Heythrop’s statement about SHAG week explains that its educational events are held in ‘union rooms’ within the college

In response to an enquiry from a reader of Protect the Pope  Heythrop has released a statement about SHAG week which explains that educational events are held in ‘union rooms’ within the college.

The reader of Protect the Pope wrote:

Dear Father Holman

I have noticed that this (Catholic) college is hosting a “SHAG” week, with bondage and other mind boggling attractions. Is this correct? I can’t quite believe it. I write for the Catholic press and wonder if I could come to this event – just as a curious observer to see what goes on at Catholic colleges. I look forward to hearing from you.’

Heythrop College responded:

Thank you for your enquiry to Heythrop College.

The Sexual Health and Guidance Awareness Week is organised by the Heythrop Student Union (HSU) and as such the events are open to Heythrop students only. Please see the statement below from the HSU regarding the week.


Heythrop College Enquiries

Heythrop Student Union statement about Sexual Health and Guidance week

‘Between the 21st and 27th of October the Heythrop Students’ Union will hold its annual Sexual Health and Guidance (SHAG) week. The HSU runs this week every year to offer information and support to students on important health and welfare issues.  The events on offer are not mandatory and all take place in Union rooms. The week promotes a full and rounded attitude towards sexual health and guidance.  We, the HSU believe we have reflected this by adding prayer events, a talk from the ‘Pure in Heart’ group and interfaith perspectives on chastity to the calendar of events this year.’

Protect the Pope comment: Heythrop College’s response to concerns about SHAG week is basically to claim that it has nothing to do with the college and takes place in rooms within the premises of Heythrop College that are nominated ‘union rooms’.  Is this the response that we would expect from a Jesuit-run college that makes much of its Catholic identity and heritage judging by this advert placed by Heythrop College in this week’s Tablet?:

‘Heythrop College. The Specialist Philosophy and Theology College of the University of London. 400 years, 1614-2014.

From Louvain to London: Theology on the Hoof. Michael J Walsh. Wednesday 23 October 2013, 18.30.

A pope dissolved the Society of Jesus, but the Jesuit College which became Heythrop managed to survive. The French Revolution threatened its existence, but students, staff and (some of) its library floated off down river to safety. All went well until the English bishops took a hand… All this and much more will be explained. What, for instance, is the connection between Heythrop and the Palace of Whitehall? Come and find out…’ (p.26). What would be more interesting is an explanation of the connection between Heythrop and the Catholic Faith?

67 comments to Heythrop’s statement about SHAG week explains that its educational events are held in ‘union rooms’ within the college

  • The response appears quite pro forma and therefore dismissive, don’t you think?

  • Lynda

    If an event involves objectively immoral activities, etc., it ought not to be allowed to be put on at the College. The College authorities ought to condemn such an event, held anywhere.

  • buckle

    I suspect that “SHAG” week will be significantly less offensive than a Michael Walsh publication.

  • Anne

    How did this happen then?

    Westminster Diocese ‏@RCWestminster 4h
    Congratulations to @HeythropCollege which will now be able to issue ecclesiastical degrees alongside @UoLondon degrees.

  • Augustine

    I remember reading some years ago about an Italian who was invited by an Anglican friend to attend the ordination of an Church of England bishop.

    At the stage in the service when all the concelebrating bishops gathered in a huddle to simultaneously lay their hands on the ordinand, the visitor turned and asked:

    “What are they doing now?”

    “This may take some time” replied his friend, “This is the part of the service when they remove his backbone.”

    Has this particular ritual become part of the ordination service in the Catholic Church?

  • Chrysostom

    One knows that if an event considered “racist” were to take place in the Union, the college would not be so dismissive. Even worse, supposing the Union were to have a Tridentine Mass – apologies and excuses would proliferate. In Canon Law, a bishop can stop an institution using the word “Catholic” and this would be done here by any responsible bishop: which means that it will not be done. As my great patron said, “The floors of hell are paved with the skulls of bishops.”

    • Augustine

      “If an event considered “racist” were to take place….”

      So true.

      Just imagine the Students Union deciding to host a Comedy Show starring a Bernard Manning clone full of racist, homophobic or sexist “jokes” ….. the authorities at Heythrop would kick it into touch before you could say Fred Copleston.


    Some good points above, but what struck me first about this response was the secrecy – Catholic press not welcome. What did Our Lord have to say about this kind of thing? “Every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.”

  • Catherine

    Some students who are sent to study there (but because of their position cannot object without reprocussions), in light of the theological teachings they receive, particularly in Moral Theology, call the place ‘Hell Hall’.

  • Sonja

    Interesting article from SPUC — 1 in 4 Students contracts a STD in first year at Uni.
    Maybe anyone from Heythrop will read and take note.

