Friday, July 25, 2008

sheltered Catholics

Steve Skojec has written an interesting post for Inside He has a hair curling snarky quote from blogger and journalist, Hilary White about the traditional Catholics who :

have gone off into the woods to create a happy and comforting little Catholic world, well insulated from Outside. The kids are homeschooled, the women commonly wear the trademark shapeless plaid jumper/white t-shirt and sneakers combo, the men work at home, the books on the shelves are all from Ignatius or Angelus press, the jokes are clean and not very funny, conversation is always holy, the horrors of the squelching, seething pornographic world Outside are clucked at primly and the introduction of ironic humour is a wild and somewhat scandalous sensation.

Hilary, by her own admission doesn't like other women or domesticity much. I'll say it again, Hilary really dislikes other women. She finds us silly and irritating. She'd probably have no use for me at all. However, abrasive as she can be she has a bit of a point. Catholics are not called to hide out from the world. We are supposed to be counter coultural but we are not supposed to resemble the FDLS folks, squating feverishly in a compound.

Parents are supposed to shelter and preserve their children's innocence of course--- to do otherwise is to fail as a parent---but trying to raise them like Catholic Amish it doesn't do the Church a whole lot of good.


Simplex Vir said...

Dymphna, you are on target. As a homeschooling parent with one now in college I could not agree more. Homeschooling and being a practicing Catholic is counter-culture.

We are God's children yet he does not shelter us! He teaches us, gives us Jesus as the example to follow and we are expected to live up to that example.

Homeschooling is a vehicle to give your child something they will not get in public and most private schools. It is not a vehicle for taking away something your children need.

Show your children how to live life among the culture and run counter to it. It will be a true blessing!

Sanctus Belle said...

FYI - the link you have in this post links to something else rather than the article you cited.

It is VERY difficult to raise children with this balance of "teach them about the world but not to be of the world" Youth are inherently weak and vulnerable to worldly ways. I have tried my best. I could not homeschool, and I certainly don't wear those horrible baggy dresses - but I don't sit in judgment of those who do. Families who live this lifestyle at least do not give scandal.

Coffee Catholic said...

Hmmm that lady is a bit high on her horse if you ask me. I mean... how many Catholics are honestly hiding out in woods or in compounds?? Yet if we read the scriptures... Jesus says point blank that we are *not* to be of the World. End of story. And hey, not *everyone* can afford the latest fashion dresses and fancy shoes. Sorry if some of us aren't dressed good enough for her tastes! Besies, I like my shapeless plaid jumpers and so does my husband! I can get a custom-made shapeless jumper from a small, family owned business for nearly half the price of something bought in the store that's made of cheap material that falls apart after ten washes ~ and was constructed by child slaves in sweatshops. If frump = fair trade and better quality (thus frugality...), then bring it on! Meanwhile I can use the extra money that I've saved to sponsor a little girl or an old widow in a 3rd world country. Madam High Horse can chew on that while she goes about in her superior non-shapeless non-jumper/sneakers/white T-shirts outfits.

I like my sneakers too ~ only mine are brown and stained with sheep poo around the edges. Dress shoes just don't come in my size and they don't last for long here on the compound where I'm hiding out. (due to lack of funds to blow while out on the town and an inability to drive...) Splashing out for a pair of expensive leather dress shoes just isn't possible for everyone. It's either one or the other and sorry, some of us ladies have to choose the more practical option.

We tend to call this particular compound a "farm" and there are no woods about... this is a farm that has no TV because pretty much everything they show on all three available channels is crap, including the soft-porn commercials and I will not tolerate crap or soft porn in my house. Ever. If that makes me "Amish Catholic" then soooo be it! Plus, cable TV costs money and paying $200 to fill the car or truck is putting us in a financial crunch of sorts. Fuel here is $14 a gallon! Up from $9 a gallon long before this oil crisis hit... I have to be very discerning about how much of the World I can expose myself and my family too. Doing so always costs $money$... something Madam High Horse obviously didn't think much about when she went on her tirade.

Oh, I have colored t-shirts that I wear as well. Sometimes they even match my shapeless jumpers!! Several of them have holes but they are still wearable. White clothing doesn't last long on the farm though so I'll have to disapoint the lady that you quoted on your blog. Mia culpa!

I plan on homeschooling and I am going to keep the crap of the secular pop culture far away from my kids. They'll learn just fine how to stay away from nonsense of the World even without dancing on the very edges of almost being involved in the nonsense of the World. I don't buy into the idea that my kids need to be exposed to the evils of the world in order to know about them. If they are raised to follow the Law of God then they'll naturally avoid the evils of the world without having all that stuff dangled before them like tempting, yet forbidden, morsels. "See this? It's baaaad. Stay away from it!"

I will not allow them to be taught graphic sex ed in 4th grade and they most certainly will not learn about oral sex at the age of 11. They will not go to those certain friends' houses where they will be exposed to hours of ad-lib trash TV and violent video games and everything else that runs counter to the very Faith I'm teaching them. Besides, the schools have outlawed cheese. Kids can't bring it from home and the school lunches cannot contain this offending dairy product. I like cheese. I think it's good stuff for kids. I want my kids to have access to cheese - but not to soft porn comercials, free condoms, abortion without parental consent, and all the other glories of The World that gets dished out to kids in heaping portions once they walk off of the compound/out of the woods. If keeping my kids away from this ungodly stuff makes me some kind of "hiding out on a compound" radical trad Catholic, boardering on FLDS-like identity, fine by me. Call me what you want, I don't care: because I'm CATHOLIC and I will answer to God Himself when I die and if I've caused one of my children to fall into sin then there's quite literally going to be Hell to pay... (Plus I'll have the horror of sharing Hell with whatever kid(s) I've help lead there...) Madam High and Mighty can chew on THAT as well.

Kit Brookside said...

D - great post. That excerpt pretty much defines a branch of my Beloved Husband's family. They refuse to allow their children to mix with my children because they attend Catholic school - they don't want my kids (who are delightfully nerdy and unworldly) to "corrupt" theirs by so much as talking about school. (Sad, because my kids would say they don't really like the way their classmates behave.) But there is no opportunity for such "dangerous" things. Bubbles eventually burst. Time will tell when it comes to the kids involved, and I feel bad for them.

I'm with SV - "Show your children how to live life among the culture and run counter to it." That's we do with ours, but IN the school context. It's not easy, as my 14 year old will gladly tell you. But I truly believe that in order for kids to function when it's time for them to become wives, husbands, and parents, there must be some balance.

Michelle, given where you are located, you're probably in good shape to do what you plan to do. I disagree with you because I've seen your plans lived out with not-so-great results, but I can only wish you well, and good luck.

elena maria vidal said...

Some of the homeschooling set are a bit arrogant and need to be learn kindness and charity. We have had an abysmal experience with the Catholic homeschoolers around here (and we are homeschooling ourselves). We actually went to a Protestant homeschool picnic last weekend where people had better social skills. I get so tired of pretentious weirdness attempting to pass for religious devotion.

Michelle, dear, you are doing fine. Live your life as you see fit and don't pay attention to what anyone says. I wish that we lived on a farm in a remote area, too. Sometimes one is less lonely when alone.