The Acton Institute: Bravo


#1

acton.org/

I caught part of The World Over last night w/ Father Robert Sirico, president of The Acton Institute. I was amazed to be listening a priest advancing the ideals of a free market society. I had never heard of The Acton Institute. Maybe the liberal bureaucrats who run so many diocese will be challenged; lack of welfare $ may not be the problem w/ our poor, socialized medicine is not the cure for the American patient, to be rich is not bad. He quoted Mother Teresa about class warfare and the rich saving the poor and the poor the rich. He was articulate and thoughtful. Wonderful!


#2

I’m not sure why Fr. Sirico and the non-Catholic Acton Institute are held up as someone/something to be listened to on anything. I have just listened to a podcast by Randy Engel on Culture Wars website about his background. It is astounding, to say the least. Stunningly, for example, Robert Sirico performed the 1st ever homosexual marriage in the U.S. - in Denver in 1975 - when he was a mail-order minister of some sect (not Catholic, although he had been raised Catholic). This fact is confirmed on several websites just by Googling. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go to the Culture Wars site and listen for yourself.
As this is such recent news to me - I find myself at a loss as to why Raymond Aroyo features Sirico on EWTN frequently (I am certain I know what Mother Angelica would do if she knew Sirico’s background) and am equally at a loss as to Fr. Zuhlsdorf quoting him so extensively here (Fr. Z writes a great column in the Wanderer on what the prayers of the Mass “really say” vis-a-vis their latin originals).


#3

I think that this is a case of detraction, which is, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “the unjust damaging of another’s good name by the revelation of some fault or crime of which that other is really guilty or at any rate is seriously believed to be guilty by the defamer.”

It would seem that in his youth, according to the Culture Wars folks, Fr Sirico dabbled in Protestant sects and then the homosexual movement.

*After this, *he returned to the Church, became a priest, and is now working as a parish priest as well as head of the Acton Institute.

Given the times and his age, he is probably not the only priest who went through an extremely wild phase and did things which he now regrets. In fact, I bet every Catholic on this board has done things in the past which they now regret. Would we like them to be dragged out all over the internet?

I have listened to several of Fr Sirico’s lectures, and he does not seem like a libertarian, and he links free market principles with Catholic thinking. The fact that some people may disagree with his current ideas is no reason to bring up a long-ago past. If they want to point out where his ideas are wrong, then by all means, do so, don’t seek to discredit him because of what he did decades ago.

As to all this shock about his having been ordained… give me a break! It’s not as if there haven’t been lots of *liberal *homosexuals ordained. If this is the best that the Culture Wars people can do, then I’m sticking with my original assessment of Fr Sirico.


#4

#5

Here’s a few of the almost uncountable facts from Randy Engel’s “Sirico Brief” (available free on the internet):

(1) “…1982 (at age 31) Sirico earns a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in English from the University of Southern California. [In 2005, the Acton Institute biographical page on Sirico stated that his degree was in **economics, but this statement was later withdrawn. Sirico hold no advance degrees in economics.]…”. Sirico has no credentials whatsoever to back up his activities at his made-up “Acton Institute”. Simply put - Why in the world should anything he has to say regarding international economics be listened to in any event?

(2) "…On 2 February 1961, all superiors of Religious Communities, Societies without vows, and Secular Institutes received a copy of the document “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” from the Congregation for Religious…The principle subject of the discourse of the Instruction is the proper vetting and training of candidates for Sacred Orders. The Instruction was in force, but obviously not enforced by the Paulists, at the time of Sirico’s ordination…On the matter of the selection of seminary candidates…The Instruction firmly acknowledges that chastity is the heart of religious life and the priesthood. Any candidate unable to observe ecclesiastical celibacy and practice priestly chastity, no matter what other “outstanding qualities” he possesses, is to be barred from the religious life and the priesthood…The 1961 Instruction specifically prohibits the advancement to religious vows and ordination of habituated onanists as well “as those afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers…Even though, by the late 1980s, the Paulists were routinely ordaining known homosexuals for the priesthood, their ordination of Sirico was especially alarming given his long habituation to the vice of sodomy and his public record of homosexual activism…”. This is right from the Vatican and has been the continual teaching of the Church. Anyone who has the least doubt that the Paulists disobeyed the above in ordaining Sirico needs to read the Sirico Brief by Randy Engel (free on the internet).

