Thursday, 23 February 2017

Trads and Matrimonial Advertisements.

It is well-known now that the parents of Benedict XVI met in the matrimonial ads.  His parents kept it a secret from him and siblings, but naturally after Joseph Junior became pope, a German reporter sniffed it out. Here it is: 

“Middle-ranking civil servant, single, Catholic, 43, immaculate past, from the country, is looking for a good Catholic, pure girl who can cook well, tackle all household chores, with a talent for sewing and homemaking with a view to marriage as soon as possible. Fortune desirable but not a precondition.” 

The future Frau Ratzinger  was 36 and a trained cook, and despite being over 35 she bore three children, both sons becoming priests. It's a happy story. I love how Joseph Senior underscored that he had an "immaculate past" before stating he was looking for a "pure" girl. Yes, unless you have an immaculate past yourself, chaps, don't get your heart set on a "pure" girl. A smartened up, currently chaste girl is good enough for you. 

The ad was placed in a Bavarian Catholic paper in July 1920 (when both Church and society encouraged single men to be immaculate and single women to be pure, so it was weird and generally shocking if you weren't), so it makes complete sense that Joseph Senior would immediate flag his ability to provide and signal his interest in women who would make a good homemaker. The fortune bit is quite funny, since surely Bavarian women of fortune could do better socially than a middle-ranking civil servant, but hey, money comes in handy. 

There are dating websites for Traditional Singles, and so small is the Traditional Catholic community that I immediately recognized TWO of the local Trads on this website.*They both go to Mass regularly and have proper careers, but I don't know them well to gave a précis of their personalities, so you would have to investigate yourselves. Yes, it's Catholic Match, but I am being magnanimous. Besides, one of the local Trad women (none of whom I recognized, by the way) foolishly didn't add a photo and started her ad "It's been a tough few years" so now I have the opportunity to STRONGLY encourage you not to do this. ALWAYS have a photo. NEVER mention unhappy stuff. Men are visual. Men prefer happy. Dear Lord. This should be taught in high school. 

There are also Traditional Catholic Singles and Latin Mass Dating, about which I know nothing, and there is even SSPX Singles, which you may wish to consider even if you do not frequent SSPX chapels.  How interested SSPX fans will be in the merely Extraordinary Form and Traditional Doctrine Positive is a question, however. Of course, a sudden infusion of new blood in the SSPX courtship scene might provoke interest. Again, it's a relatively small community, except in France. 

Normally I despise dating websites because they are much too much like shopping for people, and indeed I anticipated them in 1987 or so when I wrote a series of stories called "Man Shortage", "Man Shortage II", etc. My heroine drunkenly wished for a catalogue of Single men that she could choose from in her search for a date. At least one of these stories was published in the school newspaper, and I got a talking to from an RE teacher because my heroine (unlike myself, incidentally) preferred blue-eyed blonds, which he thought rather neo-Nazi. However, when it comes to Traditionalist Catholic communities, internet dating is less like shopping and more like finding a plank to cling onto as the ship goes down. 

It doesn't strike me as traditional for tradition-minded Catholic women to place their own ads, but I suppose they have to, to answer the ads of traditional Catholic men. Really the most important thing in a woman's profile, in my humble opinion, is the photograph. Sad from a female perspective, but true. Men are who they are and not who we want them to be. No bikini shots, naturally. Marital status first or career? Hmm. If you don't have a career, you could put your dad's career. How old-fashioned is that?

Doctor's daughter, 32, single, university-educated (Aberdeen), obedient to Church teachings, from Stonehaven, enjoys cooking, baking, child care, is looking for a traditional Catholic man, age 30-45, with a professional career, with a view to marriage. 

"As soon as possible" doesn't sound as nice coming from a woman, does it? Meanwhile, you may have a job working at the pet shop, but honestly, who cares? If a guy cares about marrying within his class, "doctor's daughter" covers that; if he cares about education, you mentioned uni; if he's worried about chastity, that's covered as much as you want it to be; if he's looking for feminine (and they all are), cooking, baking and children covers that....and now you make your demands. Trad Catholic. Your age group. Professional and money-making. Marriage. All that walking on the beach stuff is stupid. Be practical, taciturn and look nice in your photo. Smile. 

If you do have a career, however, mention that at the beginning, for the sake of men terrified of the potentially crushing financial burdens that come along with dependents, aka housewife and kids. 

Secondary school teacher, 35, widowed, one child, obedient to Church teachings, from Glasgow, athletic, enjoys homemaking, is looking for a traditional Catholic man, age 35-45, employed in trade or profession, with a view to marriage. 

My fictional Glaswegian secondary school teacher is either less fussed about class than the fictional doctor's daughter or from a blue-collar family. She lives for marathons, but it's better to preserve the mystery by just saying "athletic". 

