RESPONSE to 'Head of Marriage Care urges Church to re-think family' ICN 17 July 2009

I make this response, not because I think I’m qualified, but because someone has to  challenge the stance taken by the Head of Marriage Care.  It beggars belief how this man, Terry Prendergast, was given this job in the first place.

It reminds me of an incident about ten years ago.  A parishioner (with a degree in  theology) checked out a large Handbook that purported to be an outline of a Marriage  Course put in place by Marriage Care.....(“Preparing for Marriage – Creative  Resources for Group Leaders”).  He said it could have been written by anyone from a  secular organisation.  It had nothing of the Catholic spiritual understanding of  marriage as a covenant designed by God.   So maybe the rot had set in before Mr  Prendergast was appointed.  But what were our Marriage Tribunals doing?  Didn’t  anyone question what Marriage Care was up to?
Mr Prendergast says “there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with  heterosexual couples”.   What about the report sponsored by Ian Duncan Smith?

There are none so blind as those who don’t want to see.
But the biggest error is the failure to recognise marriage as designed by God right  from the start.   The Trinity is a Community of Love; a Family of Love.  When God  created Adam and Eve as a married couple it was so that their love would reflect the  love of the Trinity.  It was a Covenant....not just between a man and a woman, but  also between them and God......a sworn promise of fidelity even unto death.
This is very different from a contract.  A contract is an agreement regarding the exchange of goods and/or services.

A covenant is a sworn commitment to exchange persons:  Husband gives himself  totally, even unto death, to wife.  Wife gives herself totally to husband, even unto  death.  Both give themselves totally to God, even unto death.  And God has already  given himself to them, even by dying on the cross for them.   This is truly a solemn that has been trivialised by today’s throw-away generation.
Marriage today needs to be re-discovered, not re-invented.

Fr Aidan Murray SDB

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