The Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship, which is housed within the Busch School of Business and Economics at the Catholic University of America, hosted the first ever Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship (RWF) colloquium on Saturday, October 28th. The Röpke-Wojtyła Fellows are a group of remarkable Catholic seniors attending various colleges and universities all over the country. They are pursuing degrees in a wide-variety of disciplines, but they find common ground in their passion for the moral defense of the free-enterprise system and the interplay among political economy, philosophy, politics, and Catholic social thought. The theme of the October event was “Commerce, Political Economy, and the Marketplace.”
Dr. Frederic Sautet, professor at the Busch school and director of the program, explained that the Fellowship "is a project to stimulate future Catholic intellectuals and business leaders into thinking deeply about the moral and economic aspects of a good and free society in light of Catholic social thought, and to help re-build the social covenant accordingly." “To that end,” Sautet added, “the Fellowship is named after, and relies on the intellectual guidance of, two giants of the 20th century who have walked that path before us: Wilhelm Röpke and Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II).”
Describing participant feedback on this first RWF colloquium, Associate Director Candace Mottice commented, “We were delighted to hear one student’s opinion that this was perhaps the best intellectual discussion she'd ever been a part of, while another mentioned that after many thoughtful conversations throughout the weekend, he now has a fuller understanding of human flourishing and how the market system is tied to the dignity of the individual person.” Mottice added that multiple students also reported that this was their first touch point with Wilhelm Röpke’s work and that his ideas stimulated them to think, as Röpke put it, about the importance of political economy, but also beyond supply and demand.
The intense day of discussion has given the Fellows much to reflect on and they are all looking forward to the next colloquium. They will reconvene on February 10th for their second of four discussions. The theme of the February meeting will be: "Natural Law, Anthropology, and Catholic Social Doctrine." Karol Wojtyła’s work will be a major part of the discussion.