Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"You will never, ever, ever... regret doing what is right"

Late-Night Catechism” – Monday nights at the Newman Center, 8:30-9:30, starting on October 11. Deacon Mike Lee, a seminarian preparing for the priesthood, will lead discussions on basic Catholic teaching for GW Catholics. Email me at if you are interested or have questions.
Last night, we had quite a lively, entertaining, and fruitful discussion on “Dating”. Fr Bill Byrne spoke to about 30 students here (which is our largest turnout for a Tuesday discussion since I’ve been here). He was and is amazing! He is so much fun and so brilliant. He weaved in stories and anecdotes with really solid Catholic teaching. There were thunderous laughs throughout Father Byrne’s talk because of his hilarious comments and analogies. He presented such an objective view to living Christian love in general, especially in romantic relationships.

He brings such common sense and sage advice that when you hear it, you that what he says is true. He speaks with authority and objectivity. It’s a challenge to anyone who might be smitten in a relationship: am I doing this the right way (God’s way) or my way?

He reminded us all to approach relationships based on certain fundamental, common sense principles that make so much sense. Here are some of his brilliant “rules” and insights when it comes to dating. I didn’t take notes during the talk and I’m relying on memory (yikes!). His principles are listed below. My notes or description is mostly paraphrasing what he said. If there are bloggers who were at the talk and can clarify or add to my notes, please feel free.

1) You will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, (and one more) ever regret doing what is right.

He said this in relation to chastity and to virtue in general. When he said this, I saw people reaching for their pens and paper in order to take notes. What a strong opening line!

2) Before there’s a “we”, there must be two “I”s.

People, especially in college, need to establish and find themselves before they can be with another. The old saying is that you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself. College is a time to experience life and to see all kinds of stuff. Someone who becomes a “we” with another in college misses out on becoming the true “I” they are meant to be. College is a time for expansion, not constriction. Fr Byrne said that he saw many people at the University of Maryland (he was chaplain there for many years) constrict their world to the other person only. They should be expanding their world to all kinds of people, places, and things.

Along these lines, he also talked about have our inner selves and outer selves become one. College is a time to unite these two selves…to be the people on the outside that we truly are on the inside.

3) The ring and license don’t change people.

If someone is a drunk before getting married, they will be a drunk in marriage. If someone is violent or abusive before marriage, they will be violent and abusive in marriage. And so forth. Fr Byrne addressed these as “dealbreakers” – once someone sees a dealbreaker, they should get out of the relationship.

Other “dealbreakers” – consistent disrespect from the other, no chance of sharing Catholic faith fully

4) Partner should respect what is most important to the other (even if they don’t fully understand or agree with it)

This was in response to a question on chastity. He used the analogy of someone preparing for MSATs (Medical School exam) to answer. The MSAT’s partner needs to respect his/her need to study and prepare for the MSATs and not interfere the night before, for example, by trying to take them away from studying. If chastity is important to one, the other needs to respect and support that.

5) ‘How far is too far’ (when it comes to physical activity with another outside of marriage)? Don’t touch a body part that you don’t have

And the crowd went wild!

6) People can be living together without sharing the same place.

Fr Byrne said that we all know what this means (fornication). He talked about the dangers of this in relation to marriage and how living together (whether it means sharing the same place or not) very often leads to divorce. It was either here or under other “rules” that Fr Byrne made one of his main points crystal clear: people in college shouldn’t be in a rush to get married.

No comments: