I am a cradle Catholic in my late 40’s and have never been married nor have I ever even had a serious girlfriend… I follow our Holy Mother Church in all her teachings. I am quite happy being single. Lately I have been hearing that being a single Catholic man is not in harmony with Catholic teaching. The main argument I have been hearing is that because I am eligible for marriage in the church that I should do so or enter a monastery. While I do admit that I am attracted to monastic life and have considered the Trappist Order I am now judged to be too old by many of them. Am I committing a sin because I don’t get married and don’t enter a religous order? Help!
There is no sin in being single. If you do not feel a call to the married life or to religious life then perhaps God is calling you to fulfill your role as a single person in the secular world.
The 1993 New Saint Joseph People’s Prayer Book even has a prayer for people in a single vocation:
Heavenly Father, after much prayer and reflection it is my belief that I can best serve you in the single state. Let me be true to my vocation to this life and never do anthing to sully it. As I freely give up the benefits of married life, I am aware that I also give up its difficulties and receive in turn the benefits of the single state. Enable me to appreciate the freedom at my disposal–from cares and concerns of spouses and children, from a highly structured life-style, and from the legitimate demands of family members.
Help me to make good use of the added time I have available. Inspire me to give of myself to others, to be an example to my married friends and a comfort to my single friends. May I ever realize that whether single or married our one concern should be to serve you each day and to serve others for your sake. Grant that I may be so attached to you that I may never feel lonely in my chosen state.