Thursday, July 30, 2009

Overpopulation myth

The myth of overpopulation has been exploded so many times it is astonishing that you find people still banging on about it. Here's a nice video.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Bishops respond to Marriage Care on homosexual 'marriage'

The most complete report on the bishops' reaction to the speech of Terry Prendergast, the Chairman of Marriage Care, rubbishing Catholic teaching on marriage, appeared in The Tablet. It reveals that Archbishop Nichols is actually the President of Marriage Care, and that Prendergast is an adviser to the Marriage and Family Life Committee (chaired by Bishop Hine) of the Bishops' Conference. In short, he and his organisation are intimately connected with the ecclesiastical bureaucracy, making it particularly difficult for the bishops to distance themselves from even his more outrageous views.

The Tablet (25/7/09) “The Church’s vision is that the crucially important quality of stability in family life needs gender complementarity and role modelling too,” said the bishops. They recognised that circumstances may mean that some of these dimensions were unavailable, creating the need for additional support, but added that “it is inconsistent with Catholic teaching to plan or promote a notion of family from which they are deliberately excluded”.

Mr Prendergast is an adviser on the Bishops’ Marriage and Family Life Committee, chaired by Bishop John Hine, who acknowledged this week that there were difficulties over Mr Prendergast’s observations. The concerns of both Archbishop Nichols and Bishop Hine were raised with the board of directors of Marriage Care at a meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Prendergast said that he felt he had been able to explain his position to the bishops. “My impression was that they were making every effort to understand the position of Marriage Care,” he said.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Liturgical abuses: Pottery Chalices

Taking a (sadly) rare break from engaging in pointless arguments with Catholic Traditionalists, James Preece has put a very interesting post about the attitude of Bishop Terrence Drainey of Middlesbrough to pottery chalices (and ciboria, pattens etc.). As he points out, they are forbidden - illicit, ruled out, contrary to the laws of the Church, you get it? - by Redemptoris Sacramentum.

Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.

[Redemptionis Sacramentum 117]

But here they are, being used by the Bishop himself. Note the clingfilm over them. A nice touch that. Presumably it is felt to be necessary because these ghastly objects are liable to fall over.
James points out that Bishop Drainey has actually criticised a parish for using them, but continues to use them himself. As Our Lord said,"The teachers of the law (the scribes) and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So, you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach" (Matt. 23:2-3)


Friday, July 17, 2009

Marriage Care head on homosexual unions

There follows a press release about a conference organised by Quest, a homosexual 'Catholic' group which was ejected from the Catholic Directory many years ago for rejecting the Church's teaching on sexuality (see our dossier). Terry Prendergast is the Chief Executive of Marriage Care, an formerly Catholic organisation listed at great length in the Catholic Directory (under its former name, 'Catholic Marriage Care': see our dossier).

On Prendergast's jaw-dropping claim that there is 'no evidence' that children do better with both a mother and a father see here for details of a study and here for Ed West.

Pendergast has spoken and written several times of his support for homosexual marriage and the like, but this speech is particularly clear. It remains to be seen if Archbishop Nichols will take the opportunity either to bring Marriage Care to heal or cut the Church's links with it. Listing in the Directory is a formal endorsement, at least in general terms, by the Bishops of England and Wales, as their own guidelines make clear. 'Criteria for entry into the Catholic Directory' is available from this page of their website, as a pdf (here). It tells us that 'ecclesiastical recognition is given to organisations so that they may be publicly known as both Catholic and of national significance'. It goes on to specify as the first criterion for entry:

'A fundamental commitment to the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church, particularly as expressed by the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.'

This is explained in more detail: 'The word 'fundamental' relates to the key objectives of the organisation as formally written and as corporately pursued. It is tolerant of some variety of emphasis in expression and in operation, but not of deviation from ultimate loyalty to the Church, nationally or internationally.'

Head of Marriage Care exhorts Church to re-think the family.

