Prior to our modern conception of dating, which arose in the 20th century, says King, a family was much more involved in identifying a spouse and arranging a marriage.
Yet in today’s more autonomous relationships, dating can be a valuable experience for potential spouses, when rightly understood and practiced, says King.
Your soul is at stake and perhaps a happy marriage and a possible vocation. The road to chastity is paved with prayer, the Eucharist, and reading of the New Testament.
(This was written in preparation for a series of conferences on vocations and states in life that I gave at Saint Benedict Center in the Spring of 2005.
Fathers for Good: Is there a Catholic understanding of dating? The Church as the whole body of believers, spanning both the globe and human history, tends to think about those issues that have touched on humanity for much of history and across most of the globe.
Jason King: What does the Catholic tradition say about dating? “The Church thinks in centuries,” so the saying goes.
The phenomenon of dating, however, is a rather recent one.
First of all, if you’ve ever heard anyone – a priest, layperson, or anyone else – tell you that sex is something bad, then he or she is absolutely wrong! In the Old Testament, the book Song of Songs features wonderful poetry about the beauty of human sexuality. John Paul II gave many lectures about the beautiful Biblical view of sexuality in his Theology in the Body (also recommended is his classic book Love and Responsibility).Instead, sexuality should be an expression of unity for life, just as newlyweds vow to be with each other until death does them apart.If you wait until marriage, having sex will truly be “making love” and will be a unique experience with that one special person.He must have a certain education, certain interests, and so forth.You have to know that he — whoever he is — must be the kind of man you can have a true friendship with, according to the three qualifications we discussed last week. The “proximate” choosing of a partner, has two parts: First is seeing if meets your ideals.