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  • Research Seminar: School of Law and Justice - Common Law, Canon Law, and an Uncommon Adversary: Satanism and the Church of England

Research Seminar: School of Law and Justice - Common Law, Canon Law, and an Uncommon Adversary: Satanism and the Church of England

Presented by Marcus Harmes

Date: 28 April 2021
Time: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Venue: Online via Zoom
Contact: For more information, please contact  Anna Dean.
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Abstract:

English common law and Anglican canon law collided dramatically in October 1974, when a murder took place that many blamed on the Church of England as being an outcome of a botched Anglican exorcism. This presentation will explore the aftermath of the Church of England’s canon law reform of the mid-20th century and the weaknesses —both spiritual and legal — these reforms created as the Church sought to interpret and deal with the supernatural. Canon law reform was matched by a period of unprecedented popular interest in black magic, devil worship, Satanism, and witchcraft. This presentation draws on a current research project using previously sealed private papers from Church archives to explore how private anxiety among clergy about the supernatural and the Church of England involved canon law reform — a reform that seemed to have left the Church with no effective mechanisms for responding to supernatural evil as contextual society demonstrated unparalleled interest in this area.