One thing (besides other things) that becomes glaringly obvious for those who contest that lay celibacy or the single life (i.e. baptism into the lay state of life) can be a vocation is where those who may have an illness or some other impediment to the various states in The Church are left floundering without a vocation. They are not, in truth, because our baptism is a call and vocation to follow Jesus and His Gospel. Further, our baptism and consecration with anointing is always a very public ceremony and consecration in The Church. It is a specific call to the temporal and the secular and to be leaven in the mix, unless a call is experienced into another state of life in The Church.
Vatican II has made the call to the lay state very clear in its duties and obligations as a state in life and vocation, which I have quoted in this thread previously - i.e. “The VOCATION and Mission of the Laity” vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideles-laici_en.html
Our baptism is not something that happened willy-nilly as it were - a situation that came about because of our parents or some other circumstance or incidental factor. The theological truth is that we are baptised because we are chosen and anointed by God to go forth (mission). For some, this may mean a call into another state of life. But it is “for some” and not for all without exemption and nowhere whatsoever has The Church stated that it must be for all - rather to the contrary especially since Vatican II.
There are four distinct states of life in The Church and She has written about each of them: priesthood, consecrated life, married life and lay celibacy in the laity. Each of these states of life is covered in Canon Law vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM
That truth is that every baptized Christian has a vocation and a role to play in the missionary work of the Church. Every Baptized Christian is called to follow the Lord - and not just once, but repeatedly. Our response to the call can express itself in various ways, states in life and even evolve over a lifetime. However, we are all called into the Vineyard of the Lord.
Here is a good post from Sr. Laurel Er Dio from Phatmass Phorum on the subject of baptism as vocation:
Exactly right, and not really off-topic I don’t think. Baptism represents a public commitment and consecration. I would suggest that the failure to take Baptism seriously as an exhaustive call to holiness is not due only to the laity’s failure, but has been the fault of the Church (hierarchy, theologians, etc) which really nutured the laity’s tendencies here. The tendency to hierarchilize everything has not served the Church well. Most of the time it is an entirely too-worldly (non Jesuan) way of thinking or proceeding. We have tended to reflect on and esteem the gifts of certain vocations at the expense of others. In the main this has happened because of a Greek way of thinking about reality which has permeated Catholic thought and which actually stands in direct conflict with Jesus’ (and more Semitic) paradoxical way of seeing reality.
In this thread there is a sometimes tacit and sometimes more blatant tendency to disparage vocations to secularity — as though those conflict with consecrated standing. They don’t. One of the second Vatican Council’s greatest contributions was it’s clear teaching on the universal call to holiness. We need to take that with absolute seriousness, just as we take the saeculum as the primary place people are called to work towards the Kingdom.
Sister Laurel M O’Neal, Er Dio
Diocese of Oakland
And here is a quote from Pope Pius XII (before Vatican II)
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON CONSECRATED VIRGINITY
TO OUR VENERABLE BROTHERS, THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE
- And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state, and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders and demanded from members of Secular Institutes, ***it also flourishes among many who are lay people in the full sense: men and women who are not constituted in a public state of perfection and yet by private promise or vow completely abstain from marriage and sexual pleasures, in order to serve their neighbor more freely and to be united with God more easily and more closely. ***
To all of these beloved sons and daughters who in any way have consecrated their bodies and souls to God, We address Ourselves, and exhort them earnestly to strengthen their holy resolution and be faithful to it.
However, since there are some who, straying from the right path in this matter, so exalt marriage as to rank it ahead of virginity and thus depreciate chastity consecrated to God and clerical celibacy, Our apostolic duty demands that We now in a particular manner declare and uphold the Church’s teaching on the sublime state of virginity, and so defend Catholic truth against these errors.