Catholic dating discernment
There are lots of charming Catholic women who want to get married to a good Catholic man. The problem is, when a man feels called to marriage, all these women go into hiding. But when a young man begins to discern a vocation to the priesthood, lots of wonderful Catholic women suddenly become available—and they would all love to date him! Of course, that’s an exaggeration, but there catholic dating discernment an element of truth.
Literally hundreds of thousands of men have gone to seminary and been ordained without ever having dated, and have lived fulfilling and happy lives. Other men will only have peace of mind about a vocation to the priesthood once they have explored dating. Should they enter seminary later, a chaste dating experience can help prepare them to willingly give up the beauty of marriage. My own dating experience gave me freedom of heart to apply to seminary.
It is best to discern without any romantic ties, all these women go into hiding. Whatever that is. So it is only natural to feel hesitation and avoid it if you are feeling that call. I had even had dinner with my Archbishop, the same goes for a priest who was originally called to marriage.
One happily married father of five remembers attending Mass with his then-girlfriend. The idea of priesthood would frequently pop into his head, but he knew it was just that—an idea. He knew it was not the same thing as discernment, which is a very deliberate exploration of God’s call. In general, it is best to discern one vocation at a time. If you feel called to marriage, by all means get to know some good Catholic women. On the other hand, if you feel called to the priesthood, it is best to discern without any romantic ties, which would likely be an obstacle to good discernment of a priestly vocation. Ideally, dating is for discerning marriage.
As mentioned above, some men need to discern marriage before they discern the priesthood. This would be using the other person, which is never morally acceptable. A vocation is not just a rejection of other possibilities.