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Christian Legal Centre
Rev Dr Patrick Pullicino.jpg
Christian Legal Centre
World News

Catholic chaplain takes legal action against NHS Trust for alleged sacking over his religious beliefs

by Kelly Valencia

A Catholic chaplain is taking legal action against an NHS Trust in London, alleging discrimination.

Rev Dr Patrick Pullicino claims he was made redundant for answering a gay patient's question about same-sex marriage.

In 2019, a male patient had specifically requested to see a Catholic priest - Rev Pullicino was subsequently assigned to visit him in one of the mental health wards.

While on a walk, the patient sought the priest's opinion on marrying his partner, to what Rev Pullicino asked, "Have you considered what God might say to you about this?"

Unhappy with the answer, the patient complained to the South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust.

In a response letter to the complaint, the acting executive director of the Trust apologised and said the policy on Equality and Diversity of the Trust holds greater importance than religious beliefs.

The letter also alleged Rev Pullicino said he had told the patient he would "go to hell" if he married his partner – words the chaplain denies having said.

A few months after the incident, Rev Pullicino had his contract terminated "due to the budgetary constraint" - he claims it was harassment and victimisation.

Rev Dr Patrick Pullicino is now pursuing a legal claim with Christian Legal Centre's support.

Andrea Williams, executive director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "How many more of these cases do we need before society wakes up? We need to see an end to the ideology of equality and diversity riding roughshod over the Christian faith and treating it with such little respect."

She continued: "This story is one in a long line of stories that sends a chilling message to NHS chaplains that you can no longer respond to questions on human sexuality with standard biblical teaching. You must self-censor, affirm at all costs, or face the consequences."

A spokesperson for the Trust told Premier: "Whilst we can't comment on active legal proceedings, we are absolutely committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) for all our staff, patients and communities.

"We have an EDI policy which we actively promote and with which we expect all our staff members to comply. We respect and celebrate all the protected characteristics of our staff, patients and communities equally.

"We take seriously our responsibility to ensure patients' spiritual needs are met and we oppose any form of discrimination. We seek to protect all of our patients and members of staff in line with the Equality Act 2010."

The hearing is set to take place in July at Croydon Employment Tribunal.

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