Singles, It’s Your Turn To ‘Ask A Bishop’


Catholic singles, it’s time to get expert advice – direct from the bishops. Here at “Faith, Hope & Love,” we’re excited to launch a new department called “Ask A Bishop” in which you can send your questions to rotating bishops across the country. They will write personal responses to be published on our blog.

We begin with Bishop Richard Pates, who serves the diocese of Des Moines, Iowa. He is a wise, compassionate shepherd. Since being installed as Des Moines’ ninth bishop in May 2008, Bishop Pates has articulated four priorities for his service: building up a vocation culture; reaching out to newcomers, especially Spanish-speaking people; encouraging evangelization; and engaging youth and young adults.

What would you like to ask Bishop Pates? Got a question about the church? Dating? Discernment? Theology? Religious life? Leave it in a comment below. He’ll choose one to answer exclusively for “Faith, Hope & Love.”



  1. Angie-584510 November 14, 2010 Reply

    Your Eminence,

    As a resident of Des Moines, IA, I would like to thank you for your active participation in our community and all your efforts to lead us closer to God.

    My question is a very general question.

    “Whenever a couple marries according the teaching of their faith community, be it Catholic or non-Catholic, and observes all the required external formalities prescribed by civil and/or religious law, Catholic Church considers that marriage to be valid until such time as it is proven null/void/invalid.” Therefore, if the couple chooses to divorce civilly speaking, it is still my understanding their sacramental union [marriage] is to be considered -valid- until the Church Tribunal declares it null. Also, it is my understanding during the stage between civil divorce and before the annulment is granted, it would be Okay for the spouses to make friends and get to know people but they are not yet in a position to get romantically involved with a third party because their sacramental union is still considered to be valid [which it’s not any different than a happy married couple shouldn’t be having romantic affairs outside of marriage]

    Now, being that said… what would be your advice to someone who’s sacramental marriage – hasn’t been declared null by the Church tribunal- but is uncertain whether or not should wait for the annulment decree prior to getting romantically involved with a person other than his or her spouse?

    Thanks in advance.

    Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,


  2. Mark-614362 November 14, 2010 Reply

    Your eminice
    My name Mark I am part Charismatic Catholic community in the Archdiocese Of Newark NJ and I can attest to the fact that vibrant Catholic communities interacting with one another and between Parishes exist in Northern NJ and NYC
    The Renewal movement has begun it can between seen in the cross pollination between Adoration services by the different orders of the Monks, young peoples interest in these aspects as well as in the Latin Tridentine Liturgy and it’s theology as well as the supernatural events taking place among the Charismatic community These Churches exist side by side with Parishes that are grave yards.
    The difference is The Word Of God must be taught with an affectivenes that relates to today’s “culture of death” and it cannot be if it is reduced to 10 minute homilies.

    Upon joining this site I was somewhat disappointed in seeing young women of a liberal nature which is in itself very unattractive to people that live their Faith. With all due respect I would ask your Eminice’s position on this site’s choice to post Faith and Doctrine questions AS IF Catholic’s had a choice Do you feel that is acceptable to dissent from our Scriptural teachings The influx of new congregants into our Mother Church is due to the total distaste for their own former liberal heading Protestant parishes and the calling to Faith that is based on Truth and refuses the evil spirits of worldly accomodation.

    Do you believe Father, as many of us active in the Church do, that the time is come in our Church for itself to once again as it has every 100-220 years throughout salvation history to exercise it’s role as the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant and let people know particularly politicians and television producers that heterodoxy is not Catholicism and the resurgence of Excommunications are on the horizon

    While we may loose many people “of the world” like my fellow singles colleagues on this site but what will come into the Church I tell you Father will be an avalanche of new souls There are people in the evangelical communities watching the Church carefully I know from cousins, friends, books, news stories.
    Let us show our fellow friends in Christ as well as falling away how to achieve the real Supernatural elements of our Faith in their lives that the 4 out of 7 and the 5 out of 7 on the Faith and Doctrine questions people are never going to have actualized in their lives for obvious reasons.

