Monday, February 02, 2009

Nurse suspended for offering to pray for patient

There was no compulsion, no oppression, no tract warning of hell and damnation, and no trite equation of the patient’s illness with sin. It was not even necessarily an offer to pray there and then in the presence of the patient, but an expression of generous Christian concern that the patient might be prayed for when the nurse was on her knees at home or in church, in her own time.

Yet Nurse Caroline Petrie has been suspended by her employer – North Somerset Primary Care Trust – for failing to demonstrate a ‘personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity’.

Did Nurse Petrie specify that she would be praying to Jehovah in the name of Jesus? Did she state that she would be genuflecting to Allah, waving to Waheguru, chanting to Krishna or spinning her prayer wheel to some divinity who may or may not be omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent? Did she single out this one patient for discriminatory persecution because of her skin colour, sexuality or creed?

It appears that quite a few of Nurse Petrie’s patients appreciate her prayers, which are offered to all, irrespective of gender, sexuality, religion or race – and also irrespective of whether they have made themselves obese, whether or not they smoke, drink heavily, or voluntarily inject themselves with chemical substances. She does not judge: she loves with the divine agape; she cares for her neighbour, and loves them as she loves herself. She says she has seen her supplications have real effects on patients, including one Catholic woman whose urine infection cleared up days after she said a prayer.

In short, Nurse Petrie cares for the sick and elderly, and does so with a vocational professional concern for the whole person – mind, body and spirit.

But one elderly woman patient in Winscombe, North Somerset, decided that the care is too much, too genuine, too heartfelt. When Nurse Petrie offered to pray for her, the patient politely declined. But afterwards she decided to be so offended as to feel the urge to telephone the nurse’s employer and make a complaint. It is not clear how this complaint was formalised, but it appears that Nurse Petrie’s superiors decided to be even more offended than the original offended party, who was not originally so offended as to tell Nurse Petrie what the offence was or wasn’t in the first place. And so Nurse Petrie was summoned to appear before an internal disciplinary panel to explain her conduct. And this panel doubtless believes itself to be God’s gift to discernment and justice - if the phrase ‘God’s gift’ does not cause it undue offence - and they are tasked with assessing whether an offer of prayer is illegal and sufficient grounds for dismissal.

Do these inquisitors not have something more important to pursue? How much time, energy and taxpayers’ money is being wasted on persecuting an innocent, well-intentioned nurse who simply wants the best for her patients and to make the world a better place?

There are various NHS codes of conduct which state the necessity to 'demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity' and specify that employees 'must not use (their) professional status to promote causes that are not related to health'.

But how can concern for a patient’s spiritual life not be related to health? Why do hospitals have chaplains of numerous denominations and faiths if their presence may be disturbing to some or their offers to pray for the sick and dying may be deemed offensive? They are paid the order of £38,000 per annum to provide psycho-social, pastoral support and religious activities in order to provide guidance and assistance to patients, carers, and staff. Cranmer cannot be bothered to calculate out how many hospitals there are in the UK, but a conservative estimate of 5000 would present a bill of £190,000,000 for chaplaincy services. Why does the over-stretched NHS budget pay for them to trawl the wards with their presumptuous offers of prayer? Could not money be saved by abolishing the chaplains and asking the nurses and doctors to be genuinely concerned (to the point of prayer) with their patients’ spiritual health?

And if health professionals are to be constrained from exercising in the spiritual realm, what about the education profession? They too are employees of the state, paid for by the taxpayer, and subject to codes of conduct. Presumably, since education is supposed to be holistic, schoolteachers are supposed to be concerned for their pupils’ spiritual wellbeing as well as their physical and intellectual development. Would a teacher who offered to pray for a pupil be suspended for transgressing the principles of equality and diversity? Since schools have a statutory obligation to hold a Christian daily act of worship, it is puzzling indeed that the law requires them to do so without consideration being given to those of other faiths and none who might deem it to be offensive.

Ironically, North Somerset Primary Care Trust issues guidance to its employees which positively encourages them to reflect on their 'personal mission and personal values' and 'to balance all aspects of their lives – physical, psychological, social, spiritual and emotional'.

Healthcare is not a secular athestic pursuit. Since around 90 per cent of the population profess allegiance to one god or another (with 70 per cent professing the cultural Christian faith), it seems somewhat disproportionate to deny NHS patients the choice of reflecting on the spiritul and emotional aspects of their lives. Indeed, to permit secularism to override religious adherence is manifestly discriminatory and is itself an expression of intolerance. The option to be prayed for is simply a choice to be made. How can one be offended by being offered a choice? And if all are to be denied such a choice, the secularism of the minority is imposed on the religious adherence of the majority. That is hardly democratic.

And speaking of democracy, has anyone asked Her Majesty if she minds being prayed for by Members of Parliament every day? Her Majesty might be taken aback to discover that the democratically elected are so presumptuous as to believe she may need divine intervention in the performance of her duties. Cranmer prays each day for those who govern us. He now wonders whether he may be summoned to the High Court of Parliament to explain himself for manifesting tendencies which are unequal and discriminatory.

