For myself and for my province, one of the things I want most to accomplish is to be in contact with all our citizens and to keep them involved in RR online. I want to see that everyone in my province feels welcome in RR and feels that they have a role here. I want them to feel included and to participate and contribute as much as they can. I want to see them posting on our provincial forum and participating in collegia. I want to hear from them about what they want to do so that I can help to facilitate the organization anything we want to accomplish in our province.
Second to all of that I would really like to work with my fellow provincials to set up a face to face meeting sometime during the year so that we can extend the level of our community connection beyond the virtual and into real life. Beyond that, any other face to face meetings we can organize for study groups, Religio Romana Sacra Publica, or anything else would be great.
Beyond that, a meetup for anyone and everyone in North America would be great. I cannot attend a European meetup this year but I would like to attend one next year if possible.
As far as working with collegia is concerned, I would like to see the Collegium Militarium move closer to establishing a reenactment group and I would like to work with anyone near me to support the development of that group.
In Collegium Artium I am eager to work with the magistrates to develop as much of the study and practice of Roman art as we can. I am especially keen to work with Magistra C. Cassia Longina to develop some Latin language media in the form of recorded poetry and drama for the benefit and entertainment of the Republic. I am eager to work with Magistrate N. Antonius Paullus, especially in the study of Roman architecture, which is one of my favorite subjects!
For CDR I watch with great interest and anticipation the development of the Collegium Pontificum. I wish to speak candidly on the matter of the Collegium Pontificum. I am new to RR and I am fairly new to Cultus Deorum Romanorum. I do not consider myself to be a very knowledgeable cultor but I see the idea of religious knowledge and the concept of religious authority in our era to be historically problematic.
The fact is, there has been no continual organized Collegium Pontificum for Romans since Christianity finally overpowered traditional Roman religion once and for all and the remaining Roman temples were either sacked or converted into churches. The Pope in Rome adopted the title "Pontifex Maximus" and from then on the appropriated and co-opted term "Pontiff" has been associated exclusively with the Catholic Church, despite its origins in traditional Roman religion.
The authority of Roman religion was destroyed or dismantled by Christian emperors and their edicts and the traditions of Roman religion were either appropriated or absorbed by Christians or they were forgotten and lost to history for hundreds of years.
Our knowledge of traditional Roman religion comes from both Christian accounts (some of which was erroneous and intentionally libelous for the purpose of scandalizing "pagan" religion) and from the research of recent scholars of traditional religion and archaeology. We do not have a clear and unbroken line of tradition and knowledge that goes back to the earliest days of Rome. We do not even have this line going back to the last days of the empire before it's domination by Christianity.
Therefor we have no real authority on what Roman religion was or what it should be in our own time, apart from academic authorities. Academics study religion often objectively as an aspect of philosophy, archaeology, or history. They are not religious authorities in the same sense of a traditional priest, Pontiff, augur or sacerdos.
In the Roman Republic we have some people who claim to have some knowledge of Roman religion. I don't know how much anyone of these people really knows. I know that I know little but for what little I know, I have an idea or interpretation of the traditional Roman religion that is influenced by knowledge of the history, culture and traditions not only of Rome but of Greece, the Mediterranean world and the Near East, all of which I would argue very strongly have had a profound impact on the development of Western philosophy and religion in general but also in the development of Greek and Roman polytheism in particular.
The interpretation of "Roman Religion" is quite open and diverse among academics, from what I can tell, and that in itself is problematic for the establishment of a new religious "authority" in the form of a Collegium Pontificum. Even the term "Roman Religion" is problematic as it can have as narrow a definition as the religion of the earliest Romans, before the adoption of other local Etruscan, Latin or nearby Greek Gods, or it can be as broad and inclusive as meaning any of the many cults followed or adopted by Roman citizens and people living in the Roman empire right up to and including Christianity.
These are some of the particular details that concern me in terms of how Roman religion is being defined and interpreted in RR as far as it's scope and the broadness of it's definition.
Beyond that, as I mentioned earlier, is the problem of hundreds of years of a break in traditional practice and the absence of an established and enduring authoritative body or cohesive tradition from which to draw knowledge and rebuild a new religious community.
To put it very bluntly, who is to say that either he or anyone else has enough knowledge to be considered a religious authority in anything pertaining to Roman religion?
I write this with the utmost respect and admiration for the efforts of our esteemed colleagues in the Roman Republic, but also with the intention of illuminating what I feel to be some of the most fundamental problems and questions we face in consideration of the establishment of the Collegium Pontificum.
P. Sallustius Quadratus