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Charles Dickens wrote in Great Expectations of days “when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” That description applies metaphorically to many of the stories in this issue of Religion & Liberty, as people of faith struggle to let their light so shine that it can melt the world’s icy indifference. Along the way, they face the countervailing winds of secularism, statism, and even their own misunderstanding of fundamental principles.

Well-funded NGOs pressured the government of Guatemala to crack down on private, religious orphanages. Fr. Gregory Jensen writes of the tragic results, and the nuns’ demands for justice, in his in-depth portrait of Hogar Raphael Ayau. Like last issue’s cover story, his article comes from Acton’s longform journalism project.

Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., highlights how enterprising monks and nuns launched a rich variety of businesses to fund their monastic pursuits, drawing both spiritual and temporal inspiration from the immortal Rule of St. Benedict. Her story illustrates why even those living the heavenly life cannot ignore the laws of economics.

Ibrahim Anoba describes their mirror image: An influential African archbishop has called on his government to impose a “church tax,” withholding a tithe from every believer on behalf of Holy Mother Church.

We’re happy to welcome Doug Bandow back to the pages of Religion & Liberty after a long hiatus. He examines a plan for the government to pass laws economically benefiting newspapers over other forms of media in Canada.

Hunter Baker asks probing questions of democratic socialism.

This issue’s “In the Liberal Tradition” features Manasseh Cutler, a little-known Revolutionary War chaplain who brokered a (far-from-perfect) business deal with one non-negotiable demand: It banned slavery from an entire region of the country.

Fr. Robert Sirico reveals the line of The Godfather trilogy that should resonate with everyone actively engaged in the cause of liberty.

We pray these and the other stories in this issue will bring light and warmth to all those who read them, share them, and seek to create a new springtime for humanity by acting on their principles.


Rev. Ben Johnson is a senior editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History summa cum laude from Ohio University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.