Catholic Dating: The issue of chastity

Romance

Last week I wrote two posts on the subject of dating outside of the Catholic Faith. In an effort to keep those posts focussed, I had decided to address the specific scenario of a couple composed of two Christians, a Catholic and a Protestant.

However, as I was writing, there was one issue related to dating outside of the Catholic Faith that I particularly wanted to raise, but since it didn’t naturally fall within the parameters which I had set for those articles, I decided to omit it. In today’s brief post, therefore, I would like to return to this issue.

In the previous post, I presented three main areas for potential conflict between a Catholic and a Protestant:

1. The Wedding

2. Religious Practice

3. Children and family life

In addition to these three areas, when a Catholic dates a non-Christian (as opposed to a non-Catholic), there is another area of potential conflict which is particularly worth considering:

4. Chastity
Is your potential spouse committed to chastity? Will this person do everything possible to help you remain chaste?

It is worth pointing out that potential contention over the subject of chastity is certainly not limited to the situation where a Catholic is dating a non-Christian. It is possible that conflict may arise when dating a Protestant or, as I highlighted in my previous post, even a fellow Catholic. There is no guarantee that someone who identifies as “Catholic” actually will believe or practise the entirety of the Catholic Faith.

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Catholic Dating: Should I date a non-Catholic? (Part 2)

Wedding rings on top of an open bible

Today is the concluding part of yesterday’s article, “Should I date a non-Catholic?”. In the previous post, I explained that this is a question I’ve heard often in Catholic circles and I shared a little bit about my own experience of dating non-Catholics. We spoke about the reason for dating and concluded that its purpose is ultimately marriage. Therefore, when we speak about dating a non-Catholic, we should really talk about marrying a non-Catholic, since this is ultimately the point of dating someone.

We ended the previous post by looking at what the Catechism has to say on the subject of marriages to non-Catholics. We read that the Catholic Church does allow marriages to non-Catholics, but cautions Her children not to underestimate the difficulties involved in this kind of union. In today’s concluding post, I would like to discuss in more detail the potential areas of difficulty alluded to by the Catechism and then offer some concluding thoughts.

Practical Considerations

Since this two-part series focuses primarily on dating a Protestant, it is good to emphasize how much we share with our Protestant brethren. A couple composed of a Catholic and Protestant will have much in common, as did I with my former girlfriend whom I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Having said that, when discussing this subject with friends, I find it helpful to ask questions about three areas of potential conflict:

1. The Wedding
Who will marry you? Will it be a Catholic priest or will it be another kind of minister? Will you get married in a Catholic Church or will you seek dispensation to marry in some other denomination’s building? How will your respective families react to this?

Who will teach your marriage preparation classes? What will be the content of that formation? Not all views of marriage are the same. For example, the Catholic Church’s teaching is that marriage is indissoluble. Will this be taught during your class?

2. Religious Practice
Where, as a couple, will you go to church? Catholics are required to attend Mass each week. In an effort to accommodate this, will you go to a Catholic parish together?

Or, will you attempt to go to both a Catholic Mass and a Protestant service each week? I speak from experience when I say that this can quickly become exhausting!

Or, will you fulfill your obligation by going to the Saturday Vigil Mass alone? Are you okay with that?

Is the subject of religion taboo with your potential spouse? Is it a regular source of conflict? Are you supportive of one another’s religious practices? Are you leading each other towards holiness?

When spiritual issues arise, to whom will you turn as a couple?

3. Children and family life
Will your potential spouse be open to life, or will he want to contracept? If it is suspected that your unborn child has Down Syndrome, for example, will he urge you to abort the child?

When seeking permission to marry a non-Catholic, you and your fiancé will be told that you are required by the Church to make sure that any offspring from the marriage are to be baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church. Will you and your spouse do this? Or will your children be dedicated, rather than baptized? Will you teach them the Catholic Faith in its fullness, or will they be taught the lowest common denominator between your respective faiths? How will you respond when your children ask questions about the differences between the teaching of the Catholic Church and your spouse’s denomination?

An ex-girlfriend of mine had an interesting take on the subject of children. She would ask herself if she felt confident, in the unfortunate case of her early death, whether her husband would raise her children as she would desire.

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“Love, not use” Wallpaper

This has been my wallpaper for the last few weeks:

Wallpaper

Into the breach!

Breach

If we’re friends on Facebook, you may well have seen a video I posted last week:

This video is part of the Into the breach initiative from the Diocese of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted, the Bishop of that Diocese, recently released an apostolic exhortation to men, asking them to “Step into the breach”, to fill the void in our society left by an absence of authentic masculinity. In this exhortation, the good Bishop discusses what it means to be a man and gives some of the practical guidance for living out the masculine calling in all its fullness.

I was very much impressed by this apostolic exhortation and I took it with me on my retreat this week so that I could spend some unhurried time reading through it and considering the challenges it poses. After subsequent rereading, I thought that it deserves to be more widely known, so I recorded it onto MP3, making it available to a wider audience.

Audio Download

Into The Breach – Introduction (Download)
The three questions and the context for answering them

Into The Breach – Question #1 (Download)
What does it mean to be a Christian man?

Into The Breach – Question #2 (Download)
How does a Catholic man love?

Into The Breach – Question #3 (Download)
Why is fatherhood, fully understood, so crucial for every man?

Into The Breach – Conclusion (Download)
Sent forth by Christ and Faith of our Fathers

If you don’t want to download multiple files, a recording of the entire document as a single MP3 is available here (80MB).

Interview with a stripper

Last month I had a conversation with someone on Facebook who saw strip clubs as perfectly wholesome places. When I meet someone who holds an opinion like this, I usually invite them to read the following interview:

Stripper

Virgin Regret on the Goretti Group

FeaturedGoretti

I couple of weeks ago I posted my “Virgin Regret” series, my response to the story of a girl who remained a virgin until her wedding night and now regrets her decision. This series was actually a piece I originally wrote for the Goretti Group and I completely forgot to post a link to it when it was published on their website. So, to remedy that, here’s the link:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.29.51 AM

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