    With regards to the pro-abortion article in the Tablet, apart from writing to the Nuncio, the Vatican etc. — we should also write to the editor of the Tablet pointing out the how unacceptable the tone of the article is. Might not do any good — but a heavy mailbag should bear some message.


      I wondered about that report. I think the source is not to be trusted. But it is nonetheless true that rates of venereal disease are so high as to be almost normal.

      • Nicolas Bellord

        You are probably right. It is a survey by someone who is running a site which encourages promiscuous behaviour amongst students but he is keen on encouraging the use of condoms. One can only wonder about the methodology and the motivation.

  • Heythrop Student

    It was a great event. Those who attended enjoyed it, those who didn’t want to attend it didn’t attend. It’s disgraceful to see grown men and women condemn and vilify the hard work of 18+ year olds who labour to provide events for one another to enjoy. You should all be deeply ashamed of your very un-Christian and unkind behaviour.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Heythrop Student, it would be shameful and unchristian if we remained silent in the face of the facts that students in a Catholic-based college engage in harmful behaviour that degrades their dignity as men and women made in the image and likeness of God. It would be disgraceful if we stood aside unconcerned that young men and women were being put in harms way morally by a commercial company that encourages sexual perversion. Deacon Nick

    • Sonja

      It is a real sadness to see young people like you, with brains and ambition, to be so poorly catechesised in your youth that you completely fail to grasp the basic tenants of the Catholic Faith that make the contents of this ‘event’ so offensive, never mind the denigration of the human soul. Thanks for having the boldness to share your views but you are completely misguided — and I will pray for you and all students like you that the Holy Spirit will help you to see the light. I know one day you will look back and see it then.

      • Nicolas Bellord

        “Poorly catechised” – utterly ignorant of the teaching of the Church more like it. And what will the Jesuits be doing to remedy the situation? Feeding the sheep? We wait to hear from you Father Holman – in the correspondence revealed on this blog you appear to have passed the buck!

      • (X)MCCLXIII

        Heythrop Student is probably not catholic.

    • Lynda

      The shame is of those who organised such objectively immoral activities and those who support them. This is seriously damaging to a person, spiritually, morally, psychologically and there are repercussions for other innocents too.

    • ms Catholic state

      Heythorpe student….please learn from older Catholics. Some things are not morally licit and are not the dignified way to behave. ‘Do not behave as the pagans do’ as the Holy Bible says. Im sure Heythorp could be a great Catholic college….without all these sleazy shameful events.

    • Joseph Matthew

      The basic problem,Heythrop Student,is that 25% of students have a sexually transmitted disease.So whatever is being done at present is not working.

    • Augustine

      Mark 8:36

      Heythrop Student: “It’s disgraceful to see grown men and women condemn and vilify the hard work of 18+ year olds who labour to provide events for one another to enjoy.”

      How judgemental of you! Surely we all have the right to express our own sincerely held opinions?

      How ageist of you! Surely over 18′s have a right to express their views?

      You have a very strange idea of what the words “un-Christian” and “unkind” mean.

      I’m sure some students would like the SU to organise an orgy – and would enjoy taking part in it. But I would feel free to criticise the holding of such an event in a Christian institution.

      Heythrop’s own website states in its section on “Student Life”:

      “As a Christian institution, Heythrop works hard to promote the life of prayer and spiritual growth among all its members.”

      I do not think that the Student Union organising an orgy would help to promote the life of prayer and spiritual growth among all its members.

      There is more to life than money, sex and power.

      Mark 8:36

      St Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits) frequently quoted Mark 8:36 to his companions in the University of Paris.

      Mark 8:36

      Yes Mark 8:36

  • Nicolas Bellord

    It seems that the concept of a “SHAG week” is not something invented by Heythrop. Searching on the web it appears that a few other universities have these weeks. At a stretch one of them could be described as relatively innocuous i.e. dealing solely with sexual health but most of them are into the full range of deviancy. The Ohmy site seems to be offering some sort of franchise in the form of “we will organise it for you”. They have a shop which caters for all perversions. Other weeks have other sponsors such as the Terence Higgins Trust and generally the LGBT angle is writ large. The majority of those on the internet are in Irish universities including Maynooth whose week is definitely pro-abortion. One other college that had an S week a year or two back is Royal Holloway. One of the participants advertised is the then RC chaplain Father Vladimir Nikiforov who is now an assistant priest in our Parish. No surprise there!

  • Positive Catholic

    Heythrop college is a home to many different people, those of faith, catholic or otherwise, and those of non faith. The diversity of college is something special which is a microcosm of society.
    I am a catholic and I find this blog un-Christian. I as a catholic like to be positive about my faith and share how the Good News alongside Catholic Church has had a great positive impact on my life. I like to talk about these experiences with all but in no way force my views, this is proselytism which Pope Francis stated was not the way things should be done.
    No wonder some in society have such a negative view of the catholic faith when some Catholics themselves are so negative about it and seem to spend all their time condemning the masses.
    Maybe if we were all a bit more positive and non-judgemental about people we may see a rise in numbers in the Catholic Church.

