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The Inherent Dignity of the Single State

Friday, August 30, 2013
I'll tell you what this blog isn't: it isn't a guide to getting a husband.

I wish I knew the secrets of husband-getting. Tomorrow I leave for Rome on holiday, and several million Euros would come in handy. I have some general ideas, but not a magic formula.

There is no magic formula. There is human nature, and there is Providence.

Human nature is very much influenced by society. Human beings are by our very nature conformist, and we tend to conform to society around us. In societies that champion premarital chastity, it is easier to stay chaste. In societies that champion early marriage, it is easier to get married. (It is, however, less easy not to be married.)

Catholic women are caught between a rock and a hard place. In the West, society champions premarital sex, and it strongly discourages early marriage.  But Catholicism forbids premarital sex, and it holds up vowed life--as a married person, a priest or a religious--as the ideal.

This means the Catholic woman who wishes to remain chaste and to marry without being "test-driven"  is going to be, in the West, a nonconformist, and men most likely not to be annoyed or unsettled by her failure to conform are going to be other nonconformists. And let me tell you about nonconformists: we can be weird. If we're nonconformists about sex, we can be nonconformists about religion, and if we are nonconformists about religion--I speak as someone who goes primarily to the Traditional Latin Mass--we might be nonconformists about clothing and opinions and social behaviour. Gleefully so. It's hard to find someone who refuses to conform to society's sexual expectations and yet is otherwise entirely "normal."

Incidentally, anyone who wears a Che Guevera T-shirt on a Western university campus is a total conformist. One of the most hilarious things about conformists is how conformist they are when they think they are being edgy. No doubt Miley Cyrus thought she was being edgy last week. In fact, Miley was just going along with the zeitgeist. I've seen similar behaviour in clubs.

The best hope for Catholics then, particularly the vast majority who are natural conformists--which is not shameful in itself, incidentally, as it shows a natural and even enviable openness to community--would be to withdraw from contemporary Western society and create a Catholic-only nation were it not for one thing: Providence.

Before Providence where scientific or social scientific (very dodgy) determinism falls down flat on its face. Atheists can stare at contradictory material data all day long and make pronouncements about how short men have little hope of marriage, and women over 35 can hope only for low-earning 50 year old suitors and how bumblebees can't fly. Catholics don't have the luxury of being so stupid.

Poor old atheists have missed out on the most important Reality of reality which is the existence of a Supreme Being Whose personality and love for us was revealed in and by Jesus of Nazareth. Catholics have not. And therefore, Catholics know Providence means more than the scribblings of sociology. Short men often marry. Thirty-something women occasionally marry high-earning twenty-something men. Bumblebees do fly. Chaste Catholic girls usually do marry.

The fact is that God has a plan for everyone's life, and everyone could figure it out much more easily if we would trust in God, listen for His voice and see where He is in our lives around us right now. God is not just "up there"; He is "down here" and among us. He has revealed His will through the Scriptures and Tradition, and by paying attention to the Scriptures and Tradition, in the way a blind person pays attention to her cane and her dog, we can find our way in the dark.

Yes, there are qualities that are attractive to other human beings--big eyes, shiny hair, a roguish grin and whatnot. The best ones I know are joy and confidence. And the deepest joy and confidence come from joy and confidence in God. And Catholic Single women living chaste (and therefore perhaps uncomfortably un-conformist) lives are a testament to obedience to God; what is needed for flourishing is also joy and confidence in Him.

The Single state, lived in a spirit of chastity, even if it should turn out to be temporary, is inherently dignified because it points to a sustained openness to and trust in the will of God, in Providence. It puts God's will above all else, particularly the Western god of Sex (for whom g*y m*rriage activists are currently the high priests). Sex is only God's servant; godhood sits ill upon it. The chaste Single person gives glory to God by not allowing the servant to usurp God's will for her.

And so the point of this blog is not to get you all married off, although you do seem to get married quite often--long-time reader Med School Girl is the most recently engaged--which does not particularly surprise me, as most people marry eventually. The point of this blog is to show you your inherent dignity as Singles and to encourage you in joy and trust in God.

With that, I am off to pack for Rome. I shall return a week Monday, D.v.  God bless you!