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The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty is an educational organization whose ideas are influenced by natural law theory, Christian social thought, and free market economics.

History and mission

Founded in 1990 by Robert Sirico, president, and Kris Mauren, executive director, the Acton Institute is based in Grand Rapids, Michiganmarker, USA.
The Acton Institute is named after the Englishmarker theologian, philosopher, and historian John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, who is popularly associated with the famous dictum that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Its mission statement is "to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

The Institute organizes conferences and events, such as Acton University, targeting religious and moral leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs, university professors, and academic researchers.

In late 2006, "Istituto Acton" was opened in Romemarker, Italymarker, as a European branch of the Acton Institute.

Publications and media outreach

The institute also publishes academic and trade press books, and maintains an extensive media outreach effort. The institute's fellows and adjunct faculty write public policy columns arguing for free markets and reduced government intervention and make themselves available to members of the media for comment. Columnists unaffiliated with the organization cite the institute's research as well. Since April of 2005 the institute has also published a weblog named "Acton Institute PowerBlog."


  • Journal of Markets & Morality, a semi-annual, peer-reviewed journal focuses on "the relationship between economics and morality from both social science and theological perspectives."

  • Religion & Liberty, the institute's general interest quarterly magazine, addresses current affairs in the context of "religion, economics, and culture."

  • Acton Notes, the institute's monthly newsletter, features "a president's message, news, and upcoming events."

Notable individuals associated with the Acton Institute

An assembly at a Detroit conference held by the Institute.
Sirico, notable scholars associated with the institute include Marvin Olasky, professor and former congressional candidate D. Eric Schansberg, and theologian E. Calvin Beisner. Notable members of the institute's board of directors or board of advisors include Leonard Liggio, Betsy DeVos, Doug Bandow, Michael Novak, Jennifer Roback Morse, and Steve Hanke.

The Acton Institute and Catholic social thought

There is some controversy as to whether the Acton Institute accurately reflects Catholic social thought and teaching as is its claim. Some scholars, such as Thomas Storck, suggest that the position adopted by the Institute contains too many liberal tendencies to be considered authentically Catholic.


  1. "About the Acton Institute." Acton Institute. [1]
  2. "Acton Institute Programs." Acton Institute. [2]
  3. "Acton University." Acton Institute. [3]
  4. Mauren, Kris Alan. "How does Acton’s Rome office contribute to the mission of the Acton Institute?" Religion & Liberty. Winter 2007. [4]
  5. "Press Center." Acton Institute. [5]
  6. Ballor, Jordan J. "Don't prevent religion from helping to reform prisoners." Faith and Policy. Detroit News. 23 January 2007. [6]
  7. Maurus, Robert. "Ethical implications of '100 Hours' agenda reach beyond stem cells." Associated Baptist Press. 18 January 2007. [7]
  8. Kerstan, Katherine. "Alert to the New York Times: Marriage is not on life support." Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota). 24 January 2007. [8]
  9. Couretas, John. "Welcome to the Acton Institute PowerBlog." Acton Institute PowerBlog. 4 April 2005. [9]
  10. "The Journal of Markets & Morality." Acton Institute. [10]
  11. "Religion & Liberty." Acton Institute. [11]
  12. "Acton Notes." Acton Institute. [12]
  13. "Acton Institute Adjunct Scholars." Acton Institute. [13]
  14. "Board of Directors, Board of Advisors." Acton Institute. [14]
  15. Storck, Thomas "Is the Acton Institute a Genuine Expression of Catholic Social Thought?." The ChesterBelloc Mandate - originally published in Social Justice Review, vol. 93, no. 5-6, May-June 2002.[15]

External links

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