back to article Catholic social club ousts coven of witches

The Diocese of Shrewsbury is risking soured milk and sickly cattle after deciding a coven of witches could not hold its annual shindig on Catholic premises. The Crystal Cauldron, led by High Priestess Sandra Davis, booked the Our Lady's Social Club in Shaw Heath, Stockport for the Witches' Ball, scheduled for October. …


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  1. Lloyd
    Dead Vulture

    scheduled for October????

    What date I wonder? 29th? 30th? Hmmmm......

  2. smudge Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Witch came first

    If the witch lady knew her stuff, she could always point out to the Rev how much the Catholic church had taken from older religions that they would regard as pagan.

    Hijacking the mid-winter Saturnalia festival, for example, and using that for Christmas.

    Taking spring fertility celebrations and using that for Easter (they didn't even bother to invent a new name for that one - look up the derivation of the word Easter if you don't know it.)

    Building their churches on sites that were sacred in the older religions.

    Even adopting the cross as their principal symbol.

    OTOH, I do think she had a bit of a cheek trying to get a church hall...

    Paris because she undoubtedly knows someone who would hire out a room to them.

  3. Fred 1

    Burn Em

    At least they have a candidate for their next Wicker Man celebration. >;>

  4. Big Duke Six


    There hasn't been a story more suited to plastic figurine based re-enactment for ages!

    Your public awaits...

  5. Martin Lyne
    Black Helicopters

    To be fair.. least they haven't been burnt at the stake.

    Why would you expect an organisation hardly known for it's abundant inclusivity and liberal thinking, to allow you to use their sacrosanct premises to entertain a polar opposite belief system?

    Would a pentangle of Satanists expect to be well recieved?

    Aren't the woods the ideal place for witchy gatherings? Or the Crystal Palace/Fortress if you want to be a smart arse.

    Aren't witches sexist, or do they allow warlocks?

    Where's the IT angle? :P

    Aren't we all God's/Gaia's children?

    Where's the Love?

    Why bother?

    All important questions.

  6. Arnold Lieberman

    Like Bringing Bacon Baps to a Barmitzvah

    Perhaps the Catholics should arrange for their next Inquisition to take place around the witches' cauldron.

  7. Frank 2


    or it didn't happen

  8. Steven 23
    IT Angle


    Catholics, witchcraft - fail to see the difference.

  9. Stephen Gray
    Thumb Down


    "Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church" but It would appear that gambling is OK...

  10. Grease Monkey


    Isn't discrimination on religious grounds illegal these days?

    Must remember to check the faith of any future bookings I take. Any Catholics will be barred on the ancient biblical principal of an eye for an eye. Or possibly the less biblical sauce for the goose.

  11. Bassey

    Sue them

    I'm not one for litigation, normally, but they should sue on the grounds of religious discrimination. Of course, the Catholics would probably argue that they answer to a higher power. And, as we all know, that higher power decrees love, peace and harmony - unless he doesn't like them, in which case he decrees mass murder\ethnic cleansing\smiting (choose your own preferred term).

  12. Anonymous Coward

    You can see why this wouldn't work

    It's a bit like Linux and Microsoft. Though witch is evil, I couldn't say...

  13. Peyton

    Everyone should lighten up

    Honestly, you summon a few measly spawn of Satan and suddenly the whole word is against you. sheesh

    ""We thought we were bridging the gap with other religions..."

    To be fair, the parish simply told them to go away. Beats getting burned at the stake for your troubles. I'd call that progress.

    Flames for the cauldron of course.

  14. Rob 30

    ban catholics!

    yeah, i don't want people with incompatible beliefs living in my country, lets burn 'em all for food & fuel and use the churches to house the homeless.

    if their god objects he'll do something about it, surely.

  15. Ray0x6

    Burn thee, Wytche and Catholicke!

    This is naught but an vile anachronistic bedevilrie, I prithee! Such individuall as aforespoke hath not one place in this time of heathen rationalry. Mark these words and return their wicked sowells back from whence they hath arrived, to the century of playgue, fylth and Shaykespyr. Or, at the verrie least, By The Lord's Dyvyne Hand, removeth of their besmyrcked fayces their 3G moabyl telyphoans and of their desk the broad-banded inter webbe for of this madjick, they have not an atomme of apprecyation.

    Curseth they awl! And a pox on their festivities and diseased halls, both!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    This doesn't suprise me...

    ...although the church was much more welcome in days past. Just think a couple of hundred years ago and they would've laid on a nice fire with steaks all round, and maybe organised a nice dip in a nearby river.

