"A dead thing goes with the stream. Only a living thing can go against it."-- G. K. Chesterton
Back in the winter of 1998, I read a column by the Catholic chastity educator Mary Beth Bonacci in which she made a very important point that is very much relevant to this quiz. She placed it in all capitals, so I shall do the same as I pass it on to you.
Why not take a moment to read the entire column from Miss Bonacci's web site? Meanwhile, here's an important quote: "If someone isn't strong enough or mature enough to handle rejection, that person isn't strong enough or mature enough to date. Period."
This quiz is designed to reject a large number of people. It's already rejected all the men out there (sorry, guys!), and I strongly suspect that it will reject almost all the women out there as well. I'm looking for a special woman to whom I can surrender my life-- not just someone I can tolerate. I'm more than just a male squirrel who gets a notion to mate and then looks for the first female squirrel in heat and starts chasing her around until he can overtake her and do what has to be done. (See below.) My likes, dislikes, tastes, and quirks are what make me human. They may seem absolutely ridiculous, but they are what's important to me, and I have tried to ground them in the Catholic faith.
I believe that perhaps 90% of a good marriage consists of selecting the right partner to start. Don't take my word for it, though; read the following supportive words:
"To the proximate preparation of a good married life belongs very specially the care in choosing a partner; on that depends a great deal, whether the forthcoming marriage will be happy or not, since one may be to the other either a great help in leading a Christian life, or a great danger and hindrance. And so that they may not deplore for the rest of their lives the sorrows arising from an indiscreet marriage, those about to enter into wedlock should carefully deliberate in choosing the person with whom henceforward they must live continually; they should, in so deliberating, keep before their minds the thought first of God and of the true religion of Christ, then of themselves, of their partner, of the children to come, as also of human and civil society, for which wedlock is a fountainhead. Let them diligently pray for divine help, so that they make their choice in accordance with Christian prudence, not indeed led by the blind and unrestrained impulses of lust, nor by any desire of riches or other base influence, but by a true and noble love, and by a sincere affection for the future partner; and then let them strive in their married life for those ends for which the State [of marriage] was constituted by God."
These wise words come from Casti Connubii, an encyclical written by Pope Pius XI in 1930. Please don't think it is worthless just because it's "old." This encyclical has stood the test of time, and most of it is still relevant today.
If that's not enough, consider this:
"The best way to deal with intractable marriage problems is to forestall them by being very careful about whom one marries. It is important not to be guided by an image-- acquired without reflection-- of an ideal mate or to be carried along by romantic feelings, developed before taking serious thought about marriage."
(From The Way of the Lord Jesus, Volume 2, "Living a Christian Life", by Dr. Germain Grisez, Prof. of Moral Theology. Copyright 1993 by Franciscan Herald Press.)
Before we continue, here's one more quote from Casti Connubii:
"By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense or spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God's decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises. Hence the nature of this contract, which is proper and peculiar to it alone, makes it entirely different both from the union of animals entered into by the blind instinct of nature alone in which neither reason nor free will plays a part, and also from the haphazard unions of men, which are far removed from all true and honorable unions of will and enjoy none of the rights of family life."
That sounds like what I was saying above; we are more than just animals who can be happy with anyone at all. I would also like to underline this: not by any passing affection of sense or spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will. Think about this: it goes squarely against the notion that people should just "fall in love." It says something that I try to drive home at every opportunity: Love is a decision. It's more than just a magical, romantic feeling. A good, sensible decision is made logically, not randomly. The decision to marry another human being and spend the rest of one's life with that person has to have some basis in reason; after all, God created us as rational, thinking beings.
If the quiz rejects you, it probably means that after the careful deliberation suggested above, I would find that I need someone else to accompany me on the journey to heaven. Please forgive me if you don't make it through to the end. Now that you are suitably forewarned and forearmed, take a deep breath and begin. After all, you might just decide to like me.
Casti Connubii now
Begin the quiz