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2011 Summer Symposium, Gardone Riviera

In Honor of St. Benedict and Pope Benedict XVI

Contact: John Rao POSTED: Monday Sept. 20, 2010
Director of The Roman Forum [email protected]  

June 30th - July 11th (11 nights)


New Beginnings and False Starts

Catholics, Change, Tradition, and Custom

Monumental changes obvious in every sphere of contemporary life are making of our age perhaps the most dramatic era in history. However disconcerting this may be, change in the natural order can never be surprising to the Catholic Church. She recognizes the reality of individual human freedom and the new situations that its proper and improper use must continually create. She has been warning for centuries of the deadly change threatening modern civilization due to the problems of the parochial, hubristic naturalist ideologies that have served as its dogmatic foundation. She does not fear change as such since her solid rooting in supernatural and rational truth give her the means to judge whether and how to accept, guide, or fight tenaciously against it.

Fallible Catholics, however, are not themselves the Catholic Church. They have been tempted either enthusiastically to accept fraudulent and manipulative changes as unquestionable goods or to deny the reality of the twists and turns of history, confuse the Tradition with merely familiar custom, and thereby hinder the advance of the Faith.

What are the real as opposed to the contrived changes of our age? How are Catholics loyal to Tradition to respond to them? What are the merely customary, conservative chains hindering proper response to the strange new world around us? These are the themes to be addressed by the 2011 Summer Symposium


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)

Joshua Copeland (Chorister)

Rev. Bernard Danber, O.S.A.

Bernard Dumont (editor, Catholica, France)

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

David J. Hughes (Musical Director)

Luis Infante (University of Salamanca)

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)

Rev. Gregory Pendergraft, F.S.S.P.

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

Hervé Rolland, President of Notre Dame de Chrétienté

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

Rev. Richard Trezza, O.F.M.

Daily Program

Each day involves 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 2,000 Euros. This includes: tuition, room and board (very ample breakfast and dinner with wine, beer, and other beverages at will; all gratuities also); transportation to and from Malpensa Airport in Milan; a boat trip on Lake Garda; and excursions to Venice and in the Lake region. Single rooms are extra, their price depending upon the room concerned. A number of full and partial scholarships are available. Preference 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.

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. 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.

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 June 30th, and one back to Malpensa on the morning of July 11th. Participants arriving and leaving at different times or arriving at and leaving from different airports are responsible for making their own arrangements for getting to Gardone. Gardone can be reached by shuttle from the Airport to Milano Centrale (50 minutes), train to Brescia (50 minutes), and bus to Gardone Riviera (50 minutes), or by taxi from the airport (which can be very expensive and is best arranged through the Forum).



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 fee, equivalent to 2,000 Euros as of May 15th, 2011, must be made no later than May 20th, 2011. 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 Thursday, July 1st 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 applications and send donations to:

Dr. John C. Rao, Director

The Roman Forum

11 Carmine Street, # 2C

New York, NY 10014

Or e-mail to [email protected]

“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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