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Should you stay or should you go? August 31, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.

I have been asked by people at times, when I blog on something about a given parish, perhaps, whether they should leave their parish or stay there after they learn about things that may not be so great.  The issue seems to devolve down to – should we stay and continue to try to witness and change that particular parish, or should we leave and go find a home more conducive to what Christ seems to be calling us to?  This is a very difficult issue to decide, very personal.  I have counseled in the past that it is really up to the individual or family to make this call.  However, a few thoughts on this topic:

  • If you wish to stay and witness, how do you plan on going about that?  That is to say, can you find some specific things you can do that might help bring a greater reverence, or abandonment to Christ, in your parish? 
  • It may be possible to both leave, and stay.  One big factor for people is not giving money to causes that their sensus fidei has revealed to them to be antithetical to the Faith.  They are concerned about where their donations go.  In this case, you could switch parishes on Sunday, making your tithe at a place where you don’t have such concerns.  You could maintain a presence in your current parish via daily Mass and/or involvement in organizations.  I know to some, however, that feels like “cheating.” 
  • If you do decide to leave, know that you’re unlikely to find a parish that is all beer and skittles, all the time.  There will likely be some things that are “not perfect.”  Having said that, there are demonstrable differences in parishes in this diocese.  You can likely find what you’re looking for.
  • As a former protestant, I am somewhat perplexed by something I see as more of a cradle Catholic thing, this sense of loyalty to a given parish even when there are all kinds of problems there.  Then again, we sort of moved around from church to church when I was growing up, so I never developed that kind of allegiance.  Nevertheless, it is such a strong phenomenon that it’s a bit surprising, to me. 
  • If you decide you can’t leave your current parish for whatever reasons, will you continue to support that parish financially, even if you’re worried about where some of that money might go?

As I said, this is a very personal decision.  I have been asked for advice on this topic by some, so I thought I’d share some of the thoughts I’ve had on the topic.  Perhaps my considerations are facile.  If you have some opinions, or think my considerations have missed the point, let me know.  I’d be interested to hear how different people approach this issue.


1. KathiBee - September 1, 2010

I would add on the list of considerations: “if I/we have children, how is staying or leaving this parish going to affect their faith?” In the end for our family, this is what it came down to. If you stay & try to change w/in the parish – at what cost to the souls of your children?

We decided to leave where we were b/c we were concerned about the formation they would receive/not receive. 2 years later, I can say that we have not looked back. The formation our children have received has been a significant upgrade and their own “embracing” of the faith is more noticeable. I realize nothing is assured, but I’d rather gamble where we are now, than where we were.

tantamergo - September 1, 2010

Good points. I left out the entire kids aspect, but that is huge.

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