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Surprising data from a surprising source : OK Cupid, a mainstream site dedicated to online dating. TIME (June 22, 2015) reports that the outfit discovered not only that what matters most in a relationship, contrary to what you may think, is how often a person smokes, followed by political intensity, desire for children and other practical concerns, but that religion is “way down the list”.

It was not ever thus. As a priest in the sixties I was obliged to preach once a year against “mixed marriages”, i.e., marriages between a Catholic and one of that throng of our fellow-travelers on this planet whom the true believers arrogantly call NON-Catholics. Religion was considered at the time, perhaps rightly, as a serious threat to harmony in a couple and in a family, especially one in which non-Catholics had to accept the Catholic education of their children.

Today, religion is supremely important to many, but increasingly irrelevant to others who have come to realize that it is either hogwash or quaint superstition or both. My advice to people on both sides of the divide would be to recognize that every marriage is a mixed marriage, always between people of different family backgrounds, and sometimes of very different social, cultural and intellectual milieux; making a marriage work is challenge enough, without adding religious differences. Can you imagine me married to a Catholic catechist ? Hell on earth would be an understatement. For both of us, the kids and the neighbors. My wife would not like my Blog at all.