readiness, sexuality, and “critical”nitems. (The last item is a compendiumnof the “best” questions flushed out ofnall the categories — and a low score innthis section is considered a dire foreshadowing.)nHere is a sampling of the inventorynstatements and questions to which thencouple is traditionally asked to respondn”agree,” “disagree,” or “somewhat”:nI am uncomfortable when I amnaround some of my futurenin-laws.nWe are comfortable with ournchoice’s [sic] of political parties.nI am feeling great pressurenfrom someone about ournwedding plans.nMy future husband/wife isntoo dependent on his/hernparents.nI am sometimes at a loss tonknow what to do about mynfuture husband’s/wife’snmoodiness.nMy family and the family ofnmy future husband/wife havenquite different socioeconomicnstandards.nI am worried that we do notnhave enough insurance.nOne of us always has to benright.nI am often bothered by thenbelittling remarks my futurenhusband/wife makes about me.nWe have made plans aboutnwhere we will live after marriage.nI am at the right age to getnmarried.nI am sure that I will neverndoubt my love for my futurenhusband/wife.nPregnancy has affected ournmarriage plans.nOne or both of us feels somenconcern about educationalnbackground causing problemsnbetween us.nAt times, I am disturbednabout my future husband’s/nwife’s sense of humor.nOften I am displeased withnthe appearance of my futurenhusband/wife.nI am worried about the usenof tobacco, alcohol, marijuana,nor other drugs between us.nI worry that the physical/nmental health of one or both ofnus will cause problems betweennus.nI have grown up with goodnfeelings about sex.nA good way to work outnproblems between us will be tonhave sexual intercourse.nHomosexual tendencies inneither one of us has [sic] menworried.nI am fearful that I might bensexually impotent/frigid.nSex is something I very muchnwant.nI am not afraid to accept thenduties of a parent.nWe are in agreement withneach other about how manynchildren we would like to have.nDo you practice your religionnfaithfully?nIs any person or circumstancenforcing you to enter thisnmarriage against your will? (Ifnanswer is yes, consult thenChancery.)nHave you ever been treatednin a hospital or by a doctor fornmental or nervous illness?nSome couples oppose such testingnprerequisites on philosophical grounds:nas a further intrusion of positivistic,nbehavioral scientism into the Church.nThese couples would have refused tontake the test on principle had they beennpermitted marriage within the Churchnwithout it. They resent the compulsorynaspect of required participation in psychosocialnexercises. “If we had wantednto go to a psychologist, we would havengone to a psychologist,” lamented onennewly married couple. They added,n”What we wanted from pastoral counselingnis what a social worker can’tnLIBERAL ARTSnSPLATTER-PROOF FOODngive — spiritual nurture and guidance.”nOther test-takers report practical reasonsnfor disliking the requirement. Theyneschew its privacy-invading character.nProblems they may want to discuss ornconfess privately with a priest are exposednto open view, recorded for posterity,nand evaluated by some “objective”nbean-counter somewhere. Manyncouples maintain that there is room forndisagreement and personal growth onnmany questions, and that divergentnscores do not mean grounds for “incompatibility.”nMoreover, they argue,nsuch questions are open to disparateninterpretations. For example, one couplenanswered very differently to thenstatement, “Pregnancy has affected ournmarriage plans.” The groom repliednaffirmatively, since his sister-in-law wasnpregnant and had wanted to be in thenwedding; the bride, thinking the declarationnimplied a shotgun wedding, respondednin the negative. The couplenreceived a low score on compatibility,nand their priest strongly advised againstnmarriage.n”People are not predictable machines.nCharts, graphs, and averages arennot good predictors of a healthy marriage,”ncommented the couple. “Onen’perfect match’ we know scored high onncompatibility and are now divorced.nConversely, we scored terribly on compatibilitynbut we are very happily married.”nIn some parishes, the priest merelynuses the inventories as a launching padnfor fruitful discussions with the betrothednpair, and some couples reportnfinding the questions humorous. But fornother couples, the inventories are nonlaughing matter. In some instances,npriests have refused to marry couplesnwho otherwise met universal theologicalnguidelines but scored “poorly” on com-nWhen inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary thrownfood, it isn’t splattering all over the prison guards. As thenChicago Tribune reported last summer, state officials submittedna plan last July to mix the ingredients of a meal into anfood loaf. Unlike wet food, this creation would bounce offnsecurity guards, who are frequently the targets of suchnattacks. Keith Nordyke, an attorney representing the inmatesnin a lawsuit over prison conditions, endorsed the plannafter he tasted a spaghetti food loaf. “It wasn’t good to looknat, but it wasn’t bad to eat.”nnnJANUARY 1992/47n