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Thursday, February 28, 2019

A LETTER FROM DR. JOHN RAO: Roman Forum in Gardone Riviera

Written by  John Rao
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A LETTER FROM DR. JOHN RAO: Roman Forum in Gardone Riviera

The Roman Forum
11 Carmine St., Apt. 2C
New York, NY 10014
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Feast of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

"Now battle had to be joined, and therefore men were needed to restore a new order, and new theologians as well, to whom the evil  was manifest from its outward phenomena down to its most subtle roots; then the time would come for the first stroke of the consecrated sword, piercing the darkness like a lightning flash. For this reason, individuals had the duty of living in alliance with others, gathering the treasure of a new rule of law. But the alliance had to be stronger than before, and they more conscious of it." (Ernst Jünger, On the Marble Cliffs, XX)


Dear Friends of the Roman Forum,

I am writing to you today not only in a final appeal for funding for our twenty seventh annual Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera on Lake Garda in Italy (July 8th-July 19th), but also to ask for your financial help and prayers to keep the Roman Forum from having seriously to downsize or even to end its activities entirely thereafter.

There are only a handful of places left for those wishing to join the nearly seventy men and women from every continent---priests, religious, and lay people, aged from sixteen to ninety---who are already committed to participating in this year's Symposium, entitled “Modern Foundation Myths & the Destruction of Church & Civilization”. We are working to offer access to the lectures to those who cannot participate in person through live streaming, and the talks as a whole will make a fine and needed book to be released in 2020 for Catholics to utilize in our common battle for the Faith.

As the program has grown, the fundraising needs have also expanded and become terribly daunting along with it. What this means is that we still need to raise 40,000 to reach the $75,000 required to pay for it. This sum includes the room, board, and in some cases also flights for our nineteen speakers, musicians, and chaplains (none of whom receives a stipend for his labors), the scholarships for at least fourteen young participants, the rental of space for the lectures, and a fair donation to the extremely friendly local pastor for the extensive use that we make of his parish church for our purely traditionalist purposes. We are committed to 2019’s full program no matter what happens, but even if we do collect the funds needed to run it in its entirety, we will have exhausted all our remaining resources. In short, by August there will be absolutely nothing in the till with which the Roman Forum can move forward, in New York City as well as in Italy.

I have often written articles in The Remnant explaining why this Symposium is so important as a complement to the Chartres Pilgrimage---an explanation that I am certain that all who have taken part in both experiences can verify as being accurate. Allow me just to summarize a few of the points that I have made in these articles here, once again.  

The Symposium is one of the few truly scholarly, international, traditionalist programs available anywhere on the globe. It takes place in a totally Catholic atmosphere, with full exposure not just to the traditional liturgy and devotional life of the Church, both West and East, but also to the musical, theatrical, and genuinely “rooted” popular culture that Catholic Christianity has always promoted. It does so in one of the most beautiful places in the world, a small village in northern Italy that itself is reminded of its Catholic past and culture only when we arrive there. Most importantly, it creates a camaraderie that has served to stimulate, plan, and carry out Catholic Action in a variety of realms and countries in its aftermath.

Please read the description of Gardone 2019, printed below, to get a sense of the importance of this year’s Summer Symposium and the book to follow for the preparation of Catholics who wish to fight our opponents in this, the most distressing era in the whole history of the Church. For the Roman Forum---founded by Dietrich von Hildebrand in 1968 to defend Humanae vitae---does not do its scholarly work for it to be hidden away in some ivory tower. It does this because it is the only means of combatting the enemy effectively, avoiding the often thoughtless and self-destructive mistakes that Catholics have historically been renowned for making in dealing with their foes. Our present devastating age will only pass away if lasting truths are understood ever more deeply by militant Catholics, in the spirit that the opening citation of Ernst Jünger so eloquently stresses.

Please send in your application for the last remaining spaces to the address indicated above, and your tax-deductible donations either there or through PayPal on our web site. Help us to keep a unique and by now, after more than a quarter of a century, truly venerable traditionalist program vigorously alive ---and the Roman Forum, in its critical need, along with it.

John C. Rao (D.Phil., Oxford)
Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University
Chairman, Roman Forum

The Roman Forum
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Twenty-Seventh Annual Summer Symposium
Gardone Riviera, Italy

(July 8nd - July 19th, 2019; 11 nights)

Modern Foundation Myths & the Destruction of Church & Civilization

Our twenty-seventh annual Summer Symposium at Gardone Riviera derives its theme from our general frustration---spiritually, intellectually, artistically, politically, and socially---with the mindless, often self-delusional, and frequently overtly manipulative visions of the ideology of modernity. Despite the fact that we have regularly dealt with the problems posed by modernism in a variety of ways in the past, this will be the first time that we have tackled the actual pillars themselves: nominalism and contempt for philosophical and theological thought; the cult of the autonomous individual and his cultural genius; the contradictory themes of the total depravity of man and nature on the one hand and the glory of natural, pragmatic, scientific progress on the other; social contract theories; the concepts of freedom, equality, and democracy; the biological evolution and magical transformation of beast and man; the American foundation myth, as well as those underlying modern materialist economic visions.

Faculty, Clergy, Musicians 

Jonathan Arrington (Denver Catholic Biblical School; St. John Vianney Theological Seminary Lay Division)

Dr. Miguel Ayuso Torres (University of Madrid)

James Bogle, Esq., TD MA Dip Law (Barrister and author of A Heart for Europe)

Clemens Cavallin (Religious Studies, Sweden)

Dr. Danilo Castellano (University of Udine, Emeritus)

Fr. Gabriel Díaz-Patri (Studia Liturgica, United Kingdom)

Bernard Dumont (Editor, Catholica, France)

Christopher A. Ferrara, J.D. (President, ACLA)

David J. Hughes  (Director of Musical Program)

Rev. John Hunwicke (Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham)

James Kalb, Esq. (Author of The Tyranny of Liberalism)

Michael J. Matt (Editor, The Remnant)

Sebastian Morello (Formator & Lecturer, Centre for Catholic Formation, London)

Rev. Dr. Richard Munkelt (Chaplain of the Roman Forum)

Dr. Thomas Pink (King’s College, London)

Dr. John C. Rao (St. John’s University)

Dr. Joseph Shaw (Senior Research Fellow at St Benet's Hall, Oxford University)

Dr. Thomas Stark (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, Austria)

Fr. Edmund Waldstein (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule, Austria)

Liturgy and Music

The Summer Symposium’s music program involves daily mass and vespers. It is important to note that the Roman Forum is just as happy to receive applications from those whose interest is primarily in Church Music as it is from those focused in other areas of Catholic concern. Our music director, Mr. David Hughes, is eager to attract participants with vocal abilities who are willing to commit themselves to daily rehearsals to ensure a better rendition of Gregorian Chant and the polyphonic pieces to be sung.

Accommodations, Setting, and Daily Program

Accommodation and lectures are at the Locanda agli Angeli and the Hotel Villa Sofia in Gardone Sopra, on Lake Garda, in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy. Both hotels, with swimming pools of their own, are only a ten-minute walk from the lakefront, where free, clean beaches with a number of amenities can be found. Meals are taken at the Angeli and at other trattorie several minutes walk away. Mass is in the parish church, also within walking distance. Gardone is within easy traveling distance of the opera season in Verona, Venice, Trent, Brescia, Milan, Ravenna, Pavia and Padua. The region offers opportunities not only for swimming, but for hiking, biking, boating, and scenic walks as well. Each day involves two lectures with discussion (morning and pre-dinner), and Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Rite (Tridentine Mass) at noon. Other traditional masses are offered throughout the day. There are no lectures on Sundays. Musical and theatrical entertainments take place in the garden of the Angeli and in the Piazza dei Caduti in the evenings after dinner.

Application, Cost, and Payment

First time applicants only must include name, address, telephone number, e-mail, date of birth, occupation, academic degrees attained or pending, and the names and phone numbers of two references. Application should be made as soon as possible as there are only sixty places available. The full cost of the Gardone program in a double occupancy room is $2,900 (based on an exchange rate between $1.13--$1.25 to the Euro). This includes tuition, room and board (very ample breakfast and dinner with cocktails, wine, beer, and other beverages at will), transportation to and from Malpensa Airport in Milan, and a boat excursion on the lake. Single rooms are extra, their price depending upon the room concerned. A number of full and partial scholarships are available. Preference for scholarships will be given to professors, students, clergy, and seminarians. Nevertheless, anyone who genuinely cannot afford the full tuition and believes himself to be a worthy candidate for assistance may apply. Send all applications, deposits, payments, and donations through PayPal or directly to: 

Dr. John C. Rao, Director
The Roman Forum
11 Carmine Street, # 2C
New York, NY 10014


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Last modified on Thursday, February 28, 2019