    Yours in Christ.

    Positive Catholic

    • Wake up England

      Dear positive Cathlic,

      Please could you very briefly explain what you mean by The Good News?

      This is a serious request and I would be most grateful for a vignette of what you understand by the term.

      Thank you,

      William Weber

    • Augustine

      Christianity is about salvation: encouraging people to repent and turn away from sin – not encouraging sinful behaviour.

      What is really negative is encouraging sinful behaviour


      • Augustine

        The first words of Jesus in St Mark’s Gospel are:

        “The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe the Good News.” (Mark 1: 15)

        Was Jesus being negative?

    • ms Catholic state

      Positive Catholic….Pope Francis has called on us not to proselytise, but to share our Faith. But if you don’t know your Faith, and if you are not inclined to share it….as you think this is forcing your views on others, then you are not doing as the good Pope asked.

      We are all called upon to be Missionaries for the Faith….not for the equality of all religions. As Catholics we believe all people are equal…but not all religions. Please, love and share your Faith…and make Heythorpe a great Catholic college. We need them.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Positive Catholic: What is this Good News you talk about? Is it following Christ as the way, the truth and the life? Is not that seeking certain goods? When you see someone advocating the reverse of what is good such as sexual immorality do you not feel that you ought to point them in the direction of the good? If you think something is not good i.e. is wrong, are you not being judgemental about whether it is right or wrong? Is being judgemental in that way right or wrong? The Catholic Church teaches us what is right and wrong and guides us to the good? Do you feel you ought to seek the good and thereby set an example? When somebody advocates wrongful actions do you just ignore them or try and prevent them from ruining other people’s lives by leading them into evil ways with all the unhappiness that will flow from that? If you see somebody hitting an old lady over the head do you just walk by and tolerate that evil because you do not want to be judgemental? Do you say nothing when somebody advocates the killing of the unborn? Would you do nothing if somebody proposes a final solution for some ethnic minority?

    The point here is that Heythrop is supposedly a Catholic institution and yet it seems to be tolerating advocates of evil including advocates of abortion instead of preaching the Gospel, that Good News of which you speak.

    • Sonja

      Thank you for articulating this so well. It helps me very much in other dialogues that I am having with non-believers. God Bless you for being so candid and honest. I hope Positive Catholic reads this – and takes note. Those who believe in and profess the Catechism are so often given the label of judgmental by liberals who seemingly don’t bother to read (or maybe understand)scripture. The points you allude to are very relevant in today’s society.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Positive Catholic: I assume you are young. When you are older and have young under-age children and somebody comes into your house and starts fondling one of them in a sexual manner what would you do? Or suppose you have a child of age and somebody comes into your house to seduce him or her into a sexual relationship or suggests that they go off and find a prostitute. What would you do? Would you not encourage your children to practice a virtuous life and try and make sure that temptation does not come their way? If your children insist on misbehaving you should say to them “Okay you can go elsewhere but that does not happen in my house.”

    The Jesuits in running a college for young students are in loco parentis and they should not allow advocacy of immoral behaviour on their premises. They should be saying “Okay if you want that kind of thing you can go elsewhere to get it but it does not happen here” in the same way as you would want to do as a parent in your house sometime in the future.

    • Francis

      Consider too the reply of Jesus to the young man.

      “And behold, one came to him saying, ‘Teacher what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.’ ”

      (Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:18-23)

  • Francis

    Today’s first reading at Mass is Romans 6:12-18

    It begins: “You must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions, you must not let any part of your body turn into an unholy weapon fighting on the side of sin” .

    It continues: “Does the fact that we are living by grace and not by law mean that we are free to sin? Of course not.”

  • Positive Catholic

    I feel this, already, is a never ending debate, therefore I would like to state now that this will be my final contribution.

    Heythrop has provided the Catholic understanding and stance on sex and given their guidance. Just as you wouldn’t want a catholic speaker being banned from a debate, same as I would not want a sexually active/non Christian/catholic/atheist etc person to be banned from this debate or sharing of views.
    I may not agree with what they say but I will defend to the death their right to say it.

    The reference to my age is irrelevant, I am an adult with fully formed views all in line with the Catholic Church. I hope by that comment you do not wish to disregard the opinions of the young, as members of the church, by merely stating they do not understand. I agree with the correction of wrongs but this manner is not one that will have a positive effect. I can only see it driving people away. As I stated Heythrop has drawn on the positives of the Catholic Church’s teaching on sex and publicly voiced them. Like all other events during this week they are open to all, advertised to all but in no way forced.

