How would a "Catholic town" differ from any other town surrounding it?


#1

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would start a new thread, unrelated to the ACLU issue, regarding the possibility of building a Catholic town.

A lot of posters had a lot of good ideas and I think it’s important to continue the discussion.

With that in mind, here are some more of my ideas:

First of all, the town would function much like any other town including the fact that visitors and citizens would be free to come and go as they please.

It would have a City Council, it would have a Church or two, it would have Catholic schools, businesses, a hospital, maybe even a University, and for sure a “Catholic legal defense” group :wink:

The difference for me would be that all of these entities would be run with a “Catholic” perspective in mind. That is to say, it would be a town that governed itself in a 100% pro-life capacity. Beyond that an idealic town, IMHO, would seek to follow Christ as He spoke on the Sermon on the Mount. We would be 100% American, as the Founding Fathers originally intended Americans to live. (We’ll let the Catholic Defense council put it in legalese for us…)

I see nothing wrong with capitalism as long as it is governed and tempered by morality as defined by the gospels and as Jesus Christ spells it out for us. We can’t allow money and “economics” to determine our policies, we must draw up in our charter some moral parameters. I have complete confidence that prayerful Catholics can come to a moral agreement about government…for this town.

All in all, we will be surrounded by other towns, hopefully some will be Jewish, some Italian, some Asian or Indian. Some towns will be integrated and many will be no different than the chaos we see out there today. The important thing is that these towns learn to co-exist near each other, but they don’t have to be a cookie cutter of the next town. Each could respect the “charters” of the towns around them.

We, as christians, have a commandment from the Lord to love others as we love ourselves. As Pope Benedict pointed out we must Love others without expecting anything in return. We can do that by being good neighbors to the neighboring towns.

…And, IF we do it right, just maybe our witness as Catholics living the gospel will produce profound results and, …“he will add to our numbers daily…” :slight_smile:


#2

It sounds like a really great vision.

Is that kind of like the Vatican?

Alan


#3

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Is that kind of like the Vatican?

Alan
[/quote]

…uhhh…I don’t thinks so…Not too many children running around the Vatican :thumbsup:

But it does sound maybe like an early christian community brought up to modern times. It’s all a fantasy…".unless the Lord build the house."

Sometimes the world feels like it is a runaway train going downhill with no brakes and no way of knowing what kind of collision will stop it…so if it were God’s will to form these little communities, wouldn’t it be one way of helping to “preserve” the Faith for future generations?

…just a thought.


#4

[quote=seabird3579]…uhhh…I don’t thinks so…Not too many children running around the Vatican :thumbsup:

But it does sound maybe like an early christian community brought up to modern times. It’s all a fantasy…".unless the Lord build the house."

Sometimes the world feels like it is a runaway train going downhill with no brakes and no way of knowing what kind of collision will stop it…so if it were God’s will to form these little communities, wouldn’t it be one way of helping to “preserve” the Faith for future generations?

…just a thought.
[/quote]

I like the vision. Unfortunately I keep preventing myself from enjoying it too much for I am bogged down in thinking of the practical difficulties in setting up such an endeavor.

The only thing I can think of is that the entire city has to be privately owned, so that the owner can specify who can live there. Kind of like a great big Disneyland, but with a religious theme rather than a commercial one.

Of course, I am only familiar with our own culture and to some degree with its laws, so it is possible this would be easier somewhere other than in the U.S.

Alan


#5

It is hard enough finding an Catholic parish community with a distinct and compelling Catholic identity from the rest of the surrounding community, let alone a whole town! :frowning:

My point is that the integrity of Catholic identity between infrastructure and witness to the gospel is often lacking/lost/adandoned from pew to surrounding community. Since a small scale (parish) seems difficult to attain, then maybe the infrastructure afforded by an entire town may better facilitate the answer to establishing a “city set on a hill” (Matt 5:14).


