Tuesday, 1 November 2011

St Paul’s Suspends Legal Action Against Protest Camp

press release from Diocese of London website and now also the cathedral website

St Paul’s Suspends Legal Action Against Protest Camp

St Paul’s, 1 November 2011 (All Saints Day)

The Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral has unanimously agreed to suspend its current legal action against the protest camp outside the church, following meetings with Dr Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, late last night and early this morning.

The resignation of the Dean, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, has given the opportunity to reassess the situation, involving fresh input from the Bishop. Members of Chapter this morning have met with representatives from the protest camp to demonstrate that St Paul’s intends to engage directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address, without the threat of forcible eviction hanging over both the camp and the church.

It is being widely reported that the Corporation of London plans to ask protesters to leave imminently. The Chapter of course recognises the Corporation’s right to take such action on Corporation land.

The Bishop has invited investment banker, Ken Costa, formerly Chair of UBS Europe and Chairman of Lazard International, to spearhead an initiative reconnecting the financial with the ethical. Mr Costa will be supported by a number of City, Church and public figures, including Giles Fraser, who although no longer a member of Chapter, will help ensure that the diverse voices of the protest are involved in this.

The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, said: “The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call. Today’s decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the Cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe. I am delighted that Ken Costa has agreed to spearhead this new initiative which has the opportunity to make a profound difference.”

The Rt Rev Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral and a member of Chapter, added: “This has been an enormously difficult time for the Cathedral but the Chapter is unanimous in its desire to engage constructively with the protest and the serious issues that have been raised, without the threat of legal action hanging over us. Legal concerns have been at the forefront in recent weeks but now is the time for the moral, the spiritual and the theological to come to the fore.”

ENDS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 1:09pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Chartres: "St Paul's has heard the call." Better late than never, I suppose. Why is it always thus with institutions like the church? I don't trust Chartres as far as I can throw him.

So this Costa guy will "spearhead an initiative reconnecting the financial with the ethical.... [And] will be supported by a number of City, Church and public figures, including Giles Fraser, who although no longer a member of Chapter, will help ensure that the diverse voices of the protest are involved in this."

It will be interesting to see what "diverse voices" are invited and that it doesn't become another do-nothing committee (for window dressing).

I just hope that the Occupy St Paul's/London movement (it's more than a protest, Mr Mayor of London) don't get co-opted by the financial movers and shakers and that Fraser remains true to his word.

Posted by: Jay Vos on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 2:03pm GMT

How very surprising and revealing that it took the clergy so long to change their minds and to act in a more profound manner according to their supposed Christian ethics....it is a good sign...repentance ...turning around...better late than never.

Posted by: Dalony Cutting on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 2:09pm GMT

It must have been hard to make this decision, given that the Cathedral staff would all too readily understand that this could simply be taken as another badly thought-through volte-face. But they did so, all the same. After all, Simon Peter denied Jesus thrice before becoming a fast foundation of the new life!

Posted by: Achilles on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 3:01pm GMT

This is very good news, well done Bishop of London, well done St Paul's!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 4:55pm GMT

A misguided move...if they are not removed, this will create a precedent. My advice is prosecution, but undergirded with Chritsian love. As St Paul himself said, " do I become your enemy that I tell you the truth. "

Love sometimes has to be tough.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 4:57pm GMT

GF "no longer a member of Chapter"? Well that wasn't much of a notice period, was it? As others have said, better late than never.

Posted by: Graham Ward on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 4:57pm GMT

"Love sometimes has to be tough."

Bring back the Papal Executioner, eh RIW?


So many Christians need to "Meet Jesus Again for the First Time". Lord have mercy.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 6:44pm GMT

I wonder if Robert Ian Williams is also willing to prosecute with Christian love the bankers, stock brokerages, and mortgage-lending firms that helped create this mess in the first place?
And how would RIW prosecute and remove the St. Paul's protesters with Christian love? Paint crosses on the police officers' body shields? Print "Dominus vobiscum" on the raised police truncheons?

