Single-Parent Families constitute a violent attack against the family, or so says the priest I saw the first weekend of the year. I gave him the benefit of the doubt in that post, but not so here. Today, I am going to talk about the reality of sing-parent families and how they are not wrong. They are not a symptom of sin or in some other way shameful. Sure, they’re different from the stereotypical family, but that doesn’t make them any less. Single-parent families are just as valuable as any other.
Full disclosure, I did not grow up in a single-parent family. No, my family was a picture of the Catholic ideal. I do, however, have many friends raised by a single parent for one way or another. From what I saw, I think most single parent families are so because of abuse, death or choice. let’s look at all three and uncover these alleged violent attacks.
Single Parents Through Abuse
Abuse can be minor or major. It can be emotional or physical. Honestly, abuse is the reason why I am happy divorce is legal in America. Beating up on your spouse is never okay and that spouse deserves the freedom to escape that relationship.
Few things are braver to me than an abused parent who gets the children into the car and runs from the abuser. The way these people are conditioned to fear everything outside of a relationship, it takes a lot for someone to run from that. The last thing I can imagine is telling that person that they are wrong, sinful and shameful for their actions. They didn’t destroy anything. They fight hard to give their children the happiest life possible.
That priest defined family as something that held life as sacred. It protects life from the outside world, that can too often be cruel. Well, isn’t a parent who escapes abuse doing what they can to protect the lives in their care? if anything, that person who caused the abuse is at fault. They are the sinner and they should be ashamed. Those effected by their terror, they deserve nothing but admiration for the hard decision they were forced to make.
Single Parents Through Death
Death is another misfortune that can create single-parent families. Such deaths may be expected or unexpected and, when children are involved, create a household with one parent.
While I am sure the priest was not thinking of this kind of family when he declared single-parent families violent attacks against family, I still wonder if he thinks such parents should feel obligated to remarry. Should a widowed mother or father feel compelled to remarry for the sake of his family?
Certainly remarriage, if desired, isn’t always a bad thing. However, like those single parents who are in their situation because of abuse, these single-parent families do not deserve shame. That are not wrong or in any way less than any other family. Sure, their lives may not have worked out the way they wanted them to, but that doesn’t mean they should feel ashamed.
Single Parents Through Choice
These are the one who are wrong, for surly they are the ones who the priest spoke of. These sinful people who dared to have sex outsides the bonds of matrimony. How dare they?
Of course, they didn’t have to choose to be a parent, did they. They could have aborted or given their child away in the hopes they might have a good life. Instead, like a family should, they kept their child and held it sacred.
I know a number of people who have had children out-of-wedlock. At some point in time, they were a single parent, raising their child on their own. Like the other families discussed here, maybe their situation isn’t ideal. Maybe there were things they could have done to avoid their situation. I would argue that still doesn’t mean they deserve to be ashamed.
In this world, where everyone, including religious leaders shame people for getting pregnant and shame them for ending said shameful pregnancy, who can these women turn to? It seems like these women shouldn’t be shamed at all. They should feel proud for their bravery at following through with a pregnancy they legally did not have to and bringing life into the world. So what if their family isn’t perfect. If they are there for their child, doing all they can to make their life good and happy, then they are doing more than many married-under-God couples out there.
We you raised by a single parent? Are you a single parent? Have you ever felt ashamed of your family because there are not two parents? Do you think you or other single-parent families should be ashamed? What do you think this priest wanted to accomplish by condemning single-parent families?