    My response to your comments on judgement, “who are we to judge?” I feel I have done my duty as a Catholic to share the Catholic views on sex and other immoralities I experience in life, I have done this without judging people. I would rather leave that to the Supreme Judge.
    Support, accompaniment and guidance goes along way. For example if young single mothers were treated with more respect and dignity within the church environment and, society didn’t look down on them, i think the pro-life choice would, with want if a better word, be more ‘appealing’. After all they chose life.
    An example of judgement I wish to see eradicated.
    “At the age of 15 I was raped walking home from school. I fell pregnant but even then didn’t believe in abortion. I was and still am a catholic but at 15/16 walking into church with a bump was extremely difficult. I was judged, I was looked at, I was talked about. But I chose life. I find it very difficult to find a church I can go to for Sunday mass that doesn’t judge me as an ‘immoral’ young single mother. I am disregarded by a church that talks of love as it’s main premiss.”
    I do not disregard the work of pro-life movements but I feel that it is two fold and the second aspect, the support, accompaniment and guidance of those who chose life is an extremely important role, that I feel the Church misses.

    In regards to Heythrop not allowing this SHAG week event, Where is the line? Would you be so quick to condemn an event run by the Islamic society if their event didn’t fully align with the catholic faith? Surely that is inter faith dialogue? Why can we not extend this dialogue to those of non faith who are heavily present in our society today.

    Finally, as previously stated, I defend to the death your right to say what you say but as a Catholic Christian Church I feel that positivity will have a larger and better impact. No one is perfect, no one but God can judge.
    What would have been a positive thing to note about Heythrop’s SHAG week is that this year is the first year that there has been a heavy catholic input. You should be praising the college for seeing the light and praising the non catholic organisers for accepting the place of the church within Heythrop today.

    I would be very interested to hear from non Catholics as to who would have more impact on them talking about the Catholic faith, myself or you Mr Bellord.

    • Francis

      Fr Tim writes:

      “It is great to hear that he (Pope Francis)told priests not to turn away unmarried mothers who bring their children for Baptism. When I was newly-ordained (nearly 30 years ago), in the inner-city parish I first worked in, more than 50% of the children that we baptised were of unmarried mothers.”


      I am sure that there are many other Catholic priests who recognise the importance of being very supportive towards young women who make the courageous decision of rejecting the pressure of many of their family members and friends and boyfriends to abort their unborn child.

      Authentic Christian teaching is the teaching of Christ – neither condemning the sinner, nor minimizing the damage that sin does.

      ” ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you, ‘ said Jesus, ‘go away, and don’t sin any more.’ ” (John 8: 10-11)

    • ms Catholic state

      Positive Catholic….if people followed the teachings of the Church, there would be less single mothers and less fatherless children. Let’s not forget the poor abandoned children who often have to face a long line of ‘uncles’ sharing their mother’s attention. Marriage is for the safety and security of children…so let’s strengthen the Church’s teaching on chastity before marriage. Problem solved.

      And nobody has the right to promote that which is sinful and irresponsible ESPECIALLY in a Catholic college. When young Catholics enter this college…they must think it is acceptable for Catholics to behave as pagans…since it is a Catholic college. They are given mixed and irresponsible messages…which isn’t fair! Don’t lead young people into sin please…cos account will have to be given for it.

    • ms Catholic state

      And as for who would have more impact on non-Catholics, you or Mr Bellord…I suggest Mr Bellord would. Nobody wants to hear a lukewarm secularised version of the Faith. People want something different, something strong and counter pagan culture. Wishy washy won’t wash.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Dear Positive Catholic,

    First of all dealing with your last sentence. I assumed that you were a Catholic and thus my way of addressing your arguments are going to be quite different from how I would address a non-Catholic. Thanks for the invitation for others to attack me. I see John Dare is the first but I am afraid I would despair of converting him with dialogue as I think he is just here to make provocative remarks. I pray for him!

    But going back to the start of your comment:

    “Heythrop has provided the Catholic understanding and stance on sex and given their guidance.” Please tell me more as to what that was, where and when.

    “a debate” – sorry but I do not regard inviting Omymy to run a quiz night as having a debate. Was there a debate during the week – who were the speakers and what was the motion and the result?

    “The reference to my age is irrelevant, I am an adult…” I must apologise but perhaps I was thinking of “Heythrop Student” who has commented here. At any rate I assumed you were a student and therefore young. Myself being 75 I do have a great deal of experience behind me and seen the result of sinful actions. It is easy to make terrible mistakes when one is young which you then have to live with all one’s life and I think it useful to try and guide young people. For my generation there was a terrible lack of leadership in the Church after Vatican II and I have seen the direful results. But without wishing to probe behind your anonymity perhaps you could give us an idea of what your connection with Heythrop is? The S week seems to have been only open to students so were you able to attend?

