Awarded ecclesiastical faculties on 16th October, Heythrop celebrates ‘SHAG Week’ starting on 21st October

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 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 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.



87 comments to Awarded ecclesiastical faculties on 16th October, Heythrop celebrates ‘SHAG Week’ starting on 21st October

  • Fr. K

    Have to say this didn’t happen in Heythrop in my day, but that is nearly twenty years ago. In those days the student union was quite small, and relatively orthodox. However although the College again can award ecclesiastical degrees, the money will be made through the traditional degree qualifications, which will attract people like John Ord. One of my parishioners has just enrolled to study philosophy, not sure how I am going to explain SHAG week to his parents. Times change but not for the better!

  • Fr. K

    Just checked the website. Not sure I can take any group that offers a Tie Dye workshop seriously. Nice to see that they are focused on theology and philosophy … Not!

  • Wake up England

    Condoms as a prize for a sex quiz in a Jesuit university. I somehow don’t think St Ignatius Loyola will be very amused.

    Masturbation is a Grave Matter so the (soon to be banned) Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us; so what are the Small and Large pleasure items for? Doubtless one would be taught all the ins and outs during the sex lessons.

    The sooner Heythrop College is closed down, the better.

    It’s no more Catholic than an Anne Summers Sex Party.

  • Damask Rose

    Dear Deacon Nick
    I’ve got to say that week after week I read your blog and it’s always the same old, same old, just too depressing. Where you get your material for your threads I don’t know…
    Can’t you find an article describing the upcoming canonisation of Pius XII or something…

    • Lynda

      Lots of other blogs carry such stories. Deacon Donnelly does work which needs to be done and isn’t being done, for the most part, by others. Thank you, Deacon, for the vital service you give the Church and the world.

    • Pat

      What I find depressing is people like you who denigrate the sterling efforts of those like Deacon Nick, who are defending the Faith from error and corruption, as ‘same old, same old’. If it depresses you, don’t read it. If it’s feel-good factor you’re looking for, there’s plenty of blogs that cater for that.

      “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”: Edmund Burke

      “Christians must not remain silent in the face of evil” Pope Benedict XVI

  • Dilly

    “Heythrop Feminist Collective” . You made this up, Deacon Nick. Please tell me you made this up……

  • Joseph Matthew

    There is an agenda behind such productions as Vagina Monologues and it is not entirely heterosexual.

  • John Gramstadt

    Yeah, knowing Heythrop this isn’t surprising. The dull, vacuous monotony of heterodoxy writ large. Banal and cringe-inducing

  • Damask Rose

    “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.”

    Well, how many years has this been going on for then? Why hasn’t it been stopped already?

  • Patrick

    I don’t know about Heythrop, but I can certainly strongly endorse your recommendation for Maryvale, having just completed a 5-year BA degree there. It is a wonderful place, with superb lecturers, offering rigorous academic standards, while being faithful to the teaching of the Magisterium. It is both intellectually and spiritually enriching, with its association with Blessed John Henry Newman and its shrine to the Sacred Heart (the first public shrine in England since the Reformation). It’s also worth noting that taking a distance learning degree at Maryvale would be significantly less costly than doing a full-time Heythrop degree,

  • Lynda

    Literally demonic.

  • Londiniensis

    I note that on the “Ohh My” website, one of the testimonials is:

    ‘The quiz was a fantastic event that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended and was definitely one of the standout events of the academic year. John and Kyle made sure that it ran smoothly and there were no glitches at all, making it very easy for us to accomodate.’
    - Gala Jackson-Coombs, President of the Heythrop Students’ Union

    “Definitely one of the stand out events of the academic year”, I see. So better than all the boring theology lectures … No doubt the prizes (you must see the website to find out what they were, but you can guess) were much appreciated.

    Good to see that the Kensington Jesuits have so enthusiastically and unashamedly embraced modern culture in all its forms, but it does leave one to wonder who exactly are these “theologians” they are educating. The Tina Beatties of tomorrow?

  • J. Elmore

    It is telling that the majority of this ‘article’ and comments made upon it based on an event that happened in 2011, and this preemptively written article has made no attempt to assess the actual week in question. It is also telling that no one has mentioned that the event is not a celebration of sex, but in fact an acronym – Sexual Health And Guidance week. Sexual health is important to all, and education of it for that matter, no matter what faith you subscribe to.

