This post is not addressed to anyone specifically, rather general comments after reading most posts. We are entitled to our personal opinions and personal concepts and we may be right and we may be wrong. Our opinions and concepts are more likely to be correct if supported by reliable and sound source information.
Some who feel called to live in the single celibate lay state make private vows and these are covered by Canon Law :
TITLE V: VOWS AND OATHS
*]CHAPTER I : VOWS
[/LIST]Hence to address the topic of this thread, if one makes private vows then yes, one is canonically recognized but not as a consecrated person by The Church under public vows.
Lay people who do not make any sort of vow and may remain in the single celibate lay state as their call and vocation are covered by Canon Law :
TITLE II: THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF THE LAY MEMBERS OF CHRIST’S FAITHFUL
*]Can. 224 Lay members of Christ’s faithful have the duties and rights enumerated in the canons of this title, in addition to those duties and rights which are common to all Christ’s faithful and those stated in other canons.
*]Can. 225 ß1 Since lay people, like all Christ’s faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and they have the right, whether as individuals or in associations, to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world. This obligation is all the more insistent in circumstances in which only through them are people able to hear the Gospel and to know Christ.
*]**ß2 **They have also, according to the condition of each, the special obligation to permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, particularly in conducting secular business and exercising secular functions, they are to give witness to Christ.
[/LIST]Our Baptism is a clear call and vocation from The Lord to The Gospel as stated in Canon 225
We are consecrated to and in Christ by our Baptism and are commissioned to The Gospel.
If one makes private vows to the evangelical counsels of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, it is not the consecrated state but the celibate lay state and one has a specific call and vocation to be involved in the world for the world and The Gospel. This is not a ‘default position’ because one has ‘nowhere else’ but only this ‘default position’. It is experienced as a specific call and vocation from God to remain in the single celibate lay state in the world and for “the sake of The Kingdom”.
Sometimes those who are called to the single celibate lay state are committed to works both in The Church and in the world and live alone. Their time spent at home can be a life of prayer and penance. Some may be members of Third Orders or some organization within The Church. I do think one would be ill advised to embrace the single celibate lay state as one’s vocation and call without spiritual direction and on an ongoing basis.
The following is interesting and one of the first signs that The Church in our modern world is coming to recognize the single celibate lay state as a vocation and call. The vocation and call to the single celibate state however has always been recognized by The Church (St Paul) as a potential vocation and call from God.
Apostolic Exhortation - Pope John Paul II
Vita Consecrata (On the consecrated life and its mission in The Church and the world)
**Thanksgiving for the Consecrated Life **
We are all aware of the treasure which the gift of the consecrated life in the variety of its charisms and institutions represents for the ecclesial community. *Together let us thank God *for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons,
[quote] as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration
.The Synod was a tangible sign of the universal extension of the consecrated life, present in the local Churches throughout the world.
What follows is actually titled under priestly celibacy, but it does also refer to the single celibate lay state.
Celibacy needs to be viewed in the light of chastity; … St. Paul recognized the value of a celibate life when he wrote, “he who is unmarried is concerned with God’s claim, asking how he is to please God; whereas the married man is concerned with the world’s claim, asking how he is to please his wife (1 Cor 7:32-33). …Celibacy is not for all people. Christ said, “some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it (Matthew 19:12).” Thus, some or called to the vocations of marriage, others for the single life, and some for the celibate religious life.