Friday, October 28, 2011

St Paul's, Occupy London, and a sitcom....

You may be unaware of the drama in London, where the Occupy London protesters have camped next to St Paul's Cathedral. While at first the Cathedral welcomed them in the interest of social justice, they soon got cold feet, leading to an unprecedented shut-down of the Cathedral, threats to remove the peaceful protestors, and a resignation of the Canon Chancellor, Giles Fraser in response.

The BBC report is here. Needless to say, the Cathedral is not coming across well in this, looking like a defender of its own wealth and that of its City allies, rather than peaceful protesters. When the Pope calls for worldwide discussion of economic inequality, St Paul's looks to maintain the income from a stunning £14.50 entrance fee. That's over $20!

On the serious side, the Guardian, of all papers, called out the Cathedral:
If the dean and chapter continue their steps towards evicting they will be playing the villains in a national pantomime. There will be legal battles and, eventually, physical force. At every step, the cathedral authorities will be acting in the service of absurdity and injustice. Yet this is where the logic of their position is leading them. They must see this, and stop. Jesus denounced his Pharisaic enemies as whited sepulchres, or shining tombs; and that is what the steam-cleaned marble frontage of St Paul’s will become if the protesters are evicted to make room for empty pomp: a whited sepulchre, where morality and truth count for nothing against the convenience of the heritage industry.
while other commenters have decried the union of the established church with the Establishment:
The problem with these good intentions is that over the centuries what has evolved is a naturally cautious and inherently tepid Church. ... by and large we remain, as a Church, suitably compliant and that is because we have been genetically engineered to be that way.

...At best the Church's role is to act as a counter-balance to the predations of power and the aching emptiness of materialism – to provide a different perspective on wealth and poverty.

Over the past 50 years we have all felt the cold hands of capitalism squeezing more and more of our humanity out of us. We have all by and large allowed it to happen, believing it was progress. The Church of England has just gone along with it, and we are now utterly embedded in that system.

Under the banner of balance, we at some point took it upon ourselves to "steady the ship" even if it is – as now many of us feel intuitively – going in the wrong direction. As priests we are not supposed to uphold the needs of the State – we are here at best to provide balance against the excesses of power, both political and financial. But we have not remained true to our calling.
And there is also the delicious irony that the Cathedral has been leading efforts to study executive pay , which might prove a bit embarrassing....
It can also be disclosed that a damning report Canon Fraser had been due to publish on Thursday about bankers’ lack of ethics, had been shelved by the cathedral amid concerns that it would only escalate the row.
Of course, true tonational character, there's already a satire sitcom script. The British do this kind of humor so well. Go have a look.


Grandmère Mimi said...

IT, thanks for the link to the sitcom script. It's too funny.

IT said...

I must credit Erika on Facebook for the find!

Grandmère Mimi said...

We are all indebted to others, aren't we?

JCF said...

A loose Canon, his Bishop, the Dean and unholy war at St Paul's

Is this another "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" meme? (And I still haven't seen that movie! 20+ years later!)