It is profoundly encouraging to hear that Nurse Petrie is to be defended by the redoubtable barrister Paul Diamond. He may not win every battle, but he is fierce in the defence of religious liberties, and Cranmer has no doubt that his learned advocacy is contributing immeasurably to the ultimate victory.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an atheist and yet I think this stinks. What is up with these jobsworths!

2 February 2009 at 08:19  
Blogger Sackerson said...

I like your "decided to be..." - strikes the right note. Oh, the joy of finding a stick with which to beat the good!

2 February 2009 at 08:28  
Anonymous not a mouse said...

Not to worry, everyone. So many hospitals are controlled by Islamic type consultants that none of us will have to stay in them for very long. (Personally, I'm never going in one).

The 'uncontrollable infections' are superbly orchestrated, and antibiotics are withheld from patients they diagnose as terminal and untreatable - so that gets us out of the way very efficiently. I was ill for six months after I realized what they'd done to two defenceless relations of mine - and they did basically tell me: they were quite proud of themselves.

As for this young woman - did she refuse to go out with one of the bozos, or something like that? She presumably trod on somebody's toes, and what we're seeing is just an excuse to destroy her: the tip of the iceberg. Dig around a bit and we'll probably find that "nobody likes her," "and she has a reputation for....." That will be because they've been told not to like her (or else), and to circulate rumours about her. That's the world we live in now - here and in the US. That's what happens when communism and/or Islam have control.

2 February 2009 at 09:25  
Blogger The Half-Blood Welshman said...

When it comes to prayers in Parliament, I prefer the old one:

"Every day at 2pm (this was in the old days, of course) the Parliamentary chaplain comes in to begin the sitting with prayer. He looks round at the assembled Members, and prays that God will have mercy on the nation."

Although doubtless we all now have the right to sue this man for praying on our behalf against our wishes...

2 February 2009 at 09:26  
Blogger Witterings From Witney said...

Leaving aside the religious aspect, in both cases what was made was an offer. As such, an offer can be accepted or declined, with thanks. What I cannot understand, in this politically correct age of diversity, is how an 'offer' can offend.

Neither do I believe, had Nurse Petrie been of an ethnic religion, there would have been such an 'uproar'!

It could, perhaps, be argued that what this country is now seeing in various areas is nothing more than social and religious 'engineering'.

2 February 2009 at 09:26  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

One wonders ,Your Grace, if this poor lady is being persecuted for praying, or merely being a Christian? I hope the court case gets the wide publicity it deserves.

2 February 2009 at 10:32  
Blogger Dave said...

I never turn down any offers of prayer. I need all the prayer I can get.

Can I ask if his Grace knows whether Islam or the other faiths offer intercessory prayer? I only ever hear the pharisaic prayer and never the prayer of the publican when I listen to them going on. They also seem to have a large number of spokemen (never women) for Allah. Does he not have his own voice?

Is it the fact that Christianity offers prayer for others that causes offence?

2 February 2009 at 10:35  
Blogger Tim Goodbody said...

I would like to ask his Grace to remove not a mouse's comment above as it is not only ridiculously misinformed about who runs hospitals but also extremely offensive to muslims.
BTW I agree that this nurse should not be disciplined for simply offering to do something. If she had done it, that'd be a different matter

2 February 2009 at 10:51  
Blogger McKenzie said...

It is very easy to suppose that only the worse kind of bitter and twisted soul would seek out to destroy the career of a nurse whom had simply offered to pray for good health and recovery, out of concern and love for her fellow humanity and through a desire to manifest an expression of her faith in God. I do not know the facts here about who could sink to such a level of mean spiritedness which goes beyond any level of description I can attempt to form with my imagination. I do suspect though that this 'dog in a manger' is experiencing symptoms of rejection and fear, and this unfathomable reaction can indeed only be explainable in terms of mental ill health.

I ask a request from His Grace that when 'the redoubtable barrister Paul Diamond' highlights the absurd nature of this, which is so obvious to those of us who reside in reality, that His Grace will make a celebratory post which will restore our faith in the one true God, The Christian God, Whom I have no doubt was so ever will be with this nurse in her prayers when this ridicules case is thrown out of court with great speed and embarrassment to all whom seen fit to begin its sad and petty proceedings.

I think we should pray for her, and also those who seen fit to persecute her. BUT ESPECIALLY THE SAD SOUL WHO MADE THE COMPLAINT IN THE FIRST PLACE, BECAUSE THERE IS GENUINE NEED FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HERE.

2 February 2009 at 10:52  
Blogger Tom said...

You can write to the Trust here Email

I wrote this to them...

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would be grateful if you would forward this email to the persons investigating the case of Caroline Petrie.

