Singlehood as vocation?


#1

I'm not Catholic but I'm considering. One thing is that I'm a single woman. I have only dated once out of perceived peer pressure and I don't know, but doubt, if I will ever do it again. I have no natural compulsion towards marriage or children. I am most at peace at prayer, by myself. I am charitable and kind towards others - I've put myself into debt giving what I have away. And that's how I feel most loving and loved.

Obviously if I remain single (very likely) I will be celibate. But discussing my feelings about Catholicism with my family (atheists and Protestants) gets a lot of laughs about my singlehood and the idea that the Church only likes single women if they're nuns; otherwise you have to marry and have a gaggle of kids. The Anglican church I attend now is theologically conservative yet respects my feelings. I don't see how my marital status affects my spirituality unless I'm engaging in fornication or adultery. In fact I see remaining single as perhaps a holier way to be - no offense to the married!


#2

As a single you can work very hart for God and for humans without hurting your children. Married people have to care for children and if they do it right it will take too much time. Also most people marry without a vocation only because they feel lonely or fall in love with someone or because of society or… and that is bad.
I think the number of single vocation should be higher because they have more time and we would already have enough children if the married people took marriage serious.


#3

Well, I've notices that there's a lot of pity directed towards the unmarried and childless. People make the assumption that they must be very unhappy, lonely, miserable, unfulfilled people. And I think with enough pushing some people who would have been better off single marry just because of the pressure. It used to be when a family had a child going into the priesthood or becoming a nun or else wise devoting themselves to God, it was a source of pride. Now families are almost embarrassed to have a single person in the family.

I feel completely fulfilled, happy, and at peace with God as a single person. I'm studying Biblical archaeology, I want to walk where Christ walked and dig up the pieces of the Gospel that lay trapped underground. And I want to be in those places where Christians are hated and reviled to offer my support to them. As a singleton.


#4

[quote="Nabooru, post:3, topic:288310"]
Well, I've notices that there's a lot of pity directed towards the unmarried and childless. People make the assumption that they must be very unhappy, lonely, miserable, unfulfilled people. And I think with enough pushing some people who would have been better off single marry just because of the pressure. It used to be when a family had a child going into the priesthood or becoming a nun or else wise devoting themselves to God, it was a source of pride. Now families are almost embarrassed to have a single person in the family.

I feel completely fulfilled, happy, and at peace with God as a single person. I'm studying Biblical archaeology, I want to walk where Christ walked and dig up the pieces of the Gospel that lay trapped underground. And I want to be in those places where Christians are hated and reviled to offer my support to them. As a singleton.

[/quote]

More power to you Chica!

Have you been to Israel yet? I have, once, and would love to go back. Study of Biblical archaeology sounds awesome!

I agree with you, there is no need to seek a relationship for it's own sake. Given that Scripture nowhere promises everybody a spouse, methinks that should not be considered by everybody the default position, in the absence of a call from God.

God Bless, ICXC NIKA


#5

There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing consecrated single life if that is your vocation. We in fact need to have a special vocation to even be called to married life.

If you do recieve pressure from other Catholics to be married it won't have anything to do with the actual teachings of the church... That said, whatever your chosen walk of life is you will inevitably encounter people who will be dissaproving of your lifestyle decisions (especially if your decision is to give yourself to God and to be a moral person).

Just remember, the only one you have to please as a single person is God... so don't worry about what everybody else thinks!


#6

[quote="Andre1000, post:2, topic:288310"]
As a single you can work very hart for God and for humans without hurting your children. Married people have to care for children and if they do it right it will take too much time. Also most people marry without a vocation only because they feel lonely or fall in love with someone or because of society or... and that is bad.

[/quote]

How would marrying because you fall in love with someone be bad? That's why you marry.


#7

“Singlehood” is only a “vocation” when it is in teh context of religious/consecrated/ordained life. Otherwise, it is just a “state of life”, not a vocation.


#8

I would disagree with this – as would my spiritual director, etc.

“Vocation” is the way in which we live out our life in Christ, and if that way is singlehood for you without any vows – unless you wanted to make private vows of celibacy! – it would be considered one route in which you would fulfill your relationship to Him, your love of and for Him.

