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Offline Matthew

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Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
« on: June 19, 2013, 12:34:06 PM »
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  • Quick -- think of a typical rural family living on land. Picture a barn, tractor, several farm implements (including large equipment: hay baler, etc.) with horses and cows grazing on their acreage.

    Are they protestant or Catholic?

    Unfortunately, the answer is usually "protestant" or even "un-churched".

    I would say virtually all of them pay some kind of lip-service respect to God, but many of them are un-churched or non-religious.

    Some of these good-old-boys go to something like a "country church" -- a watered down form of mainstream Protestantism where everyone comes "as they are", etc. This is one of those many "churches" that doesn't expect anything out of you Monday thru Saturday. We have a church like that around here -- it's called "The Country Church" and it's something of a franchise. It has several "locations", and even a logo (a cowboy off his horse, kneeling next to a crude rendering of a cross made of 2 sticks). You see this logo and/or a sign that says "I love the Country Church" on many 100+ acre ranches around here.

    Here is my point:

    How can a person be Catholic -- valuing the Sacraments -- and still live out "in the boonies" where there is no Catholic Church (at least not a traditional one)?

    Protestants have no issues, since they can still read their Bible on Sunday wherever they are. And it seems like many have taken advantage of this fact.

    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city. Not just smaller towns, I mean the CITY as in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, etc. since that's where the other Catholics lived, and that's where the best schools and parishes were. It's also where CULTURE was to be found. And Catholics traditionally have had no problem embracing true culture.

    So how are we to "return to the land" if it's fundamentally inimical to living a Traditional Catholic life, centered around the Mass and the Sacraments?
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    Offline Matto

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 12:54:51 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city.

    I don't think this is true. For over a thousand years, most Catholics were peasants who farmed the land in Europe.
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    Offline Incredulous

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 01:05:23 PM »
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  • Father Denis Fahey, Bishop Williamson and others have emphasized that being close to the land is being closer to God, it's creator.
    "Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it underfoot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor but a destroyer."  St. Francis of Assisi

    Offline jen51

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 01:07:29 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matto
    Quote from: Matthew
    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city.

    I don't think this is true. For over a thousand years, most Catholics were peasants who farmed the land in Europe.


    Well, yeah, but that was when you could count on your local country parish to be a truly Catholic one.

    We aren't so fortunate these days.
    Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.
    ~James 1:27

    Offline Matthew

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 01:27:20 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matto
    Quote from: Matthew
    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city.

    I don't think this is true. For over a thousand years, most Catholics were peasants who farmed the land in Europe.


    Did they live in the boonies, or were cities a lot different back then? Did they live on land outside the city, close to many others?

    Just because they had animals and grew crops didn't mean they lived far from a city. Do you think cities were always concrete jungles?

    Do you really think in Catholic Europe it was commonplace to see  individualistic, American-style rural living?

    I don't think so.

    My point in starting this thread is to discuss a true Catholic version of rural living -- what Americans get wrong when they do it, etc.

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    Offline jen51

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 01:28:29 PM »
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  • This topic hits incredibly close to home for me. I'm one of those Catholics who returned to the land after living in the big city. And you guessed it, no traditional sacraments to be had within 3 hours driving distance. I moved while still under the impression that I could endure the NO for my Sunday obligation and make it to a TLM once a month or something. That is not how it turned out. I ended up forsaking the NO.

    This is just my opinion, and it's based solely on how this situation has affected me, so please take it as just that- my opinion. Living a long way from the sacraments for a long period of time by choice is not tenable. On earth our chief aim is to attain heaven. Without the sacraments, we significantly lower our chances. Some people are stuck far away by circumstances, but that's a different situation.

    Getting back to the land doesn't have to mean owning a lot of acres or living on a big piece of land. Getting back to the land can be accomplished by owning or renting a few acres just outside of town, still within driving distance to a Traditional Mass.
    Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.
    ~James 1:27

    Offline Matthew

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 01:29:25 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matto
    Quote from: Matthew
    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city.

    I don't think this is true. For over a thousand years, most Catholics were peasants who farmed the land in Europe.


    See my post (below).

    But just for starters, if most Catholics were out in the boonies, then why are there so many huge cathedrals in the major cities of Europe?

    I don't think history backs up your statement. On the contrary, Catholicism has always been primarily a city phenomenon. Even in the days of Our Lord, He went to where the people were!

    Rural living being better for a person (especially for one's soul) is another story. That goes without saying.

