, published by the Knights of Columbus Catholic Information Service.Prior to our modern conception of dating, which arose in the 20th century, says King, a family was much more involved in identifying a spouse and arranging a marriage.
The average age of first instance of intercourse is 17 (and the first sexual experience is estimated to be about 13 or 14).People in the United States are being something more than friends and less than married for upwards of 10 to 15 years of their lives — years of forming habits and beliefs, ones that will affect all of their subsequent relationships.And while the Church may not have explicit teaching on dating, it has riches on human relationships.Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., King holds a doctorate from The Catholic University of America.He and his wife, Kelly, have three children, ages 10, 7 and 5.
In an email exchange with Fathers for Good, King discussed several aspects of dating. Why is there no explicit mention of dating in the Catholic tradition?
Fathers for Good: Is there a Catholic understanding of dating? The Church as the whole body of believers, spanning both the globe and human history, tends to think about those issues that have touched on humanity for much of history and across most of the globe.
Jason King: What does the Catholic tradition say about dating? “The Church thinks in centuries,” so the saying goes.
The phenomenon of dating, however, is a rather recent one.
Some might wish to thereby dismiss or marginalize the importance of dating but I believe that would be a serious error.
The average age of marriage in the United States today is slightly below 30 for college graduates, just a little younger for others.