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The Roman Forum

The 2010 and 2011 Lecture, Conference and Symposium Schedule

Contact: John Rao POSTED: Thursday September 2, 2010


Dear Friends:

Superlatives can be dangerous, since they set higher standards for success that may be hard to match or surpass. Nevertheless, there is no way that I can avoid stating that the Roman Forum’s 2010 Summer Symposium was a greater success than ever before. More speakers, more participants from a wider international base, more active discussions and debates, more devotions and music, more excursions---in short, more of everything---all contributed to making this year another milestone in the history of the Gardone project.

Michael Matt of The Remnant was a major assistance in obtaining this happy result, through an extremely helpful advertising campaign in his newspaper. He has kindly continued this aid by posting a large number of videos from the 2010 Summer Symposium on the Internet. Anyone interested in attending future sessions of what Chris Ferrara has called “the premiere Catholic conference” of the English-speaking world should go to the Remnant site ( to visit them...and stir his appetite for participation still further.

Allow me to take a moment of your time to outline in a bit more detail all of the projects that we undertake, and why we need your financial help to continue to offer them.

1) New York City Lectures in Church History: For the last nineteen years, the Roman Forum has been the only organization in the country offering people not enrolled in an academic program a continuous, systematic, university-level course in the history of the Catholic Church and Catholic culture. The 2010-2011 series, Division, Despair, and the Torturous Road to Recovery: From the Great Western Schism to the Fall of Constantinople (1378-1453), demonstrates the difficulties experienced by the Church when she abandons a primary reliance on the full message of the Word Incarnate, and looks chiefly to worldly weapons to deal with her many problems. Lectures take place on Sundays at the spiritual center for the Catholic Chaplaincy of New York University: St. Joseph Church, 371 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, between Washington and Waverly Place. They include opportunity for questions and discussions, with refreshments.

Details and the schedule of lectures appear below. The October 24th lecture also includes a talk by Professor John Médaille (University of Dallas) on his new book, Toward a Truly Free Market.           

2) Roman Forum Modern Image and Catholic Truth Series: Special luncheon conferences with visiting speakers. All deal with the self-defeating character of the dominant naturalist world-view and the contrasting richness of the Catholic vision. One of these will take place on December 5th, 2010, in commemoration of Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors (1864), and another on April 17th, 2011, when the Forum celebrates the Birthday of Rome (the Parilia). Several others will also be organized. Details of the Syllabus of Errors program are enclosed.

3) Summer Symposium on Lake Garda, Italy: For nearly two weeks during the summer, a small Italian resort on Lake Garda, the largest and most beautiful lake in Italy, is literally transformed into an international Catholic village, with daily traditional masses, lectures, Catholic camaraderie, superb food and wine, and day trips to surrounding sites, such as Venice. For participants, many of whom come back year after year and feel like family, it is a rare and wonderful opportunity to experience Catholic life on the continent where Catholic culture first came to flower.

The Summer Symposium hosts a large international faculty, which has included Dale Ahlquist (President of the G.K. Chesterton Society of America), Christopher A. Ferrara, Esq. (President of the ACLA, writer and pro-life activist), Michael Matt (editor of The Remnant), Fr. Gregory Prendergraft (Fraternity of St. Peter), Dr. Patrick M. Brennan (John F. Scarpa Chair in Legal Studies, University of Villanova), Dr. Brian McCall (University of Oklahoma), Professor John Médaille (University of Dallas), the Rev. Dr. Richard Munkelt (Fairfield University), and myself from the United States; Monsignor Dr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula (Human Life International) and Dr. Danilo Castellano (University of Udine) from Italy; James Bogle, Esq.  (Catholic lawyer, activist, and writer) from the United Kingdom; Dr. Miguel Ayuso-Torres (University of Madrid) from Spain, and many others. Faculty and students are served spiritually by a large number of priests from the secular and religious clergy.

Our next Gardone Summer Symposium, entitled New Beginnings and False Starts, will take place between Thursday, June 30th and Monday, July 11th, 2011. It takes its theme from the ever more obvious fact that we are living through an extraordinary turning point in the history of the entire globe, and that this is a situation both hopeful and yet charged with dramatic danger for the life of the Church and Catholic civilization. We expect much the same faculty to be present, along with the addition of James Kalb (author of The Tyranny of Liberalism) from the United States, Dr. Thomas Stark (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, St. Pölten) from Austria, and Bernard Dumont (editor of Catholica) from France. A special honor will be the participation of Hervé Rolland, President of Notre Dame de Chrétienté, the organization responsible for the annual Chartres Pilgrimage.

Please consult our website ( for more complete information on the 2011 Gardone Summer Symposium, as well as all our other future events, including our annual New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance (details on back of this letter), and any additional Modern Image and Catholic Truth programs.

4) Lecture Downloads: 2010 Summer Symposium Lectures will be available through The Remnant Newspaper ( Almost all of the lectures of our History of Christianity program from 1993-2010 can be downloaded to your computer for only one dollar per lecture or purchase on audiotape at

Can You Help Us? In order to undertake these projects properly, the Roman Forum needs an annual budget of $50,000. Where do these funds go? Mailings, advertising, books, storage space for them, and use of conference halls alone now cost us at least $15,000 per year.

More importantly, college students, priests, and seminarians hoping to attend the Summer Symposium cannot be present without some financial assistance. Although no one on the teaching faculty receives any compensation for his work there, the daily expenses of all those delivering papers in Gardone must also be covered. Aiding both speakers and participants therefore takes up almost all of the rest of our annual budget.          

But why should we place such an emphasis upon this Summer Symposium?

