Acta Sanctorum is a nonprofit, internationally oriented, Christian organization founded in Chicago on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Since its inception in 2009, the organization has been shaped by the idea that freedom and responsibility must never be separated. We are devoted to transforming the present world into one that is more free, peaceful and just by promoting individual, social and political responsibility in Slovakia and other post-communist countries with the vision of contributing to the construction and preservation of a vibrant civil society, which is indispensable to a functioning and stable democracy.
ENGAGING AND SERVING FOUR PUBLICS
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When Václav Havel gave his first speech as President of the newly free Czechoslovakia, as it was then, one of the things he said was: “We now enter the long tunnel at the end of the light.” How right he was! There is the brilliant flash of new-found democratic freedom and, following that – the Velvet Revolution – there is the long, hard work of sustaining a decent, justly ordered democratic society. One feature of such a society is its ethics – how it understands itself. One asks: What is the quality of life in common? Acta Sanctorum labors to keep alive a rich civil society, one in which an ethic of responsibility pertains. From the beginning, Christians were called upon to reflect on “life in common together,” as St. Augustine put it. Christians were to be salt and light to the world, enlivening all they touched and directing it toward peace and justice. Acta Sanctorum operates on this premise: what is the task of Christianity in a free society? How can Christians contribute to a good we can know in common that we cannot know alone? This ethics of responsibility is not aimed exclusively at Christians but, rather, is enacted in behalf of the polity as a whole. I commend the organization; honor its founders; and wish it Godspeed in the years ahead.
Prof. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Ph.D.
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics
The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
March 8, 2010