I’m the unforgiving sort, I guess, at least when it comes to events. If I go to something three times, and all three times are as enjoyable as a genital-kicking contest, I don’t go a fourth time.
This rule applies to retreats, especially Catholic ones. Over two decades ago, I attended a Detroit-diocese required retreat for engaged couples, which was led by a former priest and former nun who left their vocations and got married, in the “spirit” of Vatican II. They spouted all sorts of heresy and pretty much berated everything about Catholicism that pre-dates 1965. It was also vapid. I still remember being required–yes, required, on pangs of being denied the Sacrament of Marriage–to stare into Marie’s eyes and rub her cheek for a long time. [A few years later, my brother (a Lutheran marrying a Catholic girl) had to take the same class. When they asked him to write down how often he thought they’d have intercourse, he wrote, “Hope to cut back to three or four times a week.” It kills me to this day.]
Years later, I attended a retreat at my church that concluded with the priest giving everyone absolution, including, possibly, people who happened to be driving by at that moment outside and maybe those kids across the street smoking dope and listening to Pink Floyd. When I questioned him about it (“I didn’t realize we were all getting ready to go into battle”), he barked at me and said I must be a Ratzinger fan.
And then a few years later I attended a retreat at which one of the presenters berated us about our ignorance of the Catholic faith and challenged me to name just a few commandments. When I rattled off all ten (a good Protestant convert, I), he seemed rattled but continued with his spiel about our collective ignorance.
That was the final straw and I vowed never to attend another retreat as long as I lived.
I now have pressure to attend another retreat, and I want to, but my abject fear at being gullible (“How many Catholic retreats are you going to attend before you figure out that they all suck, you moron!”), and my greater fear of wasting a ton of time, keeps be back. This last weekend, I had actual scheduling conflicts so that gave me an easy excuse, but another retreat session is coming around the corner. If I don’t have scheduling conflicts (an unlikely occurrence, but possible), do I go?
It’s the San Andreas School of the New Evangelization. If anyone has any experience with it, and you’ve read enough of TDE or my articles elsewhere to have a feel for my temperament and level of learning/ignorance, I’d appreciate input. Comments box is fine or you can email me at the link on your left (e j scheske @ yahoo . com).Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList
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