Father, We Confess: CatholicMatch Review
It was the tattoo-like banner ad around Valentine's Day that initially captured our interest. While this confession may reveal our superficial natures, it also points to a smart and attractive ad campaign designed to appeal to a modern Catholic population.
There is something unexpected and incongruous about these modern icons being paired with a dating service for Catholic singles. Intrigued, we dug deeper, and discovered a well established dating site, filled with heart. Second confession? While not exactly heathens, the Dating Gurus are not Catholic. Not even close. This doesn't prevent us from recognizing when the motivation to launch a business is largely a result of personal passion for and commitment to any given belief, product or service, good things can happen.
Faith Focused Dating
At a church picnic in the late nineties, roommates Jason LaFosse and Brian Barcaro found themselves in a discussion about the unique challenges facing Catholic singles in the modern dating world. This discussion led to the creation of Catholic Match's predecessor, SaintRaphael.net, launched as a side business from a Pittsburgh apartment.
Fast forward five years after joining forces with new partner Mike Lloyd. The trio changed their name to CatholicMatch.com, and began to witness exponential growth. Fifteen years later, in 2013, the goals of CatholicMatch have remained largely the same:
- Help single Catholics be in a better position to find their spouses,
- Maintain successful marriages,
- Provide community built on a strong Catholic identity.
In 2013, CatholicMatch celebrated the registration of their millionth member. Oh, Ye Of Little Faith..
This is not your mainstream dating site in any sense of the word. Even those sites with more of a Christian foundation, such as like eHarmony or ChristianMingle.com, are not as specific in their goals or target population. If you don't know this going in, you'll quickly discover it as you begin to register on the site. You'll either roll your eyes and click off quickly, or you'll recognize that this is the site for you.
Here's how it works:
After you register directly on the site (or through Facebook), you will answer multiple choice questions about background, family, habits, and appearance. Then, the faith-focused questions surface including:
Are you free to marry in the Catholic Church?
Yes / No / In Process / Unsure
How often do you attend Mass?
Almost every day / At least once a week / At least once a month / On special occasions / Never
There are also many very specific faith-based questions, including:
- whether you have converted to Catholicism,
- which diocese you belong to (based on your zip code)
- your preferred liturgical style
- belief in the literal meaning of the Eucharist
- favorite patron saint
- your feelings about papal infallibility
- the right of women to become priests
- your belief in the church's teachings about birth control, and abortion.
Each question about Catholicism includes parenthetical explanations on the specific teachings. For example:
Do you accept Church teaching on the Sanctity of Life?
Yes, I accept this teaching / No, I do not accept this teaching
What is the teaching? All life is sacred and each life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, has a right to life, and therefore abortion, or any other method of barring a new life from implanting in its mother's womb or terminating a pregnancy is inherently wrong.
Next, complete a profile narrative, including:
- your passions and things you look forward to
- influences on your life, including your "faith-based" favorites (saints, prayers, and devotions)
- foods, media, reading materials, sports and leisure activities, travel (including pilgrimages, destinations, trips).
Then, create the optional personal interview questionnaire, with up to 20 multiple choice questions (or use pre-formatted questions if you aren't feeling creative). These questions can help fine tune deal-breakers or must-haves, or simply help you gain insight into areas that are meaningful to you about the other people who are communicating with you.
Also optional is a lengthy temperament test, which we powered through, resulting in the discovery that one of us had a "Sanguine-Choleric" temperament? Did you know that St Peter may have also been a Sanguine-Choleric? Didn't think so.
Helping To Reap What They Sow: The CatholicMatch Institute
The CatholicMatch Institute For Dating & Marriage Readiness is an associated branch of the dating website, which provides advocacy, resources and scholarships to various Marriage and Family Life ministries who support of single Catholics. The Institute also hosts a non-preachy blog with interesting member stories and topic pieces. At the time we went to press, they were participating and promoting in National Marriage Week.
- New members are offered a 6 month subscription fee for $12.50 per month (with a guarantee that if you don't find a match in this time, that you will be able to extend for another 6 months for free.
- 3 months for $19.99 per month
- 1 month for $30.00 per month
As with all dating sites, it is free to sign up and create a profile, and look to your hearts content, but you are unable to communicate with anyone on the site, other than to receive and send an emoticon. Members and guests have no way to tell how many profiles are active versus abandoned. Features for paid members include live chat, forum posting, and priority support.
What We Like
The attractive format, simple registration process, and upfront focus. There are no hidden agendas. This is clearly a site run by Catholics with the goal of promoting a Catholic courtship with the goal of Catholic marriage, values, and eventual family life. We also like the CatholicMatch Institute as a way of giving back to the community--practicing what they preach.
The site does not pander to the typical online dater in the 21-35 year old range, and has many mature daters in their database.
This is a thoughtful privately owned dating site with a lot of heart. There is no sleaze factor at all, and we like the 6 month guarantee.
What We Don't Like
The site's singleness of purpose may limit the membership base in smaller, less metropolitan areas, thus making it necessarto widen your geographical search. The monthly fee is pricy for anything other than a 6 month commitment. It is impossible to tell who is only registered, but not a paying member on the site.
TheDatingGuru's Grade: A-
Try it here: Catholic Match