the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society was founded in 1992 by Michael Novak, Rocco Buttiglione, Father Richard John Neuhaus, Father Maciej Zięba OP and George Weigel to deepen the dialogue on Catholic social doctrine between North American students and students from the new democracies of central and eastern Europe.
The seminar follows the template of Pope John Paul II’s 1991 encyclical, Centesimus Annus, exploring the three-fold foundations of the “free society”: a democratic polity, a free economy, and a vibrant public moral culture. With John Paul II, the seminar places priority on the moral culture. Drawing on the full tradition of Catholic social doctrine, the seminar addresses the classic themes of the Church’s social doctrine while also considering the challenges of our current circumstances: the moral crisis of global capitalism, secularization and the family, the rise of Islam in Europe, religious freedom, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, bioethics and the “culture of life” etc.
In addition to more than two weeks of intense intellectual work, the seminar includes visits to sites that highlight Poland’s distinctive history and culture: Częstochowa, Auschwitz, the old Jewish quarter of Cracow, the shrine of St. Faustina, Wawel Castle and cathedral, and a walking tour of “Karol Wojtyła’s Kraków”. The program also offers an opportunity to partake in prayer and daily mass.
Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, there is no tuition or room-and-board charge for the seminar, but participants are expected to assume the costs of their own transportation to and from the seminar. The entire program is conducted in English.