The Dignitatis Humanae Institute was privileged to be among the select participants at a highly exclusive invitation-only conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the Vatican over the weekend.
The two-day conference – entitled Centesimus Annus 25 Years Later – featured presentations by President Rafael Correa of Ecuador and President Evo Morales of Bolivia, as well as an intervention from Sen. Bernie Sanders, current candidate for the Democratic nomination of President of the United States.
The symposium focussed on two major questions. The first concerned the economic, political and cultural changes in the world over the past 25 years. The second investigated how Catholic Social Teaching has engaged the world, in order to then ask how best the Church can continue to engage in the years ahead.
Benjamin Harnwell, director of the DHI, took the opportunity to ask Senator Sanders about his view on the competing claims between maintaining national security in the face of international ISIS-sponsored terrorism and defending personal liberty.
Sanders told the assembled participants “I am a strong proponent of trying to allow people to have their privacy rights”, whilst acknowledging that “every nation has got to protect itself from terrorism…but I happen to be one who voted against the Patriot Act after 9/11 – and voted against its reauthorisation – because I think it went too far.”
“There’s a real fear here – that it’s not just the government, but it is large multinational corporations, who are increasing the amount of knowledge that they have on you. I think people would be shocked. There has been an explosion of technology which has given government and the private sector the capability to invade your life in a way that 30, 50 years ago would have been unthinkable.”
The full exchange can be watched here.