    “fully formed views all in line with the Catholic Church” Glad to hear it but why then do you think it okay to allow people into Heythrop to hand out propaganda against the teachings of the Church rather than just debating?

    “I hope by that comment you do not wish to disregard the opinions of the young, as members of the church, by merely stating they do not understand.” Blessed with children and grandchildren I certainly respect their opinions but nonetheless I think I can educate them as to a thing or two. Educating the young is a rather important function particularly in a University!

    As to judging people there is such a thing as fraternal correction, admonishing the sinner and instructing the ignorant. Here we have been judging the actions of those responsible for allowing immoral propaganda to take place in a Catholic institution. I have no knowledge of the individuals concerned in this so I cannot very well judge them but I can judge that what they have done is wrong on the information I have.

    “I do not disregard the work of pro-life movements but I feel that it is two fold and the second aspect, the support, accompaniment and guidance of those who chose life is an extremely important role, that I feel the Church misses. ”

    I am glad to hear you do not disregard pro-life work and of course there is often lack of charity shown to those who have ended up in difficult positions. But there are very well worth activities in support of such people such as Life and others. Have a look at


    A girl similar to the one you quote gives a contrasting story:

    Ailidh McGeorge on March 10, 2010 said:

    I was 15yrs old when I fell pregnant with my oldest son. Sister Roseanne was amazing and they helped my family and myself through a very difficult time. My son is now 11yrs old and I know that without prolifes help things could have been so different for us both.
    Thank you with all my heart and I know that many more girls will be helped by you all

    Of course more needs to be done. I have campaigned for many years about our Premier Catholic Hospital in London and its lack of Catholicity. I would have liked to have seen a pro-life initiative there helping people in difficulties. Others have suggested they provide facilities to teach Natural Family Planning. But my pleas and those of others have fallen on deaf ears – the ears of those at the very top who had legal powers to do something but did nothing; they did not want to be judgmental like me! Instead they have allowed all sorts of immoral activities.

    “What would have been a positive thing to note about Heythrop’s SHAG week is that this year is the first year that there has been a heavy catholic input.” Good grief but I suppose one must be grateful for small mercies – perhaps things are turning for the better?

    I am all for dialogue and discussion and will be disappointed if that is your last contribution. By the way when Pope Francis talked about proselytising I think he was thinking of the Argentinian tradition of telling the natives that either they convert Catholicism or be put to death. I think “proselytising” has a more neutral meaning elsewhere!

  • Lynda

    I am a single mother of a young man. We are both loyal and obedient to the truth and authority of the Church, and the Natural Law. We are all tempted to sin, all sin, but are called to reject it, repent of it and keep trying not to sin but rather do good. The grace one receives from Confession, the Holy Eucharist, and making sacrifices and efforts to do good and avoid evil, help one to sin less and become a better person. What the Church teaches about sexual morality is objectively true and understandable by reason. I rely on Christ’s Church to always teach and uphold universal truth, Christ’s commandments. It is a sign of the love of the Church for mankind. Lying to someone and encouraging them to sin because it’s easier in a given situation or you think that person will like you as a result is a hateful thing to do, and at some point the person will probably realise you showed hate not love for his eternal soul. Thank you, Lord, for giving us your holy, apostolic Church to lead us towards sainthood with You in Heaven.

  • Lynda

    Conversion of souls is the mission of Our Lord’s Church on Earth, and all its members.

  • Positive Catholic

    Final points:

    1. My views are not “wishy washy” but positive. My issue is not with the teachings of the Catholic Church by any stretch of the imagination. I wish to criticise the method in which this blog uses and seems to think will help those see the errors of their ways. I am very certain that I have made this perfectly clear in my previous comments.

    2. I did not wish my final comment to be one that “invites” people to “attack”. I merely wished to hear the opinion of non-Catholics and hear how they would best respond to someone of the catholic faith and their views. Either myself, who advertises the positive thing the catholic Christian faith does or this blog, and maybe yourself, which in my opinion, makes people feel inferior and unworthy of any connection with the Church. I believe a positive experience of the Catholic Church is a great way to invite people into dialogue.

    I believe you have responded well to the information you have been given but I feel the information is extremely misguided and one sided.
    Examples of catholic/Christian input.
    1. The whole week started with a prayer event to pray for those involved and for the event, as well as issues regarding sex.
    2. There is also an open debate on abortion, with an obvious catholic student presence.
    3. A meeting of a pure in heart group. With prayer and open discussions on sex, chastity, and the catholic teaching of sex. (Theology of th body).
    4. There is also an evening of speeches, speeches from many different people, of different faiths and beliefs. 3 out of 7 speeches to be made on that evening are from the catholic/Christian perspective.
    This is all I can name from the top of my head. But I am very proud of the catholic presence at this SHAG week.

