… You know what the absolute best thing in the whole world is about having a blog? The ability to go back and read some of the nonsense I previously wrote and learn from my past errors in judgement.
Take for example this post from two years, It’s Not The Church’s Responisibilty To See That You Have An Fulfilling Social Life.
I don’t really expect the Church to do anything for *me* specifically outside of these sacraments. Theology on Tap is fun – it has booze. Young adult groups are also fun, if only because I’m so much older everything I say sounds sapient – like I’m Gandalf, but without all the wizard-y powers and junk. And the beard.
As a single woman in the Catholic Church I am quite contented. I’m going to be perfectly honest here when I say it’s a bad idea to expect the Church to fulfill your social life. Prayer groups and adoration don’t require specific age ranges or marital statuses. All that other stuff, well, that’s what hobbies and interests are for. I just think it places unrealistic expectations on priests and parish staff to think they should be providing a social group for every individual and their individual lifestyle. It seems crazy and futile trying to please everyone.
Can you imagine, I actually believed that if all I had were the sacraments I’d need nothing else. I wouldn’t need other Catholics, or other women and mothers for support. I wouldn’t need wise mentoring and council. Nope. All that stuff is squishy sentimental rubbish.
Sometimes I am amazed at my own arrogance.
I can only imagine how hurtful it must have been to read something like while struggling with loneliness. Actually, no, I don’t need to imagine. I know how hurtful it is, not to mention utterly dismissive, re-reading it two years later while dealing with my own isolation.
Church can be an incredibly lonely place. It was why I stopped going for a time. It’s why some Sundays I can barely drag myself there just to sit in the pew alone. Surrounding by families. And married couples. So many families and couples.
And it feels stupid to write that, that I would willingly place myself in a state of mortal sin than to have to face my own loneliness and feelings of being unwanted. Besides Christ and my duty as a Catholic to Him are more important than some pity party. So offer it up, you sad sack, and go to mass.
That’s the inner monologue that runs through my brain every time I set out for church. And then to have to read something as callous as “get a hobby.” Yet two years ago, I meant that. I was contented and in my contentment I felt superior enough to completely dismiss a very large, hugely ignored faction of the Church. And we wonder why people leave.
Let me tell you what it feels like as a single mother in the Catholic Church…
There’s an entire Synod going on right now to discuss the family, but what I haven’t read a great deal about is single parent households. It’s almost as if we don’t rightly matter much.
Personally, I have found being a single Catholic working mom in my late 30’s very isolating. I’m too old for Young Adult Ministries, too divorced for Married Ministries, too employed to meet during the day for Mommy Groups, and I have no free time available to volunteer.
In terms of service, I feel as a single parent I literally have nothing of myself to offer the Church therefore I’m not even a blip on Her radar. Insignificant, unimportant non-contributer single parent me. Hell, the Synod on families doesn’t even recognize my family as a family. It’s all divorced and remarried Catholics and gay Catholics with their “special gifts.”
Do I have to have some gift to offer in order to be recognized as an important member of the Church? Is that how this works? No, seriously tell me. What do single parents need to do in order to get encouragement and support?