Have you considered joining a religious third order – an order of lay people? They are beautiful groups of people.

I’ll pray for you, and God bless!


#9

In CCC 1603, the vocation to marriage is what is written into our very nature, so unless we have a vocation to “virginity for the sake of the kingdom”, i.e., ordained/religious/consecrated life, we must assume that our vocation is to marriage. (Not that we will all achieve it, thanks to the state of society today).

I think pushing the so-called “single vocation” (outside of ordained/religious/consecrated life) only serves to drain the “pool” of prospective marriage partners (or vocations to ordained/religious/consecrated life).

“Single vocation” as Catholic “population control”? :eek:


#10

[quote="Safia, post:8, topic:288310"]
I would disagree with this -- as would my spiritual director, etc.

"Vocation" is the way in which we live out our life in Christ, and if that way is singlehood for you without any vows -- unless you wanted to make private vows of celibacy! -- it would be considered one route in which you would fulfill your relationship to Him, your love of and for Him.

Have you considered joining a religious third order -- an order of lay people? They are beautiful groups of people.

I'll pray for you, and God bless!

[/quote]

"Vocation" comes from the Latin "vocare" - to call. It is a "calling", and implies "permanence". Note that once one is married, one cannot (at least in the Latin Rite) get ordained, and nowhere may an ordained man get married; one is "locked in" by their vows, which constitute an impediment to other vocations. Without some form of vow, a single person is not "locked in" and has no impediment to later getting married or ordained or becoming a religious/consecrated. Instead, what you are describing is a "state of life". One can live out life in Christ while single while still trying to find a good Catholic spouse, but that does not mean he/she is called to be single forever.


#11

[quote="Norseman82, post:10, topic:288310"]
"Vocation" comes from the Latin "vocare" - to call. It is a "calling", and implies "permanence". Note that once one is married, one cannot (at least in the Latin Rite) get ordained, and nowhere may an ordained man get married; one is "locked in" by their vows, which constitute an impediment to other vocations. Without some form of vow, a single person is not "locked in" and has no impediment to later getting married or ordained or becoming a religious/consecrated. Instead, what you are describing is a "state of life". One can live out life in Christ while single while still trying to find a good Catholic spouse, but that does not mean he/she is called to be single forever.

[/quote]

catholicexchange.com/a-vocation-to-the-single-life/


#12

[quote="Norseman82, post:10, topic:288310"]
"Vocation" comes from the Latin "vocare" - to call. It is a "calling", and implies "permanence". Note that once one is married, one cannot (at least in the Latin Rite) get ordained, and nowhere may an ordained man get married; one is "locked in" by their vows, which constitute an impediment to other vocations. Without some form of vow, a single person is not "locked in" and has no impediment to later getting married or ordained or becoming a religious/consecrated. Instead, what you are describing is a "state of life". One can live out life in Christ while single while still trying to find a good Catholic spouse, but that does not mean he/she is called to be single forever.

[/quote]

A privately vowed person can commute, under Canon Law, for a greater good but not a lesser; hence after making a private vow to celibate chastity a person may enter religious life since it is a greater good but if they leave religious life, they then return to the privately vowed state, unless they ask for a dispensation from their private vow. Canon Law states those priests or bishops that can dispense from private vows. Just as a religious can be asked to be dispensed from their perpetual vows. Of course, it is a more complex process if one is perpetually professed, but dispensation is still possible.
Just as a priest can be liaicised and it is a complex process, but still possible.

A lay person that makes a private vow to celibate chastity for life can have the very same permanent state and life intention as a man being ordained, or a religious making her final profession. All rules and regulations in The Church and elsewhere are for human beings and in The Church explain for us the Will of God in life in certain matters, while The Lord knows the heart, the disposition of the heart and in all things.

