COMMENT on the St.Paul’s Closure

A.N. Wilson (not the Bishop) says that the Church of England has created a public relations disaster:

The camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral has been a public relations disaster for the Church of England. When the tents were moved to the purlieus of the Cathedral, the more enlightened Canons, most notably Dr Giles Fraser, saw this as an opportunity to preach the Gospel. Today he tells The Guardian: “I could imagine Jesusbeing born in the camp.”After all, day after day, inside the Cathedral – the Dean and Chapter and the congregation of Japanese tourists – gather in the name of one who despised the notion of worldly wealth. The Church of England has been having some stupendously ridiculous quarrels with itself lately.

Jesus, as it happens, never expressed a view about gays, nor about female bishops – two of the C of E’s favourite topics. But he did preach tirelessly about the everlasting feud between God and Mammon. There could surely be no doubt where the Church would stand, when it came to a quarrel between the greedy fat cats of the City and the well-meaning protesters in the tents.

Well, amazingly, the Church of England, as represented by the Dean of St Paul’s with the enthusiastic support of the Bishop of London, chose to close the Cathedral on the grounds that the campers represented an insurance hazard. What did he fear? Rats in the sleeping bags? Since the Cathedral is to be reopened today, Friday, it is obvious that there were NO dangers and he was simply mishandling the situation. There is now talk of the Cathedral suing the campers for loss of tourist revenue. Dr Fraser has resigned. And the Bishop and the Dean, very late in the day, have said they will talk to the campers on Sunday morning, asking them to move on.

Neither the Bishop nor the Dean can see how this looks. The fat cats of the City, deep in filthy lucre, finance the City churches and St Paul’s.

No doubt this is done with good intentions but it looks like a sordid attempt to paper over the chasm between the usury of the City and the insistent demands of the Gospel – not to lay up treasure upon earth, and to look to the poor for wisdom.

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This comment, garnered from the ‘Episcopal Cafe’ web-site gives a local (English) view of the situation at Saint Paul’s – giving pause for thought about “How does this look from the street. What must the Church to to regain credibility?”

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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