SSA/Single Vocation


#1

Though I've read threads that say an SSA man is not expressly forbidden from joining the Priesthood, it seems that he is nevertheless always to be considered in some way "inferior" as opposed to non-SSA men in the Priesthood.

Unfortunately, it seems like the only "real" choice for the SSA male is the single vocation.

Question about such a single vocation:

1.) Presumably, the SSA male is still prohibited from living with a woman/women. Yes?

2.) Obviously, the SSA male is additionally prohibited from living with men. Yes?

3.) That leaves family. However, deep into adulthood, the SSA male is likely to want to leave his parents and parents likewise deserve their own "space" in retirement age, yes?

4.) And siblings are likely to pursue either religious (thus sharing residence with other religious) or marital (thus sharing residence with a new family) vocations, thus it would be impossible to reside with siblings, as well.

My question is where does this leave the SSA male? (The SSA female as well, but I thought I would just go with one gender to simplify.)

The SSA male, as I gather is to: not pursue the Priesthood, certainly not pursue romantic relationships, nor dwell with either males or females.

Therefore, I was wondering, what does the SSA male who is called to be faithful to the Church to do to avoid loneliness and live a life of fulfillment? As much as we may talk about burdens or sacrifices, nevertheless, the SSA is still human and thus still requires companionship.

As a married heterosexual male, this is, to me, a very confusing situation.

Not that SSA would be the absolute worst thing in the world, but if I wasn't called for marriage, I would be pursuing the Priesthood and at least have the companionship of fellow Clergy. And if I was called for marriage but hadn't committed to a particular partner yet, at least I would have the joy of the discernment process with a special lady.

The single SSA male lifestyle who is loyal to the Church seems much lonelier, very sad, to be alone forever, having neither the love of a romantic relationship, the companionship of God and Clergy in religious life, nor even being able to live with a roommate.

I think I'm upset with God about this. It bothers me that not only do such individuals face discrimination and cruelty because of the way they were born. But even in living the Holy life, despite all the prejudice and disgust that they have to overcome even WITHIN the Church, they are called to yet another tremendous sacrifice apparently, which is that they cannot even have the dignity of having a choice to make in their lives, nor companionship as most of us know it.

This, in large part, is why I pray EVERYDAY that those with SSA who are faithful may find love and acceptance in this world and not feel all alone in the world. :crying:

Any thoughts?


#2

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:1, topic:263100"]
Though I've read threads that say an SSA man is not expressly forbidden from joining the Priesthood, it seems that he is nevertheless always to be considered in some way "inferior" as opposed to non-SSA men in the Priesthood.

Unfortunately, it seems like the only "real" choice for the SSA male is the single vocation.

Question about such a single vocation:

1.) Presumably, the SSA male is still prohibited from living with a woman/women. Yes?

2.) Obviously, the SSA male is additionally prohibited from living with men. Yes?

3.) That leaves family. However, deep into adulthood, the SSA male is likely to want to leave his parents and parents likewise deserve their own "space" in retirement age, yes?

4.) And siblings are likely to pursue either religious (thus sharing residence with other religious) or marital (thus sharing residence with a new family) vocations, thus it would be impossible to reside with siblings, as well.

My question is where does this leave the SSA male? (The SSA female as well, but I thought I would just go with one gender to simplify.)

The SSA male, as I gather is to: not pursue the Priesthood, certainly not pursue romantic relationships, nor dwell with either males or females.

Therefore, I was wondering, what does the SSA male who is called to be faithful to the Church to do to avoid loneliness and live a life of fulfillment? As much as we may talk about burdens or sacrifices, nevertheless, the SSA is still human and thus still requires companionship.

As a married heterosexual male, this is, to me, a very confusing situation.

Not that SSA would be the absolute worst thing in the world, but if I wasn't called for marriage, I would be pursuing the Priesthood and at least have the companionship of fellow Clergy. And if I was called for marriage but hadn't committed to a particular partner yet, at least I would have the joy of the discernment process with a special lady.

The single SSA male lifestyle who is loyal to the Church seems much lonelier, very sad, to be alone forever, having neither the love of a romantic relationship, the companionship of God and Clergy in religious life, nor even being able to live with a roommate.

