In 2013 Kania traveled to the National Catholic Singles Conference in Philadelphia.
She went for the speakers, the fellowship, and the info on theology of the body, but not necessarily to meet someone, she says. No matter what, she says, “I pray for myself and for my future spouse as we both are on our path to grow closer to the Lord, and if it is God’s will, we will meet when we are both ready.” Yet for other young adults, dating events geared specifically toward Catholics—or even general Catholic events—are less-than-ideal places to find a mate.
Pennacchia was raised Catholic, but she’s not limiting her dating prospects to people within the Catholic faith. “It has shaped how I relate to people and what I want out of relationships, but I’m thinking less about ‘Oh, you’re not Catholic,’ than ‘Oh, you don’t agree with economic justice.’ ” For Pennacchia, finding a partner is not a priority or even a certainty.
“People talk [about love and marriage] in a way that assumes your life will turn out in a certain way,” she says.
The majority of her dates in the last year have come from .
’ The community had some social capital, and it allowed you to be comfortable knowing what you would and wouldn’t have to make decisions about.
My mother told me that her biggest worry on a date was what meal she could order so that she still looked pretty eating it.” Today, she says, young adults are bombarded with hyperromantic moments—like viral videos of proposals and over-the-top invitations to the prom—or hypersexualized culture, but there is not much in between.
We walked to a table and the conversation quickly turned to our jobs. He paused with glass in hand and said, “Oh, you’re religious.” I nodded. Yet in a strange way the encounter exemplifies some key elements of the dating scene facing young adults today: We’re trying to be open, to build relationships, to find someone who shares a worldview that reflects similar morals, perspectives, ethics, a desire for growth and, well, other stuff.
And we are still working out the details of how best to make that happen.