Row erupts over hospital chapel

Row erupts over hospital chapel

A proposal that a Catholic chapel at North Manchester General Hospital should be turned into a Muslim prayer room has been met with outrage.

People signing a petition launched by Catholic priest Father Ged Murphy, of St Patrick’s and St Malachy’s parish in Collyhurst, above, has attracted over 6,000 signatures from people who are furious, especially as there are existing facilities for Muslims at the hospital.

It is reported here that there are already two Muslim prayer rooms operated there according to Islamic gender apartheid rules, but the one for males does not have washing facilities.

Murphy’s petition was prompted by a letter issued to RC parishes by the Catholic chaplaincy team at the hospital. In it the Rev Ray Matus, of St Chad’s RC Church in Cheetham Hill, said:

We write to inform you of a proposal by the Spiritual Care Chaplaincy Team at North Manchester General Hospital to close the Roman Catholic Chapel of St Raphael in order to convert it into a Muslim prayer room.

Worship spaces are going to be provided for Muslims, Jews, and Protestant Christians, and even a ‘Quiet Room’ for people of no faith at all. Yet it is proposed that Catholics should have no space of their own.

If the plan goes ahead, Catholics would share the existing Protestant chapel.

Matus said a Spiritual Care Team meeting is due to discuss the issue on Tuesday next week and he urges the Catholic community to sign the petition.

Murphy said:

The chapel has been there for about 15 years. It is welcoming and people get great comfort there. Different faiths use it.

It is used during the week for Mass. We are not against the Muslim community having a prayer room, but don’t see the sense in taking away a chapel that is serving one community to serve another.

But Rev John Hall, Chaplaincy Co-ordinator at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, insists that the matter is still under discussion.

We recognise and fully support the important role of faith leaders in supporting patients, carers, relatives and staff during often difficult times in hospital. We also make great efforts to ensure that we have dedicated rooms and facilities which meet the needs of various faiths and also for people of no faith.

We have a number of different chapels and rooms at North Manchester General Hospital and we are currently looking at how these are used so that we have the best possible arrangements that meet everyone’s needs.

He added:

We have no plans to close any facilities including the Catholic chapel. We are about to start consultation with the local community, faith groups and relevant staff members to discuss all our current issues and to listen to all views and opinions. This meeting is currently being organised and a meeting time agreed.

A hospital spokesman confirmed that one proposal was to close St Raphael’s and use it as a Muslim prayer room.

Manchester councillor Pat Karney, said:

I am very disturbed to hear of these plans. Thousands of catholic families in north Manchester including my own have used this mini chapel. I will be meeting with the hospital bosses to clarify their intentions.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

20 responses to “Row erupts over hospital chapel”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Why doesn’t he pray about it?

  2. .Korgu says:

    You can rely on the pious for one thing … Put those of different faiths in proximity to each other and conflict is guaranteed. Like flame and petrol….matter and antimatter ….. fluorine and hydrogen ….. Mix volatile entities together and watch the fireworks ….. from a safe distance.
    At least in this case, after the violence has kicked off. The protagonists are close to medical facilities for treatment …. And there is a morgue on site there too. Hospitals are for patients.

  3. Brummie says:

    Why not turn it into a pub? That would REALLY serve the community.

  4. Barry Duke says:

    @ Brummie. Or a ward to treat people with faith-derangement syndrome.

  5. L.Long says:

    I always thought a chapel (at least in USA military) was a common room for praying to which ever fiend you wish too. So why not let muslins pray there??
    Of coarse the muslins will have to over haul it and not allow any girl cuties to enter.
    Personally just shut it down and turn it into some thing useful.

  6. Broga says:

    Quite an entertaining little spat when viewed as an atheist from the sidelines.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    Surely the one, the only, the genuine article supreme being should have no difficulty whatsoever in stepping up, clarifyng millennia of confusion and telling these idiots (as well as the rest of us) who’s actually boss? Strange that in the 2,000 years since the iron-age, goat-herding retards began trying to explain god’s will to the rest of us he hasn’t showed up in a blaze of glory to simply tell us what the truth is. But then, if your faith is based on people who couldn’t even explain rainfall, maybe you’re barking up the wrong burning bush if you expect them to have the answers for life, the universe and everything.

