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While there has been a flourishing of youth ministry, attention to young adults, especially singles between the ages of 20 and 40, has likewise played a distant second in Catholic pastoral praxis.
It might be nostalgic to consider a return to the idea of the neighborhood parish or the old Catholic Youth Organization dances, but as marriage rates between healthy young adults drop precipitously, perhaps the Church should reconsider her role with regard to that function.
Simply being single does not seem to qualify for what we have traditionally termed vocations. What promises and vows do those who are single make? Single people can date and enter into and out of romantic (though chaste) relationships at will. Those who marry as well as those who enter religious life or the priesthood enter into a relationship, whether in a religious community, a diocese, or a third order.They try to get out by doing exactly what our culture has taught them to do. Yet, by doing this they’ll never find what they’re seeking. Because the answer is found on the outside not on the inside. It’s not simply the ability to separate good from bad.More specifically it’s the ability to place all the good things we encounter in a hierarchical order from what’s good to what’s best.Are singles in a permanent and exclusive relationship? The single may belong to a parish, live in a certain locale, or even belong to a group like Opus Dei.But they are free to move away or cease membership at a moment’s notice if an attractive job offer comes along or some family commitment or just preference intervenes. Those who marry as well as those who enter religious life or the priesthood (especially religious) live within a (rule), which lays out the required structure of their day, regulates relationships, and clarifies rights, duties, lines of authority, etc.