    This article also fails to mention the various other events taking place during the week – which include, for example, talks on abstinence and the negative effects of an over-sexualised media. You may, or may not considering the abhorrent lack of research into this article, be aware that Heythrop College is an institution that accepts people of all faiths and creeds, being an institution that recognizes the much needed benefit of inter-faith dialogue. This, naturally, means that there are students that do not subscribe to the Catholic faith, and are in need of sexual guidance that goes beyond the limits of catholic teaching. Heythrop caters for all its students, and that is why we are happy to call it our home.

    The idea of taking a single week – a week based upon making the lives of young people safer and more secure for that matter – and judging an entire institution by it is inane and reeks of poorly researched, rushed sensationalist journalism. Have you been to our lectures? Have you talked to our Chaplin? Have you been to the countless other events that have taken place within our walls?

    I find it simply disgraceful that you have belittled the college that represents the shining light of what Catholicism can represent and achieve when it is willing to enter debate with views other than its own. If you wish to hide behind your own stilted views and never test what you believe to be true then I am happy that you will never step through the doors of the most loving and inspirational of colleges.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      J.Elmore (Not your real name) I am an alumunus of Heythrop and well acquainted with the fudge and confusion that passed for theology when I studied there. Please can you confirm that condoms, lubricants and sex toys are prizes given out in Heythrop’s common room during the sex quiz? Also you need to read more carefully, the snipped screen shot of the Facebook page is from 2012, not 2011. Do you think the 2013 Sex Quiz will be different from the 2012 event? In what way? Deacon Nick Donnelly

      • J. Elmore

        They are my middle names actually! It is a forum after all… My full name is Daniel Tripp we talked on twitter – and although that talk has shown that you are willing to engage in debate this article seems like it was written by a different person! I stand by my point that this article is poor journalism and is sensationalist, and my view that stilted views do not allow progression. You are slighting our college without any attempt to talk to anyone at the college – members of staff, students on the HSU ect. about an event which has not even taken place yet! It is poor journalism at its very heart. We can talk theology until the sun comes up, we often do at Heythrop, but when it comes to journalist integrity there is little to discuss here.

    • Michael

      “Have you talked to our Chaplin?”

      Which one – Charles or Sydney?

    • EJM

      SHAG Week stands for ‘Sexual Health Awareness and Guidance Week’

      The full programme of events for Heythrop’s SHAG Week 2013 (including prayer elements, charity fundraising, and talks from speakers from a variety of faith backgrounds and walks of life) can be found on the HSU website – perhaps if all events are considered, with their range of perspectives, information, and intentions, the ethos of our SHAG Week would be more clear.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      God bless you in your studies and keep you safe J.Elmore. Deacon Nick

    • Lynda

      All logical fallacies. You are not addressing the moral issue. Also, you should read more Benedict XVI, not to mention exercise natural reason, and you might realise that debate or discussion, etc., cannot be used to justify dissent from objective truth (in Faith or morals).

    • katherine

      J Elmore: the examples in your piece are too numerous to take one by one as to exactly why Heythrop is NOT catholic in the way faithful catholics understand and what they desire from a catholic education. What you describe can be attained in any university up and down the land. Why is Heythrope different in your view?

      The “Tablet” article was used, I presume to illustrate that this is not the first year Heythrop has run this diabolical entertainment.

      Apologies Deacon Nick – I had responded to J Elmore before I read your pieces.

    • BJC

      J. Elmore

      “I find it simply disgraceful that you have belittled the college that represents the shining light of what Catholicism can represent and achieve when it is willing to enter debate with views other than its own.”

      Really? In October 2012 Heythrop was the original venue for the inaugural ACTA meeting, subsequently moved to the local CofE church, with guest speakers the perennial dissenters Sr. Myra Poole and Prof. Mary Gray. I’ll start believing what you say, once Heythrop doesn’t even contemplate hosting such events, let alone even thinking about going through with it.

      I notice also that one of the lead speakers at the 2nd ACTA annual meeting this month is Fr. Gerry Hughes SJ, an ex-vice principal of Heythrop from the 1980′s and 1990′s. Maybe Heythrop has changed recently, and good luck if it has, but you’ll have to admit it has a reputation for being liberal and not adhering to the Deposit of Faith in the past. Deacon Nick has already given first hand evidence of this.

      Finally, the only belittling I see, is the belittling of Catholic teaching on sex in the acronym SHAG, a crude slang word for the sex act, which also implies the acceptance of promiscuity. Having a sex quiz and handing out lubricants and sex toys only adds to that belittling. Heythrop needs to decide what type of college it is, because without a doubt having events like this send out a mixed message to Catholics, and non-Catholics alike, and scandalises the faithful.

