The single vocation is rarely mentioned in official documents, homilies and magisterial teachings.There are encyclicals, pastoral letters and synods focusing on family life, but not on the single vocation, despite the fact that the number of singles is growing. Attention to this vocation as witnessed in the Bible, tradition and the living church (the magisterium and the sense of the faithful) can offer therapeutic and redemptive responses to the ways our secular culture at times glorifies, exploits, corrupts or caricatures single life.In a pastoral setting, single life presents particular challenges.Going to Mass by oneself can be a lonely experience.Solo participation in church activities is sometimes awkward.
A friend who underwent a painful divorce told me that it ruined his life, and for many people intimate break-ups can be even more troubling than the struggle to find a spouse in the first place.
John Paul II’s theology of the body have been helpful.
Singles are not necessarily adrift in the church, but they certainly do not suffer from excessive attention.
Yet whether widowed, divorced or unmarried, single Catholics can find it difficult to find support in the church.
With the exception of young-adult ministry, which also includes married persons, sparse attention and resources are devoted to single persons in the church.
(Deacons are often better equipped, as many have more recently been in the dating world, but they often are busy with other responsibilities.) Priests know the moral dos and don’ts, but less so the subtle temptations and practical problems faced by singles.