Category: News and Events

On June 16, His Eminence Metropolitan Tarasios of Buenos Aires spoke at Acton University at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His remarks touched on a wide range of subjects including the upcoming Orthodox Christian council in Crete, which begins on June 19, Catholic-Orthodox relations, and other topics. The American-born bishop serves in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

According to his official biography, Met. Tarasios was born Peter (Panayiotis) C. Anton in Gary, Indiana, in 1956 to Peter and Angela Anton. The family moved to San Antonio, Texas, in 1960, and young Peter grew up in the Church of St. Sophia in San Antonio. He studied at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, as well as Trinity University in San Antonio, the University of Notre Dame in Indiana (M.A. in Theology 1983), the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and the Pontifical School of Paleography and Archives at the Vatican. (more…)

You don’t necessarily have to be a member of the Libertarian Party to appreciate it. In a new piece for the Federalist, Acton’s director of programs, Paul Bonicelli suggests that there are libertarian questions that voters of all parties should be asking. Libertarians, with a focus on limiting federal power, question the size and scope of the state and its bureaucrats, as anyone supporting individual freedom should.

Some of the questions Bonicelli offers are:

  • Does the U.S. Constitution permit the government to do this?
  • What would this power look like if it were expanded dramatically in scope or in time?
  • Does this power represent the government putting its thumb on the scales to prefer some competitors over others, perhaps based on their relative power and influence?
  • Are we acting out of fear, anger, or self-promotion?
  • Is there any evidence the government is any good at this?
  • What would your worst enemy do with this power?


On this edition of Radio Free Acton, we take a look at the upcoming referendum in Great Britain which will decide the fate of the UK’s membership in the European Union. Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Relations and author of The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe, joins the podcast fresh from his latest European trip and shares his analysis of the pros and cons for Britain, as well as the reaction in Brussels to the vote and what it may portend for the future of the EU.

You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below; I’ve posted links to some of the articles we discussed after the jump.


forgodandprofitSamuel Gregg’s latest book, For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good argues that making a profit and living a good, moral life are not mutually exclusive endeavors. People are taking notice. In a new review of the book at Zenit, Fr. John Flynn agrees with Gregg. “[M]oney and finance,” he begins, “play an essential role in the well-being of persons and nations and they are not of themselves immoral.” He continues:

Another handicap to an accurate moral analysis of the morality of finances is that for a long time, since the late-seventeenth century in fact as Gregg pointed out later in the book, there has been a real dearth of in-depth commentary by Christians in this area.

Gregg’s book is indeed a much needed addition to Christian reflection on this subject. He starts with some chapters detailing the historical development of theological analysis, above all on the subject of the legitimacy of charging interest on loans.

As well as an outline of the involvement by Christians in the development of banking in the second part of the Middle Ages Gregg also explained that it is an area in which Christians can participate with a clear conscience provided that profit realized through finance is:

+ Understood as a means to an end.

+ Never seen as an end in itself.

+ Used to serve rather than diminish what we understand as human flourishing.

Read Flynn’s “ANALYSIS: Faith, Morality, and Money” in its entirety at Zenit. Also, as part of For God and Profit’s “book tour,” Samuel Gregg was featured on Ave Maria Radio’s Kresta in the Afternoon discussing banking and Catholicism. You can listen to their conversation here.

Following the recent Rome conference “Freedom with Justice: Rerum Novarum and the New Things of Our Time”, held in celebration of 125th anniversary of Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical on private property, the Industrial Revolution and the spread of Marxist ideology, Acton’s Samuel Gregg was interviewed by Shalom World TV.

Vatican journalist Ashley Noronha, who hosts the India-based religious news magazine Voice of the Vatican, asked Gregg what was the the connection between religious and economic freedom and how traditional Catholic social teaching is responding to contemporary threats such liberties.  This is what he had to say: (more…)

Can we live the good life in the world of finance and banking? Acton’s research director, Samuel Gregg, explores that question in his latest book For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good. He was recently interviewed by the Social Trends Institute in order to discuss the motivation behind writing the book as well as expanding on the theme of his book.

Some of the highlights:

What’s the biggest challenge facing Christians and other people of good will seeking to shape the world of finance and banking?

Perhaps the most important is that we need to learn how modern banking and finance functions before they make suggestions or critiques. There’s no point criticizing something like short-selling unless you understand, first, what short-selling is, and second, the ways in which it actually serves as an early warning system for significant problems in a business or even an economy. In fact, short-sellers are invariably light-years ahead of the regulators when it comes to such matters.



Jefferson’s rhymes just don’t impress Hamilton.

Despite both being deeply dedicated to protecting Americans from tyranny, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson disagreed on a great deal. In a new review of Hamilton versus Jefferson in the Washington Administration: Completing the Founding or Betraying the Founding, Samuel Gregg calls the founders’ rivalry, “stark, but intricate.” Gregg discusses Carson Holloway’s new book in a recent article for the Library of Law and Liberty. It’s easy to idolize the founders, but Gregg reminds us that they were “given to occasional pettiness. They lost their tempers. They often resorted to underhanded methods to get their way. Nor were they above scheming against each other.”

Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson disagreed about the new Constitution and its role in governing the new United States. Holloway’s book and Gregg’s review focus on this significant disagreement.

Gregg summarizes the book:

Holloway approaches the conflict between the Virginia planter and the self-made dynamo from the Caribbean in three parts. Beginning with their debates about the most optimal way of arranging the federal government’s finances and thus setting the nation’s general economic direction, Holloway then studies their deeper rupture over the powers of the executive branch before turning to their battles over foreign policy, at which point he brings the PacificusHelvidiusdebates between Hamilton and James Madison into the discussion.