The cancelling of Fr Pullicino should mark the beginning of the fightback

Apr 11, 2023 by

by Gavin Ashenden, Christian Today:

Christians are at last beginning to stir from their post-linguistically-mugged lethargy, and fighting back.

When Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, he was inviting us not to retaliate for the sake of our personal pride. But the struggle against evil is one that we are supposed to involve ourselves in by prayer and intelligent spiritual strategy.

The first step may simply be seeking justice as Fr Pullicino did when he was cancelled by an NHS hospital trust as a Catholic priest.

Fr Pullicino is the rare combination of being not only a priest but at the same time a medical doctor with a distinguished career as a consultant neurologist. He was an ideal hospital chaplain.

So when he was asked to take a walk with a patient in a psychiatric ward and give his advice about the Church’s teaching (as detailed in the report here on 31st March) he might have expected to be able to speak both as a doctor and a priest protected by the law under the Equality Act and the working practices of the hospital.

And since, after he was sacked, the Trust settled with him, he would have been right to. But, the fact that the working practices on the ground or in the institution seem to continually find against chaplains at first instance, we have to ask why the popular understanding of the law and the culture the law is supposed to embody is so misunderstood.

Why is there such a popular reflex prejudice against the Christin faith and against the clergy who act as chaplains in secular institutions?

The Trust responded: “We remain absolutely committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for our patients, staff and communities.

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