Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where have all the Catholic men gone?

~from The Catholic Herald (UK). What's pizza got to do with love? Read on.
So is it really true that Catholic men are hard to find? More women attend Mass than men, and tend to be more involved in parish life. This has been the case historically and even more so now. Outside of urban centres, the ratio of men to women is even more disproportionate.

For Anne, the difficulty lies not so much with the fact that fewer men attend church than women but more with the fact that there are very few natural social situations in which to meet Catholic men. She misses the ease with which she used to socialise with other Catholics of her age at university.

...Could online dating be the way forward in the quest for a Catholic husband?
The Catholic Unattached Directory, which is based in Dartford and Dublin, offers both an online service and an old-fashioned postal service. Run “for practising Catholics by practising Catholics”, it promises a “modern, very gentle, simple, safe and fun way to meet new people”.

It boasts almost 3,000 members across Britain and Ireland between the ages of 18 and 80.
The advantage of organisations like the Catholic Unattached Directory or Catholic Match is that the question of celibacy is dealt with straight away. Sarah Smith, another single Catholic Londoner, says that society’s changed sexual mores make the problem of finding a compatible and Catholic relationship increasingly difficult.

“Marriage numbers have fallen and one of the biggest contributors is because people are choosing to live together over the ultimate commitment of marriage. To find out whether a couple is truly compatible for marriage, the wisdom of the Catholic Church teaches its followers to develop a loving and chaste relationship, a test which requires real love and courage that provides the couple with the true freedom and clarity required to make life decisions. When you are living with someone, you are not free, physically, mentally or emotionally.

“Another factor is ‘Pizza Love’, as it has been described. This has actively encouraged people to ‘have as much as you like for as little as possible’,” she says.

Elizabeth finds this sort of attitude the greatest hurdle in starting relationships with non-Catholics, and it is why she hopes to find that nice Catholic boy.

“Every time I’m on a second or third date with a non-Catholic,” she says, grinning wryly, “The moment comes after dinner where the guy suggests going up to his flat for a cup of coffee. That’s usually the time for the harrowing explanation of Church teaching on sexuality and the argument that follows which alternates between wheedling and angry bullying. Needless to say, that’s when the nice invitations to dinner or the theatre cease coming and the whole thing falls apart.”

The other two girls nod sagely. Still, despite the difficulty in finding that good Catholic man, they are optimistic. It doesn’t look like they’ll be praying to St Raphael, patron saint of happy meetings, any time soon.

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