(3) “…In 1990, only a year after his ordination, Sirico underwent another career change. He became the President of the newly created (made-up) Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, an ecumenical, free-market educational think-tank funded by Michigan-based Dutch Calvinist business entrepreneurs. Sirico began to preach another gospel – that of Calvinist economic predestination and prosperity. He declared that Catholic seminarians, priests and religious are especially ignorant of fundamental economic principles and need to be educated on the benefits of free market capitalism…”. A made up “institute” serves as the umbrella under which Sirico roams around on a full time basis not just pontificating on things he has no expertise or background in - but slamming “Catholic seminarians, priests and religious” as “especially ignorant”.

These facts are just the tip of the iceberg on Sirico. I encourage everyone to educate themselves on this man and decide for themselves.


#6

, but this statement was later withdrawn. Sirico hold no advance degrees in economics.]…". Sirico has no credentials whatsoever to back up his activities at his made-up “Acton Institute”. Simply put - Why in the world should anything he has to say regarding international economics be listened to in any event?
Just because a person does not have a college degree on a subject does not mean that he has nothing to contribute. Bill Gates doesn’t have a degree, and yet look at what he accomplished.

(2) "…On 2 February 1961, all superiors of Religious Communities, Societies without vows, and Secular Institutes received a copy of the document “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” from the Congregation for Religious…The principle subject of the discourse of the Instruction is the proper vetting and training of candidates for Sacred Orders. The Instruction was in force, but obviously not enforced by the Paulists, at the time of Sirico’s ordination…On the matter of the selection of seminary candidates…The Instruction firmly acknowledges that chastity is the heart of religious life and the priesthood. Any candidate unable to observe ecclesiastical celibacy and practice priestly chastity, no matter what other “outstanding qualities” he possesses, is to be barred from the religious life and the priesthood…The 1961 Instruction specifically prohibits the advancement to religious vows and ordination of habituated onanists as well “as those afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers…Even though, by the late 1980s, the Paulists were routinely ordaining known homosexuals for the priesthood, their ordination of Sirico was especially alarming given his long habituation to the vice of sodomy and his public record of homosexual activism…”. This is right from the Vatican and has been the continual teaching of the Church. Anyone who has the least doubt that the Paulists disobeyed the above in ordaining Sirico needs to read the Sirico Brief by Randy Engel (free on the internet).

You should provide a link to things on the internet which you reference.

And again, his past really has nothing to do with the ideas which he is *currently *proposing.

Remember too that a Doctor of the Church also led a scandalous life before his conversion. (**St **Augustine)

(3) “…In 1990, only a year after his ordination, Sirico underwent another career change. He became the President of the newly created (made-up) Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, an ecumenical, free-market educational think-tank funded by Michigan-based Dutch Calvinist business entrepreneurs. Sirico began to preach another gospel – that of Calvinist economic predestination and prosperity. He declared that Catholic seminarians, priests and religious are especially ignorant of fundamental economic principles and need to be educated on the benefits of free market capitalism…”. A made up “institute” serves as the umbrella under which Sirico roams around on a full time basis not just pontificating on things he has no expertise or background in - but slamming “Catholic seminarians, priests and religious” as “especially ignorant”.

From the website: The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is an educational tax-exempt foundation within the meaning of Section 501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

This is what think-tanks and similar organizations *are. *Trying to run down the fact that he was involved in the establishment of the orgnaization by saying it’s “made-up” is simply absurd.

Now, you have finally brought up some valid arguments, that what he teaches is actually “Calvinist economic predestination and prosperity.” How about if you elaborate on *this *point, rather than continuing in your ad hominem detraction and ridiculous belittlement? Show us where he does this, and show us how it goes against Catholic teaching, with references.

These facts are just the tip of the iceberg on Sirico. I encourage everyone to educate themselves on this man and decide for themselves.

I don’t know who these Culture Wars people are, and I don’t know why they are attacking Fr Sirico in this very un-Catholic way, but why should we do *your *work? If you want to show how Fr Sirico is wrong, then you should be the one doing the work instead of just saying: He’s a bad guy! Look it up!


#7

I’m a conservative, I believe in the free market, I don’t think the government is efficient, and I believe tax cuts are best for the economy. However, I find issue with some of thse claims.

I don’t believe tha socialised medicine is the answer, however, the USCCB says we need some universal healthcare. usccb.org/healthcare/position.shtml
The current plan, HR 3200 at least and Baucuscare are unacceptable because it funds abortion

to be rich is not bad.