    ...I'll get me coat.

    On a serious note, I wish them good luck in finding another venue, and that all goes well.

  17. Stef 4
    Thumb Up

    Silly pagans...

    They should be drinking Christ's blood and eating his body like the rest of us, instead of their silly rituals.

  18. Langalf
    IT Angle

    Get over it

    Well, it IS their building. I don't know about the U.K., but in the U.S. the diocese would be free to bar anyone they feel is imcompatible with their religious viewpoint.

  19. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Hire the hall for a performance of the Mass

    Don't tell them you meant Plague Mass by Diamanda Galás. (She has a stunning voice ;-)

  20. Gerard Krupa

    Compatible Faiths

    "Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church. In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met."

    So they only let Catholics in. Nobody, not even other Christian doctrines are compatible with the cult of the trinity and their confession-based get out of Hell free card, their bigotry and sex discrimination and their penchant for symbolically drinking the blood of a long-dead Syrian man.

  21. Ben 10

    Oust these backward religions!

    Too right we should have nothing to do with a weird barbaric cult who gather and pretend to munch on the flesh of their deity's offspring... oh wait that's the catholics!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, really.

    "Witch party refused use of Catholic Hall". Theres a surprise.

    I'm still waiting to hear from Greenpeace to see if they'll let Clarkson hold an annual "Top-Gear fanfest" on their premises, or whether Gordon Brown will let out No.10 to the Conservative Party for use in their "Get Gordon Out!" campaign.

  23. Cameron Colley

    Hypocritial or not sure?

    They don't believe in the Catholic faith yet they want to pay them to use their premises? So, either they like to support other contradictory belief systems (they may not disprove of Catholicism but it does disprove of them, strongly), in which case they obviously aren't sure about their own, or they believe in both faiths in which case they're hypocrites.

    It amazes me that there are people out there who like to pay churches when they don't believe in them. Much like people who buy Windows just to moan about it, I suppose.

  24. LuMan
    IT Angle

    Not surprised, really

    Coming from a Catholic background I'm not at all surprised by this. I've always found followers of the faith to be somewhat stuffy and old-fashioned (rightly or wrongly). But, then again, would your local Catholic church give over its building for a meeting of Muslims, Protestants or (Heaven forbid) Evangelists?? Possibly not.

    It's a shame for the witches. I hope someone else offers them a venue. If not, maybe they could turn the local Catholic priest into a frog.

  25. Paul Hates Handles


    ...not unexpected... but the churches shouldn't get tax haven status anymore. Make them pay tax like everyone else :)

  26. cybersaur 1
    Thumb Down

    Clash of the invisible sky fairies!

    I don't know what the laws are like across the pond, but this would be a legal no no in the former colonies. Once you make facilities available to the general public you can't discriminate against who can rent them out.

    it baffles me that people still believe in all this superstitious junk in the 21st century. H00mans are so silly.

  27. Nemesii

    Holding a rap concert at the KKK meeting grounds

    What is this woman complaining about the catholics might have stupid beliefs but they are their beliefs and if they don't want to hold another religion's party on their grounds that's fair enough.

  28. Dan Breen


    I see where the problem lays. If witchcraft and paganism was as intolerant and bigoted as the Catholic church appear to be then they would have been allowed in quite happily I guess.

    Given the amount of Pagan beliefs that all churches in Britain have co-opted in their crusade to convert people in years gone by I'm suprised they could tell the difference.

  29. Andy 22

    Ha ha.

    Could it be that the choice of a church for their little get-together was not entirely innocent? Possibly, in fact, to get a little media attention when they were turned away?

    Perhaps that would explain why the tickets were printed before the venue had been paid for?

    No, of course not. That's not the kind of thing anyone would do.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They can't find somewhere else before October?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just this once

    The church should honor its contractual agreement and then start enforcing its new rental policy. They made a mistake by allowing them in and for some reason this group was dumb enough to ask a catholic church to rent its premises.

    I completely understand why the catholic church doesn't want them there (and I'm an atheist), but I still find the whole thing of the past rental amusing. Seriously... who approved it?

    Applicant: We'd like to rent your hall.

    Chuch: What do you plan on doing?

    Applicant: Just your normal witchy pagan activities.

    Church: As long as it doesn't involve a priest and kid, I think we're good to go!

  32. Andy Bright

    Retard Alert

    "Does the Church check everyone's beliefs"

    Extraordinarily classic. A group of people that think they're hobbits not only tried to insult their arch nemesis by having a party in their club house, but then had the brilliance to ask the mother of all stupid questions when the attempt fails.

