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We live in a world shaped by institutions; by the families we are part of, the businesses in which we express our talents and the churches in which we worship. These institutions are the sources of our society’s moral culture. Vibrant social institutions are animated by their own principles in their own spheres and are neither created nor made legitimate by the state. In a free and open society, the state respects the autonomy of these institutions and provides the necessary support and legal framework for their orderly operation in their own spheres of society and culture.

The Acton Institute, one of those vital institutions, seeks to form and equip persons to work toward a free and virtuous society. In these pages, you will find encouraging news about a recent ruling by the Supreme Court concerning questions of religious liberty. You will also hear from Garreth Bloor, an Acton University alum, on entrepreneurship, free trade and justice. Acton provides support to numerous scholars, such as Professor Giuseppe Franco, the 2019 Novak Award winner profiled in this issue. Lastly, James Patterson’s recent lecture at the Acton Institute on the venerable Fulton J. Sheen is covered.

Thanks to all the attendees and speakers at this year’s recently concluded Acton University. It was a wonderfully inspiring four days of discussion and fellowship. We look forward to seeing many of you again next year!

We could not have an institution like the Acton Institute or put on programming like Acton University without our generous donors who make it all possible. Thank you for your continued support of the Acton Institute. If you are just learning about Acton, we invite you to find additional resources on our website and prayerfully consider supporting us in our mission to build and sustain the moral culture necessary for a society of free and responsible people.


Rev. Robert A. Sirico received his Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America following undergraduate study at the University of Southern California and the University of London.  During his studies and early ministry, he experienced a growing concern over the lack of training religious studies students receive in fundamental economic principles, leaving them poorly equipped to understand and address today's social problems.  As a result of these concerns, Fr. Sirico co-founded the Acton Institute with Kris Alan Mauren in 1990.