    The ohmy sex quiz is one event held for students to attend, attended by those who don’t follow the catholic teaching on sex. I disagree with this event but I am not going to ask for it to be stopped. This then only gives fuel for others to restrict the sharing of views, all views including them of the Catholic Church.

    In my comments I merely wish to urge those in the Catholic Church to be positive about their faith and creat good and positive experiences of the Catholic Church for others. That for me is being an example to others, one that is accessible and create a comfortable relationship for those who act immorally to be educated in the way of the Catholic Church.

    Finally, Pope Francis doesn’t just address his home region when he makes publics speeches. His words are universal and apply to us all. By being positive about our faith helps others to see the ‘benefits’ and the ‘goodness’ of a life in Christ. By only pointing out wrongs this marginalises those who already have the negative press view of the Catholic Church.

    Many thanks for taking the time to read my views.
    I hope they have had an impact.

    Prayers always,

    Positive Catholic.

    • ms Catholic state

      Positive Catholic……you are a wishy washy Catholic and you are missing the point. Catholic doctrine like the teachings of Christ are not up for discussion…..they are set in stone. So why is this being undermined in a catholic college? Nobody has the right to equate what is sinful with what is good…….so why are you doing it? You are leading young Catholics astray. Better a millstone were tied round their necks and they were cast into the depths of the ocean…..so said Jesus Christ of those who lead the young astray! And to think that abortion can be debated in a Catholic college is truly disgusting. Have you considered the voiceless victims of abortion……they are in Heaven already….but what of their enemies?

      I think it is time to hold the debate here…..in the College itself! It is time for some self examination on the part of all Catholic schools and colleges. This could be the first.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Dear Positive Catholic,

      I have tried to explain that when dialoguing with people it very much depends upon one’s audience as to what approach one uses. If I am talking to somebody outside the Church who supports abortion I use a quite different approach from what I would use if I was talking to a Catholic in a position of responsibility. If talking to the former I would not immediately attack him calling him a sinner etc but would try and convince him of the natural law arguments against abortion and also explain how the Church supports the dignity of all human beings and their right to life. If however I am addressing a Bishop who has allowed questionable things to happen which he could have stopped I would hope that it is not necessary to try and convince him of such things as I would assume that the evil of abortion of abortion was a given and I would challenge him as to why he has allowed certain things in a fairly robust manner.

      Here on this blog I and others are challenging Catholics in a position of responsibility in charge of the spiritual welfare of young people who have allowed certain things to happen. That requires a different approach from trying to convince non-catholics of the truth of Catholic doctrine. I quite agree that what we are saying is not likely to convince non-catholics but that is not our aim here. What we are trying to ensure is that these Catholics in a position of responsibility preach the Gospel of Christ and do not allow immoral activities on their premises.

      You write “I believe you have responded well to the information you have been given but I feel the information is extremely misguided and one sided”

      Well the information we have is that from the HSU website and what we have gathered from other websites. It is clear that a SHAG week is a kind of franchise of which Ohhmy is not only one of the sponsors but has been invited to take part in HSU’s S week. Now if you look at websites for other S weeks you will find the involvement of the LGBT lobby, the Terence Higgins Trust and in the case of Maynooth a speaker openly advocating abortion. When we look at HSU’s website we wonder whether there is any difference. It starts with a poster for the week which one would think describes the subjects to be discussed or are they to be promoted? One immediately wonders. There is then a list of events:

      Ecumenical Prayer – one wonders whether that has any Catholic content?

      Next we have the Sex Quiz organised by Ohhmy. Well it seems that we do not have to convince you that that was undesirable but you were not prepared to ask for it to be stopped on the grounds that to do so would only give fuel “for others to restrict the sharing of views”. Were you in any position to stop this I ask? But this is not about sharing views but actively promoting all sorts of sexual deviancy. You only have to look at the Ohhmy website to see that. And this is the nub of the problem. HSU describes it as ‘fab’ and ‘fabled’. They are thereby joining in that promotion of deviancy. For the rest of the week there are various events none of which have any obviously Catholic input. So that is the information which we had to start with and it was very worrying.

      You have now given us additional information:

      “2. There is also an open debate on abortion, with an obvious catholic student presence.
      3. A meeting of a pure in heart group. With prayer and open discussions on sex, chastity, and the catholic teaching of sex. (Theology of the body).
      4. There is also an evening of speeches, speeches from many different people, of different faiths and beliefs. 3 out of 7 speeches to be made on that evening are from the catholic/Christian perspective.
      This is all I can name from the top of my head. But I am very proud of the catholic presence at this SHAG week. ”

      Well 3 sounds encouraging but what happened at 2 & 4? Perhaps you could let us know. But it is your last remark that worries me. If the S week was being held at some other non-Catholic college you could be proud that there was Catholic input but surely you cannot be proud that this SHAG week was held at a Catholic college where the Catholic input appears to have been minimal?

