By Brianna Joyce
The Sooner Catholic
The online dating website CatholicMatch.com boasts more than 1 million monthly visitors, among them singles of all ages. Unmarried people are finding it difficult to date in a secular world, a reality that accounts for the website's popularity. CatholicMatch seeks to promote the value of faith in dating, and, most importantly, the value of marriage to society.
Robyn Lee, editor of the CatholicMatch.com blog, reveals the importance of this project: "The real vocational scare is the declining rate of marriage among Catholics." Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken on this subject, stating his concern for many singles — or couples -- who never marry. One of the goals of CatholicMatch is to educate users on the commitment of marriage.
Before marriage comes dating, and CatholicMatch is ready to serve busy singles. What are the advantages to online dating? Singles who want to date but have limited time can check their profiles for messages and even use their phones to look at CatholicMatch's mobile site. Users create a profile, which includes information about their values and interests. This lets other singles know that there is a faithful man or woman out there who complements them. These shared views on the world become the lasting foundation for a marriage, more than preferences about movies or food. Also, singles actively seek out a partner, rather than waiting for him/her to show up. Space is provided in the user profile to describe what qualities are sought in a potential spouse.
Lastly, online dating allows two people to get to know one another before the first date. Some might complain that it does away with romance, with the kind of spark that signals love at first sight. Marriage calls men and women to a love that lasts even when romance fades. However, using a dating website actually preserves a romantic custom—love letters. When contact begins with written messages through email or IM, couples can talk about their goals and outlooks before they come face to face.
When dating in any form, it's helpful to review the Catholic view of love and marriage. The Catechism says in paragraph 1604, "Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes." What a powerful validation of the vocation to marriage.
Currently the largest dating site for single Catholics, CatholicMatch recently acquired other websites such as SingleCatholics.com, TraditionalSingleCatholics.com and CatholicDaters.com. The site offers lots of helpful content, including a blog with relationship advice, dating tips, prayerful reflections and user testimonies. Special tips are available for widows/widowers, single parents and seniors.
Users should carefully read the "Safety first" documents, which encourage men and women to exercise proper caution when agreeing to meet a potential match. CatholicMatch provides users with an in-site email, so that personal contact info is not displayed online.
For those who might be interested, the CatholicMatch booklet "Catholics Are Meeting Their Spouses Online. What About You? An Easy Guide to Online Dating" is available for free e-book download at www.catholicmatch.com.