    Are you sure this wasn't a coven of retards? Do they need a reminder of what the International Pedophile Club used to do to people they thought where witches over the last couple thousand years?

    They ought to know that the only magic tricks allowed are from the babies of virgins that can walk on water, turn wine into beer (or something) and whose blood is a fine claret.

    For an encore why not go to church next Sunday and ask for 'kings'* instead of salvation.

    *If they're allowed to play at being witches in real life, I'm allowed to pretend the local vicar is a pally who can grant me World of Warcraft magical enhancements.

  33. Anonymous John


    I thought they danced naked in the woods.

  34. Richard North
    Paris Hilton

    @ Cameron Colley

    "they obviously aren't sure about their own, or they believe in both faiths in which case they're hypocrites."

    There's no hypocracy involved in believing there's more than one way to recognise divinity, and that no one path is 'the one true way'...

    I'm not connected with that coven - or indeed any other - but I'd suggest one reason for the use of a church hall is that in many places there's not much alternative... not every town has a suitable-sized hall for group rituals, that also has sufficient parking, accomodation nearby for people coming from a distance etc, other than the church hall.

    Of course, the 'tabloid' image of paganism , as illustrated by whichever numbskull above was talking about 'Wickerman' doesn't help when you're trying to find a venue either...

    As for discrimination against pagans in the UK, it's easy to sidestep the law because at the moment there's no officially-accepted definition of 'pagan' that any reasonable percentage of pagans can sign up to - 'pagan' is an umbrella-term that covers a huge variety of belief and practice... you've got more hope of herding cats than pigeon-holing pagans, it's in their nature to be in a constant state of flux because the pagan life-journey is all about 'the quest to learn' rather than claiming to 'already know everything' the way most faiths do.

    Blessed Be, Richard

    (Paris, because she'd look good skyclad. ;-) )

  35. Seán

    For the record

    The Inquisition killed about 150 people in the course of 400 years, the protestants killed 25,000 people in a much shorter time for being witches. It's a typical WASP rewriting of history, like saying Ronnie Reagan was the greatest president.

  36. Bill Fresher
    Thumb Down

    @ Dan Breen

    It's very difficult to call someone or something intolerant and bigoted without coming across as an intolerant bigot yourself.

  37. Toastan Buttar

    Re: Compatible faiths

    "and their penchant for symbolically drinking the blood of a long-dead Syrian man."

    Actually, proddies do that wine and bread thing too, during Communion.

  38. Andrew 51
    IT Angle

    come off it

    Do you expect the Conservative Association to be allowed to hold a meeting at the Labour Club?

  39. Langalf

    By the way, they did not burn witches ...

    It is a common misconception that witches were burned. Mostly, witches were hanged, while heretics were burned.

    Also, before someone starts down this path ... the "burning times", as commonly conceived, is an urban legend. Most of the people hung as witches in the late middle ages were Christian, and about half were men. Mostly, it was a Protestant, not a Catholic phenomena. There was no "wicca' in Europe at that time; they are a 20th Century movement.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Let me guess.

    Witches are people who believe in some mad idea like magic, whereas Catholics believe, quite rationally that a hairy faced man sitting on a cloud created the universe in 6 days, and then rested.

    Oh, and he can read all our thoughts.

  41. anarchic-teapot

    "a steaming cauldron of witches' brew"

    Well, if they're drinking their homebrew before it's finished fermenting, they're asking for trouble. Remember: always rack, filter, and cool with a baboon's blood before bottling.

  42. l353a1

    Discrimination against witches

    The witches should take legal advice, as it is now against the law to discriminate against one's customers on the basis of religion or belief.

  43. mistakenid

    They should have seen it coming

    What a load of self-righteous clap trap. Anyone is entitled to make an assessment about whether some else 'fits the bill' when it comes to making resources that we own or have entrusted to our care available to others. Hence: car hire companies make decisions about who can drive their cars; landlords about who they will rent their property to; even a shop keeper is entitled not to sell to someone if they choose not to. What 'the law' has to say about such 'discrimination' is another matter (in fact it varies quite widely), but all of us make such judgements all the time.

    To pompously rave on about the evil Catholics merely reveals the level of prejudice some of us carry towards that institution, not to mention the varying levels of ignorance that accompany it.

    Ah well, it ever was thus; both tedious and predictable. As for the witches; were they trying to be clever, or did they just not realise who the hall belonged to? I'm sorry for them if that was the case, but otherwise it's like the man who walked into a bar---he should have seen it coming!

