Credit: University of Nottingham

Nottingham Uni refuses Catholic chaplain .. because he posted against abortion and assisted suicide 

The University of Nottingham has refused to recognize a Catholic priest as a chaplain because he posted messages against abortion and assisted suicide on social media.

Fr David Palmer, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, had been named as a chaplain to the Catholic community at the University of Nottingham by local Bishop Patrick McKinney, Catholic News Agency reported.

However the University said that it had declined to give official recognition to Fr. David Palmer because they said had “concerns” about his posts on social media. They also tried to tell Fr Palmer what words he should have used when expressing his opinion.

“They referenced a tweet where I had referred to the proposed ‘assisted dying’ bill [introduced in Britain’s Parliament in May] as a bill to allow the NHS ‘to kill the vulnerable,’” Palmer told CNA via email on Aug. 26.

“I was told it was fine for me to have this opinion, but they were concerned with how I expressed it. When I asked how they would suggest I express it, quite remarkably, they suggested I should call it ‘end of life care,’ which is a completely unacceptable policing of religious belief.”

This week, Fr Palmer said on Twitter that the university also took issue to a second post in which he described abortion as the “slaughter of babies,” when commenting on the debate over U.S. President Joe Biden’s continuing to receive Holy Communion despite backing abortion almost withou restriction.

“Our concern was not in relation to Fr. David’s views themselves, but the manner in which these views have been expressed in the context of our diverse community of people of many faiths,” a spokesperson for the university told CNA.

Commenting on Fr Palmer’s case, columnist Olivia Utley said that the priest “expressed a belief that is intrinsic to being a Catholic” and asked if “five hundred years after the Reformation”, Catholics were “being hounded out of public life once again”.

Ms Utley also raised the previous actions of the University of Nottingham towards a pro-life student, Julia Rynkiewicz, who was blocked from graduating in midwifrey because she was actively involved in a pro-life student group. Her lecturers had complained and prompted a four-month fitness-to-practise investigation. Ms Rynkiewicz eventually secured an apology and a settlement from the University, but graduated a year late because of their actions.

Fr. Palmer’s bishop was asked to nominate another priest for the position of chaplain but he declined. Now Nottingham University says the priest can offer Mass on campus on Sundays as a “guest priest.” The University does not pay for chaplains.





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