A few days ago, Eric Sammons at The Divine Life wrote a post about the parish “shop and hop”. (Read it all here: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/07/28/the-parish-shop-and-hop/)
I was struck by this:
When I first became Catholic, I was in the group that felt that you should attend your territorial parish unless the pastor there was preaching outright heresy. Even if the liturgy was poorly celebrated, the music stunk, and the pastor preached a “be nice” Gospel, a Catholic should support his local parish.
Then I had kids.
As any parent will tell you, having kids changes your entire perspective; you now see everything through their eyes. And I saw a child being raised in a watered-down Catholic Faith and it scared me. After that point, I decided I would attend the best parish within a reasonable distance because I wanted my kids to experience Catholicism and the Mass in a reverent, enthusiastic environment if at all possible.
I should note that few parishes in proximity to us have what I would deem “reverent liturgy”, including all the smells and bells. That said, we are blessed with a parish and a pastor who take the liturgy very seriously, in spite of a church design from the 1970s.
Notwithstanding my current situation, and even with kids, I lean towards “unless the pastor there was preaching outright heresy“, one should remain in their territorial parish.
What should be done, though? Stay and pray and fight for change… or leave for a more complete faith?