#6

Here it is:

http://www.buffalonews.com/graphics/2006/03/02/0302cathtown.jpg

Catholic town, Catholic law

NAPLES, Fla. - If Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has his way, a new town being built in Florida will be governed according to strict Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control. The pizza magnate is bankrolling the project with at least $250 million and calls it “God’s will.”

 Civil libertarians call the  plan unconstitutional and  threaten to sue. 

The town of Ave Maria is being built around Ave Maria University, the first Catholic university established in the United States in about 40 years. Both are set to open next year about 25 miles east of Naples in southwestern Florida.

The town and the university, developed in partnership with the Barron Collier Co., an agricultural and real estate business, will be located on 5,000 acres with a European-inspired town center, a massive church and what planners call the largest crucifix in the nation, at nearly 65 feet tall. Monaghan envisions 11,000 homes and 20,000 residents.
more…


#7

If the town is self sufficient and the land is privately owned and does not ask for state or federal funding there is not much anybody can do to stop them. Mennonites do it an d i think hutterites do it. Also ther was a Russian Orhtodox group called the Old believers who purchased land in Alaska and set up ther own community. If you pay your state reale estate taxes your and no one is forced to live there it should be fine. Any community can do this if you have the bulk of the community like minded. God Bless. I would love to be ableto be part of something like that.


#8

It seems like it could be an expanded concept on a cloister.

The city could be a place where people go to get away from the spiritual and social battles outside the city, and gain strength. It could be like a “recharging station” for those who fight the good fight out here in the streets, to go for a retreat.

Those people who live there could either stay there, or venture out into the world knowing they have a place where they will ostensibly be able to escape the insanity.

Alan


#9

[quote=Vintagecoils]If the town is self sufficient and the land is privately owned and does not ask for state or federal funding there is not much anybody can do to stop them.
[/quote]

As soon as someone sells/rents a couple of houses to non-Catholics (and it’s against Federal Law to discriminate on housing issues for religious reasons) then the voter base goes out the window.

Additionally, as soon as the town council (or is Mr.Monaghan planning to run this as a kingdom?) votes a religion based ordinance, like say, forbidding pharmacies from stocking contraceptives, then they will run afoul of the 1st Amendment and be successfully sued.

My prediction is that bunch of Lawyers are going to get even richer over this one.


#10

After hearing the story on it, it seems there are is a lot more hype on the restrictions that what there actually will be. They probably are too smart to put restrictions they know won’t stand in the courts. But I’d guess the hope is you get enough of the same like minded people wanting to go there, you might have a better chance of keeping people who have opposing view points on certain issues. Like say in a normal city, if one opens a porn shop, people might want to protest, which leads to more advertisement and more business. In a city like this the porn shop owners might just want to stay out, cause not many will want to go. After a while though, all that could be thrown out the window. The aims of a place, especially after being so high, tend to lessen as time goes on.


#11

[quote=BillP]Additionally, as soon as the town council (or is Mr.Monaghan planning to run this as a kingdom?) votes a religion based ordinance, like say, forbidding pharmacies from stocking contraceptives, then they will run afoul of the 1st Amendment and be successfully sued.

My prediction is that bunch of Lawyers are going to get even richer over this one.
[/quote]

In the Catholic town that I’m describing, “The” pharmacy will be owned and run by a Catholic. They won’t be seeking contraceptives.

You see, in my conceptual view of it anyway, the Town is very small. It will only need one pharmacy, one grocery store or market, one library, one or two schools, one Church. These type of “towns” really, as far as size is concerned, would only be about three square miles or so… They are small and they would service the members living there plus some kind of “export” businesses; and by that, I mean exported to other nearby towns, such as fruits and vegetables, American made furniture, textiles (clothing, etc.) books, printed and “published.” Catholic towns could produce enough products and revenue to sustain itself, and in addition, contribute extra or tithe to the Diocese that it finds itself in. We wouldn’t be going for a “global” type of economy.


