January 17, 2003

CBA sponsors Business Ethics Lecture Series, first speaker lectures February 4

As the first of two lectures focusing on business ethics, the Joseph A. Butt, S.J., College of Business Administration welcomes to campus the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, on Tuesday, February 4, at 7 p.m. in Miller Hall Room 114. Sirico is the co-founder and president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, a non-profit, non-partisan, free-market educational organization. During his lecture,"The Entrepreneurial Vocation," Sirico will discuss the ethical foundations of entrepreneurship and business.

Since its inception in 1990, the Acton Institute has been on the forefront of educating future religious leaders about the principles of the market economy as encapsulated in Pope John Paul II's 1991 social encyclical Centesimus Annus.

Sirico was ordained a priest on May 13, 1989. His pastoral ministry has included a chaplaincy to AIDS patients at the National Institutes of Health and the recent founding of a new community: St. Philip Neri House in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This community is formed in the spirit of John Henry Cardinal Newman.

In addition to undergraduate study at the University of Southern California and the University of London, Sirico received his master of divinity degree from the Catholic University of America. In April 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Christian ethics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

He is a regular lecturer at the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein, the University of Lublin, Poland, and the summer program of the Universitie d'Aix-en-Provence in France. He also served a four-year term on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1994 to 1998. He has worked with, written on, and advised faith-based charities for most of his professional life as a priest. In 1990, Sirico's work in public policy was recognized by his induction into the Mont Pèlerin Society. This international organization, founded in 1947 by Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek, works to study market-oriented economic systems and to facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society.

Over the years, Sirico has worked closely with several dicastries of the Roman Curia. As co-editor of The Social Agenda: A Collection of Magisterial Texts, an authoritative compendium of Catholic social doctrine, Sirico collaborated with the book's publisher, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In 1996, the Acton Institute assisted the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in staging a conference to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Centesimus Annus. More recently, the Acton Institute acted as joint convenor of a conference on the theme of "Globalization, the Economy, and the Family," with the Pontifical Council for the Family. In January 2001, he acted as primary facilitator for a retreat conference of a group of the Mexican episcopate, including Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez.

Sirico's writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters have been published in a variety of journals and newspapers. These include the Journal of Markets and Morality, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, London Financial Times, Washington Times, Detroit News, and National Review. Sirico has often been called upon by CNN, ABC, the BBC, NPR, CBS' 60 Minutes, and others. Sirico has lectured at colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. His speaking engagements have included lectures in Central and South America; Western, Central, and Eastern Europe; Australia; New Zealand; and South Africa.

Sirico topics frequently include: the ethical, political, and social premises upon which virtue and freedom rest in "Toward a Free and Virtuous Society;" a discussion of the contemporary problems that Centesimus Annus underlines as characterizing the modern welfare state in "The Withering Away of the Welfare State;" and the historyof the civil rights movement, which was born in order to remove artificial barriers to economic and political rights in "Civil Rights and Social Cooperation."

The second lecturer, Michael Novak, holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. where he0 is director of Social and Political Studies. He lecture is scheduled for Thursday, April 2.