I have been in correspondence recently with someone about our chances of influencing the Vatican before the Ad Limina visit. We have disagreed gently about the possibility of starting a petition about the way "relationships" are taught in Primary School. The disagreement was about tactics: I think that any attempt to draft a petition about sex education will end up causing more divisions and attracting less signatures; he, less cynical than me, thinks that wording expressing exactly what we all agree on can be found; I don't think many people will get involved; he does.
I suggested, however, that something in last week's Catholic Herald had left me really angry: "tamping mad" as my mother-in-law might say. Only Catholic Action seems to have noticed it online.
It's about Marriage Care, and its Director, Terry Prendergast, and the fact that the A of W is its patron, and the English dioceses fund it. The story is awful - this is just a bit:
It strikes me that this is our petition to the Vatican. This is a call to arms. This isn't about the precise detail in which aspects of the National Curriculum should be taught in primary education: this is about the Catholic Church allowing its teachings to be subverted by people claiming to speak for her.
The manual, called Foundations for a Good Life, is designed to help to teach pupils at Key Stage 3 and 4 - the last two years of secondary school - and college students about relationships, marriage, the family and sexuality.
The final two modules are aimed at young people over the age of 16 and deals with methods of contraception.
There is no discussion of the morality of the methods with the focus on function and effectiveness. The manual hails condoms as 98 per cent effective in avoiding pregnancy, and the Pill, the coil and hormonal injections as 99 per cent effective, but says that NFP methods are far less reliable.
Joe Mannion, the charity's director of relationship support, said he unaware that the information was inaccurate. He said that Marriage Care would be prepared to change the text of the manual if "it's shown to be different" by new evidence.
Terry Prendergast, the chief executive of Marriage Care, recently caused an outcry when he said marriage is no better for children than other family set-ups.
The charity has an annual income in the region of £900,000, about 10 per cent of which comes from diocesan grants. Its president is Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
Does Rome know about this? Have they read this article? Do they know what our Bishops support? Is the lay structure in the Diocesan curias and at Eccleston Square responsible for undermining the Church in E&W from within? Big questions. But unless Rome is invited to think about them, and turn them onto the Bishops of England and Wales, then not only will there be no challenge, but the fact of no challenge will be adduced by Eccleston Square as Vatican support.
I wonder whether this is one chance to stick it to the structures which have so corrupted catholic life in England and Wales for so many years ...