Should You Date A Non-Catholic?
It’s not always easy to find other Catholic singles that we’re interested in romantically. Sometimes, the potential dating pool can feel pretty small. This is especially true when it’s narrowed to only those who share our faith in the Catholic Church. It might seem like the obvious solution for single Catholics is to widen the criteria. Some consider dating non-Catholics.
This can be decent strategy. In fact, you might end up finding someone you’re very compatible with who doesn’t share your faith.
But it can also be a difficult path if you don’t first consider the issue carefully.
Here are three questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to decide to date someone who worships at a different church (or doesn’t have a faith life at all!).
1. What are their attitudes towards your faith?
The path to living out your faith fully in the future might be found most simply by dating a Catholic.
But that doesn’t mean dating a non-Catholic necessarily makes it hard or impossible to live out your faith. Catholic dating isn’t the only solution.
Some non-Catholics legitimately hate the church. They might think that Catholics are idolaters, bigots, or any number of other terrible things. Needless to say, dating a non-Catholic who thinks along these lines is going to be pretty difficult. Discerning a sacramental marriage with them may be close to impossible.
Then, there are other non-Catholics who see that the Catholic faith is a rich, beautiful religion. They don’t want to be a part of it themselves. However, they don’t have a personal problem with dating someone who is a baptized Catholic.
Dating someone who’s appreciative or even totally indifferent toward Catholicism can have the potential to turn into a beautiful relationship. It’s possible to have a lasting relationship with them and still have a strong faith life. It’s definitely possible to discern marriage with them and raise future children in the Catholic faith.
But maybe you’re considering dating a non-Catholic who has definite issues with the Catholic faith. Maybe they don’t like the idea of raising potential future children Catholic. You’d probably be wise to avoid the heartache and difficulty of trying to start a romantic relationship with them.
2. Are their moral values consistent with yours?
Thinking of dating a non-Catholic? Chances are that they won’t agree with every last thing you believe. Otherwise, they would be Catholic!
But some beliefs about what is morally acceptable and what isn’t are rather important, when it comes to a potential date.
If the non-Catholic person thinks that pre-marital sex is perfectly fine, then it’s probably going to be pretty difficult to have a chaste dating relationship with them. What would marriage preparation look like with this person? How would it be to discern the sacrament of marriage with them?
If the non-Catholic person doesn’t hold such things as honesty in high importance, you might be sailing in some difficult waters as well.
Even more problematic are the subtleties of Catholic moral teaching. For instance, does this person agree with your views on pornography? A large portion of our society views porn usage as a-okay, but we as Catholics know that it is morally wrong to use it.
If the person you’re thinking of dating disagrees with you on this, a lasting relationship and especially a marriage with them can be pretty difficult. Will you have to wonder whether they’re being faithful to you in their hearts and minds?
But on the other hand, it’s definitely possible to find non-Catholics who agree with the fundamental moral teachings of the Catholic faith.
They might not agree with every doctrinal teaching of Catholicism, or line up with the Catholic Church when it comes to things like canon law.
But if they are on board with the basic moral teachings that you yourself plan to live out for the rest of your life, then a lasting relationship with them might work out great.
3. Would a holy marriage be possible with a non-Catholic?
You may not be ready to get married right here, right now. But the idea behind dating is typically that we’re looking for someone we might be able to marry eventually.
Does the person you’re considering dating have some beliefs or attitudes that would definitely make a holy marriage with them difficult? It’s probably best not to embark on a dating relationship with them.
One particular area to pay attention to here is to try to determine whether they want kids someday, and whether they’re willing for their kids to be raised Catholic, since both these issues are important to whether you can have a Catholic marriage with them at all.
Beyond those specifics, try to imagine whether you’ll be able to live out your faith as you want to, if you’re married to them someday.
Because it’s definitely possible to have a holy, lasting relationship with someone who is a non-Catholic. But there are also a lot of non-Catholics that would not be on board with issues that are important for marrying each other.
It’s also not always possible to answer these questions about a possible future marriage definitively from the get-go. After all, this person may not be your boyfriend or girlfriend yet. They’re for sure not your fiance, husband, wife, or father or mother to your children yet. You’ll cross some of those bridges when you get there.
But we should certainly keep them in mind if we’ve determined that the non-Catholic person is at least pretty morally compatible with us and not hostile toward our faith.
Finding someone who has the potential to have a lasting relationship with us can be difficult. But widening our criteria beyond just Catholic singles to include those of other faiths isn’t always the perfect solution.
Dating someone of another faith can work, and you can’t ever be sure that your partner will convert. But you should be sure to consider carefully whether or not they’ll be on board with you practicing your own faith in the long run.
Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic wife, mother, screenwriter, and blogger, as well as author of the Catholic YA romance novel SYDNEY AND CALVIN HAVE A BABY. She blogs about TV and Movies from Catholic perspective at Thorne in the Flesh: A Faithful Catholic's Guide to Netflix, Hulu, and More.