The Ongoing Witness of UK University Chaplains

Share this:

On Aug. 25, England’s Nottingham University refused to “recognize” a Catholic priest, Father David Palmer, as university chaplain. The reason given: the way in which Father Palmer had expressed Church views on abortion and assisted suicide. 

In the ensuing dispute between the university and the local Catholic diocese, the United Kingdom’s Free Speech Union (FSU) wrote to the university authorities in support of Father Palmer. The FSU pointed out that the university had had a Catholic chaplain for 90 years without any difficulty and that the views Father Palmer had expressed were those of the Catholic Church. 

The FSU went on to point out that, in withholding recognition of Father Palmer, the university could be contravening the 2010 Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination on religious grounds, as well as “creating a hostile environment” for Catholic students and staff at Nottingham University.