Comments: More on the St Paul's Cathedral mess

As the ITV news bulletin shews - the Dean's decision to close St. Paul's looks more and more stupid by the day. His action has merely resulted in giving massive publicity to the protesters and angered many people unable to gain access to God's (not the Dean's) house.
As far as mammon is concerned - Mr. Dean just think of all the revenue being lost as a result of your continuing closure! The Occupy London site has now in itself become a tourist attraction bringing more and more people to visit the steps of St. Paul's but alas, unable to enter beyond those closed doors. What a denial of the Gospel.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 6:14am BST

Where's Giles Fraser in all this? Has he been sat upon to keep him quiet? I can't believe that he has agreed that the Cathedral should be closed when the evidence of the ITN and other reports is that common sense shows that there is no Health and Safety danger and access is not compromised by the presence of the camp. So what's going on inside the Chapter?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 9:00am BST

Is it not true that the Dean has the ruling voice on the care of any English Cathedral? If so, then whatever Canon Giles may have to say about the Cathedral remaining open may have little effect upon the outcome. To my mind, however, the worst thing that can happen is for the closure of the Cathedral. I pray for the lessening of all the tnesions.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 10:14am BST

It is an own-goal of horrible proportions - http://rosemaryhannah.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/god-gospel-jesus/

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 10:22am BST

It certainly is a difficult situation.

It does LOOK as if the communication is poor between the camp and cathedral, both sides LOOK as if they are grandstanding too much rather than calling a meeting, and, gosh - it's not as if they haven't got anywhere large enough to hold them all!

Communicating via the media seems to have become "the Anglican way" over the last few years (Hmmm. I seem to have played a little part in that trend). But that has been due to a total absence of any "listening".

You can't say the St Paul's Institute hasn't been listening:
http://www.stpaulsinstitute.org.uk
They have been addressing some of the very issues those protesting want to see debated and it is interesting to read the comments that have been approved for posting on the website over the last few days. It shows just where the Institute stands.
http://www.stpaulsinstitute.org.uk/dialogue/giles-fraser/opinion/2011/aug/16/probing-the-virtues-of-economic-growth#comments

And let me take this opportunity to remind readers from foreign shores that in the UK the word "Institute" is a protected word only granted to "organisations which are carrying out research at the highest level or to professional bodies of the highest standing". If your three guys and a website it just won't wash.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 10:28am BST

Richard, it definitely looks like Canon Fraser got "sat upon" by the Dean. Deans, like Rectors, at least in the USA, seem to have quite a bit of power on the everyday going ons in cathedral life.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 1:02pm BST

Richard: This is where Giles was on Saturday (a press release on the Cathedral website:

The Revd Canon Dr Giles Fraser, Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, issued the following statement today (Saturday 22 October 2011) "I remain firmly supportive of the right of people peacefully to protest. But given the strong advice that we have received that the camp is making the cathedral and its occupants unsafe then this right has to be balanced against other rights and responsibilities too. The Christian gospel is profoundly committed to the needs of the poor and the dispossessed. Financial justice is a gospel imperative. Those who are claiming the decision to close the cathedral has been made for commercial reasons are talking complete nonsense."

I assume he made the statement - and his appearances in the media the Sunday before - as Canon in Residence at this time.

Of course, the internal politics may be another matter......

Posted by peter kettle at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 1:25pm BST

Oh Martin - don't let this blog deteriorate into text speak.

'If your three guys and a website...'

As you know, I am sure, in this context it should be "you're".

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 2:41pm BST

What evidence has evensongjunkie for his/her assertion? Supposition is not helpful in a difficult situation and serves only to make mischief.

The Dean has no power over the canons.

See also this from the St Paul's website. It is a statement from Giles Fraser:

"I remain firmly supportive of the right of people peacefully to protest. But given the strong advice that we have received that the camp is making the cathedral and its occupants unsafe then this right has to be balanced against other rights and responsibilities too. The Christian gospel is profoundly committed to the needs of the poor and the dispossessed. Financial justice is a gospel imperative. Those who are claiming the decision to close the cathedral has been made for commercial reasons are talking complete nonsense."

Doubtless, many contributors to TA will know better than Giles Fraser...

Posted by Lister Tonge at Tuesday, 25 October 2011 at 4:38pm BST

My assertion are the comments made by Canon Fraser before the closure, and not as later qualified as the St. Paul website.
Perhaps your Dean has no power over the Canons (I truly doubt that in practical and dynamical reality), but perhaps it takes a pragmatic American observation that there is surely internal strife at St. Paul's over this matter, and am being anything but mischievous at bringing attention to what is a sad and deep mistake. I can think of numerous Anglican churches that would have opened the doors to protestors such as these and could have practiced Christian hospitality that is rarely seen in corporate-sized church organizations.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 12:38am BST

Yes Lister, we all recall how, when Jesus was confronted by the disciples urging him to send the crowds away because of safety and health considerations he acquiesced. Oh, wait. No, he didn't. He chastised the disciples for their lack of faith and vision of the Kingdom at hand. Then he fed them all, the thousands, with a few loaves and fishes and he preached. Perhaps the good deans and biahops would do well to study this bible story again? Seems they've forgotten whom it is they are representing.

Posted by Priscilla Cardinale at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 3:16am BST

Oh, heaven forbid, Lister Tonge!

After all, Fraser has a *title* and *degrees*! We simply couldn't *possibly* know any better than he does, could we?! Behavior and body language can't possibly convey anything!

Why, if we allow evensongjunkie to make that mischievous supposition, what next? People might peaceably assemble in public places!

******

This sort of thing is why I've disapproved, all along, of "our-man-right-or-wrong" thinking, ESPECIALLY where those in the church's employ are concerned.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 4:59am BST

OOps! Richard.

My English is definitely descending into the abyss, far from the "highest level" demanded by TA!!


Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 4:22pm BST

Thanks for the responses.

MarkB: I meant 'know better than Giles about whether the cathedral had been closed for commercial reasons'. So your rant was off-target, I'm afraid. If someone has written what you thought I'd meant, I'd have beaten you to the rant!

I still think it makes more sense to assume the best of motives in the cathedral Chapter unless and until they are proven to be knaves and/or villains.

Now lots of supposition in the press: so we can safely base our judgements on what they have to tell us.

I'm fascinated by the H&S details in more recent threads. This whole story continues to develop and I wouldn't care to predict where it is headed.

Posted by Lister Tonge at Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 9:22pm BST

Then you *might* have gone to the trouble of actually saying that in full, and saved me the trouble. That took a good deal of my outrage, and the weekend's coming up.

:)

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 27 October 2011 at 4:37am BST
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