Priests and Spiritual Directors as Matchmakers


#1

I know this may sound like an out there idea but why not have priests and spiritual directors serve, unofficially of course, as match makers and try to create more Catholic families?

People are told to consult a priest or SD for just about everything else except dating. How many have asked their parish priest if they know any like minded singles in the parish or locality?

We see Catholics claiming to not be able find any good Catholics locally. So they resort to long distance dating sites. Many pay hundreds of dollars for their subscriptions. Many have friends and relatives that question the safety and wisdom of using such sites. We are told that it is best to listen to those closest to us because they normally care for our well being the most.

Normally, people go to a priest to complain about problems in dating. They go to resolve arguments and differences in faith. They trust priests to tell them their darkest secrets and all their problems and failings in life in general.

Yet I dont know of anyone that dated or married on the advice of a priest. It might happen but it is extremely rare.

Would such a role for priests and SDs add too much to their workload or save them time when it comes to solving marriage problems? Would it aid the Church as a whole?

Surely, priests know who at least some who are single or not and it could be a safer and more successful way of discerning marriage. Instead of relying on faceless methods, you have the comfort of knowing that someone you trust believes said person is good enough to try out for a date. If it works, then its a positive. If it fails, you keep looking.

I see a real disconnect in dating. It seems to me like the problem isnt a lack of good Catholics close by to most. It is the lack of knowledge of who actually is Catholic and single close by. In a church it can be hard to sort between the age groups and it also hard to socialize many times. In most churches around where I am, there are multiple masses within a short time of each other, all full. This means the churches prefer people to leave quick so the next group can come without a lot of congestion. It is understandable how people can go to church and not be really connected to it socially. Many church functions are spread out over the weeks at awkward times. The age ranges tend to be spread out on the higher side which makes it difficult to find more of the younger single crowd.

I know many will say it isnt the priest's job to do this. I am not saying priests MUST do this but that it may be a good thing to do. The benefits far outweigh the negatives I think. Priests frequently preach homilies on the Catholic family. Wouldnt it serve their parish well to have more Catholic families instead of mixed marriages that tend to draw people away in the long run?

I believe that there are other Christian denominations where pastors and preachers do play a part in guiding the flock to marriage partners.

I just wanted to know what others thought about this.


#2

Interesting idea for sure. Although I don’t know how effective this would be, I’m sure this would be interesting to try out. I wonder what others would think of this?


#3

Did you know that there are a lot of priests out there who have been previously married (are widowers) and thus, have experience in these matters? There are also Eastern Rite priests who are currently married. I would consider these people as options for relationship discernment.

I also know in other cultures, priests are actually involved in the community when it comes to "matchmaking." I knew people from India who came from communities where more people were involved in the process of courtship (they don't call it "dating") and marriage. After all, it was most likely that the priest was going to officiate your wedding.

I would also consider seeking a deacon who is also married. Granted, they aren't priests and don't have the same duties or responsibilities, but married deacons would and should have the capacity to present some guidance in these matters. My church has a marriage formation group and the couple in charge has a married deacon.


#4

There are priests who play matchmaker in a social sense, nudging mutual acquaintances in each other's direction. That happens, and that is one thing. If there is no pressure applied, I don't see what would be wrong with it. There are also priests who, not being married themselves, are not going to push anyone else to get married. As St. Paul put it: "Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire." 1 Cor. 7:8-9 Those do not sound like the words of a bishop who'd send his priests out to be matchmakers.

Besides, I don't think the Church is ever going to get into the business of arranging marriages in any formal sense, if for no other reason than to avoid inserting any undue pressure into what should be an entirely free choice. After all, it is bad enough when your parents to lobby in favor of the guy *they *like. No one needs that kind of pressure coming from a priest or bishop, in their professional capacity.


#5

Well,

Since I always have an opinion..LOL..

I think they should start hosting singles events. Inviting the singles from all the surrounding Catholic churches. They could charge a small cover, &/or a beverage for 6 or snack for 6. Hire DJs. Or hire dance intructors to teach something fun like Jive Dancing. They could put together hiking trips. Cycling trips. Book clubs... SOMETHING!!!!!! Each church could take a turn hosting. But just a place where people can talk...

Not sure how to cover the age range. Depends on how big it all gets.


