.- Correction quickly came to an official with a British diocesan-funded marriage organization who claimed that married couples are no better than other family forms at raising children. His critics say the research is clear that a marriage of a man and a woman is the âgold standardâ in childrearing.
Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care, recently told the homosexual Catholic group Quest that children do best âin a family where the adult relationship is steady, stable and loving.â
âNote that I stress adult, not married, since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with heterosexual couples,â he said.
His remarks claim that families âother than the married man, woman and added childâ find themselves âdiscriminated against and denigrated.â Those in non-traditional families âattempt to live out good, Catholic lives whilst being judged and bracketed by those in authority, or those who appear to have reached the Kingdom already.â
Prendergast also claims that the government appears âmuch more pastoral and compassionateâ by making many benefits available for âdifferent family forms.â In his view, this suggests that âthe state is even more concerned for families than Church [sic].â
According to the Catholic Herald, he also criticized ideas of the Holy Family which he said are rooted in âevangelical, right-wing religious thought.â He claimed abuse is ârampantâ in the traditional family, citing the case of Joseph Fritzl, who repeatedly raped his daughter and kept her as prisoner over a long period of years.
A spokesman for the Bishopsâ Conference of England and Wales rejected Prendergastâs comments, saying they are âclearly not a reflection of the Churchâs teaching, nor those of the Bishopsâ Conference.â
âThe Church's vision is that the crucially important quality of stability in family life needs gender complementarity and role modeling too,â he told the Catholic Herald.
Sociologist Patricia Morgan was also critical.
âI can't believe that someone has come out with this,â she told the Catholic Herald. "We've had 20 years of very well-controlled statistics and all the time we get this repeated conclusion: children do best educationally, behaviorally and in every other sphere when raised by two original biological, married parents.
"Problems tend to be two or three times as likely with single parents, and with step-parents it varies on whether they are married,â she continued. âMarriage is the gold standard.â
She added that child abuse is âmassively higherâ with lone parents and stepfathers.
The Centre for Social Justice this week released its report âEvery Family Mattersâ on the family in Britain. It claimed that family break-up cost taxpayers billions of pounds every year and reported findings which showed that children brought up by married parents are uniformly more successful.
The report says British children in a âlone parentâ family are 75 percent more likely to fail at school, 70 percent more likely to become a drug addict, 50 percent more likely to develop an alcohol problem and 35 percent more likely to experience unemployment and welfare dependency.
Further, 70 percent of young criminal offenders come from single parent families.
Such findings are replicated in the United States as well. An American College of Pediatricians article on marriage and the family explains:
âThe positive impact of a married mother and father on a childâs development has been scientifically verified across all measures of well-being. The ideal family in which to rear and nurture children consists of two biological parents in a harmonious marriage.â