      • God Almighty! I just went into ACTA’s website to see if it was in fact the Fr Gerry Hughes SJ who was the vice-Principal of Heythrop (1983-98) and then Master of Campion Hall, Oxford (1998-2006). The reason I checked is that there are two Fr Gerry Hugheses currently resident at Campion, but it was that one right enough. (The other was the Catholic Chaplain at Glasgow University in the late 1960s early 1970s when I was a student there; not the most orthodox of priests but a wonderful man who was personally very kind to me.) My shock was occasioned by discovering that one of the “Core Group Members” of ACTA is a Fr Patrick McLoughlin. Please take my word for it, he isn’t one of my Derrygonnelly McLoughlin cousins. Neasden, and especially Sid and Doris Bonkers, are welcome to him. When my friend the late Fr Clarence Gallagher taught Canon Law and Ecclesiology at what was then referred to as the “new” Heythrop in London (1969-75), it had no problem in deciding “what type of college” it was. The same applied when he returned to teach at Heythrop in about 1997 after more than a decade at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome (Rector 1990-95). (With Fr Robert Ombres OP he launched the first degree course in Catholic Canon Law in the UK since the Reformation.) Wee Clarence will be spinning in his grave. I trust someone with a bit of clout will bring this disgraceful situation to the attention of Archbishop Mennini and to Cardinal Grocholewski.

  • T. Mannion

    I agree with J. Elmore on many points. The sneering and lack of charity also shows in many of the comments, you sin just as much as they do. You may recognise the truth in Catholicism, but you do not have pity for those who don’t. If you showed compassion with your wisdom they might listen to you. I agree with many of the sentiments expressed but the manner in which they were delivered leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. God Bless!

    • ms Catholic state

      Mr Manion… it not more accurate to say that many know what the Church teaches, but reject it. Not only do they reject it…but they promote that which is the opposite ie that which is sinful and harmful. Is that not supposed to engender anger…or can’t it engender both anger and pity. After all, Jesus Christ did get angry too.

  • Eliza.Middleton

    I’m a student at this college and I’m glad this is happening! We are all young adults and it’s a good thing that we are being made aware of aspects of sexual health that many catholic institutions avoid and boycott. Another thing, Fr. K would you rather explain to your parishioner’s parents that their child has an STD? Cause I wouldn’t. This is not “literally demonic” and it does not and should not put the college in a bad light.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Instead of promoting sexual activity outside of marriage Heythrop as an ecclesiastical faculty should be encouraging and teaching the importance of chastity. Its also a great way of avoiding STDs. Deacon Nick

      • T. Mannion

        I agree! There is a great ethicist at Heythrop called Agnetta Sutton, shes big on Theology of the Body, I think she should give talks! Great lady!

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          Sounds good to me. How about a theology of the body quiz night? Deacon Nick

          • EJM

            There is a talk advertised on Thursday as part of the “Unique Persextives” event on “Pure in Heart: Abstinence and Theology of the Body”, perhaps you would like to attend?

          • Deacon Nick Donnelly

            Thanks for the invite. I would come along if I was in London that week, but I’m home in Barrow-in-Furness. Deacon Nick

          • Deacon Nick Donnelly

            I pray that God blesses your studies and guides you through life. Deacon Nick

      • EJM

        Chastity and abstinence are both billed as being included in SHAG Week on the website you linked to.

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          That’s great to hear. How about dropping the Sex Quiz with condoms, lub and sex toys as prizes? There are plenty of sex shops in London, don’t have to make Heythrop into one. Deacon Nick

      • EJM

        Chastity and abstinence are both billed as being included in SHAG Week on the website you linked to, as well as sexual activity in the context of marriage. At no point is extra-marital sex explicitly promoted, only acknowledged in the context of safety of students who choose to engage in it.

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          I’ve searched on google for ‘Heythrop’ + ‘SHAG Week’ + Chastity + abstinence or Heythrop + Pure in Heart and I get no hits. I do no doubt that these events are happening but there is no info on-line about them. However, there is info with posters about the Sex Quiz, and the Vagina Monologues. Deacon Nick

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          I’ve just found this on HSU’s facebook page that SHAG week includes two 5 minute TED like talks on abstinence and the theology of the Body. Is that all there is during SHAG week about chastity and abstinence? Deacon Nick

          Unique perspectives, shared stories, free lunch – what more could you want?

          Teaming up HSU Welfare and the faith and liberation societies, Heythrop throws its own ‘TED talks’ inspired event of ideas for sharing, with a variety of wonderful speakers talking on topics close to their heart. Talks will last no more than five minutes each, and there will be free food for all! So, join us for a relaxed and enjoyable lunch time with a SHAG Week twist.

