You mentioned before that you think older singles, and particularly women, are neglected in the Church. How do you think that I, as a single man without a vocation to sacred orders, feel?
Very good points. Thank you Paul for sharing your feelings. I am glad people are expressing this. I think it is always helpful to air these things out and thank you for helping us see and know how men are suffering too in this whole equation.
Part of my intent when I first posted my statement about women to to provoke everyone to share...
And it promotes good Catholic marriages. They have to originate from somewhere and usually it is a date...
Because they are not married? I know that the Evangelical churches really focus on the married couples and promote marriage.....How do you experience this in those places? If you look at my post, you will see that I really did not have a way to describe what I was stating. Can you describve how this looks for a single male over 25?
Not very well, I can't. It's just that in my experience with the Evangelical church I was at for four years, there's a college ministry (sort of...) and then there are small groups of mixed ages, and most of the young singles are split so far apart as to not really interact with each other. However, there is a very active childcare ministry -- again, this is just one church -- and there are so many kids that the childcare takes up all available classrooms in the church during both services. And that provides a social outlet for females, but not so much for us males who aren't good with kids. Which is to say, most males.
I guess my experience is too limited to say much, but it's been frustrating enough for me and alienating enough that I felt it was worth mentioning, at least to vent it if for no other reason.
Venting is a good thingto do and it helps the forums when we can do it here.
Marge hits a great point. At my former parish, the cutoff for young adults is 40, so at some events, you had to show ID, and if you were over 40, you were excluded. That particular Atlanta parish just casts you out. A separate non-parish-affiliated group was formed in response.
Probably the worst church experience I've had was being single and volunteering to serve in different ministries and help out others when needed, while hoping God would bring the right woman into my life. However, when certain overly religious laypeople found out I was still single, they decided that not only should I consider a religious vocation, but it was their God-given duty to push me in that direction. Some even went so far as to warn me that if a religious vocation was my calling and I didn't pursue it, God will be very angry with me at my judgment. Try dealing with THAT in your respective parish.
I'm not single because I want to be. It's just my current status in life. I pray every day for it to change, and am working on self-improvement to that end, leaving the rest up to God. It's not good for man to be alone.
I think those people who tried to direct you toward a vocation and who definitely took it too far were trying to help and I think they must have believed they were doing God's work instead of letting YOU be who you are. THAT is an example of how a single man might "get attention" in a parish when he is there really trying to meet a young woman to marry. Perhaps Those people could easily have introduced you to a single woman. It seems that People don't even know how to create social opportunities for one another these days because we are all ... ..so busy.
When I was in my 20s I thought I could meet a good man if I was busy in the parish and active in the parishes. No I did not meet someone. I met guys but not someone for me. Some were discerning the religious life for a time. Was there ever a time when couples met at church I wonder?
I think that having the cut off age being 40 is also a slap in the face to those who are past that age...
I have read some posts by some of my fellow singles that they feel like they are lesser than those catholic who are married or are in religious life. Although I can understand those feelings (as I have had them myself from time to time), I don't believe that is the case. Yes, it can be tough at times to be a catholic single adult, and it does seem to get tougher the older you get.
Yet, I can't say I have felt less welcome in the church being single. I would say the church is probably more welcoming and understanding of singles than society as a whole.
I wonder what others think....
I don't feel left out at all. However, I see what you're saying because in our parish they seem to be promoting "Improving your marriage" or "Marriage life" or "Parents and kids" event ever so often and I've often wondered if there are any for singles? They also encourage religious vocations . The thing the seems to be overlooked is that the "pool" to get these marriage and religious vocations from are from the single people
A CM member from my area is planning to organize singles meet-up events and contact parishes in our diocese to "inform" those who are intersted (I'm volunteering to help ). We all are part of the Body Of Christ - even us singles (never married, widows, widower, anulled and soon-to-be-anulled) afterall. I'm excited about it.
I personally don't feel marginalized. I think the Church gives me the tools that I need (ie the Sacraments) to live my life with joy even in my single state. I have access to a spiritual director. There are activities in my parish or others nearby. So, I definitely don't feel like a 2nd class citizen. I guess the Church can only do so much?
However, there is a huge focus at least in my archdiocese on vocations but it feels like they haven't figured out that part of the reason there is a vocations crisis is there is a marriage crisis since many people are not marrying at all or are contracepting if they are married. I would like to see more robust movement from the Church on marriage in general since it is in complete crisis in this country, especially with the possibility of national same sex "marriage" looming. We need basic (re-)education on what marriage is.
God bless you all :-)