The Archbishop of Westminster has attacked a Catholic marriage counseling service after it helped same-sex couples.
Catholic Marriage Care was criticized for giving marriage preparation services to gay couples looking to take part in civil partnerships in Britain.
It comes as Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the UK’s most senior Catholic cleric, continues his battle against plans for full marriage equality in the country.
The charity got £63,000 ($102,000 €79,000) from the Catholic Church last year to fund its work but receives almost £500,000 ($811,000 €628,000) from the state – the majority of its income.
It is the second largest marriage counseling service in the country.
Catholic Marriage Care states ‘Our counseling service is open to and welcomes everybody over the age of 16, married or not, straight or not’.
And it ‘welcomes all couples considering a committed relationship such as marriage’.
Terry Prendergast, the chief executive, had previously said the group offers ‘focused marriage preparation’ for same-sex couples.
Prendergast has previously stated children are not harmed by being raised by same-sex parents.
But Nichols spokesman said the archbishop wanted the charity to only offer services in the context they ‘promote and support marriage and family life in accordance with the Church’s vision of marriage as a vocation of life and love’.
He added: ‘It is the legal and fiduciary responsibility of the directors of the company to ensure that the charitable objects of Catholic Marriage Care Limited are observed and fulfilled.
‘The provision of services in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church is also a requirement for Catholic Marriage Care Limited to maintain its continued use of the title Catholic within its designation and to retain the patronage of one of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.’
Nichols hit the headlines earlier this year when he compared plans for gay marriage in Britain to slavery.
But he struggled to defend his remarks when he faced the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman, generally considered to be Britain’s toughest TV interviewer.