I think I'm upset with God about this. It bothers me that not only do such individuals face discrimination and cruelty because of the way they were born. But even in living the Holy life, despite all the prejudice and disgust that they have to overcome even WITHIN the Church, they are called to yet another tremendous sacrifice apparently, which is that they cannot even have the dignity of having a choice to make in their lives, nor companionship as most of us know it.

This, in large part, is why I pray EVERYDAY that those with SSA who are faithful may find love and acceptance in this world and not feel all alone in the world. :crying:

Any thoughts?

[/quote]

I'll wait for someone else to answer, but I'll say a prayer for you.


#3

Sorry if I wasn’t clear: I’m a straight, married male. No reason to say a prayer for me on this account. But, say a prayer for all those SSA that are committed to faithfulness… that would be very appreciated! :slight_smile:


#4

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:3, topic:263100"]
Sorry if I wasn't clear: I'm a straight, married male. No reason to say a prayer for me on this account. But, say a prayer for all those SSA that are committed to faithfulness... that would be very appreciated! :)

[/quote]

Sorry, I meant your intentions.


#5

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:1, topic:263100"]
Though I've read threads that say an SSA man is not expressly forbidden from joining the Priesthood, it seems that he is nevertheless always to be considered in some way "inferior" as opposed to non-SSA men in the Priesthood.

Unfortunately, it seems like the only "real" choice for the SSA male is the single vocation.

Question about such a single vocation:

1.) Presumably, the SSA male is still prohibited from living with a woman/women. Yes?

2.) Obviously, the SSA male is additionally prohibited from living with men. Yes?

3.) That leaves family. However, deep into adulthood, the SSA male is likely to want to leave his parents and parents likewise deserve their own "space" in retirement age, yes?

4.) And siblings are likely to pursue either religious (thus sharing residence with other religious) or marital (thus sharing residence with a new family) vocations, thus it would be impossible to reside with siblings, as well.

My question is where does this leave the SSA male? (The SSA female as well, but I thought I would just go with one gender to simplify.)

The SSA male, as I gather is to: not pursue the Priesthood, certainly not pursue romantic relationships, nor dwell with either males or females.

Therefore, I was wondering, what does the SSA male who is called to be faithful to the Church to do to avoid loneliness and live a life of fulfillment? As much as we may talk about burdens or sacrifices, nevertheless, the SSA is still human and thus still requires companionship.

As a married heterosexual male, this is, to me, a very confusing situation.

Not that SSA would be the absolute worst thing in the world, but if I wasn't called for marriage, I would be pursuing the Priesthood and at least have the companionship of fellow Clergy. And if I was called for marriage but hadn't committed to a particular partner yet, at least I would have the joy of the discernment process with a special lady.

The single SSA male lifestyle who is loyal to the Church seems much lonelier, very sad, to be alone forever, having neither the love of a romantic relationship, the companionship of God and Clergy in religious life, nor even being able to live with a roommate.

I think I'm upset with God about this. It bothers me that not only do such individuals face discrimination and cruelty because of the way they were born. But even in living the Holy life, despite all the prejudice and disgust that they have to overcome even WITHIN the Church, they are called to yet another tremendous sacrifice apparently, which is that they cannot even have the dignity of having a choice to make in their lives, nor companionship as most of us know it.

This, in large part, is why I pray EVERYDAY that those with SSA who are faithful may find love and acceptance in this world and not feel all alone in the world. :crying:

Any thoughts?

[/quote]

Well at least someone seems to understand. Your post moved me to tears :bighanky:

I am of course, called to exactly the kind of life you described. Thank you for your prayers. I very much appreciate them.

Obviously, I don't think it's too hard to make the jump from being a faithful SSA Catholic to taking monastic orders. As, at least speaking for myself, my life is at least fundamentally more similar to that of a monk than most people's. There's of course celibacy, living in relatively more isolation than most people, which means the most important relationship I'll have is with God.

Of course, what most people don't take the time to think about, is how much they talk about love, and liking people, and whether or not to ask someone out, and how much they talk about relationships. I raise this point, because I find it very frustrating on so many levels.
-most people, by their tone, assume that EVERYONE can relate to what they're saying.
-all the sayings about "It's something every man has to prepare for/ goes through".... out the window.

