Rorate Caeli

Gardone 2020

We are pleased to post the following letter from Dr. John Rao on the important Symposium of the Roman Forum this Summer on the shores of Lake Garda, which will focus on the Traditionalist Movement: Its Origins, Ramifications, Divisions, & Enemies.


         "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,

            We have been overwhelmed by the response to the announcement of the twenty eighth annual Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera on Lake Garda in Italy (July 6th-July 17th) entitled The Traditionalist Movement: Its Origins, Ramifications, Divisions, & Enemies. The number of speakers and participants who wish to take part has now reached over one hundred persons. We have had to rent multiple apartments in the vicinity of the two hotels that have housed the Symposium up until now in order to accommodate such a large group. Moreover, there are still more speakers, crucial to the Movement, that we would like to invite to participate in the numerous panel discussions that will take place, and new applications for attendance, along with requests for scholarships, arrive each day.
         Unfortunately, as the program has grown, the fundraising needs have also expanded and become terribly, terribly daunting. What this means is that we still need to raise $50,000 to reach the $90,000 required to pay for it. This sum includes the room, board, and in some cases also flights for our twenty four speakers, musicians, and chaplains to date (none of whom receives a stipend for his labors), the scholarships for at least fifteen 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. 

         Please bear with me as I enumerate, once again, some of the reasons why this project is so different from all others, and therefore so deeply important to the Catholic cause.  
         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.
         Do read the description of Gardone 2020, printed below, to get a sense of the significance 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 your applications to the address indicated above. Your tax-deductible donations can be sent either to the same location or through PayPal on our web site. Help us to keep a unique and---by now, after nearly thirty years---truly venerable traditionalist program vigorously alive.

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

The Roman Forum

Twenty-Eighth Annual Summer Symposium
Gardone Riviera, Italy (July 6th - July 17th, 2020; 11 nights)
The Traditionalist Movement: Its Origins, Ramifications, Divisions, & Enemies

Several generations emerging from traditionalist backgrounds have come to maturity since the end of the Council and the introduction of the Novus ordo missae. At the same time, a growing number of believers from the “mainstream” Catholic world have also rediscovered the importance of the traditional liturgy. But many of those emerging from both these groups are unaware of the roots of the Traditionalist Movement and the sacrifices of its original leaders and shock troops in their heroic struggles to defend the Faith. Even some of those who are active participants in the Movement often fail to perceive its immense ramifications in the realms of theology, philosophy, political, social, and cultural life, the nature of the debates that divide its component parts, and the character and extent of the opposition it faces: all of which hinders its efficacy in recapturing the full heritage of the Mystical Body of Christ. This year’s Summer Symposium will seek to fill that gap, examining the history and current state of the Traditionalist Movement globally.

Topics to be Addressed 

A. The History of the Movement

1. The Gathering Storm: Deeply Rooted Problems in the Pontificate of Pius XII 
2. The Council & the Birth of the Opposition
3. The Novus ordo missae, Archbishop Lefebvre, & the Foundation of the SSPX
4. The “Mainstream” Opposition: Existing Catholic Organizations, the Press, & 
    New Associations Worldwide
5. The Building of a Parallel Parochial & Educational System
6. The Wilderness Years
7. Ecclesia Dei, the Fraternity of St. Peter & the Institute of Christ the King
8. A Deepened Knowledge of the Traditional Liturgy
9. The Worldwide Extent of the Movement Today, Clerical and Lay

B. Conceptual Problems and Response to Practical Realities

1. Why the “Surprise” of the Orthodox in the 1960’s? (Ignorance of theological &
    liturgical trends; the exaggerated cult of the Papacy & clericalism)
2. The Americanist-Pluralist Temptation & the Debate over Religious Liberty &      
     the Catholic State
3. The Appeal & the Dangers of the Traditionalist Catholic Ghetto
4. Outside Secular Pressures on the “Safe Space”: Perceived & Ignored
5. Apparitions & their Message: Waiting for the End or Active Re-Evangelization?
6. Pious Devotion & Evangelization: The Role of the Chartres Pilgrimage

7. Traditionalist Evangelization & the Pro-Life Movement: Priority to One or 
    Simultaneous Action?
8. How to Evangelize the Mainstream Catholic World, Clerical and Lay?
9. The Jansenist & Anti-Intellectual Temptation
10. The Debate over Acceptable Intellectual & Cultural Tools: Thomism, 
      Phenomenology, Biblical Studies, Patristics, History, the Humanities, & the  
      Role of the Arts in General
11. Can Clericalism or Laicism Be Avoided? 
12. Sedevacantism
13. The Debate Over the “Reconciliation” of the SSPX
14. Outside Friends of the Movement: Real and Perceived
15. Outside Enemies of the Movement: Real and Perceived
16. Dealing with Pope Francis

Faculty, Clergy, Musicians to Date
(Funds Permitting, More speakers to come)

Jonathan Arrington (Denver Catholic Biblical School; Lay Division)
Dr. Miguel Ayuso Torres (University of Madrid)
James Bogle, Esq., TD MA Dip Law (Barrister and author of A Heart for Europe)
Dr. Thomas Cattoi (Santa Clara University; Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley)
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)
Dr. Rudolf Hilfer (University of Stuttgart)
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)
Dr. Brian McCall (College of Law, University of Oklahoma)
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. Peter Kwasniewski (Independent writer)
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)
James Vogel (Editor, The Angelus Press)
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. The full cost of the Gardone program in a double occupancy room is $2,900This 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, an excursion to Trent, and a boat trip on the lake. Single rooms are extra, their price depending upon the particular 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:

The Roman Forum 
c/o Dr. John C. Rao 
11 Carmine Street, # 2C
New York, 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)