To: Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
From: Lou McCabe, S.J.
Thank you for your letter of introduction and inquiry of 23 June 2000.
I will begin a dialogue by answering briefly.
First, I am assuming that interreligious dialogue does not include work with other Christian churches. We have a very strong and consistent contact with other Christians here. But we have almost no contact with members of non-Christian religions. Once in a while a member of the Jewish faith will make one of our regular retreats or seek spiritual direction from one of our staff.
Secondly, I am cautious about hosting events for non-Christian groups here. We have had requests from Buddhists, for example, to hold their own Buddhist retreat in our house. We had to say no to them because we have no open dates on our schedule. And I am very aware that our retreat house has to keep up its identity as Jesuit and Ignatian, so I want a significant majority of our retreats to be clearly Roman Catholic and Ignatian. At present the outside groups that have reserved time here are all Christian. Furthermore, none of our programs draw upon other religious traditions. There are many groups of spiritually minded persons in Colorado that draw from Native American and Asian religions. This openness to any type of spirituality is in vogue right now, but, in my judgement, not good to be associated with our retreat house. Fund-raising is always a need for our retreat houses and most of it comes from committed Catholics who are basically unaware of ecumenism and ignorant of interreligious dialogue. A clearly identified Roman Catholic and Jesuit identity is necessary for continuing fund-raising and financial health.
The members of our staff are open to contacts with members of other religions, but no one here is trained in or has experience of interreligious dialogue. We would be open to hosting an interreligious dialogue between representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and representatives of other world religions, especially if Jesuits or Jesuit ministries were involved. But it seems to me that this would be a dialogue and not a retreat.
I hope these comments are helpful to you.
Created: September 3, 2000 Updated: September 3, 2000