Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News
Letter to the Times
Pope Francis Reforms Marriage Annulment Process
Rolling back the tide
Government and Political
Letter to the Times
The following letter has been published by the Times we are told (sorry no link as they only do paid access):
“The Government recognises family breakdown is a root cause of poverty and the importance of strong relationships for a thriving society. However current levels of relationship breakdown
cost the country an estimated £47bn, with just £7.5m currently available for prevention.
We know we live in straitened times but funding must be commensurate to the scale of the problem – there is an increasing demand for support, yet many cannot afford services. So we
are calling on the Government to treble preventive funding to £22m.
This would be enough to invest in interventions we know make a difference, help boost children’s life chances and send a signal that couple relationships and marriage provide a vital
underpinning to our lives.
Family instability can have a devastating effect on mental and physical health, workplace productivity and reoffending rates, and children’s educational attainment. The Government
rightly recognises that working through relationship difficulties can deliver significant savings to the public purse. However this work must be properly resourced.”
Signed by 72 signatories from across the Relationship Support sector.
Living standards until 2020: parents on low incomes will both have to work full time to achieve an adequate standard of living
Families with two parents in full-time work, workers without children and pensioners will typically become better off over the next five years due to changes to pay and benefits announced
in the Summer Budget, according to
new research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). The in depth, independent analysis is the first to take a detailed look at how the measures announced in the Budget will affect people’s ability to afford a decent standard of living.
However, lone parents and families with more than two children are likely to see their living standards stagnate or fall even if they work full-time, as are low-income families with
one main breadwinner. Those who are out of work face a sharply growing gap between their income and the amount they need for a basic living standard.
Childcare and Work: the parents missing from the labour market
A new report
published by the Family and Childcare Trust, alongside Parental Choice, has revealed for the first time that the high cost of childcare is preventing millions of parents from working, with industries who rely on shift work being particularly hit.
Currently, over 4.4 million parents (34% of all parents with dependent children) are living in a household where one or both parents are not working, but this new report reveals that
nearly half of these families want to find work or work more hours. With parents in the UK now paying a quarter of their income on childcare costs, more than any other country in the EU except Switzerland, a significant 23% of British mothers who are not in
paid employment now cite childcare issues as the main reason they are unable to enter the job market.
It is not only the price but the availability of childcare that are now seriously affecting parents’ ability work. Despite successive governments’ welcome attempt to help families
with their childcare costs through schemes such as tax credits and childcare vouchers, the report found a strong relationship between the costs of childcare and the levels of parental employment.
the new stats prove that there is lower parental employment in areas where childcare costs are highest. The last 10 Labour Force Surveys have consistently shown around 40% of unemployed mothers with dependent children want to join the workforce, and now,
using census data on the employment of parents with dependent children and data from the Family and Childcare Trust’s annual costs survey for that year, this new report demonstrates a clear negative correlation between the price of a part-time nursery place
and levels of parental employment.
To exacerbate the problem, only 43% of local authorities in England, and 18% in Wales, report that they have enough childcare for working parents. These figures fall to 14% per cent
and 0% respectively for parents who don’t work 9 to 5, a situation which could have a huge knock-on effect in industries such as health care where staff routinely work shifts.
With nursery prices revealed to be 32% higher in London, the situation in the capital has, not surprisingly, reached a critical level.
In Tower Hamlets for example just 31% of adults with dependent children lived in households where both parents worked, or were working single parents themselves. At the other end of
the scale, this figure rises to 76% in South Gloucestershire, Rutland and Leicestershire.
Julia Margo, Chief Executive of the Family and Childcare Trust, said: “Without investment, the childcare system will not be able to cope with the increased demand, and families will
continue to be denied the opportunity to re-join the workforce or take on extra hours of work. We want the government to use the £535 million worth of savings from the delay to the roll out of tax-free childcare to invest in flexible childcare for working
Sarah – Jane Butler, Chief Executive and founder of Parental Choice, added that getting parents back into the workplace should not be left to the Government alone: “The onus must be
on businesses to put in place practices such as compressed hours working, home-working and flexible start/finish times. Achieving high levels of parental employment is vital. Households where both parents work are much less likely to live in poverty. In addition
parents who work contribute to the nation’s economy, whilst businesses need to have access to the best possible talent and a workforce who can afford to work.”
One year on: Government has still not added mothers' names to marriage certificates
More than a year after the Prime Minister promised that mothers’ names would be added to marriage certificates in Britain, nothing has changed
says the Telegraph. Marriage certificates in the UK still only require details of the couples’ fathers – something that has been labelled sexist and unfair.
