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.