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 7:43pm GMT

I just don't see any reason why Giles Fraser should not go back to his post, and lead the critique on the financial systems, now he's not being overruled by the Dean. The Bishop and the chapter have now accepted his line - that taking legal action could well lead to violence against peaceful protestors - so he has been thoroughly vindicated. So if the Bishop and Chapter are serious, they should immediately give him his job back. He was right all along. He was also faithful, on a point of principle, to the right of protestors to peacefully protest. I really think Occupy should raise this, and be faithful back to him. He put himself out on a limb. He has been proven right. Occupy should press for him to be re-instated, as part of the process of dialogue. So should Anglicans generally. He would be ideally placed, at St Pauls, in the City, to head up a new front and alliance of discourse, seeking to demand the imposition of ethics in the financial sector.

Posted by: Susannah on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 9:03pm GMT

RIW:

So you would have the Church emulate the chief priests and Pharisees, arresting an innocent "troublemaker" to protect the larger society?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 at 10:30pm GMT

"Prosecution undergirded with Christian love"? What on earth does that even mean? I seem to hear St Augustine recommending torture to save the heretics, and reassuring his audience that "it is rather the Catholic Church which suffers persecution through the pride and impiety of those carnal men whom it endeavors to correct by afflictions and terrors of a temporal kind." (Augustine, THE POLITICAL WRITINGS (Paolucci, ed.) at 195 (excerpting LETTER XCIII, at 5-10)). But on this issue the unsaintly but perceptive Oscar Wilde was closer to the mark as to the effect of imprisonment: "And some grow mad and all grow bad." Prosecution may be at times necessary, but it blights the lives of the accused, let alone the convicted. It is almost never an act of love, tough or otherwise.

Posted by: John Wirenius on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 12:35am GMT

This "Christian Love" is often mentioned when people propose something unpleasant and cold-hearted that they know, deep down, to be uncharitable.
It would be better if we aimed for "Love" in those instances and left the "Christian" bit out of it.
It soils Christianity.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 7:50am GMT

A (now dead) bishop once told a meeting I was at that if someone offers "a word in love" you must protect your sensitive areas. (That's not *quite* how he put it)

Posted by: John Roch on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 7:28pm GMT

Giles Fraser for Dean !!!

Posted by: John Thorp on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 7:30pm GMT

More like Jesus , whipping the racketeers out of the Temple.

We recently had a pro women's ordination demonstration at St Peters, and the Vatican had them removed and arrested. An example of practical Christian love.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 6:24am GMT

"We recently had a pro women's ordination demonstration at St Peters, and the Vatican had them removed and arrested. An example of practical Christian love"

Unless you can explain, precisely, what was Christian and loving about that, this is more like a practical example of Newspeak.

I really resent the term "Christian love" being devalued like this and turned into its precise opposite.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 10:07am GMT

Yeah, but neither you, nor the Pope, nor the Roman Catholic Church are Jesus. You're all just the same as the poor schlubs you're "loving!"

I will grant you, it's a fair demonstration of what passes for "love" in the Roman Catholic denomination.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 10:14am GMT

RIW: How are the protesters of OLS like the money-changers in the temple? Are they charging for admission to the cathedral? No--the cathedral chapter is doing that. Are they using the bankers and financiers as their chief source of funding? No--the cathedral chapter is doing that.

To expel them would be closer to denying the publican access to the temple, while allowing the rich man to pray there.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 10:22am GMT

Someone please tell me that RIW was kidding at 6:24
or, alternatively,
RIW says things just to get a rise out of people.
We know he thinks the Universe revolves around the Vatican, but his 6:24 is over the top.
Of course, if I recall correctly, when a group of Roman Catholic sisters in monastic orders presented Pope John Paul II with a petition to open a dialogue on the ordination of women priests, J2P2 thought that was hilariously funny.
I guess they have a different sense of humor on the Tiber.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 6:33pm GMT

"We recently had a pro women's ordination demonstration at St Peters, and the Vatican had them removed and arrested. An example of practical Christian love."

Roman Exorcists, exorcise yourselves!!!

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 3 November 2011 at 9:29pm GMT

True Christian love tells you the truth..not what you want to hear.

As St Paul stated, " Do I become your enemy that I tell you the truth?"

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Saturday, 5 November 2011 at 11:10pm GMT