Telegraph Wonder Women backed the #MothersOnMarriageCerts campaign last year, which had more than 70,000 supporters. It was victorious after David Cameron said in August last year:
“The content of marriage registers in England and Wales has not changed since the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign. “At the moment, they require details of the couples’ fathers, but not their mothers. This clearly doesn’t reflect modern Britain - and it’s
high time the system was updated. So I have asked the Home Office to look at how we can address this.”
But the Home Office appears not to have done so. In January 2015, Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “We are continuing to develop the options that will allow
mothers’ names to be recorded on marriage certificates as soon as practicable.” When Telegraph Wonder Women contacted the Home Office this week for an update, we were directed back to the same comment. A spokesperson clarified that there has been no development
in putting mothers’ names on marriage certificates.
It's unclear whether the Home Office has even started ‘addressing the inequality’ as ordered by the Prime Minister. A spokesperson was unable to give an estimated date when the change
would be implemented.
Research and Public Opinion
Differences in Relationship Stability Between Individuals in First and Second Marriages
Compared to first marriages, remarriages have consistently demonstrated higher rates of divorce
says Family Issues. [I’m not sure this starting point is valid in UK, based on the analysis done by Marriage Foundation. Ed] Theories used to explain this phenomenon include the family process and selection perspectives. Researchers have attempted
to address selection bias in this area but have not yet employed propensity score analysis to bolster causal inference. The purpose of this study is to assess the efficacy of covariate control methods for handling selection bias compared to propensity score
methods and to examine whether a direct causal link between marriage order and relationship stability can be inferred after using propensity score greedy matching and propensity score weighting procedures. We analyse a sample of 1,679 first married and 410
remarried individuals drawn from the Relationship Evaluation Survey. Results provide support for the selection perspective and suggest that a direct causal link between marriage order and relationship stability should not be inferred. Implications, limitations,
and future directions for research are discussed.
Watching porn does not cause negative attitudes to women, study finds
The average porn user may have more egalitarian views towards women than non-users, a contentious new study has suggested
reports the Independent. Researchers at Western University in Canada have even argued that many pornography fans might be “useful allies” in women’s struggles for equality in the workplace and in public office.
Taylor Kohut, the study leader and a post-doctoral fellow in psychology, analysed data from 35 years of the General Social Survey, a US government-funded project that interviews around
24,000 men and women a year about a variety of issues. They reported in the Journal of Sex Research that the 23 per cent of people who said they had watched an “X-rated” film during the previous year were no more or less likely to identify as feminists than
those who did not watch porn. They also found that, on average, porn-watchers expressed more positive attitudes towards women in positions of power, as well as less negative attitudes towards abortion and women in the workforce.
Kohut said: “I’d rather not live in a culture where our government decide to regulate [or] outlaw behaviour or material because they assume it’s harmful. I’d rather they demonstrate
it is, first.”
Supporting the study Christopher Ferguson, a psychology professor at Texas A&M International University, said that gauges of male aggression such as rape and domestic violence have
actually been decreasing throughout the Internet era, the National Post reported. Dr Ferguson said: “I think if porn were going to ruin society, it’s already had 20 years to do it … And it's not happened.”
Kohut said that the results may partly be explained by the fact that porn users are more likely to be liberal people, where as non-users are more likely to be conservative or religious.
The study, however, has been met with much criticism. Gail Dines, a leading anti-pornography activist, told the National Post: “Maybe some of these guys do believe in abortion more,
maybe they do believe women should hold office more, but… Men have less interest in actual sex with a real woman; they want to act out the porn sex.” Dines also questioned the value of the Kohut's data, arguing that as the average age of the study's respondents
was 45 it did not represent teenagers and young men, a key demographic of porn users.
Charitable Pornhub offering college scholarship
OK, here’s a new twist in the porn debate
from CNBC. For students seeking to make some extra bucks to pay for tuition, Pornhub may be able to help. The adult video website is offering a $25,000 scholarship to a legal age college student who likes making others happy.
The rules are simple. Applicants need to write an essay answering the question "How do you strive to make others happy?" and an up to five-minute video that "elaborates on the good
work you do and anything else you might want to say."
But, get your mind out the gutter: While the website features porn, those who are seeking a future career with the company need not apply. That's right: Pornhub is simply judging applicants
for their hearts and minds. "We will not seriously consider anyone if they include explicit material in the video," Pornhub Vice President Corey Price said via email. "We are not looking for that whatsoever. I want to make that abundantly clear."
