Whether the single state can be a call and vocation from God remains something theologians seem to like to muse over and over- and then over again - some for, some against. In the earlier years of The Church, all women religious had to be enclosed. No option. It was quite a struggle before they were able to move out of the cloister. Secular Institutes were the most recent inclusion in Canonical Consecrated Life… The single state of life is still struggling to be recognised as a vocation at all - in some quarters anyway.
Fr John Hardon was a Jesuit Priest and theologian. Fr John was of great renown asa theologian and a holy priest - he is one of the authors (if not the author, unsure on that point) of The Catholic Catechism as we now know it. I quote Fr JOhn in the last quotation box below.
Fr John’s cause for canonization is now before the Vatican and he is a declared Servant of God.
In the other quotation boxes are what I regard as SOME ONLY important quotations re the single state of life as a potential vocation.
**Pre Vatican II/**COLOR]
Sacra Virginitas"Sacred Virginity" vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_25031954_sacra-virginitas_en.html
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON CONSECRATED VIRGINITY
"6. And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state, and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders and demanded from members of Secular Institutes**, it also flourishes among many who are lay people in the full sense: men and women who are not constituted in a public state of perfection and yet by private promise or vow completely abstain from marriage and sexual pleasures, in order to serve their neighbor more freely and to be united with God more easily and more closely.** "
[quote]Post Vatican II
VITA CONSECRATA [The Consecrated Life]
OF THE HOLY FATHER
JOHN PAUL II
Thanksgiving for the consecrated life
- Because the role of consecrated life in the Church is so important, I decided to convene a Synod in order to examine in depth its significance and its future prospects, especially in view of the approaching new millennium. It was my wish that the Synodal Assembly should include, together with the Bishops, a considerable number of consecrated men and women, in order that they too might contribute to the common reflection.
We are all aware of the treasure which the gift of the consecrated life in the variety of its charisms and institutions represents for the ecclesial community. Together let us thank God for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons, as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration.
The Apostolate in Every Vocation to Follow Christ
(Fr. John Hardon SJ author)
…"The development of this vocation to Christian perfection was already seen before the deliverance of the Church from the early years of persecution and, until the fourth century, was mainly heremetical. They became hermits; that’s about all they could do. They could hardly get any kind of civil status in the Roman Empire! The problem was, at the time, to even survive as an individual Christian.
But as the Church developed, there appeared three types of Christian perfection which have not only survived to the present day but will continue until the end of time. In general, they are, first, the strictly monastic. It may be heremetical, but that is rare; there are very few hermits in the Roman Catholic Church. The monastic form has many variants. The cloistered communities would qualify under that general rubric. Second, apostolic communities, where they engage in some kind of apostolic work which carries their efforts, even if not the persons, outside of their own community life. And third, secular institutes.
There is a fourth category contemplated by the Holy See in anticipation of the new Code of Canon Law, so that something may be done for the thousands of women who seem not to want religious life yet seem to want to live especially dedicated lives in the Church. The secular institutes are a recent development of the Catholic Church. If there would be a fourth category, it would be some form of what we now call “secular institutes,” but the implications still have to be worked out.
Our current Code of Canon Law is dated 1983, while the article above is copyrighted 1999but anyway over and above that, it does serve to indicate that The Church as hierarchy is aware of a quite considerable number of women living “especially dedicated lives in The Church” outside of the Canonical Consecrated Life as it now exits - and being aware of “the thousands of women” - then at least, at very least, it is still on an agenda somewhere I would tend to think.