To be rich may be bad. Mark 10:25

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God


#8
  1. Bill Gates accomplishments are visible and palpable - you can see them and touch them. Fr. Sirico's are not. The only evidence he presents is his bombastic speech.
    
  2. [romancatholicreport.com/id119.html](http://www.romancatholicreport.com/id119.html)
    
  3. When O.J. gets paroled and comes to your neighborhood and with no credentials opens a marriage counseling practice (remember your philosophy "...Just because a person does not have a college degree on a subject does not mean that he has nothing to contribute...")   - I hope you will generously recommend anyone you know in need go to him for counseling under your "...And again, his past really has nothing to do with the ideas which he is *currently *proposing...." philosophy.  Personally, I will remember his past and physically prevent anyone I know from going to him. Different strokes....
    
  4. St. Augustine hid nothing of his past - in fact, he does exactly the opposite - he himself puts his past out there in his “Confessions” and explains his conversion. A current day warrior for the Faith - Fr. John Corapi - has done exactly the same with his “past” - he puts it right out there himself and explains his conversion. These are great Catholics. Sirico does none of this and doesn’t deserve this “defense by comparison” to these 2 great men that you offer.
  5. culturewars.com/

#9

This is the only part which contains any sort of reason to propose an investigation: I have been in contact with men who have discerned at St. Philip Neri House. Their reports suggest disturbing patterns of behaviors …by Sirico. (deleted unsavory parts) If true, then this is very sad and I hope that the situation will be rectified (I don’t dare to hope severely) really soon.

I must admit that I remain disturbed by the amount of publicity and non-evidence that Culture Wars is giving this. I can see making some minor statements along the lines of what they wrote above. I can see a serious discussion of what he is saying. But the way they are going about all this is… weird.


#10
   Uh.....huh????   Did you read the brief and listen to the audio?   And your response is that for them to file a formal brief/complaint like they did with the appropriate office at the Vatican is "...weird..."???   All you can see is "...making some minor statements..." about it ???
   I ardently disagree and I side with Randy Engel and Culture Wars on this.  Completely ignoring people and situations that didn't pass the "smell test" is exactly what caused the recent and ongoing child abuse disaster/coverup in our Church - and cost us billions so far as well.

#11

I am a Catholic. I believe in redemption and conversion. I believe that a person can be a terrible sinner and repent and change, and even become a saint.

I do think that they should have not ordained homosexuals, and it seems that Fr Sirico at least was involved with the homosexual movement which is indeed indicative of his being homosexual.

However, they were ordaining homosexuals right and left apparently, considering how many have come out or been pushed out of their closet, and not all of them turned out to be bad priests or even engaged in any sinful behavior. So to me, what would count is what he is doing *now. *The fact that he did such-and-such 20 or 30 years ago is *not germane. *

I listened to as much of that podcast or whatever as I could stomach. Maybe they got into more relevant evidential sorts of things later on, but they dwelt on his very past past for a long time, and not in a nice way. It didn’t seem like the 'cast was going to improve, either, so I turned it off.

I read the entire brief, and the only part that I thought was worth their having typed out was the part that I quoted. All the rest was… irrelevant.

Moreover, there is still the aspect of detraction. *Why are these people publicizing this over the whole entire world? *It seems like the wrong thing to do. They have reported it to the authorities, and they should let that take its course. If they have a more immediate concern, they should deal with it locally rather than internationally. I am not saying that if they have serious reasons to believe that Fr Sirico is involved that they should do nothing, just that they should not paste a bunch of nebulous accusations and insinuations all over the internet.


#12

It actually is not “germane”, as you say, whether or not you think “…they should have not ordained homosexuals…” and even if “…they were ordaining homosexals right and left…” and “…not all of them turned out to be bad priests…” ----- you could make the same argument for marrying homosexuals as you just did for homosexual ordinations (and remember Sirico proudly officiated at the first homosexual marriage in the U.S. along with the rest of his leadership role in the homosexual community) ---------both of these (ordaining homosexuals and marrying homosexuals) are against the teaching of the Church and are wrong for that reason alone, your opinion notwithstanding.


#13

No, you misunderstand what I am saying here.

The Culture Wars people are not saying that every homosexual priest should be de-frocked or not permitted to open oratories, etc. They are specifically requesting that a particular priest be investigated with a view of removing him from a specific position (that of the head of the Oratory).