Price said that it decided to offer the scholarship in honour of its newly launched charity, Pornhub Cares, after discovering most of its viewers were between the ages of 18 to 25.
It saw this as a way to give directly back to the millennial community.
"Pornhub Cares is a compilation of Pornhub's past, present and future philanthropic initiatives," he said. "The Pornhub Cares Scholarship aligns with our trajectory here at Pornhub,
which is firmly set on providing happiness and opportunity through the worldwide community we have established. It's about giving back and providing our fans with life changing experiences/opportunities."
Charity has proven to be a way to reach disillusioned millennials. A survey by online publication Elite Daily and consulting firm Millennial Branding showed three-fourths of the age
group said it was "either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit." Companies ranging from Unilever to Patagonia are dedicating their resources towards non-profit initiatives.
While the scholarship is new, this isn't the first time Pornhub has engaged in philanthropic activities. It filmed a PSA called "Save the Balls" in April, which coincided with Testicular
Cancer Awareness Month, as well as offered a donation incentive to those who watched breast-themed clips during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2012.
Sure, all the names of the campaigns were double entendres, but the company said its intentions were pure. It ended up donating $75,000 during the "Save the Boobs" campaign to cancer
charities and research organizations.
Not everyone is a fan of Pornhub's charitable efforts. The National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said in a statement that the scholarship was a "blatant attempt to exploit
economically vulnerable young people" and get the mainstream to accept the porn industry. "If Pornhub truly cared about disadvantaged youth, they could give away scholarship money without exploiting thousands of teenagers," said NCOSE Executive Director Dawn
Hawkins said in an emailed statement. Pornhub is clearly using this so-called scholarship opportunity to fuel their own industry, where the number 1 search term in porn is 'teen.' While the application rules for this scholarship do not specifically prescribe
that the video submission be pornographic, the fact that applicants must be 18 years of age makes Pornhub' s motives quite obvious. This company is built upon a legacy of exploitation, and it is no more charitable in mind than a tobacco company that offers
a scholarship to whichever teen can smoke the most of its brand-name cigarettes."
Despite the backlash, Price said that the company is welcoming all applicants, regardless if they're a human sexuality major or are leaning towards mechanical engineering. "Come one,
come all," he said. "We are open to all applicants, regardless of major."
Faith and Spirituality
Pope Francis Reforms Marriage Annulment Process
The Holy See released two Motu Proprio Apostolic Letters today written by Pope Francis that announce reforms to the canonical process of marriage annulment
reports Zenit. The Motu Proprio (Latin for “on one’s own initiative”) are entitled “Mitis ludex Dominus Iesus” (The Lord Jesus, Meek Judge) and “Mitis et misericors Iesus” (Meek and Merciful Jesus). The former details reforms on the canonical procedure
for the annulment of marriage in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) while the latter explains the reforms in the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches (CCEO).
The Apostolic Letter Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus states that in the history of the Church, the canonical process has been guided by the “supreme law of the salvation of souls.”
It is this concern for the salvation of souls, Pope Francis stated, that moved him to present to local Bishops the new reforms “because they share with him the task of the Church,
that is, to protect the unity in faith and discipline regarding marriage, foundation and origin of the Christian family.”
In a press conference today at the Holy See Press Conference, the reforms were presented by a panel which included Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman
Rota and President of the Special Commission for the Reform of the Marriage Canonical Process, and Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Text and member of the Special Commissions. Several other members of the
commission were also present at the press conference.
Msgr. Pinto noted the significance of the reforms, which is only the third in the Church’s history. The first was introduced by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741 and the second in 1908 by
Pope Pius X. He also noted that Pope Francis wished to place more trust in the diocesan bishops, “calling on them to be servants along with him.”
“[Pope Francis] is a pope who came after the Second Vatican Council and is faithful to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council,” he said.
The reforms, while leaving the sacramental theology on marriage intact, streamlines the process for seeking an annulment and gives more authority to local bishops to decide cases rather
than having to wait for lengthy appeals. The Pope also called on bishops to make the annulment process free of charge. Prior to the reforms, the declaration of nullity had to come from two different tribunals and required an automatic appeal. The Holy Father
removed the automatic appeal but maintained the right of one of the two parties to appeal a decision on the nullity of marriage.
In an article published today by L’Osservatore Romano, Msgr. Pinto stated that “Pope Francis’ reforms, moved by the same spirit that sustained Benedict XIV and Pius X, is distinguished
not only for a true re-foundation of the canonical marriage process, but above all for the theological and ecclesiological principles that sustain it.”
