University U-turn on appointment of Catholic chaplain

Nottingham University has reversed its decision to block the appointment of a new Catholic chaplain.

David Palmer (pictured) was nominated as Catholic chaplain to the University of Nottingham by Bishop Patrick McKinney.

But the university’s senior leadership rejected the appointment when the priest posted about abortion and euthanasia on Twitter.

Now, following “constructive and helpful dialogue” with Nottingham Diocese, the university has agreed to appoint Fr David to the role.

In a statement issued last week, the university announced “a revised procedure for the recognition of chaplains of all faiths who are nominated to work in the university chaplaincy”.

The new system involves the university working with the nominated chaplain and the sponsoring body – in this case, Nottingham Diocese – to explore if the candidate is suitable for multi-faith campus.

The process can take up to a year.

University Registrar, Paul Greatrix, said: “Our new recognition procedure will ensure that, in a spirit of support and collaboration, the university and faith leaders can welcome chaplains who will, absolutely, hold their faith primary whilst fully engaging with a multi-faith environment.”

Dr Greatrix said the university respected “our chaplains’ expression of the tenets of their faith”.

He added: “I look forward to Fr Palmer joining our chaplaincy team, and to him working on campus to provide the full ministry and pastoral support which is so valued in particular by our Catholic staff and students.”

The Bishop of Nottingham, Patrick McKinney, said: “I am very pleased that the university has now recognised my appointment of Father David Palmer as Catholic Chaplain, to work alongside the other university chaplains who give such great support to students and staff alike.

“It is my hope that the chaplaincy will always be a safe space for people of all faiths and none to be helped to discuss difficult issues.

“It is important that the Catholic Church can be a part of these conversations and contribute to individuals’ search for truth and meaning in their lives.”

Nottingham University currently has 11 chaplains as well as assistant and lay chaplains representing Christian, Jewish and Islamic beliefs.

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