The Church’s Failure With the Unmarried

The Church’s Failure With the Unmarried October 29, 2014

Appearing today on Aleteia, the first of my weekly columns for them: Single and Catholic. It begins:

A single friend who recently moved posted a note on her Facebook page: “Was trying out a new church on Sunday when the pastor announced that his November sermon series would be about marriage. ‘And what if you’re not married?’ he asked us. ‘Well, Scripture says “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.”’

Not the most welcoming way of putting it. “Excuse me?” my friend responded. “In other words, singles, suck it up. Won’t be returning there.”

Most of the responses were supportive, as you’d expect from friends, but several dismissed her concerns or told her, in various ways, to suck it up and stop whining. Other single friends, including widows and single mothers who were single because their loutish husbands left them for Miss Suzy Cupcake, have told me they don’t talk about their struggles because the chances of being dismissed or patronized or even condemned are too high.

I’ve been in conversations when a single friend mentioned the difficulties of being single and people who were normally caring blew them off or even laughed at them, as if they were teenagers fretting over an almost invisible blemish. People surrounded by their lovely families will immediately counter with some statement about the trials of marriage and sometimes a lecture on the blessings of being single. Normal manners would require them to listen and at least feign sympathy, but they don’t.

Then follows some analysis of the reasons for this and a couple suggestions for what married people can do. I’d be grateful if you read it and passed it on.

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