I am concerned that the statement on your press release "The Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of Conduct makes it clear that nurses “must not use [their] professional status to promote causes that are not related to health” seems to indicate that you have already interpreted Caroline Petrie's right of freedom of though, conscience and religion to be lesser than your right to interpret her actions as evangelistic.

The UN declaration of Human Rights in Article 18 identifies just such a right of religious belief AND PRACTICE IN PUBLIC AS WELL AS PRIVATE LIFE as it says, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."

It seems to me that you have already made up your minds, because clearly the clause you cite in the press release indicates an evangelistic interpretation. This would seem to indicate a prejudiced investigation. You didn't for instance quote from the various NHS codes of conduct which state the necessity to 'demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity' and specify that employees 'must not use (their) professional status to promote causes that are not related to health'.

I will believe in good faith that you are going to conduct a balanced and fair enquiry that respects both the rights of Caroline Petrie and patients. In short, I would be incredibly happy, as a tax payer, for you to make a balanced judgement between exploiting people (patients) in difficult and often emotional situations and offering to pray with them.

We don't need to ban religion from the wards, we need to say 'No' to people who think that we should just because we are offended. Being offended, from time to time is okay. It's better to put up with that than give up freedoms that were won for us at the price of great pain and often life.

Make the right decision.

Yours Sincerely,

Tom Price

2 February 2009 at 11:14  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Mark used to work with me, A handsome and likeable chap, He was very much one of the lads. After his wife left him He became a devout Christian, spending much of His time reading scripture and listening to inspirational readings. When My wife had complications during Her pregnancy He told me He was praying for us, To Me this was both touching and considering where We worked, quite brave. Its little wonder the country is so sick, presumablly if Nurse Petrie had told the patient to f**k off and die it would not be so serious.

2 February 2009 at 11:42  
Anonymous Shaven-headed tattooed knuckledragger said...

Not a Mouse's comments may be offensive to Muslims, but they are true, as shown by this link:

2 February 2009 at 11:58  
Blogger Preacher said...

Your Graace.
I understand that many practitioners in the NHS openly recommend many dubious New Age treatments i.e acupuncture, homeopathy etc, yet a Christian offer of prayer by a compassionate believer makes Hell roar in indignation, perhaps because 'the prayer of a righteous person availeth much' this means that it hurts the devil no end & thwarts his plans.
PRAYER WORKS, so may all believers pray that Nurse Petrie continues to pray effectively for those worried sick frightened people on Her wards that draw comfort & often healing from her prayers to the Great Physician.

2 February 2009 at 12:00  
Blogger Damo Mackerel said...

As far as I know the woman who declined the prayers was not actually offended, she just hinted that someone else might be.

So now we have offence by proxy.

2 February 2009 at 12:43  
Blogger dmk said...

'Diversity' clearly doesn't extend as far as the Christian faith, or the NHS's own stated commitment to spiritual care. Have these people been smoking the same thing as the folk at Sandhurst?

2 February 2009 at 12:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Zealand is looking for dedicated health professionals. Nurse Petrie may wish to consider a shift here.

The North Someset Primary Care Trust sanhedrin can jam their unequal and discriminatory assizes where the sun doesn't shine. They have shown themselves to be imbeciles of elephantine proportions. I would not trust their judgement in other matters if this is the level of their wisdom.

2 February 2009 at 13:06  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2 February 2009 at 13:09  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

For some reason the West Country is particularly susceptible to credulity and bureaucratic tyranny. (Did they burn more witches, too?)

I am posting something here that I have done elsewhere, but it addresses the crux of the matter:

The story, for the sake of clever people who read your blog, is about the problems of pluralism and relativism.

Low-level officials now take it upon themselves to make arbitrary calls based upon their own prejudices, and because we are in a predominantly liberal-nihilist phase of the cultural cycle, this is the result.

It’s about the dangerous propensity of government and bureaucracy to believe they know what is right for us, when in fact, they don’t have a fu***ng clue. But it’s worse than that. They are poisoned by prejudices of which they unaware.


There is a cliché that all blog threads eventually come around to Hitler or spontaneous human combustion.

The question of why the population of Germany supported National Socialism has puzzled me for decades and the answer, or part of the answer, is beginning to dawn on me.

So it goes something like this: You do not just begin by gassing Jews. You have to acclimatise the masses to the idea.

They coalesce through fear, intimidation and ignorance. It is at this point that the tyrant has won the first stage of his power play, ignorance being the strongest tool, which is why Maximilien Robespierre wrote:

“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. ”

The tyranny of which I write is inculcated by a raft of statutes that have given certain groups uncritical carte-blanche and government sanctioned hegemony. The paucity of intellectual rigour and values accompanying these statutes has combined to allow what you might call “lowest common-denominatorism” in which values, morals and ideas, have diminished to the extent that they no longer have any meaning.

The first rung of sanctioned scapegoating is in place, courtesy of the many laws that now exchange one hate figure for another, in this case, Christians.

