Catholic Weddings


Hi, so my fiance and I are getting married in a liberal Lutheran church, but for his family's sake, we are having a Catholic priest present to "bless our marriage." (my fiance is lapsed Catholic turned agnostic, and I'm Lutheran) Before he will do this, the priest says we have to take the FOCCUS test. We don't know him, and aren't comfortable taking the test or discussing our relationship with him until we know exactly what it is we'll be discussing.
Soo...does anyone out there have an old copy of their test that we can review? Or is there a place we can get it online? The priest we met with said something about being able to access it online, but I've only been able to find it where it requires a facilitator's password.
Please help!


  • edited December 2011
    I don't think there is anywhere you can get it online without the password, I checked again for you. The only other resource for you would be (even though you are not having a Catholic wedding). It talks about the FOCCUS test on that site. As far as giving you a copy of the one we took, we had to give it back to the Priest. Basically, it asks you about 100 questions about your past, your views, beliefs, etc. It is like a personality test, but meant to help you guys figure out any discrepancies so that they do no become a problem for you marriage. Good Luck!
  • Theresa626Theresa626 member
    edited December 2011
    They don't put it online or give it to you because it would invalidate the test.  In order for you to be honest, you can't know the questions beforehand so that you don't decide beforehand to answer the same way in order to get some sort of perfect score.  A perfect score is not the goal of the test and if they put the questions out, people might try to do just that.  The goal is really to be honest.  . However, you can't fail the test at all.  It's really to benefit you, not for the priest to see things about you. 

    I'm trying to remember some of the questions on there: one was Would you be comfortable letting your future spouse see you naked.   Another was true or false, you and your fiance have discussed how you will manage the budget. 

    Really, it's just questions to see what you have or haven't discussed. On areas where you differ, they bring up that topic and then you talk directly to your fiance about it and address what you think and what he thinks so you know each other's thoughts and are on the same page.  It's to help you discuss things that maybe you forgot to discuss before you get married.  You usually discuss it with a married couple rather than a priest.  I remember that I was really nervous about sharing private information too but then after we took it and met the couple, it really wasn't like that at all.  I didn't feel like my privacy was invaded.
  • edited December 2011

    I guess I'm still not sure why an agnostic and a Lutheran would really want a Catholic priest officiating their wedding....  But that's neither here nor there, so hey.

    The FOCCUS test is really not a big deal at all.  It is just looking for areas in which you and your fiance might not agree, areas that could cause problems later. 

    My husband and I took the CDEM, which is basically the same type of test but a bit older.  (I think the CDEM is being phased out -- we were one of the last couples at our parish to take it.)  One funny thing was that the test scores rated my DH and I as very incompatible in finances.  The priest mentioned that we had quite different scores in that area, and we talked about it for a couple minutes and determined that the reason our scores were so different is because I was about to graduate with a lot of student loans (and hadn't had any money during the years I was in school), and my DH was employed in a well-paying job and not worried about money.  Our actual attitudes toward managing finances were fairly similar.

    Anyway, the FOCCUS test really isn't a big deal at all.  It is just the first of the steps in Catholic marriage prep.

    Good luck.

  • edited December 2011
    I just sent you a PM.
  • edited December 2011
    Like PP said, don't be worried about the "test". If you and FI actually discussed your future, you should have the same viewpoints on most if not all the questions.

    It just talks about budgets, family planning, your relationship with God, etc. Not a big deal and it might even get you talking more with your FI about issues you might not have thought to discuss.
  • edited December 2011
    My FI grew up lax methodist and I am Catholic.  My suggestion, which has worked well for us, was to take the test and review it with a jesuit priest.  The reason I say this is because jesuits tend to be much more liberal.

    If you have a jesuit university (maybe Loyola??) close enough you could try to reach out to one of their preists.  Our priest has been great he's liberal enough that FI can "get it" i.e. he isn't black and white on subjects like birth control, premarital sex, etc... which is nice since you don't feel like you are being preached at.  Jesuits are devoted to education and they might be a great option for you two!

    Regarding the test, it's a boatload of questions in a row and when you review the results they will have broken the answers in to sections such as Faith, Sexuality, Communication, etc... and these all play into your "readiness to marry" score.  Which, as someone earlier mentioned, isn't an absolute as much as it is an indicator that there may be some areas you didn't answer the same.  For us it was me answering in an absolute and FI was uncertain - so not that we weren't right, just created an opportunity for us to discuss.  Despite scoring 100% in communication (our preist asked if we cheated, ha!  Not when you sit on opposite sides of the room!)