    Let us witness together that the grave is truly empty, the victory has already been won, the harvest awaits for the followers of Truth ‘in Persona Christie”

    For the Mother Church is as is described in Psalm 46:5
    God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help her at the break of day.


  3. Michael-422117 November 13, 2010 Reply

    I’m a 24-year old young man, out in the workforce and currently working towards finishing my BS (I’ve got at least a couple years left). My question is whether or not it is wrong to date, when I know it will be several years before I am in a position to support a family, were I to meet someone and we were to fall in love and wish to get married. I don’t misrepresent my stage in life to anyone I meet, but part of me still wonders if it’s unfair to open the door at all.

  4. Jessica-619716 November 12, 2010 Reply

    I have been very curious about what Dressing morally means in today’s Catholic church. The last time I know of that the bishops have given us guidelines was in the 40’s. At the time it was said, ladies should wear skirts to the calf, and never pants, 3/4 length sleeves, neck lines up to the collar bone. Are these guidelines still the ones we should be following, if not, what is a good set of rules for how to dress morally. I don’t want to be a distraction to my brother’s in Christ, but I need to be able to fit in with the current professional world as well, and skirts just don’t work there.

    • Lauren-595722 November 15, 2010 Reply

      This is a reply to Jessica, 619716.

      I’m not a bishop, obviously, but I do think I can help you out. Dressing morally in today’s world means not having shorts that look like they’re not there at all, shirts or dresses where cleavage, or more, falls out, dresses that barely cover our butts, or outfits that look like something out of Victoria’s secret/ strip clubs for everyday walking around in. Dressing morally means dressing modest, as in there are so many fashions and clothing that can make you look beautiful and attractive without being the lustful attractive. You don’t have to have a dress that rides up your butt to show off your legs. You don’t have to have a dress so low that you always have to make sure something’s not falling out. And when you dress like that, it’s the first thing that everyone–guys and girls alike– notice. It’s not your personality, or your smile, or how you act or anything. It’s hard to carry on a conversation with a guy when his eyes are always at your chest.
      It’s also based on the same thing as sex. I don’t know if you believe in no premarital sex or not, but your body is a gift saved for your future beloved brought to you by God. Just because girls won’t “hook up” with every guy that stares at them if they’ve got nearly nothing on or things nearly showing doesn’t mean that those guys lust… and the girls that dress like that make them lust, which is a sin. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and you should glorify it, not hold it out for the world to see.
      So yeah, in these modern times, girls can wear skirts, and even pants, and they don’t have to be super long or boring. There are so many fashions out there, especially since you said the professional world, that give a woman that beautiful look without degrading herself, that give a higher air about her. And if you are wearing something that your own mother would shake her head at, or even if God would shake his head at, because He’s our Father, that’s a warning sign. There’s nothing wrong with sleeveless, and you don’t have to wear turtlenecks all the time, but just dress in a way that makes people think better of you, not degrading.
      I hope that helped you out, if you’d ever like any more help, just let me know!

  5. Tom-300290 November 11, 2010 Reply


    I write about my sister. She obtained an annulment three years ago. She has met a man and they wish to marry in the church. However, he also must obtain an annulment. He applied for the annulment 3.5 years ago and can find out nothing about it. He calls weekly, stops in to chat at the diocese main office, but is only met with snide comments and evasive staff assistants. This has been truly frustrating for my sister and her ‘new man’. Is this common? What might be done? How does one appeal….and to whom?

  6. Rose-603546 November 7, 2010 Reply

    DEAR Bishop, I met a wonderful man, we have been seeing each other for the past four weeks, went to church together every Sunday. Last Monday, he tell me he want to take our relationship to the nest
    level, but he needed some time to breath, he said at lease three weeks, he also said, he thinks we are not compairable, because I don’t drink, and talk, and he’s very quite. He said that could be a problem.
    So, I’m not calling him at all. I do however, love him very much, I met all his children, and grandchildren. Please reply, and pray for me! Rose Funes

  7. Luis-554051 November 6, 2010 Reply

    I found a very good friend from Indonesia, and we are attracted each other very much. I really love her

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