You don’t start by gassing Jews, you start by restricting their freedom and declaring it to be in the public interest.

Political correctness does not serve equality. It merely replaces one scapegoat with another.

As Christians, we face a time of social persecution. No doubt about it. The positive side to this is that it may cause us to reflect upon the foundations of our belief.

2 February 2009 at 13:14  
Anonymous judith said...

1. It would appear that the Nurse in question had left a prayer card with a previous patient and had been admonished.

2. I feel there is a difference between a friend mentioning she has prayed for you, or the offer of a prayer from a hospital chaplain to an inpatient, and the action of this Community Nurse.

3. As the Nurse believes in the power of prayer, why can she simply not pray for the well-being of all her patients anyway, without mentioning it to them? It is this last point that makes me feel a little suspicious that we are not getting the full story.

2 February 2009 at 13:16  
Blogger len said...

It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ said to Saul later to become the apostle Paul,(at that time he was notorious for persecuting christians)
"Why do you persecute ME saul."
So Jesus Christ takes every attack, every persecution, on Himself personally.
A sobering thought.

2 February 2009 at 13:31  
Anonymous Highlander said...

If all is as Nurse Petrie says it is, then I do hope that the hospital chaplaincy team will step up to the plate and offer both pastoral care and advocacy to Nurse Petrie. In addition, the local church - at least the evangelical constituency thereof - should unite and make strong, ecumenical representation to the NHS Trust. In this way it will become clear that human rights for Christians are just as important as those for anyone else.

2 February 2009 at 14:05  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

North Somerset Primary Care Trust does indeed need to be challenged.

Either their decision is a reasonable interpretation of the rules, in which case, we are looking at state sponsored religious persecution, or an arbitrary decision based on the prejudices of a low level official, in which case you are looking at state sponsored religious persecution of Christians - since the ethos is always the preserve of the government of the day.

Judith. Offering to pray is a courtesy. Indeed, without the approval of the prayee, it is unlikely that such a prayer would be answered.

2 February 2009 at 14:31  
Anonymous Paul B said...

Do they (N Somerset PCT) realise how obscene and jack booted their actions are. The contempt I feel for them is complete. I pray for them. Thank you Cranmer for bringing yet another outrage to our attention.

2 February 2009 at 15:03  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Can there be any doubt anymore, yet me must be careful, and react intelligently, the real Threat to we the British 'lie', in every sense of the word, in Westminster

2 February 2009 at 15:43  
Anonymous Paulo said...

She would certainly be promoted if she proposed an innovative euthanasia technique that would kill the patient in a very "humane way"...

these are interesting times.

2 February 2009 at 15:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the hospital is right to suspend the nurse, pending investigation - normal practice when an employee breaches codes of conduct or company rules. The nurse in question has already been in breach of the code of conduct by handing out a prayer card - a carer of the patient raised a concern. Following this incident the nurse was warned that any further incident of this nature would lead to disciplinary action. The nurse chose to ignore this, and once again asked a patient if she could pray for them. The patient said no, and subsequently informed the hospital of what had occurred. Disciplinary action was then taken, in line with procedure, and the previous warning. The nurse in question could have chosen to pray for all her patients in private - there is no rule saying she can't pray for people, or practice her religion freely in her own time, just that she can't approach patients to initiate faith-based practices or seek to proselytise. She chose to break that rule, despite a previous warning. (As a general point, it is worth bearing in mind that recent rigorous studies show that prayer does not benefit patient outcomes and in one recent major studies, patients who knew they were being prayed for actually had worse outcomes.) Hospitals are for proven medical treatment, not offers to talk to imaginary friends, and I think it is quite wrong for medical staff to present their private beliefs to vulnerable people.

2 February 2009 at 16:04  
Blogger Theresa said...

I wish that I could have got the nurses suspended that left my aunt curled up on a bed in foetal position, her mouth caked from lack of fluids and a window open in mid-October. Next time I'll accuse them of leaving a prayer card at her bed..

2 February 2009 at 16:15  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

Your tax dollars at work!

2 February 2009 at 16:29  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"Could not money be saved by abolishing the chaplains?"
You may be perfectly certain that plenty of managers have the same thought.
("Anonymous" presumably works in NHS management."

2 February 2009 at 16:32  
Blogger Cato said...

Anon @1604
Perhaps you should have posted as 'Beancounter' and not Anonymous.
It strikes me as an atheist, that you are a completely insensitive, moralising oaf.

Now run away and play.

2 February 2009 at 17:11  
Anonymous judith said...

I see no reason to be offensive to Anon@16.04 simply because s/he was clarifying certain points, and was certainly not being 'moralising'(?).

2 February 2009 at 17:22  
Blogger Miss Middle of Manchester said...

I think there *is* a case to be made that when a patient has made the initial complaint then it is something that should be investigated.

There is a difference between this instance, when the offended party made the effort to complain and the initial instance where I believe someone complained on behalf of the patient.