          Confirmed Performers:
          Kate Tingle – “Consent is sexy”
          Heather Doon – “Femininity and the Queer Movement”
          Eleanor MacIntyre – “On a scale of 0 – 6, find X”
          Conal O’Callaghan – “Pure in Heart: Abstinence and Theology of the Body”
          Daniel Tripp- “Sex and the Media”
          Jessi Parrott – “Sex and Disability”
          Christian Union
          Heythrop Pride Society
          Niall Leahy SJ – “Celibacy and embracing human sexuality”
          Sarah de Nordwall – “Lipstick is a spiritual experience”

          • EJM

            If you attended or enquired further, you will find that of the ten talks which you have mentioned, four are given by those speaking on their Christian/Catholic perspective. It is not the only time such views are represented in the week. The order is not yet completely finalised, but there will be other mentions of these topics in workshops and discussions, hard-copy information available around college, and there is already billed to be a Vagina Monologue performed from the perspective of a celibate woman, which follows that of one of a sexually active wife.

      • Eliza.Middleton

        Hello Deacon Nick,
        If you had read the programme of SHAG week then you would have realised that we DO have talks on chastity. We are not an unwelcoming college, we encourage everything and everyone’s beliefs. We are all adults and we all are entitled to make our own decisions.

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          Of course you’re entitled to make your own decisions and we’re also entitled to come to a judgement about some of the activities held in a theology college associated with the Catholic Church. Deacon Nick

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          God bless you Eliza and keep you safe. Deacon Nick

        • Fr. K

          Heythrop has always been welcoming, nobody is denying that. As a college in the University of London, Heythrop is not a Catholic college as such, however, with the re-establishment of the faculty to grant Church qualifications, the college itself will come more under the spotlight. As I understand it, Heythrop will remain a college within the University of London, but within the College there will exist a distinct Catholic Institute. I’m not sure how this will work, but I believe the staff and student body need to realise the difficulties that will arise.

        • BJC


          SHAG week also has talks on BDSM judging by the poster, i.e. bondage, domination and sado-masochism. I know you are all adults, but this seems to me to be gross by any stretch of the imagination, and beyond the pale given the Jesuit and Catholic roots of the college. Sorry, but the whole thing seems demonic to me as well given the nature of the college.

    • Fr. K

      Hi Eliza,
      Hopefully my parishioner will have the common sense to avoid SHAG week, after promoting the Philosophy faculty of Heythrop to the family, I feel that they have the right to know what is being promoted by some in the student body. No I don’t want my parishioner to get an STD and if he follows the teaching of the Church that will be avoided.

      I would ask you to consider does SHAG week really accomplish what you think it does, our society is saturated with sexual advice and the promotion of contraception and yet the cold facts are that STD’s are on the rise. Yes, you are an adult, and yes you must make your own life choice. Are you making the right ones?

      I hope your studies go well, I enjoyed my time there, but glad I can put NT Greek behind me.

    • ms Catholic state

      Eliza….It’s not supposed to be a sex-obsessed pagan college…it’s supposed to be a CATHOLIC one. And Catholic teaching promotes dignity and self respect, modesty and chastity outside marriage, ONLY. Or don’t these appeal anymore?!

      Following Catholic teaching is THE sure way of never getting or giving STDs to anybody. It’s just one of the perks of Catholicism. Im amazed Catholics can’t figure that one out.

  • Joseph Matthew

    It is really sad to see that we have come to this.Students in a Jesuit run college no longer appear to believe in objective moral norms.Instead,as adults,they make their own decisions. On everything? Is abortion a purely subjective affair? What about racism? Ought a college with a Catholic ethos encourage everything?
    If you are reading this Eliza,please remember that I am asking these questions in charity and not in judgement.For the young Catholics at Heythrop, we really must hope that they will be given the opportunity to know and love the entire faith as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • Lynda

    The moral and intellectual standards of these students is appalling. The truth, it would seem, is just one option among many. They don’t even realise they’re not exercising critical faculties, which have presumably been stunted from lack of use. When moral truth is discarded, so is all truth, and the ability to recognise it.

  • Benedict Carter

    Heythrop sounds like a syncretist hell-hole, an abbatoir of the Catholic Faith.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    If this week is so marvellous why does it have the title SHAG? We all know that this is a vulgar word for extra-marital sex. “We encourage everyone’s beliefs” Really?

