10 October 2012

Is "Marriage Care" Catholic?

James has posted on the retirement of Terry Prendergast as head of Marriage Care, what in happier days was a Catholic marriage advisory service and has looked at the job description being advertised.  Paul has posted on just how uncatholic Terry Prendergast's view of marriage is.

James lists a series of questions Marriage Care asks itself, beginning with "How can we best manage within Marriage Care to maintain contact with our Catholic roots whilst being open to a wider volunteer workforce, so that this is understood within the Church community?" and concludes (after the list) that a paraphrase of the questions might be "For anybody not listening at the back, that's a long winded way of saying "we need to figure out a way to extract money from Catholics without actually doing anything to promote a Catholic vision of Marriage".

Just to put it into perspective, here is a (very long) list of Marriage Care centres which I believe to be based in Catholic premises.  If James and Paul are right, the courses they offer they might be better treated as "spiritual yoga" classes.  (NB: I have left out the places which look definitely not to be Catholic and have italicised the "don't knows".)

If you know the priest or religious responsible for any of these premises, it might be worth drawing their attention to what's going on within, privately, at first.

Christ the King Church, Peace Close, Bramley Road, Oakwood, London, N14 4HE
St Thomas More RC Church, 9 Henry Road, Finsbury Park,
Dwyer House, 37 Victoria Road, Acock's Green, Birmingham, B27 7XZ
Cresswell Park, St Mary's, 5 Cresswell Park, Blackheath, London, SE3 9RD
85 Abingdon Street, Blackpool, FY1 1PP
St Joseph's Catholic Church, 67 Purewell, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 1EH
Cassidy Centre, St Mary's Church, 5 Surrenden Road, Preston Park, Brighton, BN1 6PA
141 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2QB
St Francis LSU Pastoral & Brook Centre, 33/34 Pultenay Road, Bath, BA2 4EZ
The Presbytery of St Mary's, 67 Talbot Street, Canton, Cardiff, CF11 9BX
St Joseph's RC Church, Crown Street, Cockermouth, CA13 0EJ
St Catherine's RC Church, Drover's Lane, Penrith, CA11 9EL
Our Lady & St Joseph's RC Church, Warwick Square, Carlisle, CA1 1LB
St John Payne RC School, Patching Hall Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 4BS
178 New London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0AR
5-7 Baron Road, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, CM3 5XQ
Park Drive, Maldon, Essex, CM9 5UR
The Fletcher Centre, 2 Crescent Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2EX
44 East Stockwell Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1SR
13 Stoney Road, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2
St Bernadette Presbytery, Tilgate Way, Crawley, W Sussex, RH10 5BS
Our Lady of Reparation, 70 Wellesley Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 2AR
St Mary Help of Christians, 372 Coulsdon Rd, Old Coulsdon, Croydon, CR5 1EF
Christ the King, 3 Prince's Road, Langney, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 6HT
39 Rodney Road, Cheltenham, Glos, GL50 1HXSt Andrew & St George's Day Centre, St George's Road, Bolton, BL1 2BZ
Clitherow House, Lower Chatham Street, Manchester, M15 6BY
CAB Office, Fairfax Road, Prestwich, M25 1AS
The Parish Centre, Church of Most Holy Trinity, New Street, Ledbury, HR8 2EE
St. Bede's, Bishop's Avenue, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex, RM6 5RS
St Augustine's Presbytery, Cranbrook Rd North, Barkingside, Ilford, Essex, IG6 1AU
Kenwood Gardens, Ilford, Essex, IG2 6YG
1 Wragely House, Valley Road, Hebden Bridge, W Yorkshire, HX7 7BNSt Bede's Pastoral Centre, 21-23 Blossom St, York, North Yorkshire, YO24 1AQ
16 Wragby Rd, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN2 5SLSt. Pius X Presbytery, Chelmsford Avenue, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN34 5DD
St. Hugh's Church, 34 Broadgate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN2 5AQ
St. Bernadettes Parish Centre, Ashby Rd, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, DN16 2RS
St Mary's Presbytery, 12 Barnard Avenue, Brigg, Lincolnshire, DN20 8AS
Our Lady of Lincoln, Laungton Way, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN2 2HE
St John's Presbytery, 128 Bebington Road, New Ferry, Wirral, CH62 5BJ
Crossbarn Lane, Ince Blundell, Nr. Crosby, L38 6JD
Conference Centre at LACE, Croxteth Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool, L17 1AA
46 Notting Hill Gate, London, W11 3HZ
Notre Dame de France, 5 Leicester Place, London, WC2 7HB
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Botwell House, Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middx, UB3 2AB
2 Chiswick Lane, Chiswick, London, W4 2JF
Clitherow House, 1 Blythe Mews, Blythe Road, London, W14 0NW
Richard Reynolds Room, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, 29 Fore Street, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2QJ
The Courtenay Centre, Kingsteignton Road, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ12 2QAChurch of St Peter, 15 Boniface Lane, Crownhill, Plymouth, Devon, PL5 3AX
St Augustine's Presbytery, Woodland Road, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 4RA
St Austin's Priory, Cadleigh, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 9HW
St Mary's Parish Centre, St Mary's Road, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1NF
Church of Mount Carmel, 71 Stott Close, Efford, Plymouth, Devon, PL3 6HA
Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, 76 Abbey Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5NJ
Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4SL Milton Keynes
St Etheldreda, Egremont Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB6 1AE
Our Lady & St Etheldreda RC Church, 14 Exeter Road, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8LT
St Mary's, 9 Stow Hill, Newport, Gwent, NP20 1TP
Cathedral House, Unthank Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 2PA
Doddridge Centre, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN5 5LD
Ward Street, Guildford, Hampshire, GU1 4LH
St Joseph's Church Hall, Queens Road, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 3JB
St Augustine's, 146 Sandon Road, Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, ST3 7DF
278-290 Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG1 3LY Christ the King, Prince Charles Avenue, Mackworth Estate, Derby, Derbyshire, DE22 4BG
The Priory Annexe, 85 Old High Street, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9HT
St Luke's Church, 26 Benyon Grove, Orton Malborne, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 5XS
St John's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3HQ
218a Tulketh Road, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 1ES
St Mary's Presbytery, Matthias Street, Morecambe, Lancashire, LA4 5LA
Cathedral House, Balmoral Road, Lancaster, Lancashire , LA1 3BT
St Wilfrid's Centre, 524 Queen's Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S2 4DT
St Edmunds Parish Office, The Avenue, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 2EQ
Newbridge House, 28 Tamworth Street, Stockport, Greater Manchester, SK1 2PB
112b Marlborough Road, Bryn Mill, Swansea, Wales, SA2 0DY

