Acton Institute Powerblog

Chafuen plugs Acton in Europe

Ideas about the free market are spreading to Europe. Alejandro Chafuen recently spoke at a conference in Portugal and shared the work Acton has accomplished. Alejandro Chafuen, Acton’s Managing Director, International, chaired the Faith and Liberty session and award ceremony during the 2018 Estoril Political Forum EPF. He described some of the key aspects of this event organized by the Institute for Political Studies IEP at the Portuguese Catholic University UCP.

The Portuguese Catholic University is a fifty year old institution and IEP has been growing in activity and influence since its founding. Acton Institute, especially Kishore Jabalayan, director of Acton Institute’s Rome office, has been present on many occasions.

The session included remarks by the current rector, Isabel Capeloa Gil, and Prof. Manuel Braga da Cruz, the previous rector and member of the board of IEP. Chafuen had the opportunity to discuss possible areas of cooperation between Acton Institute and UCP with Rector Capeloa Gil. The University, with 14,000 students, is well connected with the Lusophone world in Asia, Africa and the Americas. IEP programs have influenced and attracted leaders of the major Portuguese parties and their current fellows include former ministers, legislators and also Jose Manuel Durão Barroso, the former Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission.

In his introduction, Alejandro Chafuen remarked:

Like others, I have enjoyed the hospitality of João Carlos Espada, his team, and the Estoril Palace unique atmosphere, for almost two decades.

It is however, the first time that I join you representing the Acton Institute. Named after Lord Acton, it is a multi-faceted think-tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles. Acton has to fund raise each year to support a budget of 12 million dollars. I encourage you to check Acton.org and interact with us.

We are guided by Judeo-Christian views and the best economic research. Acton champions the free economy as the system most consistent with Catholic Social Doctrine as defined by point 42 of the Encyclical Centesimus Annus.

It is a privilege therefore to be present at this session where we celebrate Faith and Liberty. Faith and Liberty is the title of my book about the Christian foundations of the free economy, published in 7 languages including Chinese. Faith and liberty are cherished values in my country, the United States.

Our different appreciation of how these two factors interact and what they mean, have led to democratic confrontations and collaboration between patriots and cosmopolitans. In these days we heard many talented speakers address these topics from a European perspective.

These differences also affect the US political scene. None other than Timothy M. Dolan, Cardinal of New York, published an article in the Wall Street Journal with the title “The Democrats Abandon Catholics.”

Noting that he is a pastor, not a politician, and that he had “spats and disappointments from both of America’s leading parties” he wrote that “the needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb have largely been rejected” by the Democrats, the party of his youth.

As this Wall Street Journal article shows, using media to defend faith and liberty is essential for those who promote these treasures.

In the United States, radio has been essential to defend Faith and Liberty. “We congratulate and thank Fernando Magalhães Crespo, who through Radio Renascença, devoted several decades to this task.”

Fernando Magalhães Crespo’s role at the radio was essential, staying independent from the state, the radio saw that its role was to defend the freedom of expression of the Church as well as for all other players of the free society. He retired in 2005, when he was 75, after 31 years at the helm. The Radio was much more than a Catholic radio as it expanded its programs to reach wide sectors of society and it also acted as a school to train media.

Noah Gould

Noah is a Programs Associate at the Acton Institute where he regularly contributes to the blog and Religion and Liberty. He is a graduate of Grove City College, where he studied Economics.