Pope Benedict XVI is spending his first 3 days visiting Australia “relaxing” in Kenthurst, a semi-rural retreat run by Opus Dei, run by the Catholic Church.
Having arrived by plane at RAAF Base Richmond (incidentally where I was based for 3 years), the Pope was taken directly to Kenthurst Study Centre, in the North West of Sydney.
The Study Centre does not allow televisions (although personal radios are permitted), has volleyball, tennis and basketball courts as well as a swimming pool, should of course the Pope feel in the mood for more than a brisk walk in the tranquil gardens, use the walking trails, catch views of the Blue Mountains, or even play piano (he is quite equipped to play Mozart, although given the lack of time he gets to practice these days, Bach is probably expecting a bit much).
Whilst at Kenthurst, the Pope will participate in daily prayers, as well as resting. The centre is similar to a large country home, but with the decor that would be deemed most suitable to an Opus Dei residence. The rooms for guests feature a single bed, desk sofa, and small heater, so are thus simple but comfortable.
After his retreat, Pope Benedict XVI will move to Cathedral House in Sydney, where he will stay with Cardinal George Pell for the remainder of his stay in Australia, where he should be appreciating the views of Cook and Phillip Park – if only they weren’t still under construction having long exceeded the February completion date.