Any conversation I'm having, whoever with, people can at any moment start talking about relationships. And, eventually there's an implied "gee, you haven't said anything, it's your turn to contribute on our discussion about relationships".
Which is normally the place where I deflect and make a comment about the other people's relationship, and get them to go into further detail.

I'm really not saying this in a whining complaining tone. But, I just feel so misunderstood. Every man who is blessed enough to be straight, to get some context on people with SSA, should reflect how much relationships play a part in their lives. Once you realize how much time/ thought you put into relationships, now take 100% of it away. Relationships are 0% of the SSA male's life. If you want love, there is God and your family. That is all.

And no, you can't somehow operate with a subconscious feeling of "one day I'll find someone and get married and have a family". Nope, none of that either. That is 0% of my life as well.

So... it's only bearable insofar that when they say "be content only in Christ" / "be satisfied solely by your faith in God"... well, I imagine that means a whole lot more to people with SSA than everyone else. And, I can share this anonymously with you online. But, this is a fact of our lives which, I'd imagine, most people with SSA keep to themselves. We accept this with the humility to never tell anyone about this. It's between us and God.


#6

Well, some men with SSA can pursue the Priesthood, if they're called.

But, to pursue the single vocation could easily be reached by becoming a hermit or something similar :)


#7

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:3, topic:263100"]
Sorry if I wasn't clear: I'm a straight, married male. No reason to say a prayer for me on this account. But, say a prayer for all those SSA that are committed to faithfulness... that would be very appreciated! :)

[/quote]

For a person with SSA, prayer is the best route. God's grace is not wanting, for nothing is impossible with Him. There are no circumstances in which He cannot work in a person's life. God can draw good out of anything.


#8

[quote="ssa_fellow, post:5, topic:263100"]
Well at least someone seems to understand. Your post moved me to tears :bighanky:

I am of course, called to exactly the kind of life you described. Thank you for your prayers. I very much appreciate them.

Obviously, I don't think it's too hard to make the jump from being a faithful SSA Catholic to taking monastic orders. As, at least speaking for myself, my life is at least fundamentally more similar to that of a monk than most people's. There's of course celibacy, living in relatively more isolation than most people, which means the most important relationship I'll have is with God.

Of course, what most people don't take the time to think about, is how much they talk about love, and liking people, and whether or not to ask someone out, and how much they talk about relationships. I raise this point, because I find it very frustrating on so many levels.
-most people, by their tone, assume that EVERYONE can relate to what they're saying.
-all the sayings about "It's something every man has to prepare for/ goes through".... out the window.

Any conversation I'm having, whoever with, people can at any moment start talking about relationships. And, eventually there's an implied "gee, you haven't said anything, it's your turn to contribute on our discussion about relationships".
Which is normally the place where I deflect and make a comment about the other people's relationship, and get them to go into further detail.

I'm really not saying this in a whining complaining tone. But, I just feel so misunderstood. Every man who is blessed enough to be straight, to get some context on people with SSA, should reflect how much relationships play a part in their lives. Once you realize how much time/ thought you put into relationships, now take 100% of it away. Relationships are 0% of the SSA male's life. If you want love, there is God and your family. That is all.

And no, you can't somehow operate with a subconscious feeling of "one day I'll find someone and get married and have a family". Nope, none of that either. That is 0% of my life as well.

So... it's only bearable insofar that when they say "be content only in Christ" / "be satisfied solely by your faith in God"... well, I imagine that means a whole lot more to people with SSA than everyone else. And, I can share this anonymously with you online. But, this is a fact of our lives which, I'd imagine, most people with SSA keep to themselves. We accept this with the humility to never tell anyone about this. It's between us and God.

[/quote]

Your conviction is likely some of the strongest I've ever seen on this board.

We all know it's difficult to know God in many ways. To know the effects that SSA has on a person and the way that chastity must define a person with SSA when supporting the teachings of the Church actively and personally when you're the person with SSA...I can hardly imagine how lonely you may feel sometimes.

I'm buoyed by your story and your strength. I pray for all the graces and joy of God to fill the empty spaces you offer up to Him.


#9

[quote="LoyalViews, post:6, topic:263100"]
Well, some men with SSA can pursue the Priesthood, if they're called.