    But Catholics need Mass once a week. It's hard to do that when the nearest chapel is 3 hours away by horse.
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    Offline JohnGrey

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 01:29:28 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    Quick -- think of a typical rural family living on land. Picture a barn, tractor, several farm implements (including large equipment: hay baler, etc.) with horses and cows grazing on their acreage.

    Are they protestant or Catholic?

    Unfortunately, the answer is usually "protestant" or even "un-churched".

    I would say virtually all of them pay some kind of lip-service respect to God, but many of them are un-churched or non-religious.

    Some of these good-old-boys go to something like a "country church" -- a watered down form of mainstream Protestantism where everyone comes "as they are", etc. This is one of those many "churches" that doesn't expect anything out of you Monday thru Saturday. We have a church like that around here -- it's called "The Country Church" and it's something of a franchise. It has several "locations", and even a logo (a cowboy off his horse, kneeling next to a crude rendering of a cross made of 2 sticks). You see this logo and/or a sign that says "I love the Country Church" on many 100+ acre ranches around here.

    Here is my point:

    How can a person be Catholic -- valuing the Sacraments -- and still live out "in the boonies" where there is no Catholic Church (at least not a traditional one)?

    Protestants have no issues, since they can still read their Bible on Sunday wherever they are. And it seems like many have taken advantage of this fact.

    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city. Not just smaller towns, I mean the CITY as in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, etc. since that's where the other Catholics lived, and that's where the best schools and parishes were. It's also where CULTURE was to be found. And Catholics traditionally have had no problem embracing true culture.

    So how are we to "return to the land" if it's fundamentally inimical to living a Traditional Catholic life, centered around the Mass and the Sacraments?


    The only thing that can reasonably be done is to pray more fervently for the grace to abide in sanctification for longer periods between access to the legitimate Sacraments of the Church, to make sacrifices, whether time or money, to travel to a traditional Church if logistically possible, and to pray for greater access to clergy.


    Offline Matthew

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 01:33:12 PM »
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  • Quote from: jen51
    Getting back to the land doesn't have to mean owning a lot of acres or living on a big piece of land. Getting back to the land can be accomplished by owning or renting a few acres just outside of town, still within driving distance to a Traditional Mass.


    That's essentially what we did, when we picked out our "forever home".

    We picked a place within driving distance of our SSPX chapel. It's actually pretty far away, but since the highway is a straight shot (and 70 MPH), it only takes 41 minutes to get there.
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    Offline jen51

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 01:37:06 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    Quote from: jen51
    Getting back to the land doesn't have to mean owning a lot of acres or living on a big piece of land. Getting back to the land can be accomplished by owning or renting a few acres just outside of town, still within driving distance to a Traditional Mass.


    That's essentially what we did, when we picked out our "forever home".

    We picked a place within driving distance of our SSPX chapel. It's actually pretty far away, but since the highway is a straight shot (and 70 MPH), it only takes 41 minutes to get there.


    41 minutes, lol. You've got it clocked to the minute!

    What you describe is my ideal. Maybe a little bit closer to Mass, but 41 minutes is not bad at all. I would certainly take it!
    Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation: and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.
    ~James 1:27

    Offline ShepherdofSheep

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 01:51:57 PM »
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  • The closest traditional Mass for me is about two hours away, and I live on a farm with livestock (sheep).  It's a sacrifice to assist at Holy Mass even once a week, and there are some weeks, particularly during lambing season, when I simply cannot make it, because I have to be home to watch over ewes in labor, and care for weak lambs.  If I could run down to a church in town and be back in an hour, it would be easier, certainly.  I can't bring a hypothermic lamb with me to Mass.  Then there's the inevitable Sunday morning Caesarian section every other year, or the extreme ice storm in January.

    There's an old European tradition in which shepherds are buried with a tuft of wool in their hands, to show St. Peter that they were shepherds, thus excusing occasional lapses in Mass attendance.  This was during those days in which one could be assured that what was offered was the true Mass, not some heretical counterfeit!  There will always be difficulties, not always related to distance.

    I will say that for me, rural living is infinitely better for my soul, and without a doubt the experience of caring for livestock has made me a better Catholic.  While I'd love to assist at Mass every morning if I could, God has placed me in this situation and I will do my best to live my faith and obtain the sacraments as often as I can.
    The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.  But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth, and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep.  A


    Offline Cantarella

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 02:01:00 PM »
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  • For a true Catholic, it is always indispensable having access to valid sacraments. That means you must be within driving distance of a Catholic Church. There is not other way around it.