As to 'why didn't the patient do it to the nurse's face', well, firstly, many people would be uncomfortable with that per se, secondly, depending on the manner in which the nurse had said 'shall I pray for you' perhaps the patient wanted to avoid the possibility of any theological discussion regarding her beliefs or lack of them.

I worked in customer service on a phone for a number of years and if a customer ended the conversation with a 'God Bless', I would, of course, reply. However, it would never have been proper for me to initiate that.

Equally, if the patient had asked 'please pray for me', there would be no problem in the nurse stating that she would (or already had). To offer to do so feels somewhat like 'praying loudly in the church' instead of quietly praying the the dark of night.

2 February 2009 at 17:48  
Blogger len said...

As a christian don`t be suprised at persecution, expect it!
If you look at what The Lord Jesus Christ experienced on this earth, He healed the sick,raised the dead,cast out demons.
When the crowd were given the choice between Jesus Christ and the murderer Barabbas they chose Barabbas.

2 February 2009 at 20:36  
OpenID BL@KBIRD said...

Would this have happened prior to the gift from the Land of the Pure arriving in a diversity starved Britain?

The broader message to individual Christians is STFU and STFD. The wrongly thought wish is that it may soften the grievances of the Asian supremacists and tempt them less to make the authorities run away in the streets. It seems Britain's choices have withered to appease or revert. For it to evolve to resist, the current state structures will have to have already fallen. Or do you think you can still vote unpleasantness away?

Your Grace, I saw your comment at Guido Fawkes site last night. I scanned his site and marveled at the absolute absence of anything related to the Mohammedans even existing in Britain. True he boasts that he is the new terrorist of all things only involving Parliamentary shenanigans. Fair enough if you want to narrow your focus so completely. But there was not even a whisper of Lord Ahmed shutting down education for the Lords. I asked why this was so and said the Lord Ahmed could summon 10,000 Jackals at a finger snap and gave Lord Ahmed the true honour of terrorizing Parliament. But my point was never printed or approved. What is going on there? Your Grace? Anyone?

2 February 2009 at 20:45  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"I see no reason to be offensive to Anon@16.04 simply because s/he was clarifying certain points, and was certainly not being 'moralising'(?)."

A sudden thought: Judith is anonymous. Out of the same stable, anyway: "s/he", forsooth!

2 February 2009 at 20:47  
Anonymous len said...

It seems to me that if Jesus Christ and the desciples had been politically Correct the Gospel would never have been preached, salvation would have never been possible, and humanity would have been condemned for eternity!.
Also the Bible would never have been published.
We owe our chance of salvation to the endless list of martyrs( Your Grace included) who have given their lives for the Gospel of Jesus Christ

2 February 2009 at 20:48  
Blogger McKenzie said...

Its all just another example of the sad decline of our culture. We keep banging on about it, but is there really anything that is going to stop it?

This particular situation reminds me of The Lady with The Lamp, Florence nightingale and her role in setting standards for the Nursing profession.

The first official nurses’ training program, the Nightingale School for Nurses, opened in 1860. The mission of the school was to train nurses to work in hospitals, work with the poor, and to teach. This intended that students cared for people in their homes, an appreciation that is still advancing in reputation and professional opportunity for nurses today.

Florence Nightingale's lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.

The work of the Nightingale School of Nursing continues today. The Nightingale building in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Southampton is named after her. International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday each year.

The Florence Nightingale Declaration Campaign, established by nursing leaders throughout the world through the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH), aims to build a global grassroots movement to achieve two United Nations Resolutions for adoption by the UN General Assembly of 2008 which will declare: The International Year of the Nurse–2010 (the centennial of Nightingale's death); The UN Decade for a Healthy World–2011 to 2020 (the bicentennial of Nightingale's birth). NIGH also works to rekindle awareness about the important issues highlighted by Florence Nightingale, such as preventive medicine and holistic health. So far, The Florence Nightingale Declaration has been signed by over 18,500 signatories from 86 countries.

At Thebes she wrote of being "called to God" while a week later near Cairo she wrote in her diary (as distinct from her far longer letters that Parthenope was to print after her return): "God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him alone without reputation".

The Nightingale Declaration Web Site

In appreciation of The Lady with The Prayer Card

2 February 2009 at 21:09  
Blogger McKenzie said...

"For Florence Nightingale, this was a straightforward matter of religious conviction, just as much as it was for that more recent figure, Mother Teresa. Both took it for granted that the level of human respect given to any patient is the same whether they are rich or poor, young or old, likely or unlikely to recover, because they stand on the same ground before their creator. And the nursing profession exists in the way it has done these last hundred and fifty years or so because this assumption has remained constant. Sickness and helplessness are not only matters of bodily incapacity. As so many writers have reminded us – and indeed as we mostly know for ourselves by experience – sickness or injury or disability is also about our pictures of ourselves. We are damaged or deprived in respect of what we think and imagine about who we are. The self is what is ill or hurt or restricted, not simply a set of bodily functions and processes. Healing is therefore about sustaining and restoring that vulnerable sense of who we are. It is about the service of human dignity. When our New Testament lesson associates forgiveness with healing, it’s not saying that sickness results form sin, but that the restoration of the whole self, body and spirit, is a proper dimension of caring for the sick or injured".