#6

Spiritual Directors could be difficult as confidentiality related to the seal of confession plays a part here. I think that parish social events and prayer groups directed at younger adults may be the way forward on this rather than my Priest saying to me such and such is single and would be good for you.


#7

[quote="faithfully, post:5, topic:222150"]
Well,

Since I always have an opinion..LOL..

I think they should start hosting singles events. Inviting the singles from all the surrounding Catholic churches. They could charge a small cover, &/or a beverage for 6 or snack for 6. Hire DJs. Or hire dance intructors to teach something fun like Jive Dancing. They could put together hiking trips. Cycling trips. Book clubs... SOMETHING!!!!!! Each church could take a turn hosting. But just a place where people can talk...

Not sure how to cover the age range. Depends on how big it all gets.

[/quote]

My parish started doing this last month. They do it once a month -- have a band, snacks, et cetera. Our singles group went to it. I think it's a great idea and I hope it grows, but it's geared towards a younger crowd -- I live in a college town. The band was actually a group of youth leaders. While they were very good and it was enjoyable, I don't think our group will be going back. They're trying to offer an alternative to the bar scene which is admirable BUT there's a whole segment of singles that are not in college -- and haven't been in college for a while :D -- and it just isn't a fit. It's hard to make a one size fits all singles event.


#8

[quote="Nanny_PK, post:7, topic:222150"]
My parish started doing this last month. They do it once a month -- have a band, snacks, et cetera. Our singles group went to it. I think it's a great idea and I hope it grows, but it's geared towards a younger crowd -- I live in a college town. The band was actually a group of youth leaders. While they were very good and it was enjoyable, I don't think our group will be going back. They're trying to offer an alternative to the bar scene which is admirable BUT there's a whole segment of singles that are not in college -- and haven't been in college for a while :D -- and it just isn't a fit. It's hard to make a one size fits all singles event.

[/quote]

Do you think it's something that could be altered to be more inclusive of your age group... or broken out as a seperate group?

How does your singles group work? I've been pushing a certain single relative to see if they could do something like this in her area... Which is HUGE!!!


#9

I think it would be inappropriate of priests to get involved in match-making. Can of worms, can of worms, can of worms. People upset because their priest set this person up but not me, etc.. Not a good idea - they have enough to do. Like getting us to Heaven.


#10

^^^^
I agree. I think it's fine if the parish does something...like holds get-togethers or whatever...but yeah, too much "conflict of interest" for a priest.


#11

[quote="faithfully, post:8, topic:222150"]
Do you think it's something that could be altered to be more inclusive of your age group... or broken out as a seperate group?

How does your singles group work? I've been pushing a certain single relative to see if they could do something like this in her area... Which is HUGE!!!

[/quote]

We meet once a month. We started out playing Farkle (sp???) which is a dice game kind of similar to Bunko I think. That way it kind of was a laid back way for people to come together without it feeling like a "singles" group :D

From there we've done a variety of things -- one of our deacons is a ballroom dance instructor so we had dance lessons, we've gone bowling, et cetera. We're having a casino night in January to celebrate our one-year anniversary. The Knights are running the tables for us so we can just show up and have fun and not have to "work."

As far as splitting up the other event, I don't know. They've only had one event so far and there was about a hundred people there. For the first several weeks of advertising it it was so geared toward the younger crowd and they weren't selling a lot of tickets so they opened it up to the "young at heart." Maybe it'll take off now that they're not stressing college age. Who knows.

But your single relative could get a few people together to try something simple -- one lady started ours with the deacon that I mentioned earlier. Now we're a core group of about ten. One thing that we're trying to steer more towards is more Catholic oriented. We kind of teamed up with a city-wide singles organization which has been great -- and we're still doing things with them -- but we wanted to do more things within our own little group even if the group was small so that we could cultivate possibly some relationships -- friendships or romances.


#12

[quote="EasterJoy, post:4, topic:222150"]
There are priests who play matchmaker in a social sense, nudging mutual acquaintances in each other's direction. That happens, and that is one thing. If there is no pressure applied, I don't see what would be wrong with it. .....

[/quote]

I think this is what the OP is talking about, good idea. Not setting-up per se, but nudging, or providing a suggestion when they see a possibility.


#13

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