Bishops On Retreat

The farthest I’ve ever traveled to go on retreat was about 2,000 miles. For the Spiritual Life Institute, it was either there or Nova Scotia, about a thousand miles in another direction. Every other time, it’s within a day’s drive of home. I prefer monasteries and isolated retreat houses.

When I read this story of Cardinal Dolan being asked to host an interfaith gathering to explore reconciliation in his hometown, it occurred to me he’s taking the poke about “airport bishops” seriously. No more Irish visitations to drop the blame on gays in seminaries, I thought.

I noticed this bit in the news item:

Dolan, now headed to Australia for a spiritual retreat, said he was grateful for the mayor’s invitation.

“Religion and faith are powerful agents for what is good and unifying in the spirit,” Dolan said in a statement.

Australia? Halfway around the world for a retreat? I wonder if such things are encouraged for his diocesan clergy. There aren’t some Jesuits or Benedictines nearby? Maybe it’s an extraordinary experience. Hopefully unlike the Napa Institute where the Catholic equivalent of the spiritually-rich-n-famous rub shoulders for $400 a night.

I think there’s more to be said for simple surroundings, closeness to nature, and home-cooked meals. One director. No group conferences. Preferably lots of silence.

Over the past five years especially, I’ve found it’s not unreasonable to expect significant changes and insights while on retreat. I wonder if bishops have similar experiences. I wonder if a bishop has ever returned from a serious retreat and been moved to life-changing actions and attitudes.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Bishops On Retreat

  1. John McGrath says:

    I suspect the bishops on retreat get a feeling of renewal for their crusades, not much of an inner transformation to a broader sense of charitable inclusion. I suspect ecumenical for Doian means making allies for his political crusades. But I don’t know his heart, just his actions on the public stage. And his desperation to raise a lot of money, redolent of the Vatican under John Paul II.

  2. Looks like he’s the retreat master, not a retreatant.

  3. chasjay says:

    I think the cardinal is wading into uncharted waters. The appearance that Dolan is hosting this event gives the wrong idea; Dolan is always plays the most important guy in the room and I doubt if he can effectively mediate well if he’s the main figure. His temperament is too jolly, joking and jovial. He’s not a man with great civic identity…mostly career interest.
    Speaking of which, why is such a busy man, with parish closings, clusterings,etc. on his mind, going to Australia? The pope warned about frequent flyer bishops with their passports in hand. Is he still running for pope?

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