Gay couples can lay equal claim to their married heterosexual counterparts when
bringing up children in stable relationships. That is one of the many
challenges laid down by Terry Prendergast, Chief Executive of Marriage Care, in
a speech to members of QUEST, the community of lesbian and gay Catholics at
their annual conference this weekend. His remarks come as a timely contribution
after many Catholic adoption agencies have, in recent months, had to agonise
about whether to fall into line with new legal arrangements which oblige such
bodies to make adoption available equally to same-sex as well as heterosexual

Mr Prendergast will address the gathering in Leicester with his wife, Kate, a
lecturer in social policy at Brunel University. The conference theme is:" We
Are Family: New Thinking for the Twenty First Century."

"Statistically, children do best in a family where the adult relationship is
steady, stable and loving, " he says. "Note that I stress adult, not married,
since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with
heterosexual couples, " he adds.

A dominant theme of his address centres on how the Church has often built up a
romantic image of a golden age of the nuclear family which, in truth, has not
really found expression in reality, often with unwelcome consequences for those
that "do not fit." These include single parent families, and also co-habiting
and same -sex families. He says that often "those individuals.want to live good
lives according to the precepts of the Gospels. They are an advert for the
Church, an advert that the Church often ignores, or consigns to the waste bin."

He says that in all relationships, the institutional aspects are less important
than the sacramental qualities, "the presence of God mediated through
commitment, consent and covenant. The move from the institutional to
companionship, choosing for love, has been marked, possibly more deeply, in
co-habiting and same-sex couples."

Inspired by Professor Margaret Farley's book, Just Love: A Framework for
Christian Ethics, Mr Prendergast lays out seven norms or criteria for
evaluating the richness of relationships and family:

Do no unjust harm,

Free consent,





Social justice.

Terry Prendergast is Chief Executive of Marriage Care, formerly CMAC, and has
been in that role since 2000. He was born in West Yorkshire and joined the
Montfort Fathers in 1967. He left the Montfortians in 1970, marrying Kate. He
trained as a social worker in 1975 and as a Psychotherapist in 1980, but has
been involved in management in the charitable sector since 1989. He has an MA
in Managing Change in Community, from Bradford University. He is concerned
about long-term relationships, their management and support, as well as the
development of their spiritual and sacramental aspects

For further comment, Terry Prendergast can be contacted on the following mobile
number: 07771 768631.

Kate Prendergast's address is entitled: "Chance, Choice and Caritas," and will
also feature as part of the conference proceedings . It is hoped a full
transcript of the paper will be available soon after the conference on the
Quest website at

Sit Stephen Wall, a former adviser to both Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and
Tony Blair, will be the after dinner speaker on the evening of Saturday July
18th. Sir Stephen has been a member of Quest since January 2008.

The 2009 Quest Conference will be the 27th in the organisation's history and
will take place between 6pm on Friday July 17th and 4pm Sunday 19th July at
John Foster Hall at the University of Leicester.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Government sexualisation initiative condemned

Fr Tim Finnigan has posted on the latest Government initiate: to promote masturbation by children. Yes, things have really got that bad. 'An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away', says the leaflet. This has now been roundly condemned by Peter Bradley, Deputy Director of Kidscape, a charity concerned with bullying, including the sexual bullying which, unsurprisingly, is on the rise in schools. His message:

In summary - parts of the leaflet provide young people with ridiculous, irresponsible advice that may lead young people on a potential sexual path of misery and harm. This is a frequent message adults tell us about on reflection in later, more mature years.

Here's part Fr Finnigan's post.

In January, Panorama ran a programme called "Kids behaving badly" on the subject of sexual assaults at school. In a Daily Mail report on the programme, Michelle Elliott of the charity Kidscape is quoted as saying:
Sexual bullying has become much more prevalent. On the Kidscape helpline we used to get maybe one or two calls a year. Now we are getting two or three a week. It’s probably the tip of the iceberg.
I wonder what Kidscape think of the latest initiative from NHS Sheffield which has prepared a leaflet for young people telling them that it is good to have an orgasm a day, and encouraging them to masturbate. (See the promotional article in "Children and Young People Now".) The booklet is, of course, strongly endorsed by the Family Planning Association and the Brook, whose spokesman extols the value of sex education before adolescence. (See also the report from the Christian Institute: Pupils told: regular sex is good for you.)

How long will it be before feminists, child safeguarding agencies and ordinary parents begin to cotton on to the clear and present danger that this kind of explicit sex education presents to their children?


Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen