Is this a sin?

Lifelong, involuntary celibacy.

Because God’s first “commandment” in the Book of Genesis was to be fruitful and multiply, I have been told that living a single celibate life (not by one’s own choice; rather because the person is considered ugly and undesirable by society’s standards) is a mortal sin.

If that is the case, how can one be absolved of it? An incel can go to confession, confess this sin and be absolved, but the second he/she walks out of the confessional, he/she is right back to living in a mortally sinful state.

Of course not.

According to Catholic teaching, everyone is called to be “involuntarily” celibate until married. Some do choose to be celibate later on and not enter into relationships, as Jesus and Paul said these were noteworthy states of life.

The command was a general one meant for humankind in general. It was not a specific command that each and every individual get married and have children. Please don’t interpret the Bible for yourself like this because doing so only leads to confusion and errors.

Jesus himself never took a wife, neither did St. Paul. Neither of them sinned in doing so. Indeed, St. Paul wrote that he wished everyone could lead the celibate life because it makes it easier to serve God–since the unmarried person is free to give him/herself to God without the distractions that come with having a family.

Our religious remain celibate, as do our ordained clergy, with some excepts. Be at peace about living as a single person.

As for being too ugly, beauty is more than looks. Many people who aren’t cover girls or guys get married and are perfectly happy, so don’t limit yourself by what you see in magazines or by Hollywood idols. Most people are far from beautiful in the artificial sense of the word, but are beautiful simply by being the kind of people God wants them to be.

A wonderful idea making ugliness a mortal sin. Would improve the ambiance of heaven greatly, but there would only be me and a few other God’s gift to women there on the male side. Underneath the obvious logic of the concept there somehow is just a taint of unfairness somehow. Just can’t put my finger on it.
I guess if I stretched a little bit I could argue with God that my wife was beautiful to me and get her in. Then everyone would be on to the fix and we would all get in just because God finds all His creation beautiful.
No, just won’t work will it. Pity.

Assuming this isn’t a troll: It is not a mortal sin to be involuntarily celibate, or involuntarily anything.

For culpability for sin to be mortal, three conditions have to be met:

  1. Grave matter
  2. Full knowledge that it is a sin,
  3. Full consent.

If something is “involuntary” it means there is no consent.

That said, celibacy, even voluntary celibacy, is not a sin. Otherwise being a religious taking a vow of celibacy would be a mortal sin!

Read the Epistles of Paul where it states that being celibate for the service of God is laudable, for example:

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that, in view of the impending[e] crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

(1 Corinthians 7)

Not trolling at all. This is actually a very serious concern based upon the way things are actually being taught in the Church today. I actually asked this question to a priest, who told me that I must confess it as a sin because he said I was “hiding my gifts under a basket rather than letting them shine for the world.”

For example:

If you are called to the vocation of the priesthood, then single you must remain. However, the Catholic Church only teaches two vocations: religious life (priest, nun, deacon, etc.) and marriage. Anytime I mention that I believe I’m called to a vocation of singlehood, the response is “that is NOT a vocation, it’s a temporary state!” Never mind the fact that in my case, it is far from temporary.

“Catholic Singles Groups” and the evermore inclusive “Christian Singles Groups” seem to serve one purpose, and one purpose only: matchmaking. Not how to serve God as a single person.

Catholic teaching on sex is that one should “save it for marriage.” In other words, there is an inherent expectation of Catholics that they wait, then marry, and then procreate. (I have even heard post-marriage sex referred to as “making up for lost time.”) 1st Corinthians Chapter 7 is not widely taught as an alternative lifestyle, even though the words of Saint Paul in that chapter do not leave any room for misinterpretation.

Strictly from my own observations, there are not many “practicing unmarried Catholic adults.” I attend Mass every week, not always at the same time each Sunday, and the number of adults in the church between 30 and 65 (past the age when they are most likely to marry but before the age where they may well be widowed empty nesters) who are there not as a part of a (often sizable) family is quite small. This means one of two things: either I am one of the few lay Catholics who isn’t blessed with the Sacrament of Matrimony, or a whole lot of unwed Catholics have given up on practicing the faith, maybe or maybe not due to a feeling of ostracism as a result of their relationship status.

It seems to me that Father simply doesn’t want to give up the hope of you finding a spouse. It sounds like he may have been a bit exasperated. Priests are people too and can sometimes make statements that they don’t intend to be taken so seriously or which they say in a moment of impatience. I wouldn’t take one priest’s advice as binding, for it is only advice and not a command of obedience under the pain of sin. :wink:

For example:

If you are called to the vocation of the priesthood, then single you must remain. However, the Catholic Church only teaches two vocations: religious life (priest, nun, deacon, etc.) and marriage. Anytime I mention that I believe I’m called to a vocation of singlehood, the response is “that is NOT a vocation, it’s a temporary state!” Never mind the fact that in my case, it is far from temporary.

This is not correct. People can be and are called to the single life, but many of our priests don’t seem to be able to accept this. Some want to push people in a particular direction, but that’s not necessarily the wisest thing to do. No offense to Father here, but he was simply wrong.

“Catholic Singles Groups” and the evermore inclusive “Christian Singles Groups” seem to serve one purpose, and one purpose only: matchmaking. Not how to serve God as a single person.

