Religion & Liberty Online

Zenit: Acton Rerum Novarum conference focuses on ‘demands for freedom, justice’

20th April 2016, Rome, Centro Congressi Roma Eventi - Fontana di Trevi International Conference "Freedom with justice: Rerum Novarum and the new things of our time."
A capacity crowd of professors, students, and opinion makers attends the April 20 2016 Acton Conference in Rome “Freedom with Justice: Rerum Novarum and the New Things of our Time”.

In an article published Friday by Zenit’s Rome correspondent, Deborah Lubov, we find an excellent summary of Acton’s recently concluded Rome conference: “Freedom with Justice: Rerum Novarum and the New Things of Our Time.”

Lubov writes in here roundup article:

Pope Leo’s encyclical on ‘revolutionary things,’ many [speakers] noted, also had much to say about the demands for freedom and social justice in the late-nineteenth century as increasing numbers of people became focused upon what was called “the social question.” During the conference, many bishops and intellectuals from Europe and America addressed topics such as Pope Leo’s attempt to revive the thought of Aquinas, the continuing importance of religious, economic, and political freedom, the State’s role in a global economy, and socialism’s resurgence today.

Following the conference, the Zenit journalist reached out for comments from Acton’s president Rev. Robert A. Sirico, who was in Rome as the final speaker at the event. Lubov asked him why he thought it was “so important to discuss this encyclical today, especially as religious freedom is being increasingly challenged.” Rev. Sirico responded:

From the outset, Leo sees the ways in which business, economics, politics, the family, business and Catholic faith all cluster into a momentous set of questions that faced the Church in his day. It is remarkable how similar is the confluence of factors in our own time.

Lubov summed up the various “new things” discussed in light of Leo XIII’s 1891 social encyclical:

Some of these “things” discussed at the conference were new forms of religious persecution in America, Europe’s faltering welfare states and sovereign debt crises, globalization’s winners and losers, demographic deficits and migration challenges, malfunctioning financial systems, and the rise of economic populism.

To read Deborah Lubov’s Zenit article in full and for other comments on the April 20 Rome conference go here: Rerum Novarum: International Experts Explore Pope Leo XIII’s Groundbreaking Encyclical.

You can continue the conversation from the April 20 conference on social media using the hash tag #125onFreedom.


Michael Severance

Michael Severance earned his B.A. in philosophy and humane letters from the University of San Francisco, where he also studied at the university's St. Ignatius Institute, a great books program. He then pursued his linguistic studies in Salamanca, Spain where he obtained his Advanced Diploma in Spanish from Spain's Ministry of Education before obtaining his M.A. in Philosophy and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford. While living in Italy, Michael has worked in various professional capacities in religious journalism, public relations, marketing, fundraising, as well as property redevelopment and management. As Istituto Acton's Operations Manager, Michael is responsible for helping to organize international conferences, increase private funding, as well as expand networking opportunities and relations among European businesses, media and religious communities, while managing the day-to-day operations of the Rome office.