"Specifically in the health care professions, a growing number of people now say that the simply personal and relational skills of healing are squeezed out in training and seriously undervalued in favour of mechanistic skills. And for nurses especially, this is a huge and damaging shift away from that fundamental commitment to the service of human dignity with which we began. This is not at all to suggest that nursing training now is universally dominated by what I called the mechanistic."
Dr. Rowan Williams. Archbishop of Canterbury.

2 February 2009 at 21:21  
Anonymous Shaven-headed tattooed knuckledragger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2 February 2009 at 22:51  
Blogger Dissenter said...

Matehe ch 5 vs 11

Jesus said 'Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and speak all manner of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you'

yes, but in BRITAIN in 2009????

The UK medical and nursing professions certainly could not manage without the high proportion of Christians who work in them and often care the extra mile because of their religious commitment.

Bod Dylan wrote (All Long the Watchtower)

'so let us not talk falsely now

I agree. please keep up the good work Cranmer, and train a disciple in case you have another nasty accident with the hyperintolerant, who seem to be befouling fair England yet again.

PS had a few beers after a Thameside walk with some chums in the Eagle and Child in 2007, just a stone's thrown from your monument.

2 February 2009 at 23:24  
Blogger Dissenter said...

Sorry, that would be Matthew ch 5 vs 11

2 February 2009 at 23:26  
Blogger Christian-Jedi-Alliance said...

Let go of Darwin good doctor and enjoy those apples. Science is merely a candle flame to guide the inadequate human brain. But watch out for serpents in the orchard!

3 February 2009 at 00:07  
Blogger DP111 said...

The nursing propfession was started by Florence Nightingale, who went through hell, to bring love and compassion to the wounded. She did this because of Christian faith, which sustained her.

Truly Florence Nightingale would be suspended in todays Britain.

The suspension was by managers of Health Trusts. More here

Nurse suspended

3 February 2009 at 00:24  
Blogger DP111 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 February 2009 at 00:52  
Blogger DP111 said...

Anon posted: As a general point, it is worth bearing in mind that recent rigorous studies show that prayer does not benefit patient outcomes and in one recent major studies, patients who knew they were being prayed for actually had worse outcomes.

Was this a scientific study? And if it was, rigorous as well. If so, then it is clear that prayer does work, but in a non-beneficial way. But negative results of such nature are very useful in science. There is hope yet.

Could it also be, that the study was conducted with patients who were diagnosed as terminal. That is quite likely in such a situation, when patients and doctors had given up hope.
Alison Withers Mrs Petrie's boss at the time, wrote to her at the end of November saying'As a nurse you are required to uphold the reputation of your profession'.

I suppose this could be the form of a letter from Alison Withers to Florence Nightingale if she was a nurse in todays Britain

Dear Miss Nightingale

As a nurse you are required to uphold the reputation of your profession etc etc

Yours sincerely etc

3 February 2009 at 01:01  
Anonymous ahem said...

Look, Anonymous: When it comes time for you to die, everyone will ignore you and let you die alone and in anguish. Fair enough?

3 February 2009 at 01:25  
Anonymous not a machine said...

your grace one day i hope that you could give us a top ten list of your favourite books , i am at the moment getting stuck into "creative society" by john macmurray 1935 .

books used to be such a concise way of putting an idea up for discussion , indeed with the bible we swear by it , or used to at any rate .

it would appear to me that minds are now to be "protected" from the invisible and unscientific superstitons from a less informed age ??

i can see that promotion of pryer cards bible tracts or even opening up someone to the possibility of prayer being a help may have , modern liberals consulting there universal laws book .

but i see another way , what if the patient had said "yes please pray for me" who would be guilty then , both???

the health trust has got this one wrong , despite trumpeting previous warning to the woman , being a christian is not a job , i would imagine most christians pray for starngers in trouble alot of the time , if this is a crime then most christians are guilty .

if the health trust cannot answer the question if god exists , then they are in the wrong .

caroline petrei seems more a victim of times than commiting a crime , if it is to be prayer in silence , with no outward show in work , then so long as the health trust and governments make it one rule for all .

should have just asked her to work a bit differnetly, ceratinly not sacked her unless that is the boss can be sacked for not believeing in god .