  8. barriejohn says:

    AC: At the time of the Exodus, Moses and Aaron were able to perform a collection of tricks which completely confounded the Egyptian priests and convinced them that JHWH was more powerful than their gods. Surely it shouldn’t be too difficult to set up a similar series of tests now to settle things once and for all? As Harry Hill might say: “There’s only one way to find out…FIIIIIGHT!!!”

  9. 1859 says:

    Well, at first I thought of turning the chapel into an Indian restaurant, but then the theological possibilities overwhelmed me. They should turn it into a ‘Multi-faith chapel’. A corner for the xtians, a corner for the mormons, a corner for the muslims, a space for the jews …and then let’s see if they can settle their differences with a civilised debate, a few pints, a laugh and a kiss.
    I won’t be holding my breath.

  10. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Sounds like there are already too many faith rooms. It’s a hospital ffs, not a place of worship. Close them all down and use them for something useful.

  11. sailor1031 says:

    @1859: civilized debate like they do at the church of the “holy sepulchre” you mean?

  12. Vanity Unfair says:

    Every person in the prayer room, praying, is a vote of no confidence in the medical staff. Therefore, every person using the room should be given the opportunity to remove their loved one from the hospital to look after the cure for themselves. Then see whether they realise the illogical nature of the endeavour. I think I know the outcome.

  13. Robster says:

    What they need is a room with a replaceable sign on the door that can be changed as the room’s use changes from the various religions and the gaggle of competing gods on offer. Sundays, Jesus followers can eat up on the dead deity as per usual, Saturday they can put at star of David up for the jewish people and the rest of the week, put some chicken scratchings on the door and make it a happy muslim facility. Just make up a roster, to keep everyone happy, bit like the catholics and protestants in Ireland, that only took 40 years, it would be quite fun to watch.

  14. 1859 says:

    Apologies for being so OT, but I’ve just finished reading an article called ‘The Return of the King’ which is all about the modern day allure of ISIS. Not everyone’s cuppa but quite fascinating. Here’s a taster –

    ‘The horrific violence of ISIS raises questions that literary parallels can’t answer. Not everyone is so fortunate to have orcs (or, in the case of Hopkins, Anglicans) as a world-historical foe. Yet the allure of a ruler who promises to transcend the dreary give-and-take of democratic politics and the deeply compromised, deeply qualified goods it aims to secure, should be familiar. Its danger is not obviously confined to an insurgency in the Middle East.

    Perhaps relatively few people, in the Islamic world or outside of it, actually believe they will see the vanquishing of mere politics by transcendent, legitimate authority. But a lot of us enjoy dreaming about it in one form or another, and unlike King Wenceslaus’ riders, such dreams do not always fade at dawn.’

    Here’s the link if you want more –

  15. 1859 says:

    Having trouble posting?

  16. (&$%^&&%$% says:

    They depend upon the skills of surgeons, doctors and nurses, upon the labours of scientistists, upon the inventivness of the pharmacists, upon the skills of engineers for the diagnostics, cures and repairs from deadly affections. But they assign all the credit to god. Twas a miracle …yeah right. Such are the pious … hypocrites, fools, bigots, liars, charlatans and retards.

  17. Newspaniard says:

    Watch out, Manchester! Hands are in pockets clutching victim cards. Head of steam being raised as rage is fueled by immams. Left wing loonys digging out old speeches. There will be marching on the streets demanding superior treatment for those of the islamic death cult. Mark my words, the board of the hospital will be falling over itself to submit to the demands of islam, the well known religion of peace.

  18. barriejohn says:

    Robster: What they need is a room with a replaceable sign on the door …

    Yeah – “Operating Theatre” would be a good one. It’s a hospital, after all.

  19. Lonbo says:

    A myth by any or all other names is still a myth.

  20. Stuart H. says:

    Last December the RC chaplain at our hospital chapel kicked off to the local paper about a particularly large and hideous Xmas nativity display’donated’ (i.e. thrown away) by his church being moved from the main entrance so that visitors could get through the door. If the chump had checked before mouthing off, he’d have found this was the suggestion of the head of the ‘Spiritual Care Team’ at a meeting he couldn’t be bothered to attend.
    Still, anything to distract attention from your failure to protect kids from your colleagues ,eh Father?