#12

I believe it will succeed for a time. I doubt that it will last for more than a generation or two give the track record of Utopias. Nevertheless, I think it is well worth the effort. It might well last a good deal longer but it takes a good deal of discipline to pull it off. If we can we hope to join them. We will see.

CDL


#13

[quote=GregoryPalamas]I believe it will succeed for a time. I doubt that it will last for more than a generation or two give the track record of Utopias. Nevertheless, I think it is well worth the effort. It might well last a good deal longer but it takes a good deal of discipline to pull it off. If we can we hope to join them. We will see.

CDL
[/quote]

Oh, I don’t know, look how well and how “long” the Mennonites and Amish have lasted. They do a thriving business that they are able to sustain themselves and their community with. In addition, a Catholic town would not prevent their members from coming and going. It would not seek to shut itself off from the rest of the world, it might even have a tourist Bed and Breakfast, but the governance of this town would be drafted by Catholics, for Catholics.


#14

Also, while we’re on the subject of how the town might be laid out, let me say I’ve really admired the way some smaller European towns are laid out.

Many of them have green rolling hills, much of the town is used for agriculture and the “downtown” area is conducive to community life. Downtown, where most of the shops are located, can be traversed by foot, has park benches and eating establishments with outside dining. There is usually a small park nearby, etc.

If a town were for instance, 3 square miles, I would think at least 50% of it would be agricultural land, 35% housing and 15% “business” district (the downtown I describe above). Simplicity would be the model and intention.


#15

[quote=AlanFromWichita]I like the vision. Unfortunately I keep preventing myself from enjoying it too much for I am bogged down in thinking of the practical difficulties in setting up such an endeavor.

The only thing I can think of is that the entire city has to be privately owned, so that the owner can specify who can live there. Kind of like a great big Disneyland, but with a religious theme rather than a commercial one.

Of course, I am only familiar with our own culture and to some degree with its laws, so it is possible this would be easier somewhere other than in the U.S.

Alan
[/quote]

Well, Alan, as far as being privately owned, to some degree you are correct. However, what I envision is that a “core” group of Catholics would get together, PRAY, agree on a a charter, and purchase a lot of acreage, Or, purchase a town that dying and need to be purchased to survive. Part of the purchase would include the fact that the group intends to write a “new” charter for the city and basically start from scratch. That is why purchasing a lot of acreage as a joint venture would probably be more practical.

There are some states with laws that will assist people who want to “improve” land that is vacant. With a Catholic town showing that 50% of its purchase is intended for agricultural purposes, they may even have states “offering” land to be developed for a very low purchase price or even free. My great-grandparents were “homesteaded” in North Dakota back in the early 1900s. They were actually “given” large amounts of land for farming purposes. It was darn cold, but they eaked out a living. A little Catholic church stood in the middle of town, and to this day their namesplates are inscribed in the vestibule. It is still a farming town, but many of my relatives have since left and moved on.

My Catholic town would put Faith first, agriculture, business, etc…second. I don’t fault any of them for leaving the harsh climate, many of their homes were built from rocks in the beginning, wood later on. They did acceptionally well considering the elements they were facing and what they had to work with.


#16

[quote=Vintagecoils]If the town is self sufficient and the land is privately owned and does not ask for state or federal funding there is not much anybody can do to stop them. Mennonites do it an d i think hutterites do it. Also ther was a Russian Orhtodox group called the Old believers who purchased land in Alaska and set up ther own community. If you pay your state reale estate taxes your and no one is forced to live there it should be fine. Any community can do this if you have the bulk of the community like minded. God Bless. I would love to be ableto be part of something like that.
[/quote]

Dear Vin,
…thanks for posting, I think many of us are hoping something comes to fruition through all of this. That’s why I was hoping people would feel free to write down their “dream” Catholic town. This might be a grassroots move of the Holy Spirit to call Catholics to a deeper faith, and, a chance to preserve the Faith in a special way.

If you go onto realtor.com, for instance, there are lots of places in the country that are wide open land for sale, and, the possibility of development exists.

