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Even the Extraordinary Synod on the Family failed to deal with single-parent families, or with single people in general (who, if they are on their own form a kind of “family unit”), although it was supposed to address “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” As Fernandez wrote of the Interim Relatio, “It’s all divorced and remarried Catholics and gay Catholics with their ‘special gifts.’” The synod’s final statement says only that “Special attention should be given to the accompaniment of single-parent families, in a particular way to help women who have to carry alone the responsibility of the home and raising children.” Big whoop.And of widows and their children, those of whom St.The dynamics of parish life tend towards an imbalance between the married and the single.The neglect of single people is a problem that needs a more systematic answer directed by our pastors.It’s the discounted version of marriage the married hear about.The lesson conveyed is not that we all have our callings and our struggles, but that the married are special and privileged.Read The Full Story › Remarrying Well with Children Sam (45) and Sally (37) have been married for 2-1/2 years. Sam was married at 20, divorced at 35 and has done co-parenting with his ex-wife for a number of years.
In church, we hear a lot about marriage, praise for those who’ve been married a long time, sympathy for those with troubled marriages, encouragement to keep on going. But the problem isn’t just the general ignoring of single people, or the special and frequent attention given to the married.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. 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. So many families and couples.” A single working mother in her late thirties, she noted: “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. ‘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. 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.How often is the full meaning of chastity declared to the married as it is to the single? The married should be reminded that they get to have sex, but only in a completely self-giving way that will produce children—probably more than they originally planned on, or think they can afford. You did what you had to do to “grow the church.” This represented a toxic combination of the mainstream belief in the church as a gathered community, Evangelical pragmatism, and ecclesial commercialism, the victims of which were people who didn’t provide enough “market share.” Catholic priests are not so crass, yet it must be difficult not to bend your preaching and your programs to the majority of your parishioners and to say what they want to hear.Preach a homily about the wonders of marriage and people respond happily; preach one about being single and only the single people say anything; preach one on the requirements of marriage, particularly being open to life, and people get angry.
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Other single friends, includingwidows 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.