Dr. Orlowski Meets the Pope, Delivers Presentation at European Conference

News Story:

A Sacred Heart University professor and economics expert addressed an exclusive audience of international scholars, European Union leaders and Vatican officials at a four-day conference in Italy this past June, where he was among a select group of conference participants who enjoyed a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

Lucjan T. Orlowski, Ph.D., professor of Economics and International Finance at SHU’s John F. Welch College of Business, was invited to speak about the evolution of systemic changes in the European monetary policy, which has led to the common currency, the euro.

In his speech, “Monetary Policy and Inflation in the European Monetary Union – Perspectives and Lessons,” Orlowski spoke about adjustments and modifications made to the European monetary policies of individual central banks to facilitate monetary convergence of participating countries to a common currency.

The conference, titled "A New Humanism for Europe: The Role of Universities," was sponsored by the Vatican’s Council of European Episcopal Conference headed by Cardinal Peter Erdö, the European Commission, and the President of Italy. It was coordinated by the Vicarage of Rome, Office of University Pastoral Care.

Inspired by the Pope, the conference was aimed at initiating a dialogue between leading contemporary theological thinkers and scientists, representing various academic disciplines, about the future direction of the European integration.

“The Pope wanted to extend an invitation to engage in a dialogue with the international academic community, and not only theologians, but scientists. He is very open to our ideas. He seems to be a very good listener,” said Orlowski, who characterized the conference as “truly inspiring” and “forward-looking.”

“ The conference made references to the historical perspective, to tradition and experience, but its main purpose was to formulate policies for the future on the basis of a nexus or a dialogue between reason, or sciences, and faith, or spirituality,” he said.

“Doing research in science areas we sometimes forget about the spiritual and ethical aspects, so it reminded us about these elements. It made us scientists think about spiritual concerns and underpinnings of our scientific inquiry, but also, on the other side, it helped theologians and Vatican officials understand the dynamic trends in science and in scientific research,” Orlowski said.

During the private audience with the Pope in Aula Nervi, the pontiff implored them not to depart from core Catholic values while devising scientific research and scientific policies related to the further deepening of the European integration, otherwise Europe will continue to suffer from social problems, such as the general decay of the family, declining population growth rates,  high crime rates in some areas and slow accommodation of some minorities in some countries.

The new dialogue between faith and reason is, in fact, indispensable for a further success of the ongoing economic, social and political integration of the European nations, Orlowski said.

“Although the Pope’s speech addressed European affairs, it is perfectly transferable to the global community right now,” Orlowski said.

Orlowski said he was honored to participate in the conference and proud to represent SHU alongside only a handful of U.S. universities and institutions that included American Enterprise Institute (Prof. Michael Novak), Harvard University (Prof. Robert Darnton and Prof. Paolo di Coppi) and Glaxo Wellcome/Duke University (Prof. Allen Roses).

Orlowski said he may bring some insights from the conference to his undergraduate and MBA economics students.