Convivium was a project of Cardus 2011‑2022, and is preserved here for archival purposes.
Candid Discussions Worth HavingCandid Discussions Worth Having

Candid Discussions Worth Having

"Cardus is hosting an event with Mark Carney?" We look forward to both events advancing Cardus's mission of renewing social architecture.

Ray Pennings
3 minute read

"Cardus is hosting an event with Conrad Black?"

"Cardus is hosting an event with Mark Carney?"

"Yes," we are delighted to answer our interlocutors. Many Cardus followers last week received invitations to two forthcoming events in the Hill Family Lecture series (www.cardus.ca/events), and many responded—some eager, some apprehensive.

We look forward to both events advancing Cardus's mission of renewing social architecture.

The tagline for Cardus's Convivium magazine, "faith in our common life," can be read in two ways. Faith as a verb is about believing in our life together, suggesting that there is something of value in that which is public and shared. Faith as a noun suggests a discussion of the role of religion in our shared life together.

Both meanings are important to Cardus. We believe in institutions. Governments and markets are important social institutions to be sure, but so are family, the media, churches and mosques, community groups, business associations, trade unions, and arts organizations, to mention only a few.   We believe a society flourishes when the full array of institutions contribute to the common good in the areas through which they are uniquely qualified, rather than having a society that is controlled by any single institution.

This thesis is one that can be pragmatically argued—evidence can readily be compiled which shows societies that create space for different institutions are healthier. But for us at Cardus, it is also a principled argument.  Our perspective is informed by 2,000 years of Christian social thought and we are quite prepared to make arguments that go back to the biblical account of creation and the diversity inherent in it, as well as the principles which in the Roman Catholic tradition are usually labelled subsidiarity while in the Reformed Protestant tradition are sometimes known as sphere sovereignty. Although the particularities of different institutions look different in various historical contexts, there are essential created norms which govern different institutions and equip them uniquely to contribute to public life. When societies become dominated by any single institution, the result tends towards a stifling of creativity and freedom—tyranny of a greater or lesser degree.

This perspective colours Cardus's publications and research projects, but in order to build a broader understanding and momentum we also use the power to convene and stimulate conversation. We are thrilled that last fall, we were able to secure funding for the Hill Family Lecture series, the mission of which shares Convivium's tag line, "faith in our common life." We aim to organize a series of lectures and public conversations where persons of profile talk publicly about the role of faith related to a particular topic from their personal journey.

On May 3rd, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney will converse with Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, and Convivium Editor-in-Chief Father Raymond de Souza regarding "Banking, Trust, and the Culture of Capitalism."  On May 9th, Father de Souza will have a conversation with Lord Conrad Black regarding "Lessons Learned and Arguments Advanced" in the year since Mr. Black's return to Canada from his involuntary residence in an American jail cell. Mr. Black, in his book A Matter of Principle as well as in his other writings, has been candid about the role of his faith in helping through his trials.

We are excited that what was once a small annual lecture held in Ottawa is expanding to a more significant national lecture series in which we can challenge audiences across the country to think through issues of faith as they relate to public life. We intend to invite a variety of speakers with differing perspectives, not because we necessarily endorse everything that would be said, but rather because we believe that candid discussion about religious faith and how it shapes both individuals and institutions is needed and worth having. Realities such as grace and truth, love and forgiveness, justice and integrity are important concepts that have real world implications. Renewing social architecture requires faith in our common life—and Cardus hopes this lecture series will contribute to that conversation.

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