'Catholic' Marriage Care

Blogged by James Preece on 18th July 2009

There used to be an organisation called the "Catholic Marriage Advisory Service" but that name was a bit religious so they re-branded as "Marriage Care".

This week the chief executive of Marriage Care (Terry Prendergast) decided to announce that he doesn't care for marriage very much after all... in fact as far as he is concerned, being married is much the same as not being married.

Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care, a diocesan-funded organisation, told Quest, a group for gay Catholics, that married heterosexuals were no better at raising children than anyone else.

"Statistically, children do best in a family where the adult relationship is steady, stable and loving," he was due to say in a speech this weekend. "Note that I stress adult, not married, since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with heterosexual couples."


"It is ironic that the state appears to be much more pastoral and compassionate in its acceptance of what family is. The fact that there are all kinds of benefits available for different family forms, and legal imperatives to support families suggests that the state is even more concerned for families than Church."

He also criticised ideas of the Holy Family that have their roots in "evangelical, Right-wing religious thought".

He said that many families who pray together "then prey on other people through their self-righteousness", and said that abuse is "rampant" in the traditional family, citing the cases of Josef Friztl, who raped his prisoner daughter over a period of years, and Fred and Rosemary West, the serial killers.

Mr Prendergast last year presented Pope Benedict XVI with the English and Welsh bishops' document on marriage, Home is a Holy Place and Marriage Care has its own section in the Catholic Directory.


Marriage care feature in the Catholic Directory and are also listed on the Middlesbrough Diocese website. We even have a "Marriage Care centre" at the St Bede's Pastoral Centre in York (yeah, that St Bede's Pastoral Centre) and the John Paul Centre in Middlesbrough is also used for Marriage Care. Not to mention that Celebrating Family refer to Marriage Care as a 'Useful link for Family Ministry'.

Did I mention that Marriage Care are funded by the Catholic Dioceses of England and Wales? We are paying this guys wages!

So what happens now?

I suppose now we find out how much our Bishops care about Marriage. Do they care enough to actually do something?

Probably not.