Dating is an Abomination


Not only is dating without the intention of marriage an abomination, but dating with the intention of marriage is also an abomination. Christian Marriage: A Guide for Young People says that “Wide experience in dating is still considered favorable to intelligent mate selection.” (Rev. Thomas E. Langer, M.A., p. 62). I see elsewhere, too, that Catholic single men and women are encouraged to date as a part of the discernment process, and if God calls them to marriage, they are encouraged to date so that they understand how to select a suitable spouse.

Why has dating seemingly replaced prayer
*]as a part of the discernment process?
*]that, if God calls you to marriage, your prospective spouse is indeed the one and only person God has willed for you to marry since the beginning of time?

It seems that dating has become a form of prayer—a way of asking God what His unwavering will is for you. Selecting your life’s vocation should be rooted in prayer with God, the Trinity, Logos; not in all the transient emotions and feelings associated with dating.


I don’t think that dating has replaced prayer. I believe that the two should be used together if marriage is the individual’s vocation.




I do not think that dating (or courtship, however you wish to call it, but here defined as the act of seeing someone regularly with romantic intent) is mutually exclusive from prayer. Why should it be?

I understand that we are supposed to trust God in finding our future spouses. However, that does not mean that we should not take an active role in looking. God brings us guidance and blessings in our lives, yes. At the same time, we are not to expect that these things are just going to come to us without our doing our part.

As an example, you would not quit your job and expect God to provide you with money.

So too we should not expect to find a suitable spouse without keeping an eye out for the right one. Dating simply means spending the time needed with a person to find out if they are the right one.


So you’re saying that dating (which is going out to the movies or some other place unaccompanied by a chaperone) with or without the intention of marriage…is bad?

I disagree.

Dating without the intention of marriage is stupid and pointless.
Dating with the intention of marriage HAS a point.

Therefore its not wholly wrong.

My own sister dated her husband, instead of courting. That’s just the way it was done and it worked out fine.


In that case I’d call it courtship, not dating. To date is “to go out with someone in whom one is romantically or sexually interested” (OED).


Is there really a difference between courtship and dating?


Has anyone seen “The Happening” by M. Knight Shyamalan?

I don’t know why, but this thread reminds me of the crazy recluse woman in the cabin.



But you just said dating with the intent of marriage is also wrong…

Either way, dating because of sexual interest is wrong. Dating because of a pure romantic interest is not.

Is there really a difference between courtship and dating?

Courtship involves the family and has an intent of marriage.
Dating excludes the family, and may or may not have the intent for marriage.

there are other differences I’m sure…


That does seem to go with some indications I have seen. On the other hand, I have also seen them used as the same thing. But I think that you probably have it right.


“young man, you’d better not be dating for sexual interests, but only for purely romantic ones!”

I feel that distinction would be lost even on morally responsible 20 yr. olds. It’s part and parcel.


Hang on - while prayer is an important PART of discerning any vocation, and hasn’t and never will be entirely replaced by dating (as I’m sure any preist would tell you), there’s no vocation, including marriage, that you’d be expected to jump into with absolutely no experience or training of any kind.

Do priests just jump straight into Holy Orders after a simple period of prayer and with no other preparation? Of course not, they go through rigorous practical and theoretical training, often before as well as during seminary, for many years, involving plenty of hands-on experience with or around the duties they will be expected to do as priests, before they receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Likewise nuns and monks - they don’t just pray, they spend at least a few years going through postulancy and/or novitiate before they get to those final vows.

Even as a secular Franciscan I go through a year and a half of learning and training as well as prayer before I am professed as a member.

And as part of my future (please God) profession as a lawyer, I’ve not only studied but also done a requisiste amount of work experience in legal offices, and will be required to do more.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment like any vocation. Dating is part of your training and work experience to make sure you’re willing and prepared for that commitment. It’s when you combine the preparation AND the prayer - when you ora (pray) ET labora (AND work) as St Benedict said - that you have the best results.


uh…I’m 19…do I count?

I have never been on a date before, but I’m at least looking to court a young woman for romantic reasons only…



Courtship involves the family and has an intent of marriage.
Dating excludes the family, and may or may not have the intent for marriage.

Well, I met, befriended, dated and married my husband while we were at college, both living a long distance from our families. We were already engaged by the time I’d met any of his family or he mine.

Does that make us abominable? :smiley:

Sorry, I couldn’t pass that one up. Seriously, though-- I don’t understand why prayer and dating are presented as mutually exclusive. DH & I attended daily Mass and prayed the Rosary together when we were dating. We were both regular to confession and spiritual direction.

Actually, that brings up a funny story. The first time my husband went to confession and spiritual direction after we started going out, he dropped by later that same evening. With a very serious look on his face, he said, “You DO think the purpose of dating is to find the person you’re going to marry, right?” In all honesty, I’d never thought about it in those terms before, but it made perfect sense, so I said, “Um…yeah…sure…” No beating around the bush there-- we’d been “going out” all of five days and he springs that one on me. We got engaged within about three months…

I’m wondering if I’m misunderstanding something here.

Do you mean that everyone should pretty much hunker down in lives of monastic solitude and prayer until they have absolutely, definitively ruled out a vocation to the priesthood or religious life?!??



I just gave a difference between courting and dating

However if you had dated without the intent of marriage it would have been pointless.


I just gave a difference between courting and dating

However if you had dated without the intent of marriage it would have been pointless.


Of course someone who dates usually intends to marry - just not always the person they’re dating.

To me it’s like getting casual or short-term work experience at a firm I may never intend to work for permanently. Would you say that to do so is pointless? I beg to differ, the experience I get there will make me a much better worker at wherever I end up permanently. And the firm I’m with casually or short-term gets a lot of good work out of me while I’m there, so they benefit too.

Of course it would be wrong to mislead them and pretend I wanted to work there forever when I knew I didn’t, but as long as the firm and myself both know that it’s part-time or casual then there’s nothing wrong with it at all.


I have an eighteen year old son that would strongly disagree with this. I understand human nature, but I have a much higher respect for our Godly young people.

This whole thread deviates from Church teaching. I know of no where the Catholic Church calls dating an abomination. Does anyone have any references? Data?


I’ll go one step further. Dating was used by one poster here a couple of years ago as part of discernment for the priesthood. Just like one enters seminary and discerns one’s vocation the first few years, one can date to determine which course God calls to. To say that one should pray instead introduces a false dichotomy as if one action excludes the other.

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