A brief summary-
#OWS protests have spread internationally and one such location is London, in particular the grounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral in what is called ‘The City’ near the London Stock Exchange.
Last week the Dean of St. Paul’s, the Rt. Rev. Graeme Knowles, announced that the Church would sue protestors to seek their removal. This was rapidly followed by the resignations of 2 prominent subordinates- Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser, the Canon Chancellor, and part time chaplain, Rev. Fraser Dyer.
The struggle for St Paul’s
The anti-capitalist protest outside the gates of St Paul’s has sparked a moral battle inside the cathedral.
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious and Media Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph
7:00AM GMT 30 Oct 2011
The split tearing apart the nation’s church was not just damaging its reputation, but leaving its staff exhausted.
Martin Fletcher, the clerk of the works, who had given the initial advice for the cathedral to close, had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance after collapsing from stress. He is still on sick leave.
One figure who is understood to have taken a particularly dim view of Canon Fraser’s outbursts is the cathedral’s registrar, Nicholas Cottam, a retired Major-General.
He has, so far, managed to keep a low profile, but he is described as “the power behind the throne”, and central to convincing the dean to support evicting the protesters.
Having served as a Commanding Officer in Northern Ireland in the early Nineties, he is said to have acted as an enforcer who didn’t like the clergy stepping out of line.
The Dean and his former Canon Chancellor only live a few houses apart, but they have been pulled in different directions, with Dean Knowles being leant on by senior political and ecclesiastical figures, in addition to his registrar.
Senior figures at the City of London Corporation had decided that the protesters must be evicted, and backing from the cathedral Chapter was the last touch needed to give it moral authority.
As the fallout from the Chapter’s poor handling of the row has descended into an embarrassing debacle, it has cast the Church in an unflattering light.
The canons have been accused of selling out to the wishes of politicians rather than carrying out their gospel duties to care for the poor and downtrodden.
Others are incredulous that a great symbol of London has been closed for the first time since the Blitz because of health and safety concerns posed by the camp.
The Rt. Rev. Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said that it was not just the public who were bemused by the closure.
“Cathedral deans I’ve spoken to are mystified as to why they would do it,” he said. “It’s made them look like idiots. Anyone who looks at the camp can see that it is complete nonsense to claim that it was done for health and safety.”
The health and safety report published on Monday listed “rope/guy-lines” and rodents among potential dangers posed by the presence of the camp.
Sources close to the Dean say that he was baffled as soon as he saw how weak the evidence was, and moved to have the building reopened as quickly as possible.
The cathedral charges £14.50 for entry and, with its restaurant and gift shop also shut, is estimated to have lost more than £100,000 in the week it was closed.
Today, the Dean has resigned.
Rowan Williams warns of ‘urgent issues’ raised by protests as third St Paul’s clergyman resigns
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has warned that “urgent” issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s Cathedral must be properly addressed as the Dean, the Rt Rev Graeme Knowles, resigned.
By Victoria Ward, The