St Aidan's Centre, 238 Wythenshawe Rd, Northern Moor, South Manchester, M23 0PH
305 Manchester Road, West Timperley, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, WA14 5PH St Mary's Presbytery, 2 Major Street, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, TS18 2DD
3rd Floor, Mea House, Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE1 8XS
St Joseph's Family Centre, 9 Museum Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1JA

The Presentation Convent, Marlowe Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 2TP
St Mary's Convent, 34 Groundwell Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 2LU
Sacred Heart Presbytery, Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4LU
Guild House, 30-32 Worple Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 4EF St Mary's The Mount Parish Hall, 15 Glebe Street, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 3NX
Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned, 215 Main Street, Gibraltar
Little Wheatley Chase, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 9EH WrexhamW
Church of St Anne, Prince Charles Road, Wrexham, Clywd, LL13 8TH


Sixupman said...

In Newcastle upon Tyne they are tenants in the same office facility as The British Pregnancy Advisory Service [Abortion promoters?].

Lazarus said...

Thank you for doing this. It emphasizes how they want to make use of a Catholic identity without worrying about a Catholic substance.

umblepie said...

I seem to remember when this matter was first aired on the internet, looking at the website of Catholic Marriage Care (now Marriage Care),and viewing the published accounts which showed an annual grant from the Government of something like £500,000. I also remember the impression that this money was used to help fund all other (Catholic) Marriage Care groups throughout UK.viz.all those listed in the above post. The Trustees/Management Group of the London Branch(who were the recipients of this state funding), with Archbishop Nicholls shown as President(at that time)surely has a serious responsibility to advise all Catholic Marriage Care groups of the change of name, together with the senior personnel changes, and the reasons for this.'Marriage Care' has become a government funded and controlled organisation, and it is not 'Catholic'.

Simon Platt said...

In re Lancaster diocese:

218a Tulketh Road, Preston (in my own parish, less than half a mile from my house) is the same building as the premises of "Caritas Care", the successor to the former Lancaster Diocesan Catholic Caring Services, closed down by Bp O'Donoghue on the grounds of their rejection of his teaching on the adoption of children by homosexual couples. I don't know what the current ownership is of these premises, but they are part of an estate owned or at least recently owned by the diocese (a large house and grounds once the presbytery for Sacred Heart parish) and occupied by catholic or formerly catholic or nominally catholic organisations, such as Marriage Care. I think you can remove the italics.

Abingdon St in Blackpool, is close by the church coincidentally also of the Sacred Heart. I don't know whether these are church premises. Nonetheless, Marriage Care is listed in the 2011 diocesan directory under the section "Pastoral Care" under the heading "MARRIAGE CARE (Catholic Marriage Care Ltd.)", addresses in Preston, Blackpool, and Carlisle are given.

Sixupman said...


The groups to which you refer were, at one time, registered as individual and independent charities. Some plan emerged that they would all be wound-up and their assets transferred to CMCL [Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee (£1 liability of each of the Director/Trustees)]. Such was executed under the management of Terry Prendergast and his co-Directors.

umblepie said...


What you say is very interesting, and indeed sets the warning bells ringing! That being the case it is particularly important that every group is informed of the new circumstances, and it would seem that the best way to preserve each group's Catholic identity and ethos would be to revert to their original status as individual and independent charities. This would seem quite feasible and infinitely better than the existing 'arrangement'.

Ttony said...


My initial thought was to say "too late" as the charities have been wound up.

But if the infrastructure is based on existing diocesan-owned premises, it wouldn't be hard simply to banish Marriage Care and do work at the local level with already trained counsellors who might receive some moral, theological and pastoral reseating first.

Sixupman said...

What has been created is a typical Social Services self-perpetuating quango, which, in order to exist it must satisfy the mores of the day of HMG.

Their total "consultations" for the year aggregated at 4,383 in no. at a cost of circa £228 per consultation.

Two thirds of their costs relate to the consultations and one-third on training.

Staff costs are £490,231 against a headcount of 24 no.:
1@£75k; 1@65k;1@15k; 21@16.5k.

Volunteer [unpaid] work is valued at 700k.

Training [Internal] 334K; Counselling @ 262k; Marriage @ 205k.; Parenting @ 42k; Helpline @ 22k.; Centre @ 92k.; Support @ 149k.; Governance @ 21k. [Approximate figures].

The ambiguous wording of their prospectus leaves it open as to whom they are Counselling, etc.

++Nichols appears to remain President and a priest and permanent deacon are Director/Trustees.

I assess they have absorbed circa £1M of cash, near cash and assets from the original Catholic Charities, which they absorbed into the 'new' central body. That would take some unravelling. Those original Charity Centres [parish or diocese based] are now unpaid lackies to MCL>