True, sad to say. You may want to contact your diocese to see if there are singles groups for those who are not looking for a spouse.

Catholic teaching on sex is that one should “save it for marriage.” In other words, there is an inherent expectation of Catholics that they wait, then marry, and then procreate. (I have even heard post-marriage sex referred to as “making up for lost time.”)

This shows how skewed people’s thinking can be. The Church teaches that sex is for marriage only, but that means for everyone no matter their age/situation in life. It’s why there’s no such thing as same sex marriage–because sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman is a mortal sin. I didn’t marry until I was 35 but I wasn’t “making up for lost time.” We married because we believed it was what God wanted for us, not because we could finally have sex. :rolleyes:

1st Corinthians Chapter 7 is not widely taught as an alternative lifestyle, even though the words of Saint Paul in that chapter do not leave any room for misinterpretation.

In their eagerness to promote holy marriages some of our ordained tend to downplay the single life as a viable option. I suppose it’s because our cultural pushes sex onto us at every turn, so they may fear that there’s too much temptation for the single person. But God’s grace is sufficient for those who seek God in this, as in all such matters.

Strictly from my own observations, there are not many “practicing unmarried Catholic adults.” I attend Mass every week, not always at the same time each Sunday, and the number of adults in the church between 30 and 65 (past the age when they are most likely to marry but before the age where they may well be widowed empty nesters) who are there not as a part of a (often sizable) family is quite small. This means one of two things: either I am one of the few lay Catholics who isn’t blessed with the Sacrament of Matrimony, or a whole lot of unwed Catholics have given up on practicing the faith, maybe or maybe not due to a feeling of ostracism as a result of their relationship status.

Stay the course. You are prefectly fine single. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Let God direct your life as you trust in him day to day, and all will be well. Try to cultivate friendships with others based on mutual interests and get involved in your parish and let people get used to the idea that you are just as relevant and needed single as those who have 10 kids at Mass on Sunday. :yup:

Interesting topic.
I don’t think any priest (and I think a good number of priests know that I am single) has ever told me that being single is a sin.
I hear other PEOPLE tell me that I owuld be happier if I wasn’t single, that it is not good to remain single… but do they really knnow what is good for me? Is everyone the same?
Only God knows if this will change, whether some day I will fall in love after all and not want to be single anymore. I am almost 40 though and maybe just too used to the single and abstinent life now. Which also frees energies for other things. I really do hope there is nothing sinful about this!
Difficult to imagine sharing my bedroom/privacy with somebody… except maybe family members or, ok, on the night train for one night at a time it was nice sometimes to talk to another woman :).

I believe you only have to be open to married or consecrated life. Pray to God a lot to make sure you’re not called to married or consecrated life. Some are single out of selfishness. They don’t want to answer to anyone, some are even fornicators. They give good single people a bad name. This is probably how that priest feels when someone tells him like being single. He is imagine a selfish person who’s committing mortal sins.

A good single person is self-less as all Catholics are called to be. Since they don’t have a family, they will have more free time than married people. They should use that time to give back to God by serving more in their local church and community. If they have more money not having to take care of a family, they should give more to church and charity.

Doesn’t it automatically happen - that when you fall in love, then you automatically don’t want to be single anymore?

And yes, I do like the freedom and privacy of single (abstinent) life, but I wouldn’t call that selfish in a sinful way??? I think if I fell in love, really in love with somebody, I would probably automatically not want to be alone anymore, isn’t that one of the “symptoms” of being in love - always wanting to be with the other person?

Ok personally, that I turned out this way, maybe/probably also had to do with psychological difficulties.

But I do think single life frees me to doing more service in other ways. There was a time when I spent a lot of time helping homeless people, doing things like going to offices with them etc… Rich I never was, so more giving was not an option, just barely getting by myself a lot… But just more freedom to maybe go visit somebody at the hospital, also because of the freedom I have with my work (I am a street musician :=) )… Yes, there are times when I have my own struggles that need to be fought, right now I need a lot of energy to be sure to make ends meet and I don’t think it would be good either to spend time talk to somebody when i should be working (performing my music) and then not be able to pay my bills. (writing this because yesterday, while I was playing music/singing, a friend came and asked to go for coffee, but I had to explain to him that I have a budget to meet, and I think he understood :slight_smile: )

I must also be careful because I have had extremely bad struggles with OCD and scrupulosity, at times feeling responsible for “EVERYBODY”, waearing myself out hunting people down who I felt might need help… people as well as animals… that extreme isn’t good either.

Sorry too long.
:slight_smile:

If you are involuntarily celibate, wouldn’t that mean that you would like to marry/have a relationship? In that case a singles group focused on matchmaking would seem ideal.

That said, there is a vocation of non-religious singleness, and no one should be pushing you to marry if you want to be a single adult. Certainly, as others have said, an involuntary state cannot be a sin.

One final recommendation based on your terminology: I would urge you to stay away from the various internet “incel” communities. From what I’ve seen, they tend to become mutually reinforcing pits of self-loathing that eventually turns into hatred of women, family, society, and anyone else they can potentially blame for their condition.

Usagi

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