But, to pursue the single vocation could easily be reached by becoming a hermit or something similar :)

[/quote]

This. Anchoritic life is good (if you're called), plus you actually take vows.


#10

The practice of chastity coupled with faithfulness to God overrides sexual desires (whatever a person's sexual attraction).

A person has to discern whether or not they are capable of being consistently faithful and chaste.


#11

[quote="ssa_fellow, post:5, topic:263100"]
Well at least someone seems to understand. Your post moved me to tears :bighanky:

I am of course, called to exactly the kind of life you described. Thank you for your prayers. I very much appreciate them.

[/quote]

Oh God bless you my brother, please know that my prayers are always, always with you.

The reason that troubles me is that SSA does not automatically go hand in hand with a calling to the monastic lifestyle. You can say that SSA should carry that as a cross, but they are already dealing with the cross of SSA.

So my concern is much more for those with SSA that are very personable and social. Many people are just the type that "need" social interaction/community/human love, and so we should be very concerned because I don't think they are getting that.

That's not to mention the vicious remarks that are thrown around about SSA people as a whole, without even considering whether they are struggling to be faithful or not.

When I consider our brother "ssa fellow", I think of all the hateful and stereotypical posts that are made about SSA here on CAF. I can't imagine how much that must hurt him, to be a faithful Catholic and be judged in such a manner! Too often SSA are viewed as a "them" instead of "us", part of God's Church.

If anyone is interested, I would like to brainstorm ways that we as a Church can provide fellowship and community to those faithful SSA who are lonely. I don't quite know where to start, but I'm confident that it must be done.


#12

[quote="ssa_fellow, post:5, topic:263100"]
I am of course, called to exactly the kind of life you described. Thank you for your prayers. I very much appreciate them.

[/quote]

Thank you for your post. I'm in the same situation but fortunately have found some fulfilling relationships in close friendships. Not the same as being married, I would love that too and actually still hope to one day (I'm 28). Father Benedict Groeschel has some awesome talks and resources for men with same sex attraction, available on EWTN. God Bless.


#13

Being single is not a Vocation in and of itself.

Vocations are either to marriage or to the Religious life.

Prayers as you discern which one God has planned for you.


#14

The church seems to have dropped the ball as far as we are concerned. I embraced married life but have the crosses that an SSA man has in this situation. It is a tragedy that priesthood and the monastic life are discouraged for SSA men. We should find family in the church. I'm sure God will reward you for submtting to his law and to the church.


#15

[quote="Castello, post:13, topic:263100"]
Being single is not a Vocation in and of itself.

Vocations are either to marriage or to the Religious life.

[/quote]

Ummm... ok, so, an SSA has no vocation? Or are they compelled to Monastic life? Either way seems messed up...


#16

[quote="Spencerian, post:8, topic:263100"]
Your conviction is likely some of the strongest I've ever seen on this board.

I'm buoyed by your story and your strength. I pray for all the graces and joy of God to fill the empty spaces you offer up to Him.

[/quote]

Thank you very much. Right now, I don't know how God will use me. But, I have a growing feeling that somehow I might be involved in some way to encourage other SSA Catholics, and maybe reach out to evangelize to the gay community. Because, my life is a powerful witness to our faith. And really, every SSA Catholic out there has a strong witness just bc of who they are.

All the messages in society make most people think the active "gay pride" community is descriptive of every gay person. And, I guess that's why the Church refers to it as SSA. The problem is that every person is called to celibacy (before marriage). Well... if you're SSA you're not called to be married- unless some VERY special circumstances arise with the right woman.

In this respect, people with SSA who are faithful Catholics are probably a similar proportion of the gay community, as straight people who are virgins until their wedding night. Obviously there are more straight people (proportionally) living out that call to celibacy... but that's because the message is out there. Most every Christian knows the official message to be celibate until marriage... but when that message is given, whoevers giving it needs to talk to how it applies to SSA individuals as well.

I just want to say, even if it's a little unrelated. That people are born this way. There is a minority on CAF, and in the Church that disagree that people are born with a gay sexual orientation. And, I think these people are sadly very vocal about it.

