This is what I am referring to:
I was interested in the question and read what the apologist had to say. After reading it however…and really, I am not trying to get myself banned or knock on anyone, especially an apologist-- but I have to disagree with most of what was said.
Here are the parts that I find potentially problematic:
Both to establish the principle and to train their children to see the matter as important, Catholic parents should not allow their minor children to have “couple dates” with non-Catholics.
If I may ask, what is wrong with two teenagers pairing up to go on a date, which could be a dance in high school? Seriously I could remember people pairing up just to go to homecoming, or the winter dance, or even Sadies and unless it was your boyfriend or girlfriend, no one gave much thought to it. Not all of these pairings became romantic relationships. These gave parents opportunities to meet the guy or girl that their child was going to a dance with, and even if it wasn’t a dance, many parents still got to meet the romantic partner of their child. I never got to do it, but personally I think that teenagers need to learn what it’s like to date people who aren’t just like them as part of the growing process. Very, very few people get married right out of high school anyway, so I doubt that would be a huge concern.
As for solving the problem of helping Catholic singles to meet, my hope is that Catholics will eventually take a lesson from observant Jewish families and encourage person-to-person matchmaking by spiritually mature, respected Catholic elders for young Catholics seeking marriage to other Catholics (which I believe is a far safer option and more in keeping with human dignity than “matchmaking web sites”). Jewish matchmakers know their communities well, consider matchmaking a good deed, and are generally able to create Jewish couples with a far smaller pool to work with than Catholics. If they can do it, so can we.
I hate to put it this way, but newsflash: just because someone was raised Catholic, does not make them a Catholic! How many times have we here at CAF heard of people stating that they were “cradle Catholics,” but fell away from the Church for a very long time, and then returned well into adulthood? Or that we hear about people growing up Catholic, and leaving the Church forever? Many people “say” they are Catholic, or Christian, go to church every week, observe Advent and Lent, but really it may not mean anything because they are going through the motions.
And this “matchmaking” stuff-- sounds a bit like arranged marriage to me. Ironically enough, I’m okay with arranged marriage because it was part of my cultural upbringing but in reality MOST people are not comfortable with that. Most people recoil in horror at the thought of their families setting them up with someone, let alone their friends having some input.
I am not in disagreement that more Catholics should seek other Catholics for marriage. We all are very aware of the potential problems that can arise, and why having a shared faith can lead to a strong marriage and make things simpler when it comes to child rearing. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who, after going to church, visiting other parishes, and social networking don’t meet another Catholic they’re interested in. Other Catholics live in areas that are largely fundamentalist Protestant-- should they move to a more “Catholic” area in order to meet a potential lifelong mate? How realistic is that?
Not to mention, what’s wrong with marrying someone who converts to Catholicism? Aren’t there tons of people here on CAF (myself included) who did just that? Obviously you shouldn’t marry someone who is anti-Catholic, has disdain for the Church, or has a motive to drive you away from the faith.
I guess what I am saying is this:
- Matchmaking amongst other Catholics within “Catholic communities” (is there such a thing? I’ve never really seen that other than church) may be ONE option to pursue;
- Teen dating doesn’t have to entirely be Catholic-Catholic, but we should encourage matching when it comes to core Christian beliefs;
- If we want to really encourage other Catholics to marry other Catholics, then the most important thing that needs to be done is good catechism.
Just my own personal thoughts.