    Yes one can see what it is all about in the 2013 event at

    Does this represent Jesuit values; perhaps something to do with Ignatian spirituality?

  • Chrysostom

    Even by the standards to which we have become used, I find this very shocking. First, though, I must say that it confirms for me that this website – Protect the Pope – is the premier English Catholic website: no other website, as far as I know, has picked up this appalling news.
    As for what one reads, I have read the blog and the comments twice and I find the most shocking thing is the defence that is offered by several people. One is reminded of the words of the great Dr Jonathan Swift, Dean of Dublin: “I wonder not to see men wicked but I do wonder to see them not ashamed.” In ill-written, badly thought-out and scurrilous words, people are trying to defend the indefensible.
    So what to do? In my experience, it is a waste of time writing to English bishops. Writing to Rome can be good, but, generally speaking, life is too short to rely on Rome.
    The thing that the dissidents do not like is publicity and so this is what I recommend. Let us contact THE CATHOLIC HERALD and any newspapers and websites where we have connections. Do not let what is happening be ignored.

  • katherine

    All these comments bouncing back and fourth have of course taken the spotlight off a big player in this whole scandal. Enter ARCHBISHOP NICHOLS.

    Archbishop Nichols – NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO REACH FOR YOUR TELEPHONE (or get one of your heavies to do it; you’ve all got it down to a fine art). Telephone in hand you make one of those menacing telephone calls that you so like making to faithful catholics (you know the ones who actually believe what the Church teaches and try to live it in their own lives and uphold it in society). The individuals to contact in this case are the ones who are organising and promoting this diabolical entertainment. Throw your weight around, ask them where their loyalty lies….you dont need little old me to tell you what to say. As I’ve already said you’ve got vast experience. You are so good at preventing good from flourishing, try your telephone at preventing evil from destroying the youth of this nation or at least the youth attending Heythrop.

    • Teresa

      The problem is that Archbishop Nichols’ idea of “Growing in Faith” is to ask the faithful to cough up for the latest diocesan fundraising appeal while ignoring all their concerns…

      Parishioners in the Westminster Diocese are being asked for money to support the new Diocesan ” Growing in Faith” fundraiser. The tactics are based on business tactics and are really quite aggressive – it seems parish priests are required to phone people up , wealthier parishioners are identified and targeted etc. I know the Church needs money and we have a duty to support our Church financially but.. what a shame the same effort cannot be put into sorting out Heythrop and Catholic education in general – something that would really help us to “Grow in Faith”.

    • Wake up England


      I recommend giving money to The Oratory and not to the diocese of Westminster.

  • Augustine

    According to

    the Sex Quiz will be held in the HSU Bar/Common Room.

    As Heythrop College is an institution that accepts people of all faiths and creeds and that recognizes the much needed benefit of inter-faith dialogue, will the bar be closed to avoid offending Muslim students?

  • BJC

    J. Elmore

    Sorry, but this is poor judgement not poor journalism. Any damage done to Heythrop is entirely self-inflicted and Deacon Nick is quite right to point out the inconsistencies. The main casualty in any case is the Catholic faith, whose teachings on sex are being undermined in a pretty public way in a supposedly Jesuit run setting. It sends out mixed messages to Catholics and non-Catholics alike and scandalises the faithful.

  • Copernicus

    What a nasty poisonous blog this is, Deacon Donnelly. It’s telling that you didn’t gloss the acronym SHAG (sexual health and guidance), but preferred to leave the innuendo hanging there, so that your readers could have their indignation tickled instead. You should be writing for the Daily Mail.

    • Lynda

      It’s the people putting on this amoral event that chose to gave it a term for a certain kind of objectively immoral sexual behaviour that gives an immediate immoral connotation to the event.

      • EJM

        Is shagging immoral? I believe there’s a lot of that in the Bible and that the Catholic faith rather depends on it. Otherwise no more baby Catholics.

        • Deacon Nick Donnelly

          How sad that you would describe the expression of sexual love between husband and wife ‘shagging’. This is a crude and ugly word for the most intimate, physical expression of love between husband and wife. Deacon Nick

          • Rob

            Can’t say I agree. It is a lovely and rather useful word having the advantage of avoiding all the vulgar slang words which are essentially swearing but without loosing intimacy by sounding too pompous and formal and long winded or resorting to euphemism (as in “sleeping with”).

    • Teresa

      Copernicus – surely it was the people who thought up the acronym SHAG that did so in order to ” leave the innuendo hanging there” ????