I think it stems from them painting every homosexual person with the broad brush of the "gay pride parade" community. Well... this talk just doesn't belong being directed at faithful Catholics with SSA. If we weren't born this way, why would we choose to live a life of strict celibacy when we could "choose" to become straight and have loving relationships/ families/ ... and it would even make some of us join the priesthood who felt we weren't allowed to before.

As pointed out above, marriage and the priesthood are both wonderful vocations. If we can't enjoy them, and we are celibate and not actually having sex or relationships of any kind... what do we gain? So, that's the logical argument proving that people are born this way.

For people that think homosexuality is a choice, who might be reading this, maybe you should think of this the next time someone gives their personal experience of always being attracted to the same sex, and laboriously denying all the "did you have a father figure? were you not raised in a manly way?" questions.

Why don't you just take them at their word... there isn't a time in your life you can remember not being straight, well there's not a time in our lives we can remember not being gay. That doesn't mean we can't both be really good Catholics.

WHEW :coolinoff:
**


#17

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:11, topic:263100"]
Oh God bless you my brother, please know that my prayers are always, always with you.

The reason that troubles me is that SSA does not automatically go hand in hand with a calling to the monastic lifestyle. You can say that SSA should carry that as a cross, but they are already dealing with the cross of SSA.

So my concern is much more for those with SSA that are very personable and social. Many people are just the type that "need" social interaction/community/human love, and so we should be very concerned because I don't think they are getting that.

That's not to mention the vicious remarks that are thrown around about SSA people as a whole, without even considering whether they are struggling to be faithful or not.

When I consider our brother "ssa fellow", I think of all the hateful and stereotypical posts that are made about SSA here on CAF. I can't imagine how much that must hurt him, to be a faithful Catholic and be judged in such a manner! Too often SSA are viewed as a "them" instead of "us", part of God's Church.

If anyone is interested, I would like to brainstorm ways that we as a Church can provide fellowship and community to those faithful SSA who are lonely. I don't quite know where to start, but I'm confident that it must be done.

[/quote]

Well said!

And yes, I should have stated that: just because one has SSA doesn't automatically mean that he is drawn to a monastic vocation, or a vocation to the Priesthood or religious life. They CAN, but one shoudn't just assume.


#18

[quote="VeritasLuxMea, post:11, topic:263100"]
Oh God bless you my brother, please know that my prayers are always, always with you.

The reason that troubles me is that SSA does not automatically go hand in hand with a calling to the monastic lifestyle. You can say that SSA should carry that as a cross, but they are already dealing with the cross of SSA.

So my concern is much more for those with SSA that are very personable and social. Many people are just the type that "need" social interaction/community/human love, and so we should be very concerned because I don't think they are getting that.

If anyone is interested, I would like to brainstorm ways that we as a Church can provide fellowship and community to those faithful SSA who are lonely. I don't quite know where to start, but I'm confident that it must be done.

[/quote]

I was there exactly before I got married, which was the best I could do to procure familial love for myself as I grew older. It's working out adequately.


#19

[quote="ssa_fellow, post:5, topic:263100"]
Well at least someone seems to understand. Your post moved me to tears :bighanky:

I am of course, called to exactly the kind of life you described. Thank you for your prayers. I very much appreciate them.

Obviously, I don't think it's too hard to make the jump from being a faithful SSA Catholic to taking monastic orders. As, at least speaking for myself, my life is at least fundamentally more similar to that of a monk than most people's. There's of course celibacy, living in relatively more isolation than most people, which means the most important relationship I'll have is with God.

Of course, what most people don't take the time to think about, is how much they talk about love, and liking people, and whether or not to ask someone out, and how much they talk about relationships. I raise this point, because I find it very frustrating on so many levels.
-most people, by their tone, assume that EVERYONE can relate to what they're saying.
-all the sayings about "It's something every man has to prepare for/ goes through".... out the window.

Any conversation I'm having, whoever with, people can at any moment start talking about relationships. And, eventually there's an implied "gee, you haven't said anything, it's your turn to contribute on our discussion about relationships".
Which is normally the place where I deflect and make a comment about the other people's relationship, and get them to go into further detail.

I'm really not saying this in a whining complaining tone. But, I just feel so misunderstood. Every man who is blessed enough to be straight, to get some context on people with SSA, should reflect how much relationships play a part in their lives. Once you realize how much time/ thought you put into relationships, now take 100% of it away. Relationships are 0% of the SSA male's life. If you want love, there is God and your family. That is all.

