Les Femmes


Reader urges prayers for demise of CCDI

A day after I read your Fall ’06 newsletter, I saw an article in the 12/7 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald that must have stunned you: “CCDI (Continuing Christian Development Institute) Announces Five New Courses.” I am sorry. Is this enemy of the Church countenanced by the diocese after all? Mind-boggling.

During the persecution of the Church at the time of the Spanish Civil War St. Josemaria Escriva asked a bag lady to offer things up for a “special intention.” It was for the demise of some anti-Catholic newspapers. The woman, Henrietta, kept the intention in mind, and eventually the papers disappeared. May the same soon be said of CCDI, thanks to the prayers of your many allies.

Alexandria, VA

CCDI continues to get free advertising in The Herald. They are offering a mini series during Lent at four parishes. Pray that our shepherds will take action. They will certainly be held accountable. Editor

Is Spirituality Center bad stewardship?

The Herald rejected this letter which we’ve edited slightly for space and happily publish. Editor

It was disappointing to read in the Arlington Catholic Herald of December 7 (“Diocese to Purchase Land, Facilities for Spirituality Center”) that, despite the lack of interest during three “consultation” meetings in 2003, a “spirituality center” project, priced at $4.35 million, is going to proceed. The stated intent is vaguely put as providing facilities for “small retreats for priests, diaconate aspirants, youth ministry and diocesan conferences.” If “stewardship” includes responsible prioritizing of resources, is spending of this magnitude for this project stewardship?

“Consultation meetings” were held three years ago at three diocesan parishes. At the third meeting at St. William of York there were five attendees excluding the three members of the presenting committee. There were eight and two attendees respectively at the two previous parish meetings. An appointed 10-person committee was supposed to survey and report to the bishop as to the need for the center, but since the committee included an interior decorator and an architect this rather appeared as window dressing for a decision already made. There was no feedback on what the surveyed priests of the diocese had to say other than the fact only half returned the survey form – hardly more enthusiasm than the poor laity turnout for the consultation meetings reflected.

It was indicated at the 2003 meetings that commercial businesses would be welcomed to use the center during the week, and The Herald article states the search is on for an “executive director.” This suggests the center would be a part-time affair and, of course, probably raises tax questions. To be practical one has to ask about a cost-benefit ratio here. While spiritual benefit is certainly not subject to economic analysis, has there not been a cut in diocesan church construction and even in the Catholic Charities budget? Priorities?

If we look at the Catechism and the Vatican II documents, it is clear the parish should be the Eucharistic community and the special place of catechesis; moreover, it would be expected that the cathedral should be the spiritual center for the diocese and not this costly and distant Camp David. There are already facilities for retreats all over this diocese; multi-purpose hotels for large meetings; facilities at Marymount and Christendom with chapels and libraries. There is a new Opus Dei study center for spiritual direction. This project should be independently analyzed and reconsidered.

Charles Molineaux
McLean, VA

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