The Acton Institute has a number of affiliates around the world, but when it came time to establish a presence in Rome, the institute opted not to start another affiliate, but to open a new Acton office, Istituto Acton. This allows the institute and its Grand Rapids staff to work closely with the Rome staff on a number of important projects that further our mission to promote a free and virtuous society on the international stage.
A large part of the execution of Acton's mission is to serve future religious leaders. Obviously, Rome is an important place to forge relationships with future Catholic clergy from around the world. Just like in the United States, we offer a number of lectures and conferences – most notably our recent series of Centesimus Annus conferences – that bring seminarians that blend of theological insight and economic truth for which Acton is known.
But Istituto Acton activities are not limited to Rome. The Rome office is also a base camp for its work around Europe. For example, last year one of the Centesimus Annus conferences was hosted in Poland at the Catholic University of Lublin where Pope John Paul II once taught.
Rome also gives Acton a vantage point from which to keep close watch on the international happenings of the Catholic Church. Often times, this offers the institute opportunities to offer comment on a variety of international events: Acton staff and scholars in Rome are regularly consulted and interviewed by the media concerning stories of international religious interest.
This year, Istituto Acton will host its first annual dinner, a testament to the importance and growth of this branch of the work of the Acton Institute.
Kris Alan Mauren