It can be overlooked in discussions on vocation that our baptism is a vocation and a call to holiness and sanctity without any further call or vocation which flows from baptism and dictates the way of life in which the person is to fulfill their baptism and achieve holiness. Some may not experience such a particular way of life dictate/call - other than their baptismal call to The Gospel and discipleship of Jesus within The Catholic Church and remain free within those terms. :
vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis_en.html

  1. Our invitation goes out specially to those lay people who seek God with greater earnestness and intensity, and strive after Christian perfection while living in the midst of their fellow men. By their devoted and warm friendship they can be of great assistance to the Church's ministers since it is the laity, occupied with temporal affairs while at the same time aiming at a more generous and perfect conformity to their baptismal vocation, who are in a position, in many cases, to enlighten and encourage the priest.

#13

Pretty sure Norseman is right on this one.

Being single has no negative consequences as a state-of-life, and no one is required to marry if they do not find someone they feel called to marry, but it is not properly called a vocation.

The fact that one can just decide one day to stop being single, and marry, or pursue ordination or religious life, demonstrates this. Marriage, ordination and religious vows (including consecrated virgins) alter a person permanently and one can not just choose to exit these states as you can singlehood.

If one feels called never to marry, it may be an indication from God that one should consider priesthood or religious life. If I were single (I am not) and didn’t feel called to marry, or if my wife died (heaven forbid) and I didn’t feel called to re-marry, I would certainly discern the priesthood long and hard.

God Bless


#14

These comments overlook the fact (see statement from Paul VI below) that our baptism is of itself a call and vocation to holiness and that any further call is a call to how that baptismal vocation is to be lived out.

vatican.va/holy_father/pa…otalis_en.html

Quote:
97. Our invitation goes out specially to those lay people who seek God with greater earnestness and intensity, and strive after Christian perfection while living in the midst of their fellow men. By their devoted and warm friendship they can be of great assistance to the Church’s ministers since it is the laity, occupied with temporal affairs while at the same time aiming at a more generous and perfect conformity to their baptismal vocation, who are in a position, in many cases, to enlighten and encourage the priest.

Comments that the single state of chaste celibacy (or that of the baptised) is not a vocation also overlooks those who have impediments to religious life and/or the priesthood and could not enter these states even if they felt personally that they are called and they may never experience a call to marriage. God does not leave these people without a vocation since our baptism is a vocation.

Your comments: " Marriage, ordination and religious vows (including consecrated virgins) alter a person permanently and one can not just choose to exit these states as you can singlehood." Nor can a person just exit the vows of our baptism - it is a permanent state of life and call to holiness, discipleship of Jesus and the following of His Gospel within The Church.

Nowhere has Rome stated that one must either marry or enter religious life or the priesthood to have a “vocation” per se in life. And comments that one must change one’s state in life are thus contrary to Rome. One can either cling to one’s own personal concepts, or those of Rome and The Holy Father.


#15

[quote="Nabooru, post:1, topic:288310"]
I'm not Catholic but I'm considering. One thing is that I'm a single woman. I have only dated once out of perceived peer pressure and I don't know, but doubt, if I will ever do it again. I have no natural compulsion towards marriage or children. I am most at peace at prayer, by myself. I am charitable and kind towards others - I've put myself into debt giving what I have away. And that's how I feel most loving and loved.

Obviously if I remain single (very likely) I will be celibate. But discussing my feelings about Catholicism with my family (atheists and Protestants) gets a lot of laughs about my singlehood and the idea that the Church only likes single women if they're nuns; otherwise you have to marry and have a gaggle of kids. The Anglican church I attend now is theologically conservative yet respects my feelings. I don't see how my marital status affects my spirituality unless I'm engaging in fornication or adultery. In fact I see remaining single as perhaps a holier way to be - no offense to the married!

[/quote]

I'm Catholic and a single woman, no one bothers or pressures me about it. I don't know if I ever will get married, but I am very sure that if I do, it will be after menopause - I'm almost there now. Which means, I don't have to worry about pressures for gaggles of children :D

Seriously though, there is no requirement in the Church to either be married or be a nun. You can be single. You just have to live chastely. Everyone is called to chastity according to their status in life. Marital status doesn't affect your spirituality, so don't worry about it.


