Spring into Summer Conference at Portsmouth Institute
With spring more or less undeniably having arrived, we’re coming up on one of my favorite weekends of the year. This year, the Portsmouth Institute‘s annual conference is June 7-9, and the topic is “Catholicism and the American Experience,” which is certainly timely, given that American bishops are actually beginning to near the short-list for Pope, with Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s having just been appointed to a Vatican advisory board.
Had he won, I could actually have claimed to have met the Pope. O’Malley was the bishop in Fall River when I converted to Catholicism in that city. As it happens, another bishop of my acquaintance is speaking at this year’s conference: Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin is on the speaker’s list.
Other speakers of whom readers of a conservative Web site should take note are George Weigel and Roger Kimball. Although I’m not as familiar with his work, I suspect Peter Steinfels will offer somewhat of a different perspective, as a former editor of Commonweal and religion correspondent for the New York Times. And of course, the musical performances and excellent meals propel the entire experience to otherworldliness.
Long-time readers of Anchor Rising will have seen my reports from previous years’ conferences, but for a reminder or a sampling of what the conferences are like, take a look at our archives:
- 2009: “The Catholic William F. Buckley, Jr.“
- 2010: “Newman and the Intellectual Tradition”
- 2011: “The Catholic Shakespeare?”
- 2012: “Modern Science, Ancient Faith”
It’s amazing to think that this will be the fifth of these conferences. It’s even more amazing to think of all that’s happened in the world since they began. I recommend attending for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most profound is the much-needed perspective that the intellectual content and spiritual experience lends to the seemingly rapid and perilous pace of modern life.