The seven major criteria that guided the reform process are:
That there be only one sentence in favour of executive nullity – It appeared opportune, in the first place, that there no longer be required a twofold decision in favour of marital nullity, in order that the parties be admitted to new
canonically valid marriages: the moral certainty reached by the first judge according to law should be sufficient.
A single judge under the responsibility of the Bishop – The constitution of a single judge in the first instance, who shall always be a cleric, is placed under the responsibility of the Bishop, who, in the pastoral exercise of his own
proper judicial power shall guarantee that no laxity be indulged in this matter.
The Bishop is judge – In order that the teaching of the II Vatican Council be finally translated into practice in an area of great importance, the decision was made to make evident the fact that the Bishop is, in his Church – of which
he is constituted pastor and head – is by that same constitution judge among the faithful entrusted to him. It is desired that, in Dioceses both great and small, the Bishop himself should offer a sign of the conversion of ecclesiastical structures, and not
leave the judicial function completely delegated to the offices of the diocesan curia, as far as matters pertaining to marriage are concerned.
Increased brevity in the legal process – In fact, beyond making the marriage annulment process more agile, a briefer form of trying nullity cases has been designed – in addition to the documentary process already approved and in use
– which is to be applied in cases in which the accusation of marital nullity is supported by particularly evident arguments. In any case, the extent to which an abbreviated process of judgment might put the principle of the indissolubility of marriage at risk,
did not escape me [writes Pope Francis – ed.]: thus, I have desired that, in such cases the Bishop himself shall be constituted judge, who, by force of his pastoral office is with Peter the greatest guarantor of Catholic unity in faith and in discipline.
Appeal to the Metropolitan See – It is fitting that the appeal to the Metropolitan See be re-introduced, since that office of headship of an Ecclesiastical province, stably in place through the centuries, is a distinctive sign of the
synodality of the Church.
The proper role of the Bishops’ Conferences – The Bishops’ Conferences, which must be driven above all by the anxious apostolic desire to reach the far-off faithful, should formally recognize the duty to share the aforesaid conversion,
and respect absolutely the right of the Bishops to organize judicial power each within his own particular Church.
Appeal to the Apostolic See – It is fitting that the appeal to the ordinary Tribunal of the Apostolic See, i.e. the Roman Rota, be maintained: this, in respect of a most ancient juridical principle, so that the bond between the See of
Peter and the particular Churches be reinforced – having care, in any case, in the discipline of the use of said appeal, to contain any and all abuse of right, in order that the salvation of souls be given no cause for harm.
The second Motu Propio, “Mitis et misericors Iesus”, states the same reforms but is directed to the Eastern Church, who although are in communion with Rome, have a slightly different
Bishop Dimitros Salachas, Apostolic Exarch of the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church, noted that the Holy Father’s reasons for issuing two Motu Propio was respect, saying that the Eastern
and Western Churches are the two lungs of the Church: “one faith with different perspectives.”
New Books, Resources and materials
Supporting Couple Relationships: Guidance for Health Visitors
One Plus One have just published (we think!)
a new guide aimed at Health Visitors on the key issues in providing support to new families on Relational Issues. From a quick read it seems to be very good on the need for relationship support, and the potential damage that can ensue for children where
this isn’t provided, but a bit thin on what might be described as relationship “first aid”. A very useful resource nonetheless!
What is child abuse and neglect?
Child maltreatment refers to any non-accidental behaviour by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents that is outside the norms of conduct and entails a substantial risk
of causing physical or emotional harm to a child or young person says a new briefing from AIFS. Such behaviours may be intentional or unintentional and can include acts of omission
(i.e., neglect) and commission (i.e., abuse) (Bromfield, 2005; Christoffel et al., 1992). In this paper, the terms "child abuse and neglect" and "child maltreatment" are used interchangeably.
Child maltreatment is commonly divided into five main subtypes:
sexual abuse; and
exposure to family violence.
Although there is a broad consensus regarding the different subtypes of maltreatment, disagreement exists about exactly how to define these subtypes. In the absence of universal definitions
of child abuse and neglect, different professional fields have developed their own definitions. There are medical and clinical definitions, social service definitions, legal and judicial definitions, and research definitions of child maltreatment. Each professional
sector tends to emphasise the facets of maltreatment that are most salient to their own field. For example, medical definitions highlight the physical symptoms of a child rather than the abusive or neglectful behaviours of a perpetrator, while legal and judicial
definitions focus on those aspects of parental behaviour and child symptomatology that provide the best evidence for a successful prosecution (Bromfield, 2005; Feerick, Knutson, Trickett, & Flanzer, 2006).