#16

[quote="Rence, post:15, topic:288310"]
I
Seriously though, there is no requirement in the Church to either be married or be a nun. You can be single. You just have to live chastely. Everyone is called to chastity according to their status in life. Marital status doesn't affect your spirituality, so don't worry about it.

[/quote]

Correct. Our baptism calls us to single celibate chastity as long as one is not married and our baptism also calls us to holiness as a disciple of Jesus and the following of His Gospel as a faithful Catholic. We are all called to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience of spirit - only religious are called to vow these counsels quite radically as The Church defines.


#17

[quote="TiggerS, post:16, topic:288310"]
Correct. Our baptism calls us to single celibate chastity as long as one is not married and our baptism also calls us to holiness as a disciple of Jesus and the following of His Gospel as a faithful Catholic. We are all called to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience of spirit - only religious are called to vow these counsels quite radically as The Church defines.

[/quote]

Where does it say that single people are called to poverty and obedience? Chastity we all know about. Can you point that to me in the Catechism or Canon where we are called to poverty? Because I don't think I've seen it there?


#18

[quote="Safia, post:11, topic:288310"]
catholicexchange.com/a-vocation-to-the-single-life/

[/quote]

That article, while full of pious verbiage, does not address what the CCC says about vocations.


#19

According to the CCC, private vows are a subset of the consecrated life subset of “virginity for the sake of the kingdom”.

“Impediments” to one of the vocations represent the exception, rather than the rule. Unless the majority of Catholics are “impedimented”, I don’t think it is fair to group non-impedimented people with the impedimented with regards to vocational discernment.

Except that in the CCC only “marriage” and “virginity fior the sake of the kingdom” (i.e., ordained, religious, and consecrated life) are defined as vocations. This isn’t my personal concept, but the official word of the universal Catholic Church.

For purposes of this forum, “vocations” refer to the traditional “state of life” vocations to marriage, priesthood, religious life, etc. From the CAF forum menu describing this subforum:

“Priesthood, religious life, marriage, discernment, prayers, and more”


#20

SACERDOTALIS CAELIBATUS
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PAUL VI
ON THE CELIBACY OF THE PRIEST
.va/holy_father/pa...otalis_en.htmlhttp://www.vatican

  1. Our invitation goes out specially to those lay people who seek God with greater earnestness and intensity, and strive after Christian perfection while living in the midst of their fellow men. By their devoted and warm friendship they can be of great assistance to the Church's ministers since it is the laity, occupied with temporal affairs while at the same time aiming at a more generous and perfect conformity to their baptismal vocation, who are in a position, in many cases, to enlighten and encourage the priest.

It is obvious in reading Church documents that The Church has a much broader understanding of what "vocation" means, rather than a strictly limited view as some propose from their own concepts only:

Catholic Catechism:

1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46
1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.
1998 This vocation *to eternal life is *supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.47 **1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying *or *deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48

DECREE ON THE APOSTOLATE OF THE LAITY
APOSTOLICAM ACTUOSITATEM
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS,
POPE PAUL VI
vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html
THE VOCATION OF THE LAITY TO THE APOSTOLATE
2. The Church was founded for the purpose of spreading the kingdom of Christ throughout the earth for the glory of God the Father, to enable all men to share in His saving redemption,(1) and that through them the whole world might enter into a relationship with Christ. All activity of the Mystical Body directed to the attainment of this goal is called the apostolate, which the Church carries on in various ways through all her members. For the Christian vocation by its very nature is also a vocation to the apostolate. No part of the structure of a living body is merely passive but has a share in the functions as well as life of the body: so, too, in the body of Christ, which is the Church, "the whole body . . . in keeping with the proper activity of each part, derives its increase from its own internal development" (Eph. 4:16).

But those who hold to a strictly limited view of "vocation" will, it seems, continue to hold to that as the discussion on the single baptised state in life as a vocation goes round and round......and round, despite quotations from Church documents challenging that limited view by what is stated in various documents. Of course, if one wants to hold to the strictly limited view one may; however, it is not the Church's view.
If there is a CA ruling that the limited view is to apply in the Vocations Forum, then CA is completely free to make such a ruling and applicable to CA only.


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