I, too would like to be a part of a serious effort to pursue this, but it would definitely need Catholic professionals, businessmen, realtors and farmers to get involved, so I’ll wait and see the interest level for a later date. Right now, it’s just good to get a consensus on how different Catholics would envision a small, Catholic town.

Peace,
Brenda


#17

[quote=jman507]After hearing the story on it, it seems there are is a lot more hype on the restrictions that what there actually will be. They probably are too smart to put restrictions they know won’t stand in the courts. But I’d guess the hope is you get enough of the same like minded people wanting to go there, you might have a better chance of keeping people who have opposing view points on certain issues. Like say in a normal city, if one opens a porn shop, people might want to protest, which leads to more advertisement and more business. In a city like this the porn shop owners might just want to stay out, cause not many will want to go. After a while though, all that could be thrown out the window. The aims of a place, especially after being so high, tend to lessen as time goes on.
[/quote]

I was thinking about what you were saying about porn shops. But I don’t envision this being a problem at all. If in the purchase of this small town, the “core” group would have to have the town laid out physically (on paper) before the final purchase. If the business district is only 15% and it is completely slotted as to what will be where, and the rest of the land is allotted to agriculture and housing, basically there won’t be any room for “extra” curricular businesses. Also, we would need the Catholic legal experts to weigh in on this, but I would think that the town could specify in their charter that certain kinds of businesses would be prohibited from obtaining “space” within the town’s borders.

Afterall, didn’t the Founding Fathers of this country do as much with the towns they created? I believe the Constitution would be on our side. But then that goes back to the ACLU debate, and, that’s on the other thread. :slight_smile:


#18

More thoughts to consider about the creation of Catholic towns…

These small Catholic towns, if they began popping up in different places, would not have to be exactly the same.

The Church is very diverse that way. Look at all the different religious orders. Each has a different “charism”. Each Order has a slightly different mission, but All are Catholic.

That is why it is good to share ideas and visions.

Some Catholic towns could be on the larger side, maybe more professionally oriented, and possibly their charism would involve a Catholic University, etc…

Some Catholic towns could be much smaller, less complicated, family and agriculturally oriented.

Others could be a combination, what is important is the charter and having it drafted by Catholic professionals, faithful to the Magisterium, so that it is able to accomplish its “mission.”

It would almost be a mindset opposite of globalism, instead these small towns would sustain themselves by what they produced, including trading with other small towns (hopefully Catholic but not necessarily) and specific charters that would prevent let’s say the Wal-Marts of the world from hosing in.

Now, Wal-Mart has it’s defenders and that is not the purpose of this thread, but, one of the reasons for having a small Catholic town is to help children get in touch with what it is to farm the land, wait patiently for it to produce, harvest the land and send the produce to the market place.

Children would have the opportunity to learn all of the aspects of business in one small environment. It would be my hope that this would instill compassion in them for those who work the land and are employed in the process of production.

They would see first hand just how difficult the job is, and, the importance of quality.


#19

It’s just me, with more thoughts…

One thing needed in these small towns would be the raising of sheep for wool, and cotton for cotton textiles. If the town intended to be eventually self-sustaining, having children learn the craft of spinning textiles to produce “simple” clothing would be very beneficial.

In fact, it might be very refreshing to teach children how to produce clothing that is modest and functional first, stylistic third. Embroidery is almost a lost art. It has been my experience that kids love to sew and create. They can’t get enough of it, once they learn the basics. Unfortunately, the fast pace of modern society has all but lost these fine textile arts that a Catholic town could put an emphasis on. And, all of these things could be sold in the business district of the town. In fact, with the scarcity of American made products, they could be in high demand.

The more I think about it, there really aren’t any “down-sides.”

Anybody else care to comment.


#20

Yes.

It has actually got me wondering if a person like me (lotsa time, no experience) could get this sort of thing going here in Kansas.

Alan


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