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 “gold standard” in childrearing.
Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care, recently told the homosexual Catholic group Quest that children do best “in a family where the adult relationship is steady, stable and loving.”
“Note that I stress adult, not married, since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with heterosexual couples,” he said.
His remarks claim that families “other than the married man, woman and added child” find themselves “discriminated against and denigrated.” Those in non-traditional families “attempt 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.”
Prendergast also claims that the government appears “much more pastoral and compassionate” by making many benefits available for “different family forms.” In his view, this suggests that “the state is even more concerned for families than Church [sic].”
According to the Catholic Herald, he also criticized ideas of the Holy Family which he said are rooted in “evangelical, right-wing religious thought.” He claimed abuse is “rampant” 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 Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales rejected Prendergast’s comments, saying they are “clearly not a reflection of the Church’s teaching, nor those of the Bishops’ Conference.”
“The Church's vision is that the crucially important quality of stability in family life needs gender complementarity and role modeling too,” he told the Catholic Herald.
Sociologist Patricia Morgan was also critical.
“I can't believe that someone has come out with this,” 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,” she continued. “Marriage is the gold standard.”
She added that child abuse is “massively higher” with lone parents and stepfathers.
The Centre for Social Justice this week released its report “Every Family Matters” 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 “lone parent” 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:
“The positive impact of a married mother and father on a child’s 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.”