Before his expulsion from the SSPX, Bishop Williamson would advocate the laity to move out of cities and take up hobby farming.
At that time I found it both tempting and unwise.
It is tempting to just leave the crazy city life behind and isolate ourselves like hermits from the world. This is a bad perspective because we are social creatures and as children grow up the isolation will potentially cause resentment.
That said, seven years ago we did move out of the city to the outskirts of a rural town. However, my concerns about the influence on my children during their formative years, introducing them to the 'world' in a controlled manner as they were ready played a part in that decision but the catalyst was the need for affordable housing.
In other words it was a practical solution to a practical problem.
But I think to suddenly sell-off everything and follow Bishop Williamson's advice is unwise for the majority of people.
Here's my thinking:
- Proximity to the Sacraments. I drive an hour to work just a few minutes more to mass. In the big picture it, means my commute is an additional 20-30 minutes per day when compared with my in-city commute. No too much of a sacrifice. We have been fortunate to never missed mass on a Sunday. But the further away from a mass center, this becomes a real issue as access to the sacraments is the lifeline to surviving this crisis.
- The hollowing out of Traditional Communities. The interaction with other Traditional Catholics is a key element in maintaining a healthy balance in this imbalanced world. Sunday Mass is an oasis in this world and sustains us for the week to come - spiritually as well as socially.
- Living in the country takes energy and flexibility. If a city person transfers themselves into the full-blown rural life, there are added stressors. Without the energy to handle this level of effort, it can create serious problems for the family. I know one young family who made the move (a little further out than myself), but there is one key difference - the father is the son of a farmer. He has significant energy reserves and more importantly buckets of experience that gives him options. These options translate into flexibility to handle the stressors in different ways.