The Church Says What About Dating?

What does the Church say about dating? Well, before we can even look into that, we first have to answer for ourselves the basic question, “What is Dating?”
Granted, we know what dating is … or do we? Let’s get some help from these kids’ ideas of romance and dating to kick-start our thinking:
There’s really no fixed definition that came forward from the group. How about this for starters:
Dating is a part of human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. (Wikipedia
In other words, Dating is:
  • a human process involving two people (the Church specifies one man and one woman)
  • a social activity
  • a means of assessing another for suitability for …
  • a means of seeking companionship
And its purpose is:
  • to find companionship beyond friendship
  • to assess suitability for intimate relationship / marriage
How can the Church help us understand dating? While you won’t find a Magisterial mandate or papal pronouncement on “dating,” there is a lot of wisdom offered by the Church on the matter of relationships.
Intuitively, our teens understand these as the underlying basis of dating, but do we approach dating from this perspective? Seeking a spouse? That seems so far away from our societal way of thinking. It leaves us to ponder the reality of dating in our culture today.
First, let’s think about in what ways in which dating couples today express their feelings for one another; are all of these ways good or sincere?  The Church states that “man…cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” This gift of self typically means sacrifice. What kind of sacrifice might a Christian have to make in dating relationships?
teens holding hands (2)Our youth contributed some ways:
  • doing what the other would enjoy (Psst. Guys, a girl may not really want to go to that play-offs game but is too polite to say so!).
  • exercise self-control when you might want to “go the next step”, wanting to help the other remain pure (and thus do so yourself).
  • dress modestly (it sometimes requires us to go against ‘fashion’), so not to lead the other into impure thoughts.
  • stay strong in one’s own desire to wait until marriage for intimacy. It may help the other to grow in self control.
In other words, staying true to one’s own desire to remain pure until marriage, actually reminds the other that this is what Catholics do. If they are worth their Catholic faith, they will appreciate your courage!
Here are some great reads that might help:
Catholic Dating: 12 Safety Rules
Where’s the Line?: Dating, Purity and Sin
How Kissing Affects Chastity



A La Carte Nights are a series of seven independent evenings designed to guide high school teens in the application of their faith in every day life. The combine thought-provoking discussion about today’s teen culture in light of the teachings of the Church.


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