    Overall, it is a good thing.  IF you think about it, what's the hurt, it's a unique opportunity to bring up things you wouldn't discuss on your own until an issue comes up down the road.  It gives you a better idea of how the other person thinks/reacts/communicates.

    Ok, sorry for the lengthy note.  Really, the test isn't something to worry about.  Take it and take what you find out to heart or with a grain of salt.  You get to decide that in the end!  Oh... and have fun with it!

  • edited December 2011
    oops!  Father of the Bride is on and I got distracted.  I meant to say that despite scoring so high on communication, it told us our readiness to marry score was low.  Which we knew from the get go because he isn't catholic and I am.  I have very stron feelings on raising our family in the church and he doesn't.  So not that he won't go with it, but the answers just indicated that he wasn't 100% sure.  It ended up raising a lot of good questions and we have developed a good relationship with the priest as a result.  (I think it's because he talks hunting & fishing w/ FI, lol)
  • edited December 2011
    I wholeheartedly agree with talking with a jesuit!  But I am biased b/c I went to Loyola! You could go to the Lakeshore Campus (maybe call the campus ministry office?) or they have a house at U of C as well.   Two other options would be Old St. Mary's-  run by the Paulist fathers- also fairly liberal  and maybe the Newman Center at Northwestern.  You could also call Charis Ministries (Jesuit outreach to young adults) to see if someone there could help or point you in the right direction.  I live in Ohio now-  and we did pre-cana/FOCCUS through the Newman center at OSU.

    We are both cradle Catholics, both went to Catholic school from k-12 and college, both still go to church and are active in our parishes. And we were freaked out about taking the test! But then we looked for information about it, and weren't freaked anymore.  The priest isn't going to not participate if you "fail".  The test was developed in the 70s by marriage counselors (and I believe they were lay-people, non-religious life), and has been updated in the past 10-15 years.The purpose of the test is to make sure you have talked about issues that have proven to be problem areas based on their experience as marriage counselors.  And if you haven't discussed it yet-  you will b/c of the test.   It covers areas such as family of origin (how you were raised), finances, spirituality, finances, future expectations, finances, and how you will raise potential children.  Maybe I am remembering this wrong-  but it seemed like the majority of the test was about finances!!   The questions were either true/false or agree/disagree/undecided.  The priest we met with emphasized that he is there to help us gain/strengthen communication skills with each other and to get us talking about all of this now- and to encourage us to continue to do so while things are good-  so it's easier to do during rough times.

    My fiance even brought his copy of the answers on vacation with us last week-  which was great, we spent an hour or two going through our questions again and discussing things further!  Most of our "wrong" answers were things we had discussed, and one of us answered "undecided" b/c we didn't think the conversation was over or finished.   

    Basically- it's not something to be afraid of.    It will help you in the long run (I think!)

    Good luck!
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  • Wow I am glad I found this.

    Just recently engaged and the church my fiance wants to use requires the test.  We are both Catholic but I have very open views on faith while he is very traditional and I am concerned he will take this test way too seriously, especially if we have disagreements on certain areas.

    For the most part we agree or talk about everything except religion.  Perhaps I will be able to comment again after taking the test.
  • It's important to take the test seriously, actually.  If you blow off the questions or answer them with anything other than your initial instincts, there are likely to be either unnecessary discrepancies or missed topics that need to be discussed.

    It's fine for you and your FI to disagree on the important topics, but trying to ignore them or answering your questions so that "flags" won't show up isn't going to help you.



  • From my experience, the test really highlights the topics you haven't discussed more than the topics you disagree with.

    Like Prof said, it's okay to disagree with each other on some issues (for example--having different religious beliefs).  But the point of the test is to bring to your attention discrepancies you need to figure out.  So, for example, with religion, it's really important to be on the same page of what role religion takes in your marriage.  When/where will you go to church?  Will you be involved in the church someway?  How will you teach your children?  What holidays will you celebrate?  Etc.  

    The test isn't meant to pressure you to change your beliefs or to postpone  your marriage.  It's just a really good tool for having important pre-marriage discussions.

  • FI and I found the FOCCUS inventory to be interesting - actually couldn't wait to get the results!  The main thing is to be honest - not try to think of what the answer "should be"

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