    Also, Catholics have always been IN the world. Christian civilization wouldn't have been possible if Catholics were isolated peasants. We are there, where the action is. Traditionally, Catholics have lived within city limits or very close to it. The "return to the land movement" is a logical consequence of the modern society we live in, which is growing increasingly hostile for Catholics and their large families. However, I think that even if a Catholic goes rural, he/she must have access to a Catholic church.

    Another thing is that America has protestant roots and most towns have only a protestant "come as you are" chapel whereas in traditionally Catholic countries, all cities and towns had at least one Catholic church. That was the most important part of town. Most Catholic countries still have churches in each town, but obviously they have fallen to the errors of the Novus Ordo.  

    I agree that Rural living is incompatible with Catholicism, unless you have access to a Catholic Church. How can a true Catholic live without taking Communion, for example?
    If anyone says that true and natural water is not necessary for baptism and thus twists into some metaphor the words of our Lord Jesus Christ" Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit" (Jn 3:5) let him be anathema.

    Offline PereJoseph

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 02:13:57 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    My point in starting this thread is to discuss a true Catholic version of rural living -- what Americans get wrong when they do it, etc.


    Thomas Jefferson was disgusted with the French villages that he said "chained the peasant to his popish Mass" or something like that.  He thought that the Frenchman would not know the true dignity of upright manhood until he was able to separate his nuclear family from their relatives and from their sacraments and from community life, go out to the country, and live alone on his own property in sober virtue.  These were peasants, let us remember, who performed agrarian tasks daily.  But they typically had common fields and long lots and would have lived very near to others like them.

    This is a trend that began in the High Middle Ages, however.  Prior to this (but after the fading of the Western Roman Empire), most people lived on the large estate of the patrician/noble class in the protective shadow of their lord's castle or villa.  The large latifundia of the Roman patron-client system were adopted wholesale by the incoming Germanic warrior posses, and most people soon became the servants of some lord of a great hall, or his vassal or his vassal's vassal.  Of course, I am speaking of northwestern and central Europe specifically here.  

    In the Mediterranean, there was still town life and professional classes, but they were organised into corporations that had local monopolies and controlled prices.  Guild dues endowed the corporation with enough funds to care for the widows and children of deceased members, or else to heal the ailing.  This model of communal living later spread northward from Italy and permeated the whole of western Europe.

    I think you are right, though, Matthew.  Catholics do not seem to have ever lived alone with their nuclear families and far off from other Catholics.  In every age and place where the Faith has transformed one's culture, it seems impossible to find an "individual."  Everybody was, instead, deeply embedded into some kind of community or fraternal corporation or order or house or bund -- hermits excepted, of course.

    Offline PereJoseph

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 02:26:50 PM »
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  • On the other hand, large cities tend towards decadence and moral corruption as well as a certain uprootedness or parasitic existence.  They key would be, I think, to attempt to have the benefits of urban and manorial culture while limiting the dangers posed by urban softness and vanity.  It seems that emphasis on corporative organisations and fraternal orders that pertain to one's livelihood would be essential to any Catholic community.  

    Likewise -- and here is the uncomfortable truth for North Americans -- one could not maintain social equality or a massive professional middle class.  A frank conversation about social class will eventually have to occur if any Catholic community hopes to be viable; otherwise it will become a moot point because of social stratification being a fait accompli.

    Offline TheKnightVigilant

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    Rural living incompatible with Catholicism?
    « Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 02:29:48 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    Quote from: Matto
    Quote from: Matthew
    Meanwhile, most Catholics traditionally have lived in the city.

    I don't think this is true. For over a thousand years, most Catholics were peasants who farmed the land in Europe.


    See my post (below).

    But just for starters, if most Catholics were out in the boonies, then why are there so many huge cathedrals in the major cities of Europe?

    I don't think history backs up your statement. On the contrary, Catholicism has always been primarily a city phenomenon. Even in the days of Our Lord, He went to where the people were!

    Rural living being better for a person (especially for one's soul) is another story. That goes without saying.

    But Catholics need Mass once a week. It's hard to do that when the nearest chapel is 3 hours away by horse.


    The majority of (formerly) Catholic Churches in England are small rural Churches, in or near tiny villages. Not in cities.

     

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