As for the trad guy, I think Joseph Ratzinger Senior's ad is a good template, except for the emphasis on sexual purity. Too much of an emphasis on purity today may scare the purest of virgins because of the creepiness of contemporary virgin-hunters. Start with the career. 

Museum curator, widower, trad Catholic, 47, no children, from Dundee, is looking for a trad Catholic woman, never married or widow, 30-50, who has a professional career she enjoys with a view to marriage as soon as possible. Natural red-heads preferred.  

That's for B.A., in case I should snuff it and he doesn't go into a monastery after all. He loves to cook, but he doesn't like housework, so my professional lady replacement should hire a daily instead of preaching about equality in household tasks. B.A. is an example of a trad Catholic man who does appreciate a financial contribution to ye olde household accounts. The Scottish heritage industry is not a field in which a man gets rich--unless he owns tartan tat shops. By the way,  B.A. might consider a 17 year age gap a bit big, but I don't--not for men over 40 anyway.

The photo is a bit trickier for men, but in general, just look like yourself on a work day, only happy.

*I find it odd, however, that I don't recognize more of the Edinburgh ones. If they aren't going to the one FSSP Sunday Missa Cantata in town, why are they described as "traditional"? They could be at the SSPX's Sunday Low Mass, but if they aren't, I'm puzzled.

Update: In case anyone is disturbed by my posthumous plans, I'm not dying; I just like using B.A. as an example.

Update 2: I wonder if women-over-30 specifying age is a limiting move? I can WELL understand women under 30 being firm about no-one over 40 or even 35, but after a woman turns 30, older men are often more attractive than they were before she turned 30. My only concern (were I a 35 year old widow) would be an elderly man hoping to find himself free nursing help. Well, then there's the bullying factor. Sometimes I am quite astonished at things men of my parents' generation say. Others are wonderfully charming, however. 


  1. The priests in my last parish would suggest going online. But it always seemed to me like a bit of a cattle market. Even when I've searched through the public side of catholicmatch, I know a good portion of the people on there. It always strikes me that, for the most part, trad Catholic men find their dates/girlfriends from outside the community and the girls within the community are typically never on their radar (there's been a few exceptions). The obvious advice is for trad girls to look outside the parish, but it means you'd also have to 'convert' someone into being a trad.

    1. Where I go to Mass, the few Single girls who turn up usually get on the radar. Sometimes they send out strong discouragement signals, but sometimes they don't.

      Going online might have less of a cattle market feeling if you tell yourself you will give ALL the trads in your area a chance. Maybe think of it as a way of making new trad friends?

  2. I agree with you, Truthfinder, on all points. I've glanced at the public side of catholicmatch as well, and several guys I know (and somewhat within my community) are on it. It strikes me that these guys even need to be on catholicmatch, since there seems to be an ever-flowing abundance of catholic women around. I've never been a fan of online dating, for the reason that it is like shopping for a mate. Also I don't like that you can make your profile come across in whichever way you like, in a sense "manipulating" your personality to come across "correctly". But maybe communities on opposite ends of the continents etc. really do need to start connecting with each other and matching up outside our own communities. And maybe that's through online avenues.

    Personally, I know I need to fully respect a man if I'm to be in a solid and good relationship. "Converting" someone to traddy ways isn't really an option because I don't ever want to feel superior (for lack of a better word) in my knowledge and awareness of the faith. In short, he has to be wiser then me in all things Catholic. If a child asks his father a faith based question, it seems odd to me that the father should ever respond "I don't know, go ask your mother". Of culture, the arts, practical things, I don't think it matters if Mom can answer some things better then Dad. But the faith is what a Catholic family is built on. Therefore the husband and father should be the pillar of faith in the family as well. I've seen the former lived out in other families, and the children inevitably end up with a lukewarm faith, if any faith at all. (Of course there are the exceptions, as in everything). The father's example is key in a child's growth in faith. If the father looks to the mother at all times, the child (particularly the boys) will grow to think it's the norm that the woman should be the spiritual leader. And so, the vicious cycle continues. I stand on my ground that we women shouldn't be out to "convert" a post Vatican 2 man to the latin mass. Typically, if a man is really on the same page as you, he will find his own way to the latin mass.

    1. There are a gazillion Catholic women, but not that many Catholic women who go to the EF. If a guy is looking for one of the mantilla-wearing sisterhood, he's got a much smaller group to choose from--at least in the UK!

