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The Roman Forum

20th Anniversary Summer Symposium

Gardone Riviera: Lake Garda, Italy

July 2nd---July 14th, 2012  (12 nights)

Press Release POSTED: 1/30/12
Contact: John Rao [email protected]  

Please Note: The Roman Forum's 2012 Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy took place over the first two weeks in July, and was a great success. Due to technical difficulties we were not able to update our site as often as we normally do from Europe.  We apologize for this, and wish to reassure our regular visitors that we're now back stateside and ready to resume our posting and publishing schedule.


We will provide full coverage of the Symposium in upcoming posts, publications and transcripts of the some of the lectures given by leading Catholic thinkers from Europe and the US.


We appreciate your patience.


Michael J. Matt

Editor, The Remnant


Lake Garda, Italy

Catholic Social Doctrine:

Its Truth & Implementation; Its Friends & Enemies

Although present in germ from apostolic times, Catholic political and social doctrine really emerged as a systematic body of thought together with the nineteenth century reaction to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. It is regularly dismissed by our contemporaries---believers prominent among them---as everything from utopian and futile to theocratic and dangerous in character. But as the global pluralist order continues its attack on man’s true social and individual nature---and thereby commits itself more fully to its own self-destruction---Catholic political and social doctrine will clearly be seen for what it really is: not only supernaturally true, but the only rational and practical hope for modern man as well. Its supernatural and rational truth, the historical and current problems of its implementation, the character of valuable “fellow travelers” with whom it might work, and the nature of its enemies---many of whom all too often pose as friends---are the subject of this special twentieth anniversary Summer Symposium.

Roman Forum Faculty, Clergy, Musicians


Dr. Miguel Ayuso-Torres (University of Madrid)

Rev. Mgr. Dr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula  (Human Life International)

James Bogle, Esq. (Author, A Heart for Europe)

Dr. Patrick McKinley Brennan (Villanova University)

Dr. Danilo Castellano (University of Udine)

Rev. Bernard Danber, O.S.A.

Bernard Dumont (editor, Catholica, France)

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

David J. Hughes (Musical Director)

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

Michael J. Matt (Editor, The Remnant)

Dr. Brian M. McCall (University of Oklahoma

Professor John Médaille (University of Dallas)

Rev. Dr. Richard Munkelt  (University of Fairfield)

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

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

Rev. Richard Trezza, O.F.M.

Daily Program

Each day involves two to three lectures (morning and pre-dinner), and Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Rite (Tridentine Mass) at noon. 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.


The full cost of the Gardone program in a double occupancy room is $2,900, based on the current exchange rate (c. $1.30 to the Euro). This includes: tuition, room and board (very ample breakfast and dinner with wine, beer, and other beverages at will; all gratuities also); transportation from and back to Malpensa Airport in Milan; a boat trip on Lake Garda; and an excursion in northern Italy and the Lake region. Single rooms may be extra, depending upon availability and the quality of the room concerned. A number of partial scholarships with accommodation in triple rooms are available.


Accommodations and the Setting

Accommodation and lectures for the Gardone program are at the Locanda agli Angeli and the Hotel Villa Sofia on Lake Garda, in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy. Rooms are mostly doubles, with bath. A limited number of singles is also available at the Angeli; at extra cost at the Sofia. Both hotels are located in Gardone Sopra, a ten-minute walk from the lakefront, where free, clean beaches with a number of amenities can be found. They offer beautiful swimming pools and gardens on their premises. Meals are taken at the Angeli and at other trattorie several minutes walk away. Mass is in the parish church, also within walking distance. Arrangements to arrive earlier or stay later, at additional cost, may be made through the director. Staff will be at Gardone from June 28th, 2012.

Gardone is within easy traveling distance of Verona, Venice, Trent, Brescia, Milan, Ravenna, Pavia and Padua. In years past, participants have rented cars to tour the area, taken private and more extensive boat trips on the lake, attended the opera in Verona, and even ventured as far away as Florence. The region offers opportunities not only for swimming, but for hiking, biking, boating and scenic walks as well. The lectures are scheduled in such a way as to allow time for recreation and sightseeing.



