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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

ROMAN FORUM IN EXILE: Michael Matt to Join Summer Symposium, USA Edition

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Michael Matt interviews Roman Forum Chairman, Dr. John Rao, in Gardone, Italy, 2018 Michael Matt interviews Roman Forum Chairman, Dr. John Rao, in Gardone, Italy, 2018

Delayed Twenty-Eighth Annual Summer Symposium ---In Exile

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

“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)

Feast of St. Joseph
March 19, 2021

Dear Friends of the Roman Forum,

Both our Catholic Faith as well as the innate human Reason that that Faith has given us the courage to take seriously have long prepared us for the disaster that has finally overtaken the naturalist Enlightenment world in the last thirteen months. For let us remember that it is indeed that absurdly anti-Christian “rationalist civilization” that has now administered to itself a predictably irrational coup de grace.

Nevertheless, I doubt that any of us expected the sheer audacity with which the perpetrators of an unparalleled, pseudo-scientific Crime Against Humanity have forced their combination of arbitrary ideological and self-interested will upon the masses of the men and women of the materialist world that naturalism has created. Neither, perhaps, were we prepared for the overwhelmingly mindless slavishness with which the Diktat of the oppressors has been unquestionably obeyed and enthusiastically endorsed by people who have long claimed to be stalwart defenders of critical thinking and free speech. Who, in 2019, would ever have dreamed that seemingly every “free thinking” liberal would summarily dismiss all rational debate and honest investigative reporting as conspiratorial madness, unworthy of consideration by people whose supposed common sense is now displayed through their pride in being isolated from one another, muzzled, locked down, bankrupted, and used as laboratory animals for big pharmaceutical companies? Well, maybe some of us, given the liberal historical track record.

We Catholics who are aware of the full horror of the Crime Against Humanity that has been perpetrated, and how this evil is consciously being used to strangle all that is True, Good, and Beautiful, have a greater responsibility than ever before to maintain our commitment to a Faith that is the real bulwark of Reason and Civilization; a Faith that has never betrayed us either as individuals or as social beings. It is impossible to overemphasize the need for us to embrace our enhanced mission to learn more and to act more vigorously against the anti-religious Oligarchy oppressing us---not as “Lone Rangers”, masked and six feet apart from our neighbors, but as noble, militant members of the Mystical Body of Christ, interacting with one another, face-to-face.

Hence, the conviction of the leadership of the Roman Forum that we must keep our non-zoom, non-virtual, in person, fully Catholic and fully human Summer Symposium alive and well under the current Regime of Fear and Darkness with a new sense of duty to God, country, ourselves, and you, our potential conference participants. Yes, this delayed Twenty-Eighth Annual Summer Symposium will be held “in exile”, away from our beloved home in Gardone Riviera, on Lake Garda, in Northern Italy. That is a great sadness not only for us but also for our hosts of so many years. Yet it is no little tender mercy that we have found in the Huntington Seminary on Long Island a quite hospitable and grand venue for our Symposium this side of the Atlantic.

But, once again, this disaster was to be expected, and we must go on! And we will emerge all the stronger for insisting upon our need to study, work, and pray together---as our friends at the Catholic Identity Conference already successfully did last October---at a time when most organizations are seemingly tumbling over one another to renounce their duty to keep a Catholic communal life going.

Down with arrogant ignorance, self-censorship, self-imposed fear, and anti-Catholic, atomistic loneliness! Make a stand against these evils by thinking of joining us for the delayed Twenty-Eighth Annual Summer Symposium.

Deus lo vult! Viva Cristo Rey!

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

The Delayed Twenty-Eighth Annual Summer Symposium ---In Exile

Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, Long Island

(June 28th - July 6th, 2021; 8 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 from both 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.