And no, you can't somehow operate with a subconscious feeling of "one day I'll find someone and get married and have a family". Nope, none of that either. That is 0% of my life as well.

So... it's only bearable insofar that when they say "be content only in Christ" / "be satisfied solely by your faith in God"... well, I imagine that means a whole lot more to people with SSA than everyone else. And, I can share this anonymously with you online. But, this is a fact of our lives which, I'd imagine, most people with SSA keep to themselves. We accept this with the humility to never tell anyone about this. It's between us and God.

[/quote]

I'm in a similar boat. I don't have SSA, thank God, but I absolutely know that God has not called me to marriage, the priesthood, or religious life. What you've described is mostly my life.

I live with my mom; our only real friends are each other, our pets, and God. What I do is devote my spare time to learning about the faith and spreading the Gospel in this pagan land known as California. It's been really tough. Only through lots of prayer have I been able to make peace with all this.


#20

First of all Fellow I want to say my prayers are completely with you! As someone struggling with SSA myself, I think your post come from a place of spiritual charity and of fidelity to the Church. Only someone with SSA knows what it is like to bear this burden, and I ‘feel it’ when you point out how people who do not bear this burden make whopping accusations and glib observations, in some cases not hesitating to make the most unChristian uncharitable judgments. Yah, loneliness and a life of unfulfillment indeed (apart, of course, from the fulfillment Our Lord provides us and I think is a special category of relationship we SSA people have with Him)…and of pain/confusion when it comes to exploring one’s Christian vocation.

I’m 28 myself. I’ve tried dating many times, chastely, with mixed degrees of success, but always decided not to take it too far as I would not want to saddle a girl with my hidden burden as it were, all the girls I’ve dated deserved better than that. My burden has remained hidden all the years of my life, and I’ve carried it by myself fairly stoically I’d say. I may put in my own $.02, however, and say that the only thing worse than quietly enduring a life with SSA is to act out on it. Apart from the sheer sinfulness, the homosexual ‘scene’ is one of emptiness and shallowness, short and confused relationships, and a far greater level (by ORDERS of magnitude) of unfulfillment than living in holy celibacy. I won’t lie, on occasion in my experience there have been brief moments when it seemed like things might ‘work’ (this is before I returned to the Church) but those moments inevitably collapse—the homosexual scene is based on money, narcissism, and hedonism, and a combination of all three: nothing else. You cannot go digging in a lead pit and hope to strike gold, it is simply impossible. It is de facto flawed, a true perversion, which by fact of its broken nature is incapable of finding true fulfillment, as opposed to say Christian, heterosexual courtship and marriage.

I suppose the silver lining is, since those of us burdened with SSA know truly how broken creation has been since the Fall (in that we can expect no real consolation or support on an interpersonal basis along the lines of marriage) we have a far greater ability to turn our burden over to Christ, refuse to be attached to this passing, temporal existence, than perhaps many a married couple who—out of necessity of family it is true—are quite tied down by this world and its affairs.

All that said, I would not take one iota of advice given on these boards about how SSA might affect one’s possible vocation to religious, clerical, or solitary life…UNLESS it is given by the religious hereabouts, who routinely give out excellent and sound Catholic information, like Brother JREducation and ByzCath. Yet the advice they would most likely give is to speak in person, in the real world, with a vocation’s director or novice master etc., which is precisely the advice I would give you. Although there are many kind-hearted people on the CAF, the truth is that most of them are simply not qualified to assist in your search, and if they try I’d suggest taking their advice with a pinch of salt…albeit, holy salt. For what it is worth I have been coping with SSA my whole life, trying to determine whether or not I in fact have ‘deep seated homosexual tendencies’ (I do have some sexual attraction to the opposite sex too, so the whole bloody affair is confusing) and have been regularly meeting with my spiritual director for guidance, as well as with the Vocations Director for my Diocese’s Priesthood…why have I met with the latter you may ask? Because on top of all this, I am exploring the possibility I may have been given a Vocation, and have taken my plea with honesty and humility to the Church.

And, no matter what may come, I know that it is within the Church I have found salvation, no matter what role in this world the Good Lord intends me to play. God bless you!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.