An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Single Parents: Made for Life Series

In this section of Made for Life, a single mother, Elizabeth, talks about her experience of raising her daughter alone; later in the video Elizabeth talks about what hopes she has for her daughter’s future.

Emphasizing the deep need every child has to be raised by a father and a mother does not mean that the Church looks down on single parents. On the contrary, the Church seeks to support single parents who are raising children without the support of a spouse because she recognizes how hard this situation can be. Often a single mother has made a heroic decision in giving her child life and a home despite knowing that the child’s father will not participate. Single parents work hard to provide a stable, loving home for their children in an un-ideal situation. As Elizabeth points out, most single parents did not expect to be “doing this” (raising a child) on their own. Something unexpected happened.

The situation of children being raised by a single parent (due to unforeseen circumstances) is very different from deliberately depriving a child of a mother or a father, which occurs (de facto) when children are raised by two men or two women. While single parents have the freedom to recognize the absence of a father—or a mother—in the lives of their children and talk with their children about this, the absence of either is likely going to be ignored in a same-sex household.[i] Most single parents, like Elizabeth, hope that their child will not have to go through what they did in raising them alone. As she says later in the video, Elizabeth hopes that her daughter marries “a wonderful Christian man who can guide her future family and be a wonderful father.”

We can and must support single parents without sacrificing the teaching that children deserve to know and be raised and loved by both their mother and their father.

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you explain to someone the difference between a single parent and two men or two women who are raising a child?
  2. How can the Church and society best support single parents, while holding up the natural family as the ideal?

[i] To read about the experience someone who was raised in a household with two “mothers”, check out Katy Faust’s blog: “Ask the Bigot”.

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