Roman Catholic Bishops of England & Wales
Our bodies are not our own
Marriage Care is supposed to be a Catholic organisation preparing Catholics, and possibly a non-Catholic fiancÚ(e), for marriage. However, Marriage Care programmes do not seem to be centred on Christ, the Gospels or the teaching of the Catholic Church. Marriage Care seems to be void of Catholic spirituality.
Churches Together in Gloucestershire held a festival to celebrate Pentecost 2000, called 'P2K', at Cheltenham Racecourse. It was at this event that my wife and I and some friends discovered a Marriage Care stand with information about Marriage Care on one side of the display board and information about various forms of contraception on the other side.
I questioned the person manning the stand about the Church's teaching on contraception. He stated that, "He and Marriage Care did not have to teach what the Church taught", that "Documents such as Humanae Vitae were put out by the Church just to make people think that what they teach is true and to make people feel guilty", and that "He and Marriage Care were independent of Rome and no one in Rome was going to tell him what to do". Photographs of this Marriage Care stand are available on request. Officials were sent information on the content of this Marriage Care stand at P2K including copies of the photographs.
It is important to understand that Marriage Care is not only involved in marriage counselling but is also involved in sex education programmes for schools including telling teachers what to teach. There is not enough space here to cover the serious issue of Marriage Care and its programmes so we will be producing a publication on them in due course. However, for their sex education programme for under 16's, according to their web site under the Sexuality module, it states:
'The lesson plans are intended to be non-judgemental, and inclusive of all. Many of the situations for discussion centred on heterosexual relationships could equally apply to homosexual relationships.
This module has been created using active learning methods - to promote communication, decision making and reasoning skills through doing, observing, sharing and reflecting. This is in line both with the guidelines on how sex education is most effectively delivered (Sex Education Forum), and the programme set out in the National Citizenship Curriculum.'(21)
Dr ES Williams' book Lessons in Depravity states that the Sex Education Forum published Just say No! to Abstinence Education in 2001 and is responsible for 'setting the climate' for sex education in the UK.(22) According to part of Marriage Care's web site on sex education it states,
'The first part recognises sexual behaviour as something natural across the animal species'[and that]'in part B the emphasis is on sexual attitudes and is intended to raise awareness of the range of issues connected with sexuality. &nbThere are no right or wrong answers in this exercise but the challenge is to justify their own judgements to themselves.'(21)
Marriage Care also refers to these lessons as 'sex and relationship education'. No Christian message is given and nowhere in the text is sexual intercourse referred to as reserved for marriage. As part of my own marriage preparation course I asked them about the morality of contraception and they said that morality is for 'Father' to talk about.
Marriage Care must be required by the Bishops of England and Wales to be completely overhauled so that they vigorously uphold the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and family life. &nbsLike all of us, Marriage Care has a duty to proclaim the Gospel and not to 'conform to this world'.