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Single Living

Countless threads in the forums have been dedicated to it. Debates have raged on about it. Friendships have started – and ended – over it. More importantly, perhaps,  many CatholicMatch members have avoided going on dates because of it.

I am referring, of course, to the seven faith questions on every CatholicMatch member’s profile. (In filling out our dating profiles, we are each asked whether we accept seven matters of church doctrine: the Eucharist, contraception, sanctity of life, papal infallibility, premarital sex, immaculate conception and holy orders.)

Is there any CatholicMatch forum fan who hasn’t seen heated discussions about it?

While no one should compromise their beliefs or religious commitment, nor should anyone feel forced to accept another ideology if it conflicts with their own, I think it might be helpful to look at these seven questions in a different light.

Instead of viewing them as a litmus test for a future prospect, perhaps we could use them as a  means of understanding one another.

I’ll use myself as an example. I grew up in a Catholic: weekly mass, prayers each night and Grace at meals.  Icons and crucifixes featured prominently in our home. Everyone had their own rosary.

I also went to Catholic school for 10 years straight, as well as a Catholic college for my undergraduate degree. Not once was a Bible opened. Not once was the role of the pope discussed. No one questioned why women weren’t ordained; we knew we wouldn’t get an answer.  Other than a poster of the Ten Commandments in every classroom, we never never learned about any church teachings.

I look at the list of seven now and know for sure that five of them were never discussed. The other two, sanctity of life and premarital sex, were  learned not so much from discussions as from unspoken warnings. If I hadn’t paid attention to these unspoken warnings, as was the case with many of my classmates, I would not understand what the church taught.

How could my upbringing yield such a disconnect? How could it be that 10 years of Catholic school did not result in a thorough understanding of these teachings? It could very well be the fault of  my particular school,  but I think this case is far more widespread.

From what I gathered reading threads in the forum, it appears that many are in my situation: They simply never learned the church teachings. The one-sentence explanation in the profile may not be enough for a true understanding of the teachings.

Of course, members are free to find out more from their parish or from countless Christian websites. But the issue here has more to do with how we are approaching our fellow members whose understandings differ from our own.

 

A closer look

Sure, many members simply check off “yes” to all seven and leave it at that. The others, however, who check “no” may have a plethora of reasons for doing so. Those reasons may not have anything to do with disagreeing with the Church. It may just be a case of not knowing the full scope of the teaching.

I fully admit that when I first joined CatholicMatch many years ago, I checked “no” for papal infallibility. I was thinking of it only in terms of the church scandals. However, since then, I’ve read up on the role of the pope, as well as excerpts from encyclicals – in large part, I might add, from forum discussions. I’ve learned of the many wonderful things our pontiffs have done for the Church. I came to a new understanding of the word “infallibility” and changed my profile after that.

One case I remember reading about in the forum was from a young man who’d checked “no” for premarital sex ecause he’d committed this sin in the past. Through the forum discussion, he’d learned that the question applied only to current beliefs, not to past transgressions. He changed his profile, and thanked the forumites for their sage advice.

Another CatholicMatch member checked “no” about holy orders because she truly thought women should be able to serve. A profound discussion ensued about the role of men and of women in the Church. She came to understand that this teaching is not about the exclusion of women, but rather about the various roles that both men and women can serve, in different – but equally important – ways.

While the plethora of 7/7 threads cover the same ground, I think the issue is an important one to discuss. We should continue to have a dialogue about the Church teachings, and it should be done in the spirit of Christian charity rather than condemnation.

In this very same spirit of acceptance and open-hearted charity, I wonder if anyone on CatholicMatch would try something different: instead of saying “Next!” when browsing a profile that is less than 7/7, perhaps we could ask that member to elaborate on their response. The answer may be beneficial for both parties involved: One could make a new friend and the other could learn more about our wonderful Catholic faith.

(This post has been read 2,064 times)

17 Comments

  1. Angie-584510 September 27, 2011

    If someone never learned the church teachings, “now” is always a good time. No reason to delay it. It is normal to feel discomfort about embracing something new. If one starts learning about a new language, there is discomfort at the first when one trying to learn it, understand it and put the knowledge into practice. Same thing happens with the teachings of the church. If you “reader” answer no to any of the 7 questions on CM. Then, start digging information and start seeking the truth about it. If you need someone to guide you, contact your parish priest or your spiritual director. Consult your Catechism, your Bible, the Holy See website and any reliable source. Do not be afraid of the truth. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

    • Johnny-700926 September 28, 2011

      I could not agree more (with Angie)! That’s why I am learning more about church teachings and so forth. Im just thankful to take the opportunity to learn and make the time for God at least.

    • Denise-687929 October 3, 2011

      I agree with what Angie has typed. If members on Catholic Match need to learn more about their faith they should take a look at Relevant Radio website and listen on line. http://relevantradio.com/index.php Also, we have to protect life. Abortion is always wrong no matter what the circumstances are. If women do not want to keep the baby then they should give it up for adoption. There are many married couples that are unable to have children that would love a new born baby. If a woman cannot support a new born baby financially there are always Women Centers that will help. http://www.womens-center.org/

      This is why it is important to keep learning and growing in your Catholic faith.

  2. Elizabeth-753085 September 27, 2011

    Thank you for writing this..very true!

