Marriage Care: Terry Prendergast to 'retire'

Blogged by James on 9th October 2012

From the Catholic Bishops' Conference Department for Remarkable Coincidences comes the news that Terry Prendergast is to "retire"...

Dear friends

As some of you may know Terry Prendergast is retiring at the end of March 2013 from his post as Chief Executive of Marriage Care.  The search for his successor has started and you will find details of the post here  Please do what you can to bring this to wider attention so that suitable candidates for this very important role are located.

With every best wish


So presumably the plan now is to pretend like Marriage Care is okay now that the bad apple is gone while simultaneously maintaining that he was never a bad apple at all and just left when he was ready for family reasons etc.

Meanwhile in Marriage Care will probably carry on down the same old path but it will be almost impossible for anybody to get a straight answer out of anybody about anything for months. It won't even be clear who is responsible. How convenient.

Who knows, once this has all blown over he might even decide to stick around.

The new job description makes interesting reading - in a file called "Explaining Marriage Care’s new visual identity" I found this...

for Marriage Care, the Christian ethos is not made up of a set of doctrines but rather is an exhortation to the members of the charity to be visible by their inclusive and loving behaviour of the other by providing a rich variety of services across the whole community.


They don't think their "ethos" requires them to actually believe anything. They think it means whatever they want it to mean. Then we have this...

The following questions remain key to us in maintaining our relationship with the hierarchy, clergy and laity of the Catholic Church who are a major customer:

  • How can we best manage within Marriage Care to maintain contact with our Catholic roots whilst being open to a wider volunteer workforce, so that this is understood within the Church community?
  • Does the Church community understand the real tension for Marriage Care arising from the necessary divergence of message in the delivery of marriage preparation and counselling (arising, as noted above, from different service user identities and priorities)?
  • How does Marriage Care remain in a dialogue with the hierarchy so that our specialist and particular insight and expertise might contribute to our joint learning? In particular, there is a need to explore further.
    • What we all think we are trying to achieve through our marriage preparation programmes
    • How we develop a language for our service provision which is understandable for our different service users
    • How we clarify what the “teaching of the church” means in the context of our messy lives


For anybody not listening at the back, that's a long winded way of saying "we need to figure out a way to extract money from Catholics without actually doing anything to promote a Catholic vision of Marriage".

Are the Bishops Conference honestly falling for this stuff?