It seems as if there is little support for celibate men discerning a call to the diaconate or living out their celibacy as a deacon.
There was much discussion in the inquiry sessions about the married deacon, his wife, and their undersanding that she may pre-decease her husband and how he must consider that he may be asked to be celibate later on, after ordaination. As there were fifteen in the inquiry sessions and I was the only single celibate man present, I think the focus on married deacons and family life was appropriate.
In speaking to priests about the subject, I get the feeling that there is a certain support struture inherent in the priest’s lifestyle. Perhaps a priest lives with other priests in the rectory. The priests in my parish get together at the deanery level once a week for lunch, fellowship and support. There seems to be a certain esprit de corps among priests which helps them cope with such issues. The only real help I have recieved from priests however, are along the lines of comments such as “You get used to it” and “Age is our ally”.
I’m comfortable with celibacy now, having even embraced it. There are no particular challenges in my life right now other than the normal temptations, “That which is common to every man”.
It seems however, as if the unmarried celibate deacon or one in discernment (and maybe even at an equal level the unmarried celibate layman) are out there adrift in a life boat on their own, clinging to God and our Holy Mother for support as best as we can. There doesn’t seem to be much obvious support out there other than a few books. Holy friendships with other likeminded individuals are hard to find, and there certainly isn’t any support in the secular work world.
Am I alone in these feelings? Is there something I am missing?
I don’t wish to diminish anything the Church does for married deacons. Far from it. But my experience as a celibate layman so far, and every attempt I have made to speak about it with members of the clergy have left me wanting something more substantial and only served to confirm that I’ll continue to be on my own for the most part.
Have I missed something here?