“Ask a Priest: Spiritually, Does It Matter Where I Live?”

Want to rate this?

Q: From a spiritual perspective, does it matter where in the world I live? I have remote work and so have considered living in different countries. But I wonder if there is a spiritual approach to choosing where to live beyond concerns like budget and worldly preferences. Or does it even matter at all? – Lance

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The Church doesn’t tell people where they should live. It is a personal decision.

As such, it is also a decision that requires reflection and prudence.

Certainly, the experience of living in another country can be immensely formative. It can open our eyes to new vistas, help us see the world through a different lens, and give us a deeper appreciation for other nations and cultures.

Interestingly, the wording of your question implies that you view moving around as a purely personal preference, one that doesn’t seem to consider family ties.

You don’t mention anything of your background or situation, so the points that follow reflect a bit of speculation on the part of Ask a Priest.

First, it would be good to ask yourself a few questions.

How would your moving to another country or countries affect your relationship with your family and loved ones?

True, you might move to a country with a rich cultural heritage. But would you be leaving aging parents behind? Would you be losing touch with siblings and cousins? Would you be cutting ties with a community that has come to depend on you?

And how would you relate to a new country? As a tourist? Or as someone with a personal stake in improving the community where you live? Would you get involved with charitable works? Or would you simply live behind a computer screen, isolated from the wider society?

Moreover, how would be able to live your faith? Choosing to live in, say, a predominantly Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist country could impact your living of the Catholic faith.

Underlying these questions is a deeper one: How do you view yourself in relation to the world?

We do well to practice a degree of detachment from the world and keep our sights on heaven. But being human we are also called to live in community. We are here to help others and to help build up the communities in which we live.

In a message on the occasion of a National Congress of the Laity in February 2020, Pope Francis said, “We are the People of God, invited to live the faith, not individually or in isolation, but in community, as a people loved and willed by God.”

That call to community might be worth considering before you pull up roots.


Keep learning more with Ask a Priest

Got a question? Need an answer?

Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type your question HERE and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…

Average Rating

What did you think?

Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.

Leave a Reply

Get the Answers!

Get notified of future Ask a Priest answers via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content