Witness’ at 65

“A former Communist who found spiritual solace in his adopted Quakerism,” says Bruce Edward Walker in this week’s Acton Commentary, “Chambers reduced the dilemma facing modern humanity to a simple dichotomy: God or Man?” Consider: An avowed socialist candidate came close to clinching the presidential nomination in what was once considered the world’s greatest proponent of liberty; the same country is hobbled by an ever-encroaching, state-enforced regulatory apparatus; municipal bankruptcies and state budget crises proliferate, wrought in part by massively underfunded government-employee pension programs; and wealth and income redistribution have become commonplace mantras of such movements as Occupy Wall Street. Continue Reading...

The rising threats to European liberty

“It’s not good manners to begin the year with dire predictions,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary, “but with continuing Islamic terrorist attacks, increasing concern over Russian aggression, and the general fecklessness of its leaders, we have many reasons to worry about the future of liberty in Europe.” Italian and German anti-terrorism officials were fully aware of the threat posed by Tunisian national Anis Amri and still could not prevent his driving a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin. Continue Reading...

The Year in Acton Commentary 2016

Every Wednesday we publish the Acton Commentary, a weekly article that covers topics related to Acton’s mission. As 2016 comes to a close we thought it would be worth highlighting the top ten commentaries produced by Acton Institute staffers and contributors over the past year. Continue Reading...

The Last Supper and new life

“Succumbing to despair is by definition never a winning strategy, which is why the story of Giorgio Vasari’s painting, ‘The Last Supper,’ resonated so strongly with me when I read it had been successfully restored,” says Rev. Continue Reading...

Martin Scorsese’s Silence: Christianity’s crucible in Japan

In the coming weeks, a film speculated by many to be Martin Scorsese’s most personal and poignant project to date will release throughout the United States. “While Silence depicts a Japan deeply resistant to Christian influence,” says Ken Marotte in this week’s Acton Commentary, “the story actually begins approximately 100 years earlier, when Christianity was not only tolerated, but encouraged.” The Christian faith reached Japan’s shores in 1549, when Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuit order and one of the church’s most prolific missionaries, made landfall. Continue Reading...