Dr. Ayuso-Torres summarized the chief reason in a lecture in Gardone in 2008: “Unless we traditionalists learn to appreciate the universal nature of the Catholic vision and fight for its general recognition and victory, we will all rest contented with our own little parochial piece of that heritage, and destroy the entirety in the process”. My Remnant article on this subject, entitled Are Beauty, Camaraderie, and Talk Really Expendable? (see [email protected]) underlines the same point.

Providing faculty, priests, and students scholarships for such a program can be expensive---but its incalculable fruits will be more and more seen in preaching, teaching, and writing in the years to come. These fruits would be even greater if we could ever realize our greatest dream: the expansion of this magnificent international program into a summer long venture, enabling students to earn college credits for their labors.

The Roman Forum may not be able to promise immediate benefits---like a tax cut---through your aid, but we work, as Thucydides said, with the conviction that what we are doing is being done for eternity. As I have written in the past, we consider every tax-deductible donation we receive to place upon us a serious responsibility to use our resources well and wisely. To show you our appreciation, we have arranged that the intentions of our benefactors be remembered once a month at a traditional Mass offered in Rome by our chaplain, Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula. With the acknowledgment of your donation, of any size, you will receive a note confirming that you have been enrolled in these Masses. I thank you in advance for your generosity.

                                                            Sincerely yours in Christ,

                                                            John C. Rao, Chairman, D. Phil. Oxford

                                                            Assoc. Prof. of History, St. John's University


Make all your tax-deductible donations payable to:

The Roman Forum, 11 Carmine St., Apt. 2C, NY, NY 10014


“Even if the wounds of this shattered world enmesh you, and the sea in turmoil bears you along in but one surviving ship, it would still befit you to maintain your enthusiasm for studies unimpaired. Why should lasting values tremble if transient things fall?” (Prosper of Aquitaine)


The Roman Forum

Lectures in Church History

2010-2011 New York City Program


Division, Despair & the Torturous Road to Recovery

From the Western Schism to the Fall of Constantinople (1378-1453)


Lecturer: John Rao, D. Phil., Oxford University

Associate Professor of History, St. John's University



    September 19: Sorrows, Anxieties, and Hopes of the 1370’s

    October 3:       Urban VI & the Onset of the Schism

    October 17:     A Tale of Two Papacies

    October 24:     Via Facti, Via Conventionis, Via Concessionis  

    November 7:   From the Triple Papacy to the  Council of Constance

    November 21: Martin V & the Troubled Return to Rome       

    December 5:    Special Lecture: Dr. David Allen White (See reverse side)

    December 19 : Two Roads to Recovery, High and Low

    January 16:      Nominalism Triumphant?

    January 30:      Heresy Unleashed?

    February 13:    The Complex Hussite Movement

    February 27:    The Growing Pains of Renaissance Humanism

    March 13:        Humanism, Politics, Education, & the Papal Court

    March 27:        Devotio Moderna & Catholic Spiritual Life

    April 10:          The Renaissance: Enrichment & Second Childhood

    April 17:          Birthday of Rome Lecture (To be announced)

    May 1:             The Turkish Threat & Byzantine Dilemmas

    May 15:           Crusade, Reunion, and the Council of Ferrara-Florence

    June 5:             The Fall of Constantinople


All Sessions Meet on Sundays, at 2:30 P.M.

Wine & Cheese Reception. Entrance Fee at door of $10.00


University Parish Church of St. Joseph/371 Sixth Avenue

Church Hall Entrance on Washington Place, south of Waverly Place

A, B, C, D, E, F, V trains to West 4th Street Station

Wheelchair Accessible


Annual Commemoration of Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors

(December, 1864)


Charles Dickens and the Evils of Modernity


Sunday, December 5th, 2010


2:00—6:00 P.M.


Guest of Honor

Dr. David Allen White

Retired Professor of World Literature

Naval Academy in Annapolis


2:00 P.M.


Cold Buffet Luncheon with Open Bar, from 2:00—6:00 P.M.


3:00  P.M.


Opening Comments by Dr. John C. Rao

Dickens and the New Social Order:

The “Hard Times” Had Barely Begun


3:30 P.M.


Main Lecture by Dr. David Allen White

“Unless you turn and become like little children” (Matthew 18):

In Praise of Mr. Pickwick


Concluding Reading of the Syllabus of Errors



$50 per person, reservation by November 28th, 2010

 Checks payable to

The Roman Forum and sent to 11 Carmine St., Apt. 2C, NY, NY 10014


University Parish Church of St. Joseph/371 Sixth Avenue, NY

Church Hall Entrance on Washington Place, south of Waverly Place

A, B, C, D, E, F, V trains to West 4th Street Station

Wheelchair Accessible



The Roman Forum


St. Silvester---New Year’s Eve Party

December 31, 2010—January 1, 2011

8:00 P.M.—1:00 A.M.


Dance in the New Year

The best Swing, Waltz, and Other Ballroom Music Ever Recorded


Eat and Drink as Merrily as You Wish


Bring Your Own Main Dishes, Desserts, Wine, Beer, and Liquor

Extras Provided---See Below




$20 per person—all 18 years or younger come for free.

Price includes the hall rental, the music, set-ups for drinks, place settings,

and magnificent breads, biscuits, cheeses, & cookies


Checks made out to the Roman Forum

Reserve by December 15th, 2010


The Roman Forum

11 Carmine St., Apt. 2C

New York, New York 10014


For questions, e-mail: [email protected]



University Parish Church of St. Joseph/371 Sixth Avenue

Church Hall Entrance on Washington Place, south of Waverly Place

A, B, C, D, E, F, V trains to West 4th Street Station

Wheelchair Accessible

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