The Family and Society Council of the French bishops conference is preparing a theological analysis of the situation of adult Catholics who are neither married nor in religious life, a group it said has been overlooked by the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Many adults live as singles, not always willingly, and the Church should address their problems in its discussion of the family, it said.
“The single life is a significant social fact in our societies and it's surprising they didn't give it a single line in its exhaustive summary of family issues,” said Bishop Luc Ravel, founder of a network for single Catholics called Notre Dame de l’Ecoute (Our Lady of Listening). “The singles question must not be left to shrinks and Internet sites,” he told the daily La Croix.
Bishop Herve Giraud of Soissons said single Catholics felt “forgotten, even devalued, by the Church”. They are often overlooked because they rarely come forward to speak about their problems.
Theologians studying the issue said the Church should not “absolutise states of life” and idealise marriage but show understanding for those who choose the single life and comfort for those who would want a family but do not succeed in founding one.