Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hove - is it something in the water?

I posted on the awful picture from the website of the parish of The Sacred Heart, Hove a few weeks ago and now, I have come across something equally, if not considerably more disturbing at the nearby parish of St Peter's, also in Hove.

It is many years since I have visited Hove but, for those from across the pond, it is (or was) a pleasant if a little suburban, seaside town, seamlessly attached to hedonistic Brighton and home to St Peter's Catholic Church.

It is, of course, in the Diocese of Abuse and Blasphemy and that fact may account for something nasty in St Peter's Parish woodshed.

The parish website looks the usual samey, bland gloop that most parishes dish up but, click on 'Wedding Planning' and you will find that couples wishing to marry are asked to contact the PP and then, so we are told, they will be given a referral, to undergo a mandatory pre marriage course at something called Brighton Marriage Care.

This link takes you to their website HERE

Now, to save you trawling through what Brighton Marriage Care has on offer, let me try to paraphrase it for you.

First and foremost I find it odd that couples are routinely directed to BMC following what appears to be a brief consultation with the parish priest. I would have thought that, when planning the conferral of an important sacrament, such as Holy Matrimony, the priest would wish to be the direct and primary contact.

Secondly, what in Heaven's name is the Church doing by dumping its role and responsibilities on a secular non Catholic organisation? One that appears to have directly opposing views to the doctrinal teachings of HMC.
(Since first penning this post I have discovered that the Catholic Church in England and Wales is one of the forces behind Marriage Care (I think the man downstairs is the other main force).

I have always understood that  pre marriage courses focus entirely on matters Catholic, especially when one of the prospective spouses is not a Catholic.

But not, apparently,  if you are a member of St Peter's parish.

Here is an extract from the BMC guidance note for Catholics....

If love is the answer, what is the question?

A carefully designed, thought-provoking and fun quiz for use in a range of social settings to raise awareness of how couple relationships work and what makes for relationship health.  The questions cover a number of areas important to relationships: conflict, communication and commitment; forming relationships, sexuality and well-being.

Nothing there about the Catholic Faith, morals, the sanctity of marriage, Church teachings on contraception and family life.
Just an invitation to join a "fun quiz" on the subject and links to tickbox pages that assess relationships and emotions!

But then, we are living in the times of the Church of Nice where all is inclusive and no one needs to go to confession because sin does not exist any more - we are all beneficiaries of immaculate conception!

Part of me is horrified by all of this and part of me energised by being part of a critical moment in the history of the Faith (purely as an observer, you understand).

I think the reign of Pope Francis is going to produce many surprises and provide us all with the opportunity to be truly Catholic rather than just 'Sunday Catholics'.


  1. I believe Marriage Care is the organisation (once known as Catholic Marriage Care) which caused a hoo-hah over expanding its service to gay couples. The president is usually the reigning Archbishop of Westminster, currently Vincent Nichols.
    The interior of the once-beautiful church of St Peter has been well and truly wreckovated.

  2. Yes. Chemical contraceptives.

  3. Marriage is a union freely entered into between a man and a woman for life, until the death of one or the other. It is a deeply serious matter - not one of fun.

    It is has to be thought about, and understood by the couple, before they undertake it, as a sacramental union for the purpose of begetting and raising children in the Catholic Faith.

    Now Marriage Care may or may not have something to contribute here, but for any parish priest to relinquish full responsibility for the formation of a couple considering marriage to any group is wrong - deeply wrong.

    Such a priest is failing in his duty, and gravely so. If he does not have the ability to undertake this task, then he should not be a parish priest. He should resign from his position and failing that, his bishop should remove him.

  4. Is it possible that priests in that diocese don't have any choice but to use Marriage Care and not do the preparation themselves? I ask because a relative got married by a very good priest there fairly recently and the priest used lay people to do the preparation. I don't know if it was necessarily Marriage Care. My family were surprised and dismayed by this. From what little we were told it didn't sound as if they were given proper Catholic instruction at all. Also the instructors pushed NFP. The usual, 'you mustn't use contraception but using NFP, for no good reason, is fine.'

    As I said, we were surprised and dismayed. The relative was not well grounded in faith and we had hoped that the preparation would have given much needed guidance. We felt very let down.

  5. Don't get me started.... I had a terrible encounter with this group and vented my fury at the priests who were relinquishing their responsibilities for souls and, in particular, for relinquishing it to this bunch of numbskulls. It's just sickening and simply anti-Catholic.

  6. I agree with Genty about St Peter's having been 'well and truly wreckovated.' I was horrified when I paid a visit there after many years absence. I hate seeing 'living room' carpets in churches.

    However I do have fond memories of this parish as it was here where I joined the excellent CatholicYouth Club in about 196 3 or 4 run by Fr Brian Storey and where I met my future husband.

    At that time the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council was operating and we later both attended their excellent talks on every aspect of marriage. Private meetings with Catholic doctors were also arranged to enable couples to follow the teachings of the Church. Strangely I don't remember there being any course run in my own parish at the time by any of the Priests although Priests did give some of the CMAC talks.

  7. I doubt if anyone gets married in Hove. We haven't had a marriage at our parish in donkey's up here in the grim North.