V. A. Demant

Vigo Auguste Demant FRAI[9] (1893–1983), known as V. A. Demant, was an English Anglican priest, theologian, and social commentator. He was one of the 14 committee members who served on the Wolfenden Report on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution.

V. A. Demant

Vigo Auguste Demant

(1893-11-08)8 November 1893
Died3 March 1983(1983-03-03) (aged 89)
Headington, England
Marjorie Tickner
(m. 1925)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Anglican)
ChurchChurch of England
  • 1919 (deacon)
  • 1920 (priest)
Congregations served
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Sub-disciplineMoral theology[7]
School or traditionAnglo-Catholicism[6]
InstitutionsChrist Church, Oxford
InfluencedWilliam Temple[8]

Early life and educationEdit

Demant was born on 8 November 1893 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.[10] He was educated in Newcastle, England, and in Tournan, France.[11][12] He studied engineering at Armstrong College, Durham.[10][13] He then studied theology at Manchester College, Oxford.[11][13][verification needed]


Ordained ministry and academiaEdit

Demant had originally intended to become a Unitarian minister, but became attracted to Catholicism while studying at the University of Oxford[13] and was received into the Church of England in 1918.[10] He trained for Holy Orders at Ely Theological College, an Anglo-Catholic theological college in Ely, Cambridgeshire.[11]

Demant was ordained as a deacon in 1919 and as a priest in 1920.[14] He served curacies at St Thomas the Martyr's Church, Oxford; St Michael and All Angels Church, Summertown, Oxford; St Nicholas' Church, Plumstead, London; and All Saints' Church, Highgate, London.[15] From 1929 to 1933, he was an assistant priest at St Silas Church, Kentish Town.[16]

Demant became Vicar of St John the Divine, Richmond, in 1933 and nine years later he became a canon of St Paul's Cathedral.[17] He served as canon chancellor of the cathedral from 1942 to 1948 and as canon treasurer from 1948 to 1949.[1] He was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford from 1949 to 1971.[11]

Other workEdit

Demant served on the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution.[18] The committee's report, known as the Wolfenden report,[citation needed] was published in September 1957 and, disregarding the conventional ideas of the day,[citation needed] recommended that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence."[19]

Demant was a regular broadcaster on the BBC's Third Programme in the 1950s.[20] He supported Maurice Reckitt in founding the Christendom Trust to encourage and fund research into the application of Christian social thought.

Later lifeEdit

Demant retired from his post at Oxford to a cottage in Headington, Oxfordshire, in 1971.[21] He died there on 3 March 1983 at the age of 89.[22]


  • The Just Price (1930)
  • This Unemployment: Disaster or Opportunity? (1932)
  • God, Man and Society: An Introduction to Christian Sociology (1933)
  • Christian Polity (1936)
  • The Religious Prospect (1939)
  • Theology of Society: More Essays in Christian Polity (1947)
  • Our Culture: Its Christian Roots and Present Crisis (1947)
  • The Responsibility and Scope of Pastoral Theology To-Day (1950)
  • Religion and the Decline of Capitalism (1952)
  • The Elements of Christianity (1955)
  • A Two-Way Religion (1957)
  • Christian Sex Ethics (1963)
  • The Idea of a Natural Order (1966)
  • Why the Christian Priesthood Is Male (1972)

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 4.
  2. ^ Markham & Faulstich 2018, pp. 17–18.
  3. ^ Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 17.
  4. ^ Markham & Faulstich 2018, pp. 16–17.
  5. ^ Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 15.
  6. ^ Brewett-Taylor 2018, p. 58.
  7. ^ Crowe 2018, p. 200.
  8. ^ Brown 1979, p. 170.
  9. ^ Brown 1979, pp. 511–512.
  10. ^ a b c Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 3.
  11. ^ a b c d "Demant, Rev. Vigo Auguste" 2014.
  12. ^ Boyd, Therese. "Vigo Auguste Demant". Gifford Lectures. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "Rev Dr V. A. Demant". The Times (61474). 7 March 1983. p. 10.
  14. ^ Brown 1979, p. 511; Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 3.
  15. ^ Brown 1979, p. 511; Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 4.
  16. ^ "Priests of S. Silas". London: Saint Silas Church, Kentish Town. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  17. ^ Brown 1979, p. 511; Markham & Faulstich 2018, pp. 4–5.
  18. ^ Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution 1957, pp. 1–2; Grimley 2009, pp. 727, 732.
  19. ^ Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution 1957, p. 25.
  20. ^ "Religion: Will Civilization Survive?". Time. Vol. 56 no. 2. New York. 1950. p. 62. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  21. ^ Markham & Faulstich 2018, p. 7.
  22. ^ Markham & Faulstich 2018, pp. 3, 7.


Brewett-Taylor, Sam (2018). Christian Radicalism in the Church of England and the Invention of the British Sixties, 1957–1970: The Hope of a World Transformed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780198827009.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-882700-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Brown, Margaret Kay (1979). The Idea of a Christian Social Order: Aspects of Anglican Social Thought in England, 1918–1945 (PhD thesis). Canberra: Australian National University. hdl:1885/10002.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (1957). Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (PDF). London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Cmnd 247. Retrieved 9 October 2018.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Crowe, Ian (2018). "Edmund Burke's Peerage". In Avramenko, Richard; Alexander-Davey, Ethan (eds.). Aristocratic Souls in Democratic Times. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. pp. 199–221. ISBN 978-1-4985-5327-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
"Demant, Rev. Vigo Auguste". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. 2014. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U163518.
Grimley, Matthew (2009). "Law, Morality and Secularisation: The Church of England and the Wolfenden Report, 1954–1967". The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. 60 (4): 725–741. doi:10.1017/S0022046908005952. ISSN 1469-7637.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Markham, Ian S.; Faulstich, Christine (2018). "Setting V. A. Demant in Context". The Penumbra of Ethics: The Gifford Lectures of V. A. Demant with Critical Commentary and Assessment. By Demant, V. A. Markham, Ian S.; Faulstich, Christine (eds.). Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books. pp. 3–19. ISBN 978-1-4982-9779-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Mortimer
Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology
Succeeded by
Peter Baelz