Single Catholics Church’s blind spot

The Church should do more for single people, says French journalist Claire Lesegretain.

“This is the Church’s blind spot. It’s there, very present, but nobody talks about it. We don’t see them,” she says.

Lesegretain, who is single, believes the relationship between the Church and single people should be looked at from a vocational perspective.

“For centuries, we heard that there are basically two vocations: the majority, called to marriage, and a minority, called to the priestly or religious life.

“When we are neither, we are led to believe that we have no vocation. And that’s terrible, completely wrong and extremely devaluing. As soon as we are baptized, we have a vocation.

“This vocation is not related to your status. This status is a means to live this vocation,” she says.

“At a time when priestly or religious vocations are falling, lay singles can be a chance for the Church.”

Lesegretain says this is a delicate situation because singles might be upset with God.

Some will be asking “Am I forgotten by God?”

“We have anger toward God, and sometimes we do not dare to say it because we say that he loves us … So we are caught in a paradox,” she adds.

“Do I accept to be looked at by God as I am, in this poverty? Because celibacy is a fragility, a poverty: It is not written on your forehead, but almost.”

Lesegretain, who is often called to speak at conferences on the subject, says over the years she has met at least 2,000 single laypeople looking for a Christian meaning to their celibacy and a place in the Church.

She says she struggled with her faith and celibacy in her mid-30s.

“I did not see the meaning of celibacy as a Christian.”

This led her to ask herself questions like “What does the Lord want from me?”

She says the social and personal pressures as a single person become sufferings for many single people.

“As a Christian, we were raised in the idea of giving ourselves, of loving one’s life. And to whom am I giving my life?” she says she recalled wondering.

“I have heard many cases of singles who were seated at children’s tables at family reunions. It’s humiliating,” she says.

“It’s as if singles don’t count. On top of that, we often end up feeling guilty. We say it’s our fault, we live it as a failure. I am not enough this or that. We always think it’s our fault.”

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News category: World.

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