This via e-mail:
I am writing with a couple of questions. First off, there is a parish about 4 hours from my home that is beautiful, traditional, offers the Latin Mass as well as many other activities that are unavailable where I currently live, yet it would be most desirable to participate in them to facilitate the type of life that we are trying to lead in our home. I am dreaming of moving nearby it, imagining that the increase of faith for my family would be well worth the inconveniences of moving. What we have available to us is just, well okay, if not downright poor. We do currently attend a Latin Mass, about 30 miles from home, but feel that we have no parish life or involvement even at that distance. The point is, that it brings up an interesting discussion – is moving to be close to a parish that would suit your family make sense? Is it reasonable? My husband doesn’t think that he would move for that, as it could change in a second. I mentioned that the idea of moving to be near this particular church is the only thing that has made me remotely interested in moving out of state! Now, we aren’t arguing about it or anything, it is a hypothetical discussion at the moment. We have no other reasons to desire moving. What is your take on this?
That is a poser. There are so many factors to consider I don’t know how to advise you concretely, but here are some things to mull.
On the one hand, your spiritual concerns for the family should be at the top of the list of things to provide for. A parish is certainly going to be important in that regard. But we remember also that the Church calls the family home the "domestic church". There are many things you can do at home to make up for what you are not getting at a local parish. Even when your parish is very good, you must be very conscious of the family home as the domestic church. Also, what your husband is concerned with is true: parishes can change very quickly depending on the who the parish priest is. I no one parish which for years was pretty robust and is now effectively disintegrating. It will become something else, for better or worse, no question, but it won’t be the same. People who moved to be near that parish might find themselves pretty alienated and disappointed. Others might choose to move to the area.
Furthermore, there is some value in being attached to your geographical parish, though I think with our high mobility this is breaking down now.
So, there are a lot of factors to consider. I can sure sympathize with your desire to have some parish life. I wonder if the added expense in time and money incurred by driving to that parish you like might not wind up being cheaper than relocation. I don’t know… the housing market is pretty strange now.
Also, I am wondering what you think of women wearing a veil at Mass? I am considering it, though I feel no pressure to do so, and my daughters would like to join me in this practice. I am beyond trying to sort out the "Canon Law never changed to say that women no longer needed to wear a veil" argument, I have just been doing some reading on the subject.
I have written about this quite a few times on the blog and elsewhere. I guess this demonstrates that I really do need to update or change this blog’s template and get a search feature. But I digress…
According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, for the Latin Church, women are no longer obliged to cover their heads, usually by wearing chapel veils (mantillas), in church. However, I think it is a very good idea. It is a fine centuries old tradition rooted in Scripture. St. Paul calls for this. However, according to the Church law you are not obliged.
Some people might try to tell you that because the 1983 Code doesn’t mention head coverings or chapel veils, and doesn’t explicitly eradicate the obligation to keep their heads covered, then therefore you are still obliged. If you hear or read this, feel free to smile politely and think to yourself: "Hogwash". The present canon law does not oblige you, though – to repeat – it is a fine custom, rooted in Scripture, which helps to reinforce our Catholic identity. I am very much in favor of it. I know from discussions on the Catholic Online Forum that women who have begun to wear chapel veils have interesting insights about how it has affected them and others.
I am sure readers will want to chime in about the issue of moving and parishes. Some of them are sure to have personal experiences which could be helpful to you.
However, I will limit the discussion about head coverings and chapel veils mostly to what women have to say about them and probably just delete comments that stray into convoluted (erroneous) arguments about how the law really does still oblige women… blah blah blah…