  • Amanda Peter

    How shocking. Absolutely shocking. Heythrop should be a beacon of the light of Christ. Instead it’s a beacon of lucifer the great counterfeit. It should give the message of Christ not the world. To give out sex toys for quiz prizes is shocking. With a catholic college like this who needs a satanic coven.God bless deacon Nick and his work and the blog!!! May those who read it look to Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.

  • Long-Skirts

    Copernicus said:

    “It’s telling that you didn’t gloss the acronym SHAG (sexual health and guidance), but preferred to leave the innuendo hanging there..”

    But of course, just like here in America. If I say “F*ck” it really means Fornication Under Consent of the King.

    In Diversity
    At a catholic

  • Augustine

    St. Ignatius of Loyola – pray for us.
    St. Francis Xavier – pray for us.
    Blessed Peter Faber – pray for us.
    St. Aloysius Gonzaga – pray for us.
    St. Robert Bellarmine – pray for us.
    St. Peter Canisius – pray for us.
    St. Edmund Campion – pray for us.
    All Holy Martyrs of England and Wales – pray for us.

  • Wake up England

    I don’t know much about the Jesuits (“Society of Jesus” to give them their proper name).

    Is this sort of stuff typical of them? Makes one wonder whether similar things go on at Jesuit schools, doesn’t it?

    Are the sixth formers at Stonyhurst Jesuit School (an English boarding school)subjected to the delights of “Sex Quizzes” with condoms, lubricant and all the rest as prizes?

    Seems to me as though the Jesuit Order needs to do a bit of thinking about their educational methods. From what I’ve seen at Heythrop, I think one must question the modern Jesuit ethos of “Catholic Education”

    I don’t think I’d want my child going to Heythrop.

  • A Heythrop Student

    What needs to be understood that whilst Heythrop is run by the Jesuits it is simply a College of the University of London that accepts Students based on academic merit, not their adherence to the Catholic Faith. It also has a Students Union who are by law at separate entity from the College; its job it is to represent the Students who represent a variety of faiths and none. There are a variety of events that will be occurring during Sexual Health Awareness Week including this sex quiz many of them specifically cater to people of faith, the Sex quiz clearly does not.

    I’m not going to insult any of you by attempting to justify the quiz to you, I can completely understand why it would make you feel somewhere between mildly uncomfortable to vastly outraged, the quiz isn’t put on with you in mind and nor is it put on to cause offence (it merely accidents upon doing so), it is put on because it is fun and popular with a large number of our Students, those with moral or other issues with it need not attend.

    The user calling themselves Augustine stated: “As Heythrop College is an institution that accepts people of all faiths and creeds and that recognizes the much needed benefit of inter-faith dialogue, will the bar be closed to avoid offending Muslim students?” I’m not really sure what his point was since the bar clearly fits within the same class as the event, it’s there because a lot of Students wanted it and those who do not want to drink for whatever reason are not compelled to do so.

    As for the furore about it being called SHAG week, it’s just marketing. You say sexual health and you already have the S & the H, don’t read more into it than that. Yes, it’s crude but it gets the message across that this week is about Sex, not having it but talking about it.

    The Heythrop Students Union is nothing to do with the Catholic Church, it has many many Catholic-centric events which exist because many of the Students here are Catholics, it has many events that may accident on not being in line with Catholic teachings because many of our Students are not. Students are free to choose for themselves how much or how little they wish to get involved with.

    So from your perspective what is the solution to this? Well there really isn’t one, a motion could be raised by any Student at the next General Meeting, it almost certainly wouldn’t pass. The quiz will happen this year and if the last couple of times are anything to go by, for the foreseeable years as well and students will continue to attend or not attend. This is not going to occur to out of spite, but because for the same reason the Catholic Church and those of the faith will continue to occasionally do and say things that make me feel uncomfortable or that I disagree with, but that is simply people acting in accordance with their own conscience, as I do with mine. It is just unfortunate that they do not line up precisely with one another.

    As for the Journalistic merit of this article, whilst omitting what SHAG stands for, and omitting the nature of the Students Union in relation may not effect the outcome of peoples opinions, leaving such central information out shows a complete lack of respect for your readers and their ability to have informed opinions. If you are confident that the opinion you push in this article is the correct one Mr Donnelly then you need not fear providing such information. You have given the impression that the entire week is some sort of ode to pre-marital sex (which it isn’t) or that this event is happening with the blessing of the Jesuits who run the college (when it isn’t) and giving a blatantly false impression is textbook bad Journalism.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      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. This means that the Holy See has given Heythrop College the faculties to award ecclesiastical degrees in its name. Deacon Nick Donnelly

      • A Heythrop Student

        I don’t think the point within your response is as clear as you think it is and it certainly does not clear up my only criticism which is that you omitted key information.

