Catholic Mythology part 2

athens-greece-acropolis-1392620940h0TAnd the myths continue.

#4-It’s your fault you’re single.  You’re too picky or there is something wrong with you.  This conclusion is simplistic and usually incorrect.  A better answer comes, once again, from author Emily Stimpson who pinpoints the real answer when she asserts, “Chances are, however, you’re still single for the same reason most of us are:

We’re Catholic and the culture is not.

The sexual revolution, divorce, abortion, contraception, pornography, cohabitation, even serial dating have left countless potential mates wounded and in need of healing. Others want and expect things from us that we cannot and must not give. The pool of eligible spouses is small, which leaves many of us single later—maybe much later—than we’d like.

But your unwillingness to widen that pool by turning your back on God and compromising on what you know to be true doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you. It means something’s right.”      (emphasis added).

So basically if you’re following the teachings of the Catholic Church, you may very well find yourself without a family.  At this point, words like “fault” and “picky” begin to fall away from any analysis of single Catholics.  Instead, the phrase “white martyrdom” begins to emerge, more accurately summarizing the situation.  Faith, if it has any substance to it at all, makes demands on us.  No doubt many singles never imagine that they’d find themselves still single after so many years, even decades.  The proper response from the rest of the Church should be one of compassion, not blame.

#5- Family is under attack and needs the full attention of the Church.  Singles can wait.  The underlying premise of this myth is that the attack on the family doesn’t affect singles.  However, nothing could be farther from the truth, especially for those who are unwillingly single.  The immense number of singles, partly from the divorce rate and partly from the low marriage rate, is part of the attack on the family.  This is a two front war we are fighting.  Certainly we want to keep existing families together, but we should also want to help singles live the lives for which God designed them.  For those called to marriage, this means helping single people become married people.

It may also surprise a good number of people to know that there are definite spiritual dangers inherent to the single life.  As Jared Silvey describes it, in the single life, “There is no sacrament to go along with it. The single lay person may not have a community of support on hand, or a structured religious life. As we alluded to before, the single lay state, in a sense, is the most dangerous vocation, and because of the lack of accountability and ready-made structure there are many more opportunities for falling into sinful bad habits.”

All of these, and various or myths about singles, point to a general observation about the Catholic lay faithful. We seem to be very compartmentalized these days. Married with children Catholics socialize with other married folks.  Singles associate with other singles. Or as a married friend once said to me, “Married people don’t hang out with single people.”  Because our married counterparts spend so little time with their single brothers and sisters in Christ, they really do not have a clear and accurate understanding of what the single life entails these days.  David Mills describes the solution to the source of this problem. “The rest of us who are married can also do something for the single people around us: Make them real friends, especially if the default setting of your life is—as it usually is—to spend your time with other married people. . .

The challenge to Catholic married couples: get to know the single people around you.  Their lives may be different than yours but not as different as you may think.  Like you, they have a calling from God to be part of a family.  Unlike you, the blessing of a family eludes them, as they wade through the mess and mire of our society, but that calling still remains.  On that note, one last piece of advice from Mr. Mills, “A family is a blessing, and blessings are given to be shared. . .”


2 thoughts on “Catholic Mythology part 2

  1. Another myth offered by long-term marrieds and even young marrieds, is that online dating is the New Way. Here’s an article from 2013 (comments no longer being taken) which quotes all the website owners and a few Catholic retreat circuit speakers (I’m not sure what qualifications they have, or who certifies them… but the media sure does love to quote them as “experts”).

    Even though the article is somewhat thoughtful and balanced, the commenters rightly tear it apart. I’ve written the exact same points in response to other articles. The success rate is abysmal. It’s not for everyone. You develop bad habits in how you evaluate (and dismiss) people, a “shopping” mentality. Most people end up worse for the experience, even on the so-called “Catholic” dating sites.


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