The Church has already ordained him; there is no going back on that now. The issue of whether that was a good idea is closed. (Personally, I agree that it was scandalous to ordain him, along with all the other homosexuals who were ordained, even if some did turn out to be good priests.)

So we can only look at the present situation. As a Catholic, I must assume sincerity in others, as an American, I put it that I assume others are innocent until proven guilty. So I assume that a man who once acted scandalously, who was involved in scandalous organizations and Protestant sects despite having been baptized Catholic, but who is now a priest went through a genuine conversion and repented of his former acts and is now living in dedication to God.

CW asserts that this is not the case; however, the only thing that remotely approaches evidence that he is not living a Godly life is that they say they have spoken to people who have said that he is not. All the rest is either history or tabloid-style speculation.

When people make assertions, they need to back them up. I cannot simply say, I heard that my neighbor acted in this way and expect others to take me seriously. Who told me? How did they find out? Etc.

And even if CW does have information which seems to prove that Fr Sirico is behaving in an un-Godly way, have they proven the information? Have they performed an investigation? No! they are asking the appropriate authorities to conduct an investigation, and that is the right thing to do. **However, **the investigation has not taken place, and despite that, they are putting all this gossip on the internet for literally the entire world to see! As I said before, their concerns are best kept between them and those who have some right to know, not put on the internet.

This is detraction. There is no need for this to be exposed to the world. Whether or not Fr Sirico is engaged in the types of activities alleged, the *whole world *does not need to know about it, and CW ought to keep the information within the circle of those who do need to know.


#14

Where do you get the idea that “…as a Catholic, you must assume sincerity in others…”? Please cite a specific! If that is a teaching of the Church, why does the Pope have the Swiss Guard, for example? According to you he should just roam around assuming sincerity in others. Au contraire - he and the Vatican and most sane people actually “assume insincerity” in some others and protect themselves accordingly.

Thank you for changing you position on what Randy Engel and Culture Wars has done. In a prior post you said that reporting it to Rome was “weird”. Now you acknowledge that “…asking the appropriate authorities to conduct an investigation, ** is the right thing to do”**. Your shifts, though unacknowledged, are appreciated.

You say that "... **they are putting all this gossip on the internet for literally the entire world to see!** As I said before, **their concerns are best kept between them and those who have some right to know, not put on the internet..."**   That's unfair and to a great extent not true. Sirico was a high profile leader of the homosexual community and the most egregious evidence Randy Engel presents is already public information as it comes from media reports available on the internet. Newspaper reports of Sirico's activities are public record.

Finally, you should not be so quick to judge others as you do. Several times now you have accused Randy Engel and Culture Wars of detraction - a very serious charge. You should educate yourself as to what detraction is before you publicly smear others with the charge. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that "...Finally, even when the sin is in no sense public, **it may still be divulged without contravening the virtues of justice or charity whenever such a course is for the common weal or is esteemed to make for the good of the narrator, of his listeners, or even of the culprit. The right which the latter has to an assumed good name is extinguished in the presence of the benefit which may be conferred in this way.**   Some examples the Catholic Encyclopedia gives are "...**Journalists** are entirely within their rights in inveighing against the official shortcomings of public men. Likewise, they may lawfully present whatever information about the life or character of **a candidate for public office** is necessary to show his unfitness for the station he seeks. **Historians** have a still greater latitude in the performance of their task. 

I think you owe Randy Engel and Culture Wars an apology.


#15

I meant that we cannot assume that others are lying without some sort of evidence.

Thank you for changing you position on what Randy Engel and Culture Wars has done. In a prior post you said that reporting it to Rome was “weird”. Now you acknowledge that “…asking the appropriate authorities to conduct an investigation, ** is the right thing to do”**. Your shifts, though unacknowledged, are appreciated.

I did not intend to say that reporting to Rome was weird but I see that I wrote it in such a way as to not be at all clear. Reporting to Rome was always good. Tabloid-style stuff on the internet that they want people to take seriously? Weird (in my book).

You say that "… they are putting all this gossip on the internet for literally the entire world to see! As I said before, their concerns are best kept between them and those who have some right to know, not put on the internet…" That’s unfair and to a great extent not true. Sirico was a high profile leader of the homosexual community and the most egregious evidence Randy Engel presents is already public information as it comes from media reports available on the internet. Newspaper reports of Sirico’s activities are public record.