A. The History of the Movement

1. The Gathering Storm: Deeply Rooted Problems in the Pontificate of Pius


2. The Council & the Birth of the Opposition

3. The Novus ordo missae, Archbishop Lefebvre, & the Foundation of the


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 &


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-


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 the Current Pontificate

Faculty, Clergy, Musicians to Date

Jonathan Arrington (Denver Catholic Biblical School; Lay Division)

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

David J. Hughes  (Director of Music)

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

Dr. Brian McCall (University of Oklahoma, Editor, Catholic Family News)

Michael J. Matt (Editor, The Remnant)

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

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Independent writer; Renowned liturgical scholar)

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

James Vogel (Editor, The Angelus Press)

Liturgy, and Music

The Summer Symposium’s music program includes Holy Mass and Vespers (both in the Traditional Rite of the Roman Church). It is important to note that the Roman Forum is just as happy to receive applications from those whose interest is primarily in traditional Church Music as it is from those focused in other areas of traditionalist 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.

Setting, Accommodations, and Daily Program

The Summer Symposium will take place at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, thirty-eight miles from New York City, thirty-four miles from JFK, and thirty-two miles from LaGuardia Airport. The seminary is accessible by the Long Island Railroad and has extensive parking on the grounds. The Seminary is situated on 216 beautiful acres directly on the North Shore of Long Island. Please take a look at the beauty of the chapels, the grounds, and the extensive facilities in general ( A full gym, basketball and tennis courts, as well as a baseball field and a barbecue pit are available for our guests’ use. Washing machines are plentiful. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, within walking distance, offers miles of bridle paths, jogging, hiking, biking, and nature trails over acres of woodland, meadows, rock shoreline and salt marsh. The park has beautiful gardens, excellent fishing, and scuba diving by permit. At the moment, we have 100 single and double rooms available, all with private bathroom and shower. If regulations change, this may increase to 108 single and 23 double rooms. It will also be a possible for some 40 daily visitors to join and take meals with us. Each day’s program (aside from the arrival day and Sunday) involves three lectures with discussion (one in the morning and two in the afternoon), Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Rite (Tridentine Mass) at 11:30 A.M., and Vespers in the evening before the cocktail hour and dinner. Other traditional masses are offered throughout the day. Concerts, dances, and theatrical entertainments will take place in the gardens of the Seminary in the evenings after dinner and on Sunday.

Application, Cost, Payment, Donations

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. The full cost of the Gardone-in-exile program for two persons in a double occupancy room---one large bed only---is $2,900. Singles are $1,700. This cost includes tuition, room and board (breakfast, lunch, and dinner with cocktails, wine, beer, and other beverages at will), and gratuities. Transportation, either from JFK, La Guardia, or the local Long Island Rail Road stations can be arranged. Day pass prices have yet to be fixed. 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. Accepted applicants will be asked to put down a $200 deposit to hold their places. Given the highly arbitrary changes in legal regulations to which we have become accustomed in this past year of tyrannical state measures, it would be best to hold off full payment until very close to the date of the program. We are grateful for any tax-deductible donations to support scholarship candidates, and thank all of our generous donors who have helped out so many people in past years. Donations can be made either through PayPal on our website or by checks made out to the Roman Forum and mailed to the address indicated below. Please do remember that if you are not a member of PayPal, a hefty portion of your donation will be deducted from what we actually receive. All donors are remembered in the monthly Traditional Mass said on their behalf, offered by our chaplain, Rev. Dr. Richard A. Munkelt. And all of you are always in our daily prayers.

Priests must send their applications by email to our chaplain (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

All other applications and any donations by check must be sent to:  

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

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Last modified on Wednesday, April 14, 2021
John Rao | Remnant Columnist, New York

John C. Rao, Ph.D. is an associate professor of history at St. John's University, director of the Roman Forum/Dietrich von Hildebrand Institute, and former president of Una Voce America.  In 1977 he received his D.Phil. in Modern European History from Oxford University. Notable works include Americanism and the Collapse of the Church in the United States, Removing the Blindfold, and Periphery. His latest book, Black Legends: The War of the Words Against the Word, a guide to the history of the Catholic Church, was published by The Remnant Press in 2012. A student of Dietrich von Hildebrand and a close friend and collaborator of Michael Davies, John Rao has been a frequent contributor to The Remnant since the early 1980s.  He is known for writing his Remnant columns from Rocco's Cafe, an Italian pastry shop in Greenwich Village Manhattan.