3 February 2009 at 01:59  
Blogger Fergus Carrick said...

Anonymous @16:04 indicated that this nurse had been previously cautioned because she handed out a prayer card. I am reminded of the response of Peter and John to the Sanhedrin when they were instructed to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. It is not too surprising that the nurse also ignored the admonitions of her employers. As such she must take responsibility for her actions – and I am sure that her Lord will sustain her. I suspect that most of us have at some time been irritated by the advances from “religious” folks. The normal response is a simple “no thank you” and if a card is received it can be quietly deposited in the nearest waste-paper basket. The escalation of this incident is outrageous. Where is the internal support for staff? I look forward to the revelations of the real reason for this persecution. Who is seeking that pound of flesh?

3 February 2009 at 02:12  
Anonymous judith said...

ahem - what a delightful and 'christian' sentiment: someone postulates a mildly different opinion to the kneejerk rantings here and you wish them a painful death.

Little Black Sambo - I am not 'anonymous', I always post under the name on my birth certificate.

3 February 2009 at 05:50  
Blogger Cato said...

@Judith...posting under your name is still anonymous, whether you agree or not.
And, if I wish to be offensive to someone who I consider to be a 'Beancounter' then I will be.
It's called free speech...something those buffoons in North Somerset have forgotten..and so have you.

3 February 2009 at 07:56  
Blogger EUBanana said...

What a pathetic, cringing, gutless country ZanuLabour have created.

And I say that as an atheist.

3 February 2009 at 08:06  
Anonymous nonny said...

V. interesting thread.
Not quite sure what 'patient outcomes' are; or impatient ones, for that matter. Personally, I think it's a good idea to stay out of hospitals if one can.

I'm also appreciate people who pray on my behalf - I need help from God, and it's encouraging to know that someone else cares enough to intercede for me. Thus, a patient who receives this kind of encouragement might well get a psychological boost, regardless of measurable results on impersonal modern forms. The nurse is considering the whole patient, not just the outward manifestation.

I'm not sure how prayer cards work, but they might help the interceder to keep track of the names to include in devotions, or even to pass the numbers on to a church for inclusion in larger communion. Perhaps numbers or pseudonyms would do as well, for the suspicious. Either way, the patients here get a chance to refuse; which is rather nice. That's more that the euSSR have given us!

3 February 2009 at 08:25  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Two points

1 I do not think Wrinkled Weasel can be right that prayer only works with the consent of the person for whom prayer is offered. Your Grace's own Book of Common Prayer has us generically praying for our rulers and yet there is no individual consent sought or offered by our Leaders upon a change of Government, and every Church is filled on a weekly basis with prayer initiatives. Jesus does not seem to have suggested that our Petitions have to approved or countersigned by the subject of concern and neither did he ask the permission of the blind deaf and lame before exercising his authority. There is no basis in the Bible , theology or the Traditions of the Church to suggest that Unsolicited Petitions for the needy are unacceptable to God.

2 The one word that is constantly missing from all this PC persecution is "proportionality". We constantly hear from the NHS that it needs more resources. THis lady was trained at considerable expense. She is presumably paid during her suspension. Her "offence" ( to use their word) is at worst a well meaning minor infraction, and the Trust's response is an expensive and wholly disproportionate over reaction, even in the most secular of terms.

3 February 2009 at 10:15  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

That's what happens when communism and/or Islam have control.

Communism most certainly. Islam not in a million years.

Islam is simply a tool communists use to destroy society.

As we know, a new society can not be created unless the old one has first been destroyed. This is how Marxism is supposed to work. This is what makes Marxism essentially different from conservatism. It is not so much the change itself, it is how that change is enacted.

Communism is essentially revolutionary and therefore quick and extremely painful for all concerned. Usually requiring the deaths of millions, throwing countless new born babies out with the deliberately polluted bathwater.

Conservatism is essentially slow, democratic and relies on proper fair and rational debate. Usually requiring hard work, while building on what works well, while discarding that which does not.

You chose which suits you best.

Well that of course is the theory at least. The practice is as we know often very different. This because our system is actually controlled by World Corporate Communism/Capitalism, therefore all is smoke and mirrors, made more so by media lies, inconsistent and persistence disinformation.

Not democratically elected representatives in any important respect whatsoever.

Many call this conspiracy theory.

I call it self apparent reality.

3 February 2009 at 10:22  
Blogger Matt Wardman said...

>One a point of information Your Grace, you overestimate the number of Hospital Chaplains.

The Times in June:

"There are now 425 full-time chaplains and 3,000 part-time ones in Britain."

The total cost depends on the hours of the part-time, which are likely to be 2 hours -> 3 days a week.

Total FTE may be ~1000.

3 February 2009 at 12:04  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Wardman,

His Grace is most appreciative of the information.

So, according to the figures of The Times, the cost of hospital chaplaincy is (425 x £38,000) + (3000 x £18,000) = £70,150,000.

That should make Professor Dawkins a whole lot happier.

3 February 2009 at 12:32  
Anonymous Horst Wessel said...

Die Knechtschaft dauert nur noch kurze Zeit!

3 February 2009 at 15:34  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 February 2009 at 16:54  
Blogger Dave Brown said...