It’s not actually that available on the internet. I had to dig to find any confirmation, and I don’t think it made world headlines at the time either.

Finally, you should not be so quick to judge others as you do. Several times now you have accused Randy Engel and Culture Wars of detraction - a very serious charge.

I have not judged them but their actions and I have stated why I think that.

You should educate yourself as to what detraction is before you publicly smear others with the charge. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that "…Finally, even when the sin is in no sense public, it may still be divulged without contravening the virtues of justice or charity whenever such a course is for the common weal or is esteemed to make for the good of the narrator, of his listeners, or even of the culprit. The right which the latter has to an assumed good name is extinguished in the presence of the benefit which may be conferred in this way. Some examples the Catholic Encyclopedia gives are "…Journalists are entirely within their rights in inveighing against the official shortcomings of public men. Likewise, they may lawfully present whatever information about the life or character of a candidate for public office is necessary to show his unfitness for the station he seeks. Historians have a still greater latitude in the performance of their task.

Even in the case of a public figure, it would be wrong to publicize the sins of his youth if he had apparently repented (like by returning to the Church and becoming a priest). What good is served by publicizing repented past sins?

Like I said, the only actual evidence they propose is that they talked to “some people.” They did not say, others who have witnessed his behavior are joining us in this, or we have written statements of people who have seen this which we attach. No, just an airy “we heard some stuff from some people.” *All the rest is nothing, and **that **is not very good. *It’s like the stuff you read on the papers for sale near the supermarket check-out.

Now, if I had talked to some people like that and thus had the information handed to me, then I would have done some digging and put together the information and sent it to Rome, as they did, and to Sacred Heart Seminary (which apparently sends seminarians to his oratory) asking that they investigate further before sending more seminarians there. If any illegal activity was concerned, I would also send it to the police.

But there is no public benefit which needs to be filled by putting it on the internet.

I think you owe Randy Engel and Culture Wars an apology.

I disagree.


#16

“This is detraction.” That’s from you in your last post. Now to try and make some meaningless and irrelevant distinction between “them” and “their actions” is disingenuous at best and detraction itself at worst. “This is detraction.” - by these words you have convicted them , so let’s not quibble over semantics. The action of “detraction” couldn’t come into existence in a void out of nothing. The clear connection is that they committed the sin and are therefore judged and convicted (by you, that is).


#17

This quote is typical of leftists who are incapable of refuting the ideas of their political opponents.

It is un-Christian and intellectually vacuous.

Free markets are good for people.

Socialism hurts people and drives them away from God.

Can you name one socialist nation that has a thriving and growing Church?


#18

No, for me to have judged *them, *I would have had to say, They have committed the sin of detraction and are going to Hell…

What I am saying is that in my opinion, what gthey are doing constitutes detraction. I think they are committing detraction on two grounds: 1. they are letting more people know than who need to know, and 2. they are inflating their information by a lot of stuff A. from the past which he apparently repented, and B. a lot of innuendo.

If we cannot judge other people’s *actions, *then we cannot function in this world. But what we cannot do is to say that the particular persons people are in any particular state.


#19

I would also like to point out that the activity of which he is accused has no bearing whatsoever on his views as set forth at Acton.


#20

THE QUOTES BELOW ARE FROM ST FRANCIS (the poster, not the real one) ABOVE:
"…No, for me to have judged *them, *I would have had to say, They have committed the sin of detraction and are going to Hell…" - that’s semantics, just semantics. You can’t call something beyond question and unequivocally “murder” without clearly calling the known perpetrator of the act a “murderer”.

“…What I am saying is that in my opinion … from the past which he apparently repented …” - where do you get the idea that he repented from - the same place that posters on other threads claim that the “Lyin of the Senate” repented because he was awarded such a public tribute of a funeral by the Boston American Catholic Church??? His past is so horrific that he should lay it out there just as St. Augustine did and address his “repentence”.

“…If we cannot judge other people’s *actions, *then we cannot function in this world. But what we cannot do is to say that the particular persons people are in any particular state…”. Your first sentence is exactly my point. Your second sentence misses it entirely. The only state that I am emphasizing that he is in is one that should not be presenting anything to the rest of us. If he would address his past, including your presumed repentence, in a thorough and believable way - then things would be different. He has not. He knows he has been turned into the Vatican with credible charges and undeniable facts and he doesn’t respond in any way, let alone a believable way. Not good enough to be held up as someone to listen to. That’s all.


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