Thinking Anglicans

Update on St Paul's Cathedral and the protesters

Sunday afternoon/Monday morning news reports:

Guardian
Peter Walker Occupy protesters seek explanation over cathedral’s call to move on

Peter Walker and Riazat Butt St Paul’s may seek injunction to move Occupy London activists

…With the deadlock seemingly set to continue, St Paul’s and other nearby institutions have consulted lawyers about possible efforts to forcibly evict the protesters. Cathedral staff were due to hold an emergency meeting with fire officers, police and officials from the Corporation of London, which administers the City district, on Monday. A St Paul’s spokesman, the Reverand Rob Marshall, said the impact of the closure would be felt more intensively next week as tourist numbers swell during half-term.

“The penny is dropping,” he said. “Half-term has started and we’ve got hundreds and thousands of visitors from around the world in London. It will soon begin to dawn that the cathedral will not be open for the foreseeable future. It’s such a chunk of a visitor’s itinerary and there will be a momentum that this is a reality. If there is no sign of movement in the early part of the week there will be further negotiations.”

The Corporation of London has not commented publicly since Friday, when it also called on the camp to disband. But the organisation is known to have consulted lawyers about how an eviction might take place, and whether the legal options could even include an emergency injunction to clear the space immediately.

But this is seen as a last resort. Aside from the potential public relations disaster of police officers dragging peaceful protesters from their tents in the shadow of a cathedral, eviction proceedings would most likely take some weeks.

Part of the land housing the camp is owned by St Paul’s, who would need to take action for trespass, while other parts belong to the Corporation, requiring a case under laws relating to obstruction of the highways. The Occupy movement has said it, too, has been taking legal advice, and cannot be expected to leave voluntarily without more information from St Paul’s…

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andy kerriganMarkBrunsonErika BakerRosemary HannahWilliam Recent comment authors
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Doxy
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Doxy

Absolutely, utterly shocking. If this is the way that the institutional church is going to treat those who stand for the poor and marginalized, and against corruption and abuse of power, we might as well shut it down now. There is no Gospel here.

Counterlight
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Counterlight

“Church officials say the closure is costing St. Paul’s about 20,000 Pounds a day in lost revenue.”

It all boils down to money, the god we all REALLY believe in despite what we say we believe in.

Police beating and tear-gassing unarmed and peaceful protesters outside the cathedral, now there’s a fine prospect. Maybe Marx was right all along. The priest really is the landlord’s best friend.

The Yiddish word shanda comes to mind.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

What was it the guy sang …” so you say you want a revolution… we all want to change the world”

F. Harry Stowe
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F. Harry Stowe

This is very sad. Not being there, I cannot say whether there is fault or where it lies, but it does seem that some accommodation can be made to keep both vital enterprises flourishing. I can’t help wondering whether the Cathedral is not making too much of the anticipated fear of crowds for its patrons and the camp giving too little heed to the problems of flammables. There does seem to be a lot of room for negotiation still, and I hope that neither side has given up on this, despite the ominous call for lawyers.

Lister Tonge
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Lister Tonge

I wonder whether any of the simplistic critics of the Dean & Chapter are fans of Giles Fraser. He is one of the Chapter and, like the rest of them, is neither a fool nor a villain. Why wouldn’t we start with the basic assumption that the D&C are being as careful about this as they can? And as for the mammon nonsense: remember that the staff who are needed to run the place still have to be paid when it is forced to close. Or should they not be paid? That said, I, too hope all this can be… Read more »

John Bowles
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John Bowles

The demonstrators will be delighted by these developments. By chosing the forecourt of St Paul’s as the scene of their activities they knew they had the cathedral caught in a cleft stick. They have been banned from the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England, yet don’t have the guts to try and resist it. Much as I detest bankers, I find the demonstrators equally despicable, mainly ecause they are middle-class agitators from whose company the poor are conspicously absent. They could not afford the expensive tents and the paraphanalia that goes with them.

Gerry Reilly
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Gerry Reilly

I feel desperately sad that the Cathedral has changed its stance towards the protesters. This was one public occasion when we had the chance to make a statement as to the Church’s position on greed, poverty, injustice, and the distribution of wealth, and to side with those who are taking a stand against so-called maket forces, which are our modern God. It is bad enough that it wasn’t the Church which was making the point in the first place! The episode of the cleansing of the temple comes to mind. Instead od which, we will be seen, fairly or not,… Read more »

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

“Aside from the potential public relations disaster of police officers dragging peaceful protesters from their tents in the shadow of a cathedral…”

That didn’t seem to deter the riot squad in Melbourne last week.

Uriel
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Uriel

Over and over again, I am disappointed with the positions taken by the church. “Christ” is an institution having nothing to do with Christ.

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

“What was it the guy sang” in an attempt to hang on to his Green Card?

rjb
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rjb

At the very least, the Cathedral should be blamed for having failed to articulate its reasoning persuasively. I believe the chapter of St Paul’s are neither fools nor villains, and I’m sure their motives are not bad ones (much as I resent paying fourteen pounds to enter any house of prayer). But their justifications for the closure look risibly weak, I’m afraid, especially when pitted against the headline in the godless Guardian reading “Would Jesus kick the Occupy London Protesters off St Paul’s Grounds?” At the very least, the Dean needs to come out of hiding and make an effort… Read more »

Rae Fletcher
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Rae Fletcher

I’m not familliar with the physical layout of St. Paul’s but like the Abbey it must have more than one way in and one way out. Creative management might put a sign up saying that until futher notice visitors to the cathedral should use another entrance.. Might let both sides accomplish what they seek.

Counterlight
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Counterlight

The protesters may be middle class, but they weren’t the ones who made out like bandits while destroying the world economy and livelihoods of millions of people, including a lot of middle class Brits. I fail to see the cause for all the malice and bile towards them. You could make the exact same argument for those camped out in Tien Anmen Square in 1989, all university students, all children of privilege (probably even more so than the crowd outside St. Paul’s now). Does their even more privileged status diminish their courage or pardon what happened to them? The Chinese… Read more »

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

One thing is for certain, the cathedral’s actions have caused Canon Fraser to lose face, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s the most relevant force that institution has. A sad thing, and ultimately not handled well by all parties.

William
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William

Until we recognise that we are all complicit in this, things will not change. It’s easy to point the finger at bankers – what about the debt, rampant consumerism and bank loans that everyone has built up over the last few years. The rich West – that means you and me – have been squandering the resources of the poorest generations.

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

That is true, William – but it is also true that we get sucked into the system to a degree. I, personally, have never lived a life of rampant consumerism based upon unreasonable debt. But like it or not my few savings are part of the current system and I wish they were not.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

William,
if my daughters don’t take on horrendous debts they won’t end up with an education. And if they don’t end up finding someone who will lend them enough for a mortgage they end up in the rental sector that charges higher monthly rents than mortgage repayments would be and that often stipulates “no children, no pets”.

What shall we do about those loans and about living responsible lives? That’s precisely one of the questions the movement is asking.

MarkBrunson
Guest

William, To a great extent, in the U. S., at least, the past two or three generations have not had a lot of choice in the matter. Like Erika – who is, I believe, outside the U. S. – we are forced to choose between education or crushing debt. Without the education, particularly in a technologically-developed country, you’ll be working three, four, even five jobs to make ends meet in a typical urban area. Living off the land is no longer feasible. Now, to the extent that we could throw away all the trappings of modern life, including the latest… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Excuse me – forced to choose between *lack of* education or crushing debt.

andy kerrigan
Guest
andy kerrigan

Perhaps if evictions are forced it would be apposite to rename it Saul’s Cathedral?