      And again I ask what would you do when faced by openly immoral propaganda or activity? Do you just walk on the other side and say you cannot be judgemental? Or do you take positive action to stop this?

      To-days first reading is particularly apt:

      “If I may use human terms to help your natural weakness: as once you put your bodies at the service of vice and immorality, so now you put them at the service of righteousness for your sanctification.
      When you were slaves of sin, you felt no obligation to righteousness, and what did you get from this? Nothing but experiences that now make you blush, since that sort of behaviour ends in death.”

  • ms Catholic state

    Our so called Catholic schools and colleges must be challenged to show that they are truly Catholic….or be reformed so that they are……..instead of giiving false and misleading notions to parents and students.

  • BJC

    Positive Catholic

    You seem to me to be a typical wishy-washy liberal catholic. However, you claim “my issue is not with the teachings of the Catholic Church by any stretch of the imagination”. That being the case can you tell us whether you agree with any of the following:

    1. Rejection of Humanae Vitae – acceptance of contraception
    2. Church’s teaching on conscience to be replaced by a more flexible individual approach
    3. Women priests
    4. LGBTs to be able to have full sexual relationships and the Church neither to criticise this or call it sinful
    5. The Magisterium of the Church to be replaced by a Magisterium of the People; morals and teachings of the Church to be decided in a more ‘democratic’ way using the sensus fidelium.

  • Lynda

    Positivity is a neutral term. Behaviour can be positively evil or positively good.

  • Positive Catholic

    This is a blog on the World Wide Web, it is open to all, to be read by all. Your audience is not only Catholics. This blog and the comments on it are read and experienced by whoever wishes to read it, Catholics, non Catholics, non believers, Muslims, Jews, etc.

    Ecumenical prayer was a great success attended by many Catholics. Catholics and others prayed together, peacefully.

    Today is Thursday, many events are still yet to happen.

    I think you’re wrong when you say the catholic input is minimal.

    I have given my thoughts on the week, I have voiced my catholic opinion. I have not just ‘walked on the other side’. I just haven’t done it in a way that pushes people away from me making further dialogue impossible.

    And in response to BJC, I do not agree with any of the 5.

    • BJC

      Positive Catholic

      Fair enough, but when someone comes on a blog wagging their finger and starts calling their fellow Catholics “judgemental”, I fear the worst. It’s usually the code word for “I’m a liberal”. I don’t agree with what you’ve done by the way, and the whole SHAG event to me just undermines the faith.

      • Positive Catholic

        You don’t agree with what I’ve done? What have I done?

        • BJC

          Positive Catholic

          This is tedious. You are tedious.

          Look at the previous post on 18th October for my comments. I’d also agree with the criticism you’ve got here from other posters. I don’t have anything to add to that.

      • Positive Catholic

        I don’t want to go into a whole “liberal Catholic” debate, but we are one Church, one family, and one body of Christ. Let’s start acting like one.

        • BJC

          Positive Catholic

          Take you own advice. The actions of Heythrop have just added to a division in the Body of Christ. Please don’t ask why – just look at the criticism you’ve got from previous posters and my comments on a previous post.

    • ms Catholic state

      Positive Catholic….why do you ignore the points made to you?! I won’t say what I think of your behaviour…as I think Deacon Nick will not print it. In a secular college debate with secularists by Catholics, is absolutely vital. But a Catholic college is for teaching and upholding the Catholic Faith. All who enter a Catholic college should respect the Catholic Faith and traditions, otherwise they should look for another College. It is not part of a Catholic college’s remit to accommodate pagan beliefs…ESPECIALLY when they contradict the Catholic doctrines and ethos of a college, and lead young people astray.

      As I say…Im disgusted with the trashing of Catholic educational establishments…by vile people who are wolves in sheep’s clothing and worse.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Dear Positive Catholic,

      Perhaps I should have said “persons whom I am addressing” rather than audience. Of course I realise that there may be just about anybody reading this. It would be preferable, in many cases, to deal with these matters privately but I am afraid the experience of many of us is that writing to people who are responsible for something is of little use as you just get ignored. Publicity then becomes the only weapon left.

      It would certainly be interesting to hear what a practising Jew or Muslim thought of this debate. One of the accusations often thrown at the Catholic Church is of hypocrisy – saying one thing but in practice doing something different. The Church takes a very firm line on morality but then you find Catholics who act contrary to that morality, who speak against it or publicly reject it; thus justifying the accusations of hypocrisy. The advantage of blogs like this is that some of this hypocrisy and other problems can be exposed where often as not the Catholic Press keeps clear of them for a variety of reasons.

