Category: Vatican

John C. Kennedy III

John C. Kennedy III

In late September, the Wall Street Journal asked Catholic business leaders for their reaction to Pope Francis’ economic views in an article titled, “For Business, a Papal Pushback.” It ran with the teaser line: “Corporate leaders see merit in pope’s message, if not his broad-brush attack on capitalism.” Journal writer Scott Calvert interviewed Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg for his story. Gregg observed that Pope Francis had characterized market economies as generally exploitative. “He doesn’t seem to want to concede the sheer number of people who have escaped from poverty as a consequence of the opening up of global markets and the activities of business,” he said. “I know a lot of Catholic businessmen who are quite demoralized when they hear the pope talk about the daily reality in which they live.”

I recently had a chance to talk to John C. Kennedy III, a Roman Catholic Grand Rapids, Michigan, businessman and a board member of the Acton Institute, for his read of the Francis visit. Kennedy is president and CEO of Autocam Medical. Before that, he was president and CEO of Autocam Corporation, which he founded in 1988 and sold in 2014 (for PowerBlog coverage of Autocam’s legal pushback against the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to provide contraceptives and abortifacients go here). Beyond his business commitments, Kennedy devotes time to a number of organizations. He is a member of the Boards of NN, Inc., the parent company of Autocam Corporation, Grand Valley State University, Lacks Enterprises, Shape Corporation, the Van Andel Institute, and Advisory Board Member of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. Kennedy received his BA from the University of Detroit Mercy and his MBA from the University of Michigan.

Our exchange follows:

What was your reaction to the recent visit of Pope Francis to the United States?

Pope Francis’s visit was absolutely phenomenal. It really spoke to his leadership qualities. As a Catholic, I was proud of the leader of our church. The stamina of a 78-year-old man who went from morning to night every day, with beginning to end mass coverage, four or five times, was incredible. It’s just absolutely amazing to me. He did a great job. (more…)

gty_pope_francis_kim_davis_wg_150929_16x9_992On the papal plane back to the Rome, Pope Francis said that government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty if they feel it violates their conscience. “Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right,” Francis said.

The pontiff admitted, though, that he “can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscientious objection.” But what would he think about the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who objected to having her name on same-sex marriage licenses?

Turns out he told her, in person, to “stay strong.”

At least that’s the report of Davis’s lawyer, Mathew D. Staver. According to Staver, Davis and Francis met at the Vatican embassy:
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Pope Francis talks aboard the papal plane while en route to ItalyWhen Pope Francis gave addresses at the White House, Congress, and the UN, he mentioned the importance of religious freedom. But many people (including me) were rather disappointed that he didn’t speak more specifically about what sorts of religious liberties are under threat.

Once aboard the papal plane, though, it appears the pontiff provided more clarity on the issue. According to Reuters, the pope said government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.
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1035x1035-UntitledDuring his visit to the U.S. Pope Francis has been treated like a rock star. So it’s probably not surprising that he’ll soon be doing what real rock start do: releasing an actual rock album. A prog-rock album.

According to Rolling Stone magazine,

The Vatican-approved LP, a collaboration with Believe Digital, features the Pontiff delivering sacred hymns and excerpts of his most moving speeches in multiple languages paired with uplifting musical accompaniment ranging from pop-rock to Gregorian chant. Wake Up! arrives November 27th, with the iTunes pre-order now available with an instant download of “Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” . . .

“Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!” finds Pope Francis addressing a South Korean audience in English last year amid atmospheric synths, trumpeting horns and skyscraping electric guitars reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. “Wake up / Wake up,” Pope Francis says on the track. “The Lord speaks of a responsibility that the Lord gives you / It is a duty to be vigilant / Not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins to dull our sensibility of the beauty of holiness.” Later on the moving track, the Pope tells his audience, “No one who sleeps can sing, dance and rejoice,” as he urges them to wake up and go.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to be too young to have lived through the prog-rock era of the 1960s and 1970s, Wikipedia helpfully explains prog-rock as having “developed from psychedelic rock, and originated as an attempt to give greater artistic weight and credibility to rock music. Bands abandoned the short pop single in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz or classical music in an effort to give rock music the same level of musical sophistication and critical respect.” (Think of bands such as Yes, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, and (pre-1980s) Genesis).

Click here to listen to Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!.

pope-francis-unThis morning Pope Francis gave an address to the UN General Assembly. As the pontiff mentions in his speech, this is the fifth time since 1965 that a pope has visited the United Nations.

In the lengthy address Pope Francis covers a wide range of topics, from the rule of law to nuclear weapons to the drug trade. Here are 15 key quotes from the speech:

Usury and Oppressive Lending Systems

[The equitable influence on decision-making processes by all countries] will help limit every kind of abuse or usury, especially where developing countries are concerned. The International Financial Agencies should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence.

Rule of Law

The work of the United Nations, according to the principles set forth in the Preamble and the first Articles of its founding Charter, can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity. In this context, it is helpful to recall that the limitation of power is an idea implicit in the concept of law itself.

Limits of Power
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As the Pope’s address to the US Congress drew to a close, France 24 Television turned to Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, for a reaction to Francis’ message. You can view his analysis below.

pope-speaking-to-congressThis morning Pope Francis became the first pontiff in history to give an address the United States Congress. In his 30 minutes speech, which he delivered in English, the pope touched on wide range of issues, from the economics to the environment to global poverty.

Here are twenty key quotes from that address (quotes are combined by topic and not necessarily presented in the order given in the pope’s speech):

The Role of Law and Politics

[Speaking about Congress] You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.

[…]

Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Political and Economic Injustice

We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

The Role of Religion in Society
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