Jack Quirk, a personal friend and the founder of the online magazine Christian Democracy, has issued his first salvo against the “classically liberal” Acton Institute. In an article entitled “It’s Time to Take Acton,” Quirk takes umbrage with a recent article by Acton research fellow Dylan Pahman’s misguided critique of Pope Francis’s recent speech in Bolivia. (As some might recall, I had more than a few critical words to offer against Pahman’s article as well.) From the conclusion of Quirk’s critique:
One aspect of Mr. Pahman’s article represents a positive development. His attack on Pope Francis should make it clear that there is little affinity between Catholic Social Teaching and the positions of the Acton Institute. Due to the presence of a Catholic priest at the helm of the organization, some have been confused on that point. There should be no confusion now.
Quirk could have also noted that two other Acton leaders, Samuel Gregg and Michael Miller, are both confessing Catholics, neither of whom appear all that concerned with aligning their liberal ways with the Catholic Church’s social magisterium. Pahman, on the other hand, is an Eastern Orthodox convert. Superficially, that provides him with more magisterial leeway to infuse his free-market ideological leanings with ostensibly Orthodox social thought. Perhaps soon one or more of Quirk’s Eastern brethren will take up the task of demonstrating Acton’s incompatibility with their tradition as well.