Sunday, 6 November 2011
A very well-enunciated article from Richard Coles in the Guardian C.i.F. His reference to Richard Hooker has some relevance to the present stand-off between, in this case, St.Paul's and The City Financiers. I'm glad Richard wore his collar when he visited both the Protesters and the Financiers. He would at least be seen as some sort of bridge between the two sides. The Church needs to do a lot more with its perceived entree into the City of London Finance sector.
We in New Zealand have learnt that our Banks here (mostly Australian owned) made almost 3 billion dollars profit last year - despite the economic downturn, earthquakes, shipwrecks and other 'natural' disasters. The banks' profits are just one more disaster - but not a natural one.
Father Ron wrote "I'm glad Richard wore his collar when he visited both the Protesters and the Financiers. He would at least be seen as some sort of bridge between the two sides."
I am sorry but I don't understand this. Why should the church, or individuals within the church, be seen as some sort of "bridge" between the two sides, self appointed intermediaries or facilitators? I think this is quite patronising, as if the protesters in the camp are unable to make their own views heard quite clearly.
After the mess that the St Paul's staff made of the situation, having shown themselves more willing to obey the lawyers than to listen to the protesters, are they really the right people to facilitate?
Surely the Christian position is to be there AMONG the protesters, place ourselves as part of them not above them. We should have the humility to say we are part of your group, we share your values. We should be willing to get our hands dirty and be in community (or even in communion) with the protesters, a relationship of equals, rather than place ourselves above them as some form of interpreter and representative.
" I think this is quite patronising, as if the protesters in the camp are unable to make their own views heard quite clearly." - Simon Dawson -
I can see, Simon, I could not have made my point very clearly in my posting, above.
What I was trying to say - but obviously not very well from your point of view - was that obviously, the Protesters identified with St.Paul's as the place where they might find empathy with their cause. Although Canon Giles Fraser averted the initial police action against them, this failed when St.Paul's Dean, for his own reasons, saw fit to close the cathedral to avoid conflict.
It was into this situation that Richard entered into the Protesters Camp, as a Church Member (as you have suggested) and offered a listening ear to the protesters, as a result of which he offered to make their arguments known to the Bankers. What is wrong with that? Is it not at least an effort, on behalf of the Church, to make amends for the gaffe that had been made by the Dean and Chapter, by way of a personalised effort to carry the message of the Protesters to their intended target?
I think it perfectly proper for the Church to act as a go-between, rather than a sledge-hammer. This action was similar to that of Saint Francis approaching the Caliph to seek an end to the War of the Crusades. Intervention carries risks, and the Church must be seen to do that sort of thing.