I was a bit taken aback when I read the item in the Local Briefs section of The Catholic Telegraph. The headline, "Local deacons attend national conference," caught my attention. What surprised me was that the conference wast held on board the Norwegian Cruise Line's "Pride of America," as it toured the Hawaiian Islands.
I admit that I'd like to go on a cruise sometime, and if I ever do, I'd like to be able to attend some conferences on-board ala a Catholic Answers cruise or a National Review cruise. Those cruises, however, are typically money-making cruises for the host organization. Those attending know it, and they know that they are taking a vacation (hopefully well-earned).
But when it comes to a national conference of ordained clerics, I expect some minimum level of asceticism. The point should be to get away from the excesses of the material world to concentrate on something higher. Somehow, hosting a discussion on "Social Justice and Outreach" on board a cruise liner misses the point.