      My dad is cradle, my mother is convert, and both played a role in their kids' growth in faith. However, I think you are right, and it is important for the dad to be the head of the domestic church. Mum is in the CWL, but Dad is the one who asked when we had last gone to confession.
      That said, dear Dad never goes to the TLM when he's not here with me, so don't give up on ALL post Vatican II guys! I know lots of non-Trad men who are very serious about the faith.

    2. Well that's hopeful. I don't come across many men who are as serious about their faith as I am, who don't attend the latin mass. That's not to say latin-massers are on a pedestal in my mind, for we all have our faults. But I find the biggest issue in my area is that the latin-mass going men are either mega introverted or already married, and the OF go-ers aren't as serious or committed.

    3. I also know quite a few OF go-ers who are serious and committed.

      To be clear, I agree that it is important for dad to be head of the domestic church- and the example Mrs. McLean gave is perfect, of her dad asking when she last went to confession. I just don't think that this means that they have to know more about all aspects of the Catholic faith, that when a child comes and says, "Why does the priest do X at Y moment of the liturgy?" it would be inappropriate for them to say, "I'm not sure. Let's see if you're mom knows. If not, we'll look it up." That just doesn't seem mutually exclusive with leading the family in the faith.

    4. Perhaps "wiser in all things Catholic" didn't convey my meaning. If I went to my spouse with a question regarding faith, I'd have to have the hope that he could answer my question. Of course no one is all-knowing, and if he couldn't answer then that's perfectly alright. But I would need at least the HOPE that he could answer it. If I knew that his general knowledge of the faith was decidedly less then my own, and knew that if I didn't know the answer to a question then surely he wouldn't, well, we wouldn't be compatible. Each to his own, and I know several catholic women who don't feel the same way as I do. But I know myself well enough to know my strong will and convictions need a knowledgeable man to be partnered with - someone who could live up to the standards of my own father and brothers. So I don't disagree with you, I think I was just a bit unclear on what I meant.

    5. Who needs a man to answer questions when we have the internet? ;-) But I like your point about a man living up to the standards of your father and brothers. One of the things I discerned right away about my husband is that my father and brothers would like him and that they had many interests in common. Unfortunately, they don't see him that often. But I also recall an American grad student fuming over his wife's hero-worship of her father. (Imagine South Virginia accent.) "He's her Hee-ro. *I* want to be her Hee-ro!"

  3. I did not know this story! Thank you for sharing. Very interesting!

    I'm not sure about mentioning career first. Maybe because many of the good Catholic men I know, I met at an elite college, they, on the whole, were more afraid that a woman would be too gung-ho in her career to take motherhood as seriously as it should be taken. Many really even wanted their wife to stay home (at least primarily), but were afraid to say so. It's hard to say whether or not this is true of the good Catholic men I know now (i.e., not from an elite college), as they are all already married, so I don't know what they looked for before they were married. (Their wives do all stay home or only work part-time- many, like me, VERY part-time.)

    I disagree with a Damsel about finding a man who is "wiser in all things Catholic." A man who you can count on to lead the family's spiritual life, yes. So one that is, in some ways, wiser- perhaps a more dedicated reader of the scriptures, perhaps one who has a great deal more natural virtue- is essential, but I do not think that this means they have to have a more thorough knowledge of every aspect of the faith to lead the family. Nor do I think they need to be a trad to have a richer understanding of the faith, but, well, I am not a latin mass lady.

    1. Hmmm.... Well, I see your point although there are certain careers that make a woman look attractive, e.g. kindergarten teacher. I suppose one could tersely and boldly add to the end of one's profile: "Willing to give up rat race to be stay-at-home mum."

      But the most important thing is the photo so that you attract the men who are attracted to women who look like you. After that essential, you can work things out later.

  4. Why always widow/widower examples? Is there no room on trad Catholic dating sites for the divorced & annulled?

    Honestly, at my age (46) I'd rather have a divorced & annulled guy who's learned good lessons (albeit the hard way) than one who's never been married. It may be stereotyping, but the single men I know my age and older have become a bit...weird.

    1. Of course, the men might say the same about me...never married at 46! I didn't mean "write off" never-marrieds; I meant I'm open to the divorced/annulled as well as widowed, and have experientially found them more of a fit for me than the never-married men.

    2. Oh yes, certainly. I didn't want to make the post too long. Indeed, the issue is worth a post all to itself. It's too bad "annullés" is not really a word. We should make it a word. Then Singles could say "Annullés (Annullées) welcome" at the end of their ads.

  5. Maybe the people who say they are trad but who don't go to EF don't mean that they are traddies, but that they are not heterodox.

  6. There's something about the idea of online dating that fills me with dread.

    Trad vs Not Trad? Who cares as long as the person is orthodox.

    1. Well, it can be pretty dreadful. Joining a new community, or making friends in a new community and being introduced around is highly superior, but more difficult.