Heythrop College, the Jesuit-run theology and philosophy college, announced on the 16th October that it has been granted permission to award ecclesiastical degrees, including ecclesiastical bachelor degrees, licences and doctorates in theology and philosophy. Five days later Heythrop students will be celebrating the annual ‘Shag Week’, starting on 21st October which includes a Sex Quiz event and the Vagina Monologues. This annual event is organised by the Heythrop Students Union [HSU]. According to Heythrop’s website, ‘The HSU manages student space in the basement of the College’.
The 2013 Heythrop Shag Week includes the following events:
‘The Sex Quiz presented by ‘Ohh My..fun for him, fun for her, fun for all’. The ‘Ohh My’ website explains the nature of the evening:
‘The Experience is geared towards helping you overcome reservations, teaching you about sexual practice and giving you an evening to remember, all while fully clothed! However, after having the Experience, you may feel a little frisky when you get home!Ohh My..’
The Ohh My..website goes on to explain the prizes distributed during the Sex Quiz:
What can I win?
Throughout the Experience we will from time to time throw lube and the odd condom or two at you (depending on location) but don’t worry; they’re still sealed! (We like to ensure everyone has a safe Experience). The main prize for those of you lucky enough to know the answers (you kinky people), the grand prize will comprise of more lube, more condoms (told you we like to be safe), a small pleasure item and a large pleasure item per group member. If being held at a university, the prize box will be shared amongst the group to a total value agreed upon during the booking process. We have standard options but can tailor them up or down depending on what you’re after. We’re flexible like that.
Heythrop Students Union Facebook page includes the following information for the 2012 Heythrop SHAG week which confirms that Ohh My prizes would be handed out to individuals and groups of students:
The Heythrop Vagina Monologues on the 22nd October
‘For one night only, Heythrop SU, in conjunction with HeADS, LitSoc, and Heythrop Feminist Collective, puts on a unique collection of shared stories, dramatised into performance and poetry. Come along for an evening of entertainment uncovering hidden aspects of womanhood, sexuality, and expression.’
The Tablet, in its issue for the 3 December 2011 p.16, published the following report on Heythrop’s SHAG week:
Roll over, Loyola
HEYTHROP COLLEGE considers its particular strengths to include ethics, interfaith relations and the philosophy of religion, but none of these featured in a recent students’ pub quiz.
Instead, the questions which could not be repeated in a publication that children might see were all about sex and the prizes were euphemistically described as being of an “adult” nature. This was a pub quiz which “smashes into the quiet world of Heythrop to challenge your expertise both mentally and physically”, according to the event’s blurb.
The “sex quiz” was held last Wednesday at the west London college’s Loyola Hall and hosted by the students’ union. The organiser was a postgraduate philosophy student, John Ord, who also works for the adult retailer who supplied the prizes. When asked if the quiz conflicted with the Jesuit run college’s Catholic ethos, Ord said it was an educational event that was in line with “Heythrop’s ethos of inclusivity … the Catholic ethos, as John McDade [former principal of the college] used to put it, of bringing everyone together to learn from one another.”
He stressed, however, that the students’ union was separate from the college. A spokesman for the college said the event was educational and run independently by the students.’
John McDade disassociated himself from John Ord’s comments in a letter sent to The Tablet.
Protect the Pope comment: It is to be hoped that now Heythrop College has been granted permission to award ecclesiastical degrees, licences and doctorates that the annual celebration of Heythrop’s SHAG week will be stopped. Hopefully Archbishop Nichols, as patron of the Bellarmine Institute and Visitor of Heythrop College, will ensure that Heythrop’s SHAG week never happens again. It should be mentioned that there is another academic institute in England and Wales that offers ecclesiastical degrees in theology and philosophy, as well as ecclesiastical licences, the Maryvale Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, Birmingham. Maryvale Institute offers ecclesiastical degrees through its partnership with the excellent authentic and orthodox college, Faculty de Notre Dame, Paris. Maryvale Institute offers a holistic Catholic ethos totally faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, in prayerful and peaceful premises shared with Maryvale’s community of Bridgettine sisters. Maryvale House was once the home of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.