  • I

    This is a sexual health awareness week at a University of London College which is open to all – Chill out? Heythrop is an incredibly diverse place, with a rich mix of different religious (or non-religious) beliefs.

    Also can I point out – YOU DON’T HAVE TO ATTEND? It’s not like people are throwing condoms at you as you walk down the corridor! If you go to the event because you WANT to take part then fine, otherwise you probably aren’t even aware of what’s going on.

    A load of fuss about nothing!

  • Nicolas Bellord

    The Jesuits run a college. They have the right to demand that students attending the college comply with certain standards. Running SHAG week is contrary to those standards I would have thought. They should tell any student who organises such an event that unless they comply with their standards they will have to go elsewhere. It will take some guts for the Jesuits to follow such a policy but they should do so.

  • Augustine

    AHS writes: “the Catholic Church and those of the faith will continue to occasionally do and say things that make me feel uncomfortable or that I disagree with, but that is simply people acting in accordance with their own conscience, as I do with mine.”

    A statement of pure relativism.

    But if there is no such thing as objective truth then this (and indeed all other statements) need not be true.

    Compare and contrast AHS’s idea of conscience with Gaudium et Spes 16.

    • A Heythrop Student

      Accepting that people disagree is not the same as accepting that one person isn’t wrong. Where our views differ I just think that I am right and that you are wrong, as you will with me. Still I would be concerned to find you doing an action that you believe to be wrong even if I believe it to be right. I did not advocate any relativism with regards to truth.

  • BJC

    Heythrop Student

    (1) Despite what you are saying, I think the Heythrop Student’s Union is paying a remarkable lack of respect towards the Jesuit and Catholic roots of the college. I would have thought common sense would have dictated that the crude acronym SHAG, wasn’t used to promote what you say is just another innocent freshers event. To then have a sex quiz and hand out lubricants and sex toys just adds insult to injury. I mean, if Heythrop was a college with Muslim roots, which was still being run by Muslims and had mullahs on the teaching staff, but was now part of the University of London, would the Student’s Union put on an event with the acronym PORK, and hand out bacon sandwiches as prizes? I doubt it. If you think that would be acceptable, perhaps you can explain why.

    (2) I think the point Nick is trying to make (and he can correct me if I’m wrong) is that if a college like Heythrop can’t have or enforce a minimum standard that means the Jesuit and Catholic roots of the college are respected, then it shouldn’t have been awarded the right to award Pontifical degrees in the first place. In fact it never should have asked.

    I would go further by the way, and say that if this is going on in a place where our seminarians are being trained, then I don’t want my hard earned cash that I put in the collection plate, being spent on places at Heythrop. I want it going to an orthodox establishment like Maryvale.

    Heythrop seems very lax by Catholic standards, and its all making sense now that for the past 20-30 years we’ve been churning out priests who ape the world not the gospel.

    • A Heythrop Student

      (1) If you were going to compare the interests and activities of the Heythrop Students’ Union with that of any other University you would find that it is very respectful, whenever it does anything ensuring that the religious viewpoint gets a say often to the point where it is provided with a disproportionately large amount of it compared to the number of subscribers. This does not mean that every event that we put on will be in keeping with Catholic teaching. Being respectful is not about conceding every disagreement, this event is not put on because the Students’ Union really wants to be disrespectful, it is put on because it is fun & popular. The circumstance you describe is a little absurd because I can’t imagine any reason to have a pork centric week, there is so much qualitative difference between meat from pigs and the world related to sex, if we were to imagine that there wasn’t and that pork was somehow a hot topic, Students everywhere were coming down with food poisoning due to eating undercooked pork chops and bacon sandwiches were a source of all the emotions that sex can bring (good and bad) then such a week would occur in which Students would be taught how to cook it properly, perhaps with demonstrations and there would be a disproportionally high espousal of the Muslim viewpoint that you shouldn’t eat it as well.

      (2) Well then you can understand my confusion since I didn’t say anything against that, that is between the representatives of Heythrop and the representatives of the Catholic Church of which I am neither. I wanted a response to my criticism that this article omits key bits of information, very little of my comment could not have been in the original piece which would have provided more much needed context. I am interested to know Deacon Nick Donnelly’s motivation for not doing so.