  3. Patrick-606389 September 27, 2011

    what I find disconcerting is that so many Catholics claim to have never read the Bible or been exposed to the foundational(Doctrine) principles of what it means to be Catholic. I would be curious to know just anyone who claims to have been exposed to CAtholocism as you say you have — has never even opened a Bible. You’re parents never encouraged you to read the Bible given at your 1st Communion or Confession? Every Sunday at Mass both New Testament and Old were read — and a sermon on either and sometimes all three reading was delivered. In all that time at CAtholic school — te Churches position on matters of faith were never addressed? LOL … this is just perplexing. I won’t get into any matters of the Seven that do not pertain to Scripture in context Papacy, whether MAry was born of a virgin . . . none of that is referenced in the Bible and Holy utterances which are not supported by scripture well, just don’t matter to me and my life in Christ. But this if someone claims that they are a Christian/Catholic and is not practicing celibacy — my big deal — then that matters. Scripture is clear on the matter. And while I will avoid disparaging their person. I will certainly rule them out. If their divorce is not based on infidelity that that rules them out as a spouse.

    Now what I look for is ethical and consistent reasoning. One cannot say the Pope is infallible and then procede to acknowledge priciples of their faith — that type of reasoning is an ethical dissonance. Imagining dealing with someone like this in a marriage is just a huge leap. They are just as likely to accuse me of something that isn’t true at all, deliberately misconstrue some comment or fact so to use it for their own advantage. Someone that fragile in their person is dangerous. So the 7/7 is not soley about doctrine but sometimes a glimpse into a persons character.

  4. Jessica-556183 September 28, 2011

    I saw someone had “no” for the church’s teaching on the Eucharist. I was totally confused by that. The Real Presence is at the heart of being Catholic! But I guess I missed my oppurtunity to open a dialogue, because I just pressed NEXT.

  5. Lucyna-749506 September 29, 2011

    There are many controfersial topics in the Church’s teaching that many Catholics don’t agree with (contrception, abortion, etc.). Discussion is a good thing but the fact that we take the whole doctrine comes from our relationship with Jesus. He is the Answer, the Reason. I got to know some testimonies of traditional Catholics who i.e. generally speaking didn’t support abortion but there are situaitons where “the abortion is a need”. Everything changes when Jesus touches one’s life. Jesus who brings Light, Answer, Peace, Everything…

    • Angie-584510 September 29, 2011

      Lucyna, could you please explain under which circumstances abortion is a “need”? A need for whom? No one has the right to take away the life of another human being.

      • Lucyna-749506 September 29, 2011

        Hey Angie! :) ‘A need’ means many circumstances: poor financial standing, a child who appears in a “wrong” moment, rape, an unborn’s impairment, etc. Actually there are many excuses “to solve the situation” for those who don’t believe in God. It’s the matter of mind-set. Good that everything changes when a person starts believing. This is the example of my friend who fought with the Church’s teaching almost whole of her life. When she was converted, her opinion changed dramatically and she is devoted Catholic who fights again: now proving how wrong was her mind-set ;)

      • Steve-669014 October 1, 2011

        Hi Angie…I understand your pointed question to Lucyna, infering there is “absolutely” no excuse for abortion. However there is church teaching on something called “Double Effect.” Lucyna’s examples do not fit into any Catholic teaching, but in a situation where the mother needs a risky operation to save her life that includes the possibility of killing the fetus, or to give birth that would result in either the death of the baby or the mother, a decision needs to be made. Counceling through the Bishop’s office should be advised.

        So then, on any of the 7/7 questions, a truly committed Catholic should find a need to have their doubts and questions thoroughly investigated. The one’s who are not so committed will not make the effort. So then the questions remain too shallow a guage on first glance to know what a person might be thinking. Actually, I think it might be a good ice-breaker to bring up the 7/7 whether a person agrees with all of them or not!

  6. William-607613 October 1, 2011

    Well, then, there should be an option for someone to say, “I don’t understand the Church’s teaching on this.”
    We’re all grown-ups here, with a sizeable selection of potential spouses. We have a limited amount of time in our day to narrow down a field to see who we think we want to meet. Nobody is going to look at someone’s choices and try to infer what he or she actually meant by answering, “No, I don’t accept…”

    Perhaps the solution would be for CM to put a disclaimer on this section with the explanation that accepting or not accepting a Church’s teaching is not an indication of past behavior; one either accepts that the Church’s teaching is correct, or one doesn’t.

  7. Nigel-748943 October 2, 2011

    As a practicing Roman Catholic, I fully accept all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

    The Roman Catholic Church’s teachings are Divine, and infallible.

    Nigel.
    748943.

  8. Miguel-649793 October 7, 2011

    none of this matter if you are a good person and follow a life of rightness

    • Sabrina-758742 October 16, 2011

      An article should be written on CM about the 7 teachings of the Catholic Church to help all CM members who don’t accept all 7 and those who do accept all 7 to have better understanding of those teachings.

      • Lucia-551179 October 23, 2011

        Great idea Sabrina. It would definitely help people clarify what they’re really saying “Yes” or “No” to.

  9. Sally-1011334 October 1, 2013

    What great advice from this article – if someone’s profile answers ‘no’ to some of the 7 why not message them and politely ask why they answered no.

    If you don’t make a new friend at least you’ll have broadened your knowledge on what others really believe and why. And then you can go on your merry online CM search to find your perfect 7 out of 7! :)

  10. Celena-530753 February 2, 2014

    Well written:)

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