The Charles Plater Trust funded project: Catholic Marriage Care
In 2015 the Charles Plater Trust awarded funding to Roehampton University and Catholic Marriage Care to carry out research, using the TARN methodology, to deepen understanding of what it means to be a characteristically Catholic charity in a society which has, in recent decades, witnessed vast cultural changes in marriage and family life.
Marriage Care is a charity which provides couple counselling and marriage preparation through a network of trained volunteers across England and Wales. The research project investigated couple and practitioner experiences of marriage preparation courses provided by Marriage Care as a way of discovering more about what the Catholic ethos of the charity contributes to this work. The research questions were: How does Marriage Care’s specifically Catholic ethos shape the provision and experience of marriage preparation provided by the charity? What contribution does this make to the effective societal embodiment of CST in our own context, especially in relation to relationship poverty and its alleviation?
Qualitative data was gathered from marriage preparation clients; marriage preparation providers (Preparing Together programme); FOCCUS facilitators and referring clergy. The data was reflected on by a team of academic researchers and a team of Marriage Care personnel, both individually and in groups. A final colloquium of major stake holders took place 1st-2nd September 2016, at St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, titled Opportunity, Authority, Spirituality and Identity. Four thematic papers were provided to participants in advance of the colloquium to inform the conversation. One of the immediate outcomes was the development of online formation modules to meet the needs identified in the research.
Colloquium Thematic Papers
- Paper 1 – Catholic Social Thought, ‘Catholic Ethos’ and relationship poverty.
- Paper 2 – Marriage – doctrine and practice for the ‘ordinary Catholic’.
- Paper 3 – Formation and pedagogy for practices of family and relationship
- Paper 4 – Clergy and Laity working together: the wider ecclesiological questions