      • Nicolas Bellord

        Heythrop Student: You write “Being respectful is not about conceding every disagreement”. What disagreement are you not wanting to concede? Do you agree with the teaching of the Catholic Church as set out in the Catechism on the subject of sex i.e. on extra-marital sex, homosexual acts, contraception and abortion? What is your position on these issues? If you have an event which promotes conduct contrary to this teaching then surely it is disrespectful to do so in a Catholic college.

        As to the key bits of information: the word you are using is SHAG which is a vulgar word for any sex act and shows a disrespect for the legitimate good of the marital act. You could have had an acronym for Guidance and Awareness of Sexual Health – GASH which would not be offensive. But then I think you did not choose that acronym but it was chosen for you by the Ohhmy people who quite clearly are promoting extra-marital sex of all kinds. As to the status of the Student Union I find it odd that you pretend that the College has no authority over it. You use the College’s premises don’t you and it is desirable that student activities should be under the discipline of the College. Or is this just an assertion that anything goes?

      • Augustine

        “This event is not put on because the Students’ Union really wants to be disrespectful, it is put on because it is fun & popular.”

        So if the Students Union decided to host a Comedy Show starring a Bernard Manning clone full of racist, homophobic and sexist “jokes” because it was “fun & popular” that would be ok – even if some humourless people objected. provided that it wasn’t being intentionally disrespectful.

  • Wake up England

    The more I read, the more appalled I am that Allen Hall seminarians are sent to study at Heythrop.

    Furthermore, if The average Catholic Woman In The Pew knew, I think she would be concerned too.

    The difference between Right and Wrong is often very simple (despite pretentious weasel words from Heythrop Student). What is going-on at Heythrop, however popular it may be, is wrong. It also is a cause for scandal.

  • BJC

    Heythrop Student

    (1) Sorry, but all I’m seeing is a lot of disrespect being shown by your Student Union to the Catholic faith. You have shown poor judgement in the choice of the acronym SHAG to advertise your event, and you’ve added insult to injury by then having a sex quiz where lubricants and sex toys are given out. Whether you like it or not Heythrop has a Jesuit and Catholic heritage, is Jesuit run, and that should have been respected. It hasn’t. Nothing that you’ve written has altered my view, and all I’m seeing is lot of confused thoughts and bluster. My comparison with a Muslim heritage college is fair, and you fail to answer my question.

    To be sure, I blame the Heythrop management more than I blame the Student’s Union, because they should have picked up on it, but it still doesn’t exonerate the Student’s Union because a little bit of common sense should have told them a red line was being crossed. Anyone might think, given the range of options open to them, that they were going out of their way to be provocative and cock-a-snoop at Catholic beliefs.

    (2) I don’t think it matters a jot whether Nick did say what the crude acronym SHAG stood for. The point is the implied insult to Catholic beliefs, in using it in what is a Jesuit run college, which has just got the right to award Pontifical degrees. It adds to the belief that Heythrop is unsuitable as a place to award such degrees, and that I believe is his wider point. Not for anything is it known as the London School of Heresy.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    SPUC reports at:

    One in four UK students contract sexually-transmitted infection in first year of university
    Results of a survey by a student dating website suggest that a quarter of students contract a sexually-transitted infection in their first year at university. The results also suggest that the vast majority of student sexual encounters were conducted without condoms (89%) and whilst drunk. Almost half of those students who had contracted an infection could not remember which sexual partner had infected them. [Huffington Post, 17 October] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communications manager, commented: “This survey and a wealth of similar evidence shows that self-styled ‘safe sex’ campaigns, promoted heavily by pro-abortion groups, are a total failure in protecting students and instilling responsibility. The people who profit most from this failure are the money-hungry abortion industry, which admits that the single largest group of its customers are women who fell pregnant due to so-called ‘contraceptive failure’. Condom- and -pill-pushing simply serves to promote a culture of casual sex which the pro-abortion lobby has helped create through its irresponsible promotion of sexual licence.”

    That is the result of such initiatives as SHAG week.

    • Lynda

      The aim of “safe sex” promotion is to destroy the morals of our youth, promote casual sex, abuse of self and others, and have people inculcated with falsehoods about sexuality so that they don’t marry, or if they do, divorce, kill their children in utero, and create a spiritually dead society with little marriage, family life, and few children. The ideology behind it is about loss of morale in a people, rendering them weak, defenceless and easy to control.

  • Augustine

    Nicolas reports: “The results also suggest that the vast majority of student sexual encounters were conducted without condoms (89%) and whilst drunk.”

    So whose clever idea was it to hold the Heythrop Sex Quiz in the Bar?

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