Thursday, September 5, 2013

Scandalous Retreat to be Held at Holy Family Retreat Center

We would like to express our concerns about an upcoming retreat, to be led by United Methodist minister, Tom Bain, at the Holy Family Retreat Center.  It will apparently focus on Christian meditation and "Centering Prayer".  This retreat is scheduled for September 19-22 - I've included a link  to the St. Jude's bulletin where you can find the advertisement on page 4. 

I think it is scandalous and confusing for a Catholic retreat center to provide a venue for a Protestant minister in this way.  Furthermore, it appears that this retreat is being promoted to Catholics in at least two prominent parishes of the Diocese, if not more.

Here is an add for this retreat in St. Anne's Bulletin

From what I have read about Centering Prayer, it originated after a group of Trappist monks invited Buddhists and Hindus to come and give them a Zen/ Transcendental meditation retreat. Fr. Keating, one of the Trappist monks, wanted to develop a technique for the type of contemplative prayer Saints such as Teresa of Avila experienced, and so he harnessed the type of meditation techniques found on the Zen retreat and tried applying them to the Catholic Faith.

That being said, it goes completely against what St. Teresa of Avila wrote about in her book, Interior Castle. In it, she describes how the state of prayer she spoke of was a gift from God, and not something we can nor should grasp for ourselves.

Centering Prayer focuses too much on us, and not on Our Lord. Even the ad for the retreat in the St. Jude Thaddeus bulletin speaks of focusing on ourselves to find "our center" and speaks nothing of focusing on God or Jesus' Passion. Centering Prayer puts you in the center, which necessarily, puts Christ out. 

When I first learned about Centering Prayer, it was immediately after reading Interior Castle, and I noticed the stark difference between what Fr. Keating was explaining, and what the Catholic Saint he wanted to emulate taught. I was concerned, and so I looked up what the Church taught about it. Then Pope Benendict XVI was strongly against it, saying that the practices of emptying ourself of the world and God's creation around us goes against our Catholic Faith because we are both body and soul and should therefore not block out all of God's creation. He also warned that this state of opening ourselves up to only the spiritual could open us to spiritual attack. Centering Prayer has also been denounced by the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue as a "New Age" movement and contradictory to the Catholic Faith.

"At our deepest level, we are more God than ourselves."
- Fr. Thomas Keating frounder of the Centering Prayer Movement

This retreat is scandalous to Catholics, and more confusion is happening by having a Catholic retreat center be the location for a Methodist minister to host this kind of retreat, which is being promoted to Catholics on a parish level. 

Please get the news out about this retreat to help prevent any harm that could be done and keep safe anyone who would be led astray by the dissenting practice of Centering Prayer. Please contact our wonderful, pastoral Bishop and let him know about this matter. You can reach him at: 

Bishop: Most Rev. Curtis J. Guillory, S.V.D., (409) 924-4300 Ext. 4310

Here is a good article about why a Catholic cannot participate in Centering Prayer: CLICK HERE

1 comment:

  1. I see. Who initiated or organized this retreat anyway? He or she must be the one to be questioned for his or her reasons for this if it is really that scandalous. Hearing his or her side would be fair.