Transportation to Italy must be arranged privately. Two shuttles (morning and afternoon) to Gardone will be provided from Malpensa airport only on July 2nd.

The return shuttle to Malpensa will leave in the late morning of July 13th, after mass and a leisurely breakfast. Participants will be accompanied on a visit to historic sites along the way back to Milan, arriving in the evening at a hotel (with a fine restaurant) just minutes from the airport. This will make for a very easy departure for those leaving for home on the morning of the 14th. Participants arriving and leaving at different times or arriving at and leaving from different airports are responsible for making their own arrangements for arriving in Gardone on July 2nd and departing on July 14th. Gardone can be reached by shuttle from the airport to Milano Centrale (50 minutes), train to Brescia (50 minutes) or Desenzano (60 minutes) and bus to Gardone Riviera (50 minutes). The bus schedule from Brescia is better than that from Desenzano. A taxi from Malpensa to Gardone Sopra would cost about 300 Euros; from Brescia, about 100 Euros; from Desenzano slightly less than the price from Brescia.



Applications can be e-mailed ([email protected]) or sent by post. 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 limited places available.


A non-refundable deposit of $500 will secure one’s reservation. Once again, space is limited, so it is advisable to send this in as soon as possible after acceptance. Payment of the remaining $2,400 must be made no later than May 20th, 2012. Extra charges will accrue should the exchange rate exceed $1.35 to the Euro by the date of payment. Deposits and all other payments must be made out to the Roman Forum and mailed to Dr. John C. Rao, 11 Carmine St. Apt. 2C, New York, NY 10014.

Final Notes

Seminar participants must eventually send us both their arrival and departure information. It is also important to let us know if you wish to arrive earlier or stay later than the scheduled symposium dates (at extra cost). We would appreciate this information by June 15th, by e-mail. A representative of the Roman Forum will meet participants at their arrival gates. Should the contact person not be found, please look for the bus driver holding a sign saying Molinari Agency, Gardone Riviera. His cell phone number will be sent to you by e-mail just before the departure date. In case of trouble, telephone the Locanda agli Angeli (from the USA, 011-39-0365-20991; from Italy, 0365-20991).

Barring the unpredictable, the weather should be sunny and quite warm/hot. We are in the foothills of the Alps, however, so one may need a sweater or light jacket for dining and sitting outside in the evening. Please also bring a light poncho or some other form of protection from a shower. If you do enjoy swimming and hiking, do not forget a bathing suit and good walking shoes. Tennis courts are available for use nearby. Access to the Internet is available from the Angeli, the Villa Sofia and the café-restaurant La Taverna (the latter in the main square at Gardone Sopra, two minutes away from the Angeli). There at ATM machines just outside the Angeli, and at the Banco di Brescia, a short distance away from the Villa Sofia.

Gardone’s greatest difficulty is laundry. There is no laundromat in the village. Someone does stop by every day to pick up any laundry that needs to be done, to be returned the next day. Under normal circumstances, laundry costs are expensive in Italy. With the dollar-euro exchange what it now is, it may be the greatest expenditure of your trip. There will be a general orientation at cocktail hour on Monday, July 2nd at the Angeli. A schedule of masses, as well as information about the Sunday boat trip and excursions during the week will be handed out at that time.

Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to support clergy, seminarians, and students. Mail all questions, applications, and donations to:

Dr. John C. Rao, Director

The Roman Forum

11 Carmine Street, # 2C

New York, NY 10014

Or e-mail to [email protected]

Roman Forum Online Academy

Please consult our website ( in the months to come concerning the Roman Forum Online Academy, which will begin to offer weekly hour sessions courses in economics, Church and secular history, law, literature, philosophy, and theology in September of 2012. The coming academic year’s (September, 2012---May, 2013) faculty members, at the time of this mailing, include Christopher Ferrara, J.D., James Kalb, Esq., Dr. Brian McCall, Professor John Médaille, Fr. Richard Munkelt, and Dr. John Rao. Both lecture offerings and faculty are still growing in number. Designed for use by advanced high school students and adults, the Roman Forum Online Academy will be an especially valuable resource for home schooling families eager to enhance their curriculum.

“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)

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