University of Nottingham rejects Catholic Chaplain over abortion tweets

The University said its concern was not his views but the ‘manner in which these views have been expressed’

A Catholic Chaplain has been rejected by the University of Nottingham due to the nature in which he expressed his views on abortion and euthanasia.

Father David Palmer, of Nottingham, posted tweets criticising President Biden’s planned parenthood and abortion policies, suggesting that he was a hypocrite as these policies contradict the core values held by the Catholic Church. He referred to abortion as being the “slaughter of unborn children”.

Palmer also tweeted against the assisted dying bill introduced by Matt Hancock, former health secretary, as he said this was “allowing the NHS to kill the vulnerable”.

Due to the delivery manner of his opinions in the tweets, the University said he could not be recognised as an official chaplain, however, it would still permit him to deliver services as a guest speaker.

Palmer says the university are contradicting its diversity and inclusion stance. Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, he said: “[UoN] talk about diversity and inclusion but diversity means different beliefs – saying we want diversity and therefore you can’t have those beliefs is actually completely contrary to what diversity means.

“We now have this ridiculous situation where I can go in, say mass, preach in front of students on the campus but I’m not recognised as a chaplain to go in and hear confessions. The whole thing is just preposterous really.”

A spokesperson for University of Nottingham said: “The University of Nottingham values Catholic chaplaincy very highly as part of our multi-faith approach where dedicated chaplains provide invaluable support to staff and students of each faith.

“A University should be a place for the robust exchange of views and debate over ideas, and we have no issue with the expression of faith in robust terms – indeed we would expect any chaplain to hold their faith as primary.

“Our concern was not in relation to Father David’s views themselves, or the tenets of the Catholic faith which we fully respect, but the manner in which these views have been expressed in the context of our diverse community of people of many faiths.

“We are therefore grateful to the Bishop of Nottingham for his solution that the current chaplain remains the recognised chaplain and that Father David will attend the University campus each week to celebrate Sunday mass for staff and students.”