      What were the ecumenical prayers about? One would hope that people prayed to be helped to be chaste.

      Maybe my use of the word “minimal” was going too far but it did seem to me that the Catholic input was somewhat hidden or in a minority. 3 out of 7 in a debate you tell me.

      Very glad to hear that you do not agree with any of the list of five errors given by BJC but as a positive Catholic no doubt you will be doing something to counter them?

  • Positive Catholic

    “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

      Have some sympathy with the Catholic youth who are being deliberately confused and misled….and have some respect for the One True Catholic Faith…..then you might find some sympathy here. It’s not all a one way street.

  • Lynda

    You misrepresent the terms “charity” and “compassion”.

  • Embarrassed Catholic

    I have read all of the posts regarding and I am angered at the attitude that has been presented towards Heythrop. It seems that people have made an opinion about a problem that should not have been created in the first place. I’m going to begin by offering a different light on this event. A lot of students that go to study at university are moving away from home for the first time. They see through various media that university life is full of binge drinking and going out trying to find someone to spend the night with because they don’t have anyone to answer to. Most universities don’t try and combat the problem until it’s far too late and the person(s) that had sex have got an STI. They should be being praised for the work they are doing to help their University Students understand the problems that are associated with having protected and unprotected sex. They’re facing a problem head on and the way it has been advertised is to target their audience. While people will feel the language used is inappropriate, it’s language that will grab someone’s attention and help someone from doing something that they might regret later on. I would like to ask the people that have disagreed with what Heythrop have done, their feelings about them having an LGBT society? Because I would have thought that a few people that have voiced their opinions would be more aggrieved by that, rather than an event that is offering help to its students. This whole matter has been blown so far out of proportion. As I’ve read this, I’ve been embarrassed to be a Catholic because it has shown how some of the people that I share my faith with, are unwilling to accept a current problem in another generation and allow kind-hearted people to address it.

    • Lynda

      This event is multiplying the problem, not dealing with it. You are quoting the liberal lies, fallen for the absurd propaganda.

      • Embarrassed Catholic

        It is not multiplying the problem. Everyone knows sex exists. You can’t avoid it in general life and if a union at a university is running an event to give guidance to students about their sexual health and how to stay safe, they should not be shot down for it. I have just finished university and there was no such support for any student there, so I find it a personal insult that you would say that I’ve fallen for the absurd propaganda when you see it happen to your friends in front of you. I suppose you’ve not seen it happen, and I’m glad because it can tear people apart. And while you might say God should smite them for sinning, Everyone deserves Reconciliation!

        • ms Catholic state

          STD’s are a result of not living by the Catholic Faith. They are self-inflincted. Sorry to be brutal….but what do you expect from the promiscuous life?! Rainbows and blue-birds?! And if someone is to reconcile….that means they have to turn from a life of sin. Go and sin no more as Christ said.

          Follow and teach the Catholic Faith in a Catholic college…or don’t go there. And you as a Catholic must ask yourself this question….if Heythorpe were to get new management and become a true Catholic college, would you even want to go there?! There’s a lot to be said for secular Catholics going to secular colleges. A lot.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      Embarassed Catholic: I quite agree with you that there should be programs to “help their University Students understand the problems that are associated with having protected and unprotected sex.” The problem is does Heythrop’s S Week really do this? On the first day there is an Ohhmy quiz night. If you visit Ohhmy’s website you will find a description of what they call the Experience i.e. the quiz:

      What is it?

      We’re asked this a lot!

      The Ohh My… Experience is our take on a traditional quiz. Not content with the standard format we’ve tweaked it to become more interactive, with more prizes, more fun, and of course being sexually related we are challenging old taboos and the stereotype of the British stiff upper lip attitude that such matters have to be kept behind closed doors.

      It’s a good step on the road towards sexual openness and wellness. In essence, it really is an experience.

      Is it a sex party?

      In a word… No!

      Yes we have questions and themes around sexual behaviour and scenarios but there is no sex or nudity (maybe the odd midriff and nipple slip) involved. We are providing entertainment and fun while hoping to teach you something along the way. We have no interest in making you feel uncomfortable or awkward. That’s just not cricket.

      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…


      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.

      Well what do you make of that? Is it not a gentle introduction to promiscuity, encouraging people to have sex and putting out the idea that there is something called safe sex or protected sex so that they need not worry. Do they get told that condoms are only 98% effective or that over a year the most careful couple using condoms have an 18% chance of getting pregnant – vide the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood Foundation)? Does it occur to you that there are some who have a vested financial interest in getting young people to believe that condoms are safe?

      I think there are other ways of addressing the problem you draw our attention to.

      By the way “Embarrassed” has a rather different meaning in Spanish and Portuguese!

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