The definitions provided in this paper are broad and research-based. They focus less on the specific harm caused to the child, and more on the abusive behaviours of the perpetrator.
This approach sidesteps much of the detail and disagreement regarding the cut-off points at which specific behaviours (e.g., rejecting a child) become child maltreatment. The current definitions are too broad to be used in specific settings (such as a courtroom
or child protection agency), but are detailed enough to incorporate many of the complexities involved in this area of research.
Forthcoming conferences and events
Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found
under our listing at 2-in-2-1
Faith in the Family
The conference on Faith in the Family organised by Care for the Family
still has its early bird discount until 21st September – so hurry up and book! We’ll be there!
Consultations and Campaigns
Below is our running list of current and recent consultations and campaigns. New items or those requiring action are highlighted. The Reference numbers are to the newsletter where
we covered the subject.
Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving
Families are at the heart of Britain says 4Children. But too many are held back because they don’t have the support they need to thrive. As we move beyond the economic crisis it is
time to rethink our ambitions for children and families. When families do well, Britain does well.
Family life has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. New and different challenges mean we need a fresh understanding what it is like to raise a family in Britain today and
a more ambitious approach.
4Children’s Inquiry ‘Britain’s Families: thriving or surviving?’ will run until Dec 2015 and will talk to families across the country to reveal a fresh and comprehensive understanding
of modern family life in Britain. Through this Inquiry we aim to uncover the challenges and opportunities families face in modern Britain, and what can be done to better support family life.
If you would like to let us know your experiences, participate in or help set up a focus group, or find out more, please get in touch with the Inquiry team:
Rolling back the tide
There are two stories this week that highlight the extent to which the Porn industry is using it’s billions of dollars or revenue to “normalise” its position in our culture.
The first is the news that one of the big players, Pornhub, has put some of its profits into philanthropic activities through a new venture, “Pornhub Cares”. It is well known that,
particularly in the US, the public, investors and employees all like companies to actively engage in social and community work. At one time I worked for a major US construction company and they had a small global department promoting such activity, including
granting employees a certain number of hours off each year to undertake work in such areas – it was considered a key part of the corporate image, featuring each year in the glossy Annual Report produced mainly for the analysts and investors on Wall Street.
So what this move really signals is not a sudden move towards philanthropy, but a move to make the companies behind Pornhub be more “mainstream”, able to attract serious investment,
and appear to be responsible corporate citizens. This is hardly new – after all there are other potentially harmful industries that do likewise - tobacco companies for example, or the likes of the gambling companies that carefully put money into “Gambleaware”,
and then claim the tax exemptions on each pound or dollar that they put that way.
Then there is the report from Canada that purports to show that actually people who view pornography have just the same attitudes to women as those who don’t. To be honest I’m amazed
the article made it into an academic journal. First of all, as one of the commentators remarks, the average age of the population studied was 45, but we know that the biggest sector accessing porn is actually the 15-30 year olds. And the people aged 45+ who
access porn regularly are probably more inclined to liberal views, which include of course a greater commitment to women’s rights etc than those who would self categorise as traditional/conservative. So the only way to actually assess the impact of porn would
have been to compare with a control group of liberal minded people who do not use porn. This they haven’t done.
I have no idea who sponsored the Canadian study, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the funding came from the porn industry – sadly much apparently “independent” study relies on
industry money to make its claims. Once again the tobacco industry comes to mind as one which for years sponsored “research” which purported to show that smoking was safe.
The internet porn industry only really started some 30 years ago, and was characterised by small independent content producers. In the past 10 years it has matured into an industry
dominated by a few large global players, moving power to these large intermediaries who distribute the content, and make money from the associated advertising revenues. They now have the collective financial muscle to not only sponsor massive technology research
programmes (most of the research about the next generation of man machine interfaces is being driven by the porn industry (eg interfaces that simulate smell, taste, and touch), but are also now seeking to be perceived as “good corporate citizens” through philanthropic
gestures and quasi-academic research.
It has taken over a century for the dangerous effects of tobacco smoking to be acknowledged, and for the tide to be at least partly rolled back in the developed countries (smoking
is still growing in the “developing” world). Even given the fact that industrialisation is forever gaining pace, it looks as though it could easily be a century before we start to roll back the tide of porn.
Next Monday we’ll be in Macedonia – all being well the ubiquitous internet will mean that we can bring you the newsletter as usual, though we may miss out the soapbox if the weather
looks good!! Should be back to normal the following week.
The 2-in-2-1 Team
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