With names such as Martha Stewart, WorldCom and Enron dominating the public’s perception of business, does anyone believe that it is still possible to be both profitable and moral? And when was the last time that a prominent religious leader affirmed the necessary role of business people in American society?
Belmont University will help the Nashville-area business and faith communities address those questions Feb. 15 with a special free event featuring the Rev. Robert Sirico, co-founder of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, hosted by Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Center for Business Ethics.
The registration deadline is Feb. 8. To register call 460-6601. For a brochure with registration information, click here.
Sirico will speak about “The Entrepreneurial Vocation” at the event, scheduled for 4:45 p.m. on the Belmont campus, and will discuss how the entrepreneur, endowed with particular natural talents, is the primary agent of economic progress in the modern world – yet, that while a free society is highly dependent upon the entrepreneur for its material existence, the vocation of business is relatively under appreciated within the religious community.
“Instead of praising the entrepreneur as a person of ideas, an economic innovator, or a provider of capital, the average priest or minister thinks of people in business as carrying extra guilt,” Rev. Sirico says. “Why is that?”
The consequences of a divorce between the world of business and the world of faith is potentially disastrous for both worlds, Rev. Sirico says. For the world of business, it has meant in many places ignoring any values higher than expediency, profit, and utility. At the same time, the preconceived notion about business by many religious leaders must be challenged to avoid the old charge of “being so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.”
Rev. Sirico received his Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America, following undergraduate study at the University of Southern California and the University of London. During his studies and early ministry, he experienced a growing concern over the lack of training religious studies students receive in fundamental economic principles, leaving them poorly equipped to understand and address today’s social problems. As a result of these concerns, Fr. Sirico co-founded the Acton Institute with Kris Alan Mauren in 1990.
As president of the Acton Institute, Fr. Sirico lectures at colleges, universities, and business organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad. His writings on religious, political, economic, and social matters are published in a variety of journals, including: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, the Detroit News, and National Review. Father Sirico is often called upon by members of the broadcast media for statements regarding economics, civil rights, and issues of religious concern, and has provided commentary for CNN, ABC, the BBC, NPR, and CBS’ 60 Minutes, among others.
Editors: You can download a hi-res photo of Rev. Robert Sirico by clicking the image above or, for an alternate image, click here.