Villanova: Catholicism and the Morality of Free Markets

Old St. Mary's, Philadelphia, PA

Matthew J. Ryan Center: “Catholicism and the Morality of Free Markets”


The Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good at Villanova University, a JMC partner program, will be hosting William Cavanaugh and Jay Richards for a debate on Catholicism and the morality of free markets. Mary Hirschfeld will serve as moderator. This will be the third of three debates at Villanova this year which comprise the Ryan Center’s inaugural debate series.

Thursday, February 13, 2020 • 4:00 PM
Connelly Cinema • Villanova University

Free and open to the public

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William Cavanaugh, DePaul UniversityWilliam Cavanaugh is a Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University. His major areas of research have to do with the Catholic Church’s encounter with social, political, and economic realities. He is especially interested in the social implications of traditional Catholic beliefs and practices, such as the Eucharist. Professor Cavanaugh has authored six books and edited three more and is currently working on a book on secularization and idolatry, exploring the ways in which a supposedly disenchanted Western society remains enchanted by nationalism, consumerism, and cults of celebrity.

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Jay Richards, Catholic University of AmericaJay Richards is a Research Assistant Professor in the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and executive editor of The Stream. In recent years he has been Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, Contributing Editor of The American at the American Enterprise Institute, a Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute. Professor Richards is the author of many books including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012). He is also the author of Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; and co-author of The Privileged Planet with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez.

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Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Mary Hirschfeld is Associate Professor of Economics and Theology at Villanova University, where she has taught since 2011. She earned a PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1989 and taught economics at Occidental College for fifteen years. In 2003, she quit her tenured position to pursue a second PhD in moral theology at the University of Notre Dame., and has taught at Villanova since 2011. Her scholarly work considers the boundaries between economics and theology and the results have applications to questions about consumption economics, economic justice, the common good, the nature of practical reason, and economic methodology. Her latest book is Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy (2018).

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The Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good at Villanova University promotes inquiry into the principles and processes of free government and seeks to advance understanding of the responsibilities of statesmen and citizens of constitutional democratic societies. Central concerns of the Center include the inalienable rights of all humanity, the principles of popular sovereignty and constitutionalism, the nature and preservation of free political institutions, and the application of principles of the American founding and Constitution to contemporary issues.

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