Where SHOULD a devout Catholic family live?


#1

A recent question in "Ask an Apologist" renewed an old debate in my mind.

Is it good and desirable to seek out a more Catholic-friendly environment than the one you are in? What cost should be acceptable for such a move?


#2

I think it depends on a lot of criteria...

If someone is struggling with their faith, in any way, shape, or form, oftentimes it is helpful to be around others who can lift them up to a better place... those who need "good examples" in their midst should recognize this and, for the sake of their souls and their family members, live in an area that would provide this Catholic support system.

However, others may have the gift of evangelization, who do not waiver in their faith when persecuted... we NEED people like this in many places and cities. Parents who have this gift should be an example to their children on how to defend the faith, even in the hardship of persecution...

Every family is unique... not one "solution" is best for all.


#3

there was no option for "stay where you are unless you have good reasons across the board to move" or "if like most people you are limited in your choice of where to live, go where you have the best prospects if finding all the elements needed to raise your family properly."

The mistaken notions implicit in the choices given are:
there actually are cities, states, dioceses, environments "more Catholic or more Christian" than others, and if we live their, our family will be automatically protected from evil influence.
and:
What is wrong with my family now, or certain family members, or relationships within the family, is due to the environment we are in, not to conditions within the family or with certain family members, and if we change the environment, problem solved.

both of these are false.

Good Catholic parents raise good Catholic children. If your own faith is so weak you can't live it out in an uncongenial or unsupportive environment, even if you move, you have not met that weakness head on and healed it.

If you are having difficulties in parenting, your marriage, your job, or personal to you or other areas and tend to blame it on any aspect of your environment, that is avoidance and dangerous territory. Moving will do nothing to change the underlying problem, just gives you excuses to avoid dealing with it.

We are called by our baptism to evangelize, to live out as lay people in the world, Christ's message of the gospel and in so doing be a light to others and salt for the earth. We are not called to build a fortress and circle the wagons and insulate ourselves from the world.


#4

As close to other good Catholics as possible, if we are truly a community who love each other then it is only natural that we should want to be neighbours, and it is only by creating truly catholic neighbourhoods that we can really begin to fully live our Catholic Faith.

"Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing:" 2 Cor 6:17


#5

The reason for being part of a Catholic parish, so we have a Catholic "home" within the wider world in which we live, is to provide that support and community. That is why Christ forms us into the community of His Body in Mass.


#6

Puzzleannie, I think rather like you do. I have family members who moved to change their environment so I started thinking about this problem a few years ago.

It initially seems desirable to seek out the "easy" environment. After all, one could theoretically be less concerned about violence, crime, heretical teachings, etc. However, when I think about such an environment, I also become concerned about complacency. Will I truly take charge of my children's formations or will I entrust it to the "village." If I leave it to the latter, what will I do if a hostile attitude (toward Catholicism) comes to the new area. I've already run from the last one and become "soft" as a result.

Personally, I think we should take the attitude that the World is always hostile toward the Church. Even when we are in a "friendly" environment, we need to strengthen ourselves and teach our children to defend their faith.

I once was complacent, myself. I had been lulled into a false sense of security by the World's promise to respect my rights. Thankfully, I was awakened some time ago. Now, my motto is "vigilance." I no longer trust any place I live but recognize there will be problems wherever I go.

Every move, I now think, should be carefully weighed and our freedom to practice religion should be among our considerations, but not necessarily the major one. Were we to return to ancient Rome where Catholics were captured one day and executed the next, I think we still should consider carefully. After all, their blood sanctified Rome. Ours may yet sanctify the land in which we live.
:twocents:


#7

[quote="Advocatus_Fidei, post:4, topic:205446"]
As close to other good Catholics as possible, if we are truly a community who love each other then it is only natural that we should want to be neighbours, and it is only by creating truly catholic neighbourhoods that we can really begin to fully live our Catholic Faith.

"Wherefore, Go out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing:" 2 Cor 6:17

[/quote]

Interesting. Who will, then, create the community where none exists?


#8

[quote="SonCatcher, post:7, topic:205446"]
Interesting. Who will, then, create the community where none exists?

[/quote]

Whoever chooses to do so, all it requires is a few people with the will to make it happen.


#9

There are many reasons for me to be unhappy with where I am living right now, from a personal and career point of view. However, my Parish has daily mass and rosary, and other devotions, such as Divine Mercy, which is more than most parishes have due to the lack of priests, and general indifference to these things. This is worth more than anything else to me, so I happily stay.

If it were a matter of grave personal need, such as unemployment, or to care for relatives, then I would be prepared to move to a parish without daily mass, however in no other circumstances would I consider it.

If i were in a parish without daily mass I would gladly sacrifice my personal fortunes to move to a parish which does have it, but I would think carefully before imposing this on my family. Keeping children close to extended family is also important.

One caveat - these things can change. A good parish can deteriorate, and a weak parish can bloom again, so I'd be research carefully and weigh my investement before moving. It also depends on one's stage in life. I'd be careful about taking a serious risk with my employment if I were younger.

So, yes, emphatically, finding a good parish is vital to me, and very high in the things I consider in choosing where to live. Why would I receive the Lord only once a week, when it can be more often?


#10

As someone who's currently single, I'd in theory like to stay where I am, even if it came to being persecuted, so long as there was a Catholic priest in the area. If they've succeeded in killing every priest in the local area, I'm probably moving.

Of course, I'd also move for other reasons, say, work, or affordability - but even in the best of areas, your faith will be challenged. It is the way of the world.


#11

bump - recent events caused me to think this might be of interest again.


#12

Wherever there are people in need of conversion.


#13

I can see having to move away from a supportive community in the event a family member needs your assistance, or you get offered a really great job elsewhere.

However, can someone clarify exactly what we're talking about when we say "persecution" in this context? I'm pretty sure that unless you're in Saudi Arabia, Catholics are not really getting persecuted. Sure there are people who don't agree with our beliefs and challenge them on a daily basis, but unless you enter a monastery you're not going to escape that. I mean, come on now, I live in Egypt I don't feel persecuted. I find it hard to believe that a Catholic in middle America would feel the need to move away from their home because of religious persecution.


#14

[quote="puzzleannie, post:3, topic:205446"]
there was no option for "stay where you are unless you have good reasons across the board to move" or "if like most people you are limited in your choice of where to live, go where you have the best prospects if finding all the elements needed to raise your family properly."

The mistaken notions implicit in the choices given are:
there actually are cities, states, dioceses, environments "more Catholic or more Christian" than others, and if we live their, our family will be automatically protected from evil influence.
and:
What is wrong with my family now, or certain family members, or relationships within the family, is due to the environment we are in, not to conditions within the family or with certain family members, and if we change the environment, problem solved.

both of these are false.

Good Catholic parents raise good Catholic children. If your own faith is so weak you can't live it out in an uncongenial or unsupportive environment, even if you move, you have not met that weakness head on and healed it.

If you are having difficulties in parenting, your marriage, your job, or personal to you or other areas and tend to blame it on any aspect of your environment, that is avoidance and dangerous territory. Moving will do nothing to change the underlying problem, just gives you excuses to avoid dealing with it.

We are called by our baptism to evangelize, to live out as lay people in the world, Christ's message of the gospel and in so doing be a light to others and salt for the earth. We are not called to build a fortress and circle the wagons and insulate ourselves from the world.

[/quote]

I agree with this but I would say there might be two (or more) considerations that would affect moving.

One is, if the weather is bad enough that it's hard to get out and get around, and that makes church activities and Mass, among other things, more difficult. Some people really can't handle extremes of hot or cold, or a lot of rain or ice.

The other is if you live in a really expensive area where people have big houses and a lot of stuff and you find it takes one or both parents doing the rat race to afford it all. In that case it might make sense to move out of an ultra-expensive neighborhood so that the kids are not being pressured to have all the latest stuff.

but this is about types of environments that are good or bad for a particular family, not the idea that you have to live in Minnesota to be a good Catholic. In that sense, I don't agree that you have to move. I don't think you can name certain cities or states or etc. as Catholic-approved and others, not. As puzzleannie said.

Also, I think the Internet makes it easier to find people who think/socialize/believe like you - like Catholics at a local church that isn't the same as yours, or another parish you hadn't tried, or information on Catholic religious or social activities in your area. With the Internet it is a lot easier to find people, wherever you live.

Some people can't handle the noise and etc. of cities and others can't handle the remoteness of isolated rural areas. It's important to take that into account too.


#15

It depends. Oftentimes the kind of job that one has determines where they are going to live. Personally, i wish that we didn't have to live in apartment complexes but that is all that we can be in right now. We are in a good location to get to work, buy groceries, go to Mass, etc. As for as building community, that often can happen at church although what you end up doing is forming little groups of people. Also, there is the internet. A "friendly" environment can mean many things. I live in a big city. Is it friendly? To a degree, yes. Granted, we have lots of problems with crime in some areas but where I live, there isn't much. Nothing terrible. The people here in my neighborhood are quiet and don't interact much with other people. We barely speak to any of our neighbors :(.

I think that one can flourish anywhere. It just takes faith and being friendly. Are there things that offend? Sure. You will get that everywhere though and frankly, you have to learn to deal with it. I don't think it is very healthy to live in a completely like-minded environment, especially for children.


#16

:thumbsup:


#17

[quote="meltoine, post:13, topic:205446"]
I can see having to move away from a supportive community in the event a family member needs your assistance, or you get offered a really great job elsewhere.

However, can someone clarify exactly what we're talking about when we say "persecution" in this context? I'm pretty sure that unless you're in Saudi Arabia, Catholics are not really getting persecuted. Sure there are people who don't agree with our beliefs and challenge them on a daily basis, but unless you enter a monastery you're not going to escape that. I mean, come on now, I live in Egypt I don't feel persecuted. I find it hard to believe that a Catholic in middle America would feel the need to move away from their home because of religious persecution.

[/quote]

I left that open because different people have different ideas on what constitutes persecution. Although, I generally intend "worst persecution" to be similar to the early days when governments encouraged citizens to turn in Christians for execution for the mere "crime" of being Christian.


#18

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