It's just a precaution. What would happen if she prayed to the wrong God and the patient, through no fault of her own, ended up going to hell? The NHS trust could then be liable to pay compensation for the soul of one of its patients because of the negligent actions of one member of staff. You can't be too careful in this litigious society!

3 February 2009 at 17:57  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Our Welsh freind quoted: "He looks round at the assembled Members, and prays that God will have mercy on the nation."

And God knows, the nation needs it.

Dave: "... whether Islam or the other faiths offer intercessory prayer?"

Good point. I think it can be summed up in one word: "inshallah": what God wills, will happen, and we have nothing to do with it. To pray to Allah for a cure, or for a good lottery ticket, or a fruitful garden, would be to question God's judgement, or to ask Him to change His plan, and therefore possibly blasphemous.

Here in the US, many hospitals have chaplains on staff.

Paulo: "She would certainly be promoted if she proposed an innovative euthanasia technique that would kill the patient in a very "humane way"...

Does anybody know if doctors still write "NTBR" (or "DNR") on some patient's charts? And if so, is it with the patient's approval?

Cato: The less said about our little friend, the better.

DP111: I note that not one of the "rigorous studies" was cited.

Atlas Shrugged: "Islam is simply a tool communists use to destroy society."

Nice conspiracy theory, but that's not the way it works. Islam doesn't need communism to advance its aims. It does quite nicely on its own.

"... our system is actually controlled by World Corporate Communism/Capitalism,..."

And, not doubt, the Worldwide Zionist Conspiracy and the Trilateral Commission as well.

3 February 2009 at 19:18  
Blogger len said...

If you offer to pray for somebody where is the offence?
If you do not believe in God why get so upset?
If you believe in God why not enlist anothers help?
I believe people would rather that God didn`t exist at all, then they wouldn`t be accountable for their actions.

3 February 2009 at 21:23  
Blogger DP111 said...


Yes indeed. Not one rigorous study was cited.

But as I pointed out, this study, if it is rigorous, indicates that prayer had some effect, though in the mentioned (but not cited) study, it had a non-beneficial effect. Regardless, all is not lost.

3 February 2009 at 22:45  
Anonymous churchmouse said...

What's with the (I presume) german postings on here? Has the euSSR decreed it as our neu language - punishment for defying the so-and-so's? Just haven't bothered to tell us? Presumably (also) most of us can't read them anyway!

Same with your language also, ZZMike; you can get the devils to decree whatever they like, but you can be sure indigenous Brits won't ever accept that one!

However, are you suggesting that the following reflects Christian teaching on Wyrd : "what God wills, will happen, and we have nothing to do with it. To pray (...) for a cure, or for a good lottery ticket, or a fruitful garden, would be to question God's judgement, or to ask Him to change His plan, and therefore possibly blasphemous."?
---- If so, I think you misunderstand. Everything I know about our doctrine says that God has given mankind Free Will: we therefore choose whether to follow Christ's teaching and whether to try to be worthy of Redemption.

It all gets a bit complicated, but I seem to recall that Boethius and Augustine suggest that God, being omniscient, omnipresent, and Eternal, knows what we will decide - but He doesn't intervene in the decision-making...unless we ask.

So if someone in your religion performs a suicide bombing, he chooses to commit murder, of both himself and others; this contravenes God's commandment: Thou shalt not kill, and God is his Judge.

If someone in our religion even commits suicide - that person commits not just self-murder, but what some say is the worst sin: despair. That is lack of faith in God; though, ultimately, I'd suspect that God is the Judge of the person's state of faith.

Individuals are responsible for their own relationships to God - and we're free to pray in whatever terms we choose. Personally, I ask a lot for guidance and strength: for help to know and do what is right according to God's Will.

4 February 2009 at 00:35  
Anonymous ahem said...

Judith: You're tone deaf. Best see the audiologist soon.

4 February 2009 at 02:04  
Blogger len said...

It is interesting that a nurse offers prayer to a patient and gets suspended.
The odious Lord Ahmed threatens parliament and what has happened to him?
Foe a society to function properly justice must be seen to treat all people equally!

4 February 2009 at 19:57  
Anonymous Atlas is correct said...

I'm quite sure Islam has murderous intentions on us all, but rather than going to war against the all too obvious enemy, maybe we should be looking behind the scenes at who has engineered this.
Who is it wants Islam and Western Civilisation to knock esch other to bits.
Are we being manipulated.

6 February 2009 at 16:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As david Icke said"By the time the masses see the bars the door will already have slammed shut!"

8 February 2009 at 16:45  
Blogger Field Marshall Watkins said...

I wonder, if she was Muslim would they have been so quick to suspend her.

9 February 2009 at 15:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I am dying I hope I'm fortunate enough to be comforted
by a kind nurse whispering a prayer for me at my end. I'm not a religious person but I think this
whole business is very very sad and I worry for all of us in the future.

13 February 2009 at 09:34  

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