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Silly sods

    Speaking from experience, there are plenty of churches who hire out space to pagans or the like, as long as you're fairly discreet and wash up any dishes and cups afterwards. This woman clearly doesn't understand the implicit understanding about being discreet, that's all. This talk about it being "discriminatory" is ridiculous -- I bet the woman didn't mention they were witches when they booked, and if they had they would have reasonably been turned away immediately, just like the Hell's Angels, etc., but now that she been "offended" she can play the "oppressed minority" card to gain attention. Any sane person would just book another venue; but then anyone else wouldn't be able to get this kind of publicity -- look at the shot in the Telegraph where they've all got dressed up in robes (Is that Sally Griffin in the background? She's looking old these days...) -- and it becomes obvious this has been done more with the intent of promoting paganism than for airing a genuine grievance. Of course the church in question (like any other non-public place) is entitled to refuse anyone they damn well please -- what a pathetic whinge!

    In the wider context, pagans have experienced a few problems in the past over employment discrimination and the like, but they're no longer a genuinely oppressed minority. A few of them do, however, still have a lot of access to the media because of the contacts that were made at the time of the Satanic Ritual Abuse scandals. Hence today's entertainment. Ultimately, paganism is a large minority with a lot of media clout, but more importantly it has a lot of young women who like to dance naked, so I've always been a keen supporter and I wouldn't say a word against it. ;-)

  45. Tel

    So witches want access to churches...

    Pagans request access to christian premises to conduct their rituals and are refused.

    Boo hoo.

    I doubt Muslims would be allowed to worship in synagogues or vice-versa and I don't expect anyone would see anything unusual in that. Why are people whining here?

    Oh, I know... because it's easy to Catholic-bash and get away with it.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strict rules

    "Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church"...

    So if you don't believe that God's representative on Earth is an aged ex-Nazi with such kind eyes, then you're on the no-no list.

  47. Lupus
    Thumb Up

    @ Andy Bright


    And it's about the only thing that would get me into a church.

  48. Chris C

    Catholic teachings

    "That's too bad, according to the Diocese of Shrewsbury's Reverend John Joyce, who confirmed: 'Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church. In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met.'"

    Most Catholics I know are NOT compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church. Then again, even the Catholic church itself isn't. One of their most sacred rules is "Thou shalt not kill", but look at what they do to family planning clinics and abortion doctors. Let's not forget the Crusades. Then, of course, there's "Thou shalt not commit adultery", etc. There's the idea (belief?) put forth that god forgives, yet the second commandment clearly states "for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" (punishing the children for the sins of their fathers). That doesn't sound like forgiveness (or love) to me.

    There are far too many inconsistencies and contradictions within the Catholic religion (and Christianity in general) to put any faith in it. Having said that, all Witches should know that Christianity, especially Catholicism, will never accept them. Never. To think that you can bridge the gap and even be tolerated, let alone accepted, is nothing but hopeless insanity.

    As for discrimination, in the US, Christians are pretty much allowed to do whatever the hell they want. After all, they make the laws. Case in point: Christian pharmacists who refuse to give the morning after pill to women who are concerned they may be pregnant. The law says that that's OK, that it's acceptable for them to refuse to give women the morning after pill if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. These Christian nutcases have even refused to give the pill to women who were raped. They say that the woman must bear her rapist's child. The "sanctity of life" is apparently more important than the physical and emotional pain, and miserable life, for both the woman and the bastard child. And we thought Nightmare on Elm Street was fiction.

    Before anyone gets all huffy, this is not an indictment of all Christians. I know a lot of Christians, even some Catholics, who are good, decent people. But then, that's only because they live by their own moral code instead of taking everything literally from endlessly-translated 2000-year-old documents. Religion is a very personal thing. You don't need anyone else to tell you how to have faith or how to interpret the various texts. After all, nobody in the Christian world has officially been spoken to by god, therefore their interpretations of the various texts are no more important than yours.

  49. Cameron Colley

    @Richard North

    "There's no hypocracy involved in believing there's more than one way to recognise divinity, and that no one path is 'the one true way'..."

    Of course there is -- the Catholic faith forbids the worship of any other than their "God". Either you believe that or you don't, but if you're a "Witch" you demonstrably don't.

    Believe what you like but please, at least, make sure that you're consistent -- otherwise it's hard to follow the latest incarnation.

  50. Mycho Silver badge

    The whole discrimination thing

    You know, since Royal Mail PLC vs Holden they might actually have a case. At least for stopping church halls being disguised as community centers.


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