'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,
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 www.questgaycatholic.org.
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.