Rorate Caeli

Appeal: Help Keep the Roman Forum going

For most of our readers, you already know the critical work Dr. John Rao, and The Roman Forum, do every year on behalf of the Church and traditional Catholics everywhere. Last year, we helped raise over $10,000 to keep the Forum going. This year, for obvious reasons, it is more important than ever. Please read below, and please click here to donate whatever you can.

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

Dear Friends,

          The Roman Forum is still in need of at least $25,000 in tax-deductible donations in support of its Twenty-Fifth Annual Summer Symposium. This program will be held from July 3rd through July 14th, 2017 (11 nights) on the topic: Setting Right a World Turned Upside Down---Transformation in Christ Versus a Sickness Unto Death.

          We need this sum to provide travel, room, and board for our international faculty and musical staff: fourteen participants at the moment, though still growing in number and potentially to include some further and rather significant clerical additions. No speaker receives remuneration for his participation. Funds are also used to aid the many priests, seminarians, college students, and others from across the globe---especially from Africa---who would be unable to attend without some help. I cannot tell you how significant this quarter of a century Symposium has become in creating a permanent, worldwide, fraternal union of clergy and laity, as well as providing an annual academic and activist strategy planning session on behalf of the Traditionalist Movement across the globe. Those wishing to attend Gardone, 2017 can contact us through the email address given above.

          You may remember that the Twenty-Fourth Annual Summer Symposium, Half a Millennium of Total Depravity (1517-2017): A Critique of Luther’s Impact on the Eve of His ‘Catholic’ Apotheosis”, was dedicated to the consequences of the first “reformer’s” thought and action. This was done so as to prepare a “truth serum” to work against the distorted adulation of the founder of Protestantism that will most certainly characterize the entire commemorative year of 2017. The title for the book that this “truth serum” takes is Luther and His Progeny: 500 Years of Protestantism and Its Consequences for Church, State, and Society. You can order it from Angelico Press ( upon its publication, which is targeted for March 31, 2017. It could never have become a reality without your generous donations last year. A second book will be prepared from donations making the lectures of Gardone, 2017 possible.

          I am tempted to preface this year’s official program title with a much more direct one: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. The “good” refers to the fact that 2017 will mark not only the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Symposium, but also the tenth of Summorum pontificum, with all that that motu proprio has contributed to the advance of the cause of the “Mass of the Ages”. The “bad” and the “ugly” are owed to the terrible reality that 2017 threatens to be a much more troubled moment in Catholic and world history than 1992 or 2007. The erratic character of the current pontificate---and fears for what may follow it---are proving to be extraordinarily disturbing not just to the cause of the Faith but to that of human Reason as well. One has the sense of a “free fall”, with the “salt” having lost its savor. Meanwhile, too many Catholics, clerical and lay, happily support a global political and social order suffering from a “sickness unto death”; smiling as that order finds one or another useless or facile bandage to cover its wounds, commits suicide, and works to bring the Church down with it.

          The ethos for the Symposium, as always, is the one laid out for us by Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, with his concern for rooting all of our work in an ever-deeper study of the theology of the Mystical Body and the exalted understanding of “transformation in Christ” that this probing of the full significance of the Incarnation yields. It is that Christological approach, closely connected with devotion to the Sacred Heart, that has made the Roman Forum so eager to seek to cure our world’s “sickness unto death” by insisting upon the need to infuse all aspects of natural life---philosophical, political, economic, familial, fraternal, artistic, sportive, culinary; the serious and the festive together---with that Catholic teaching and grace that correct their flaws and raise them up in a hymn of praise to God. It is this approach that caused von Hildebrand already in 1970 to insist that the Roman Forum fight for the full restoration of “a liturgy that does not turn its back to God”. Gardone, 2017 will insist upon the necessity of following this Christological path, in all realms of human activity, as the sole, infallible route to the fullness of life instead of naturalist, secularist death.

          2017 also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Roman Forum’s Church History Lectures in New York City. The 2016-2017 session is entitled “Even Now the Devastation Is Begun---And Half the Business of Destruction Done”, and deals with the dramatic years between 1748 and 1799. Beginning in March, talks will be available on Sound Cloud ( for free consultation by everyone.

          Please do consider giving a tax-deductible donation to support the attendance of a speaker, a member of the clergy, a seminarian, or a student and make this twenty-fifth anniversary session---and the second book that will come from it---possible. Send all donations, made out to the “Roman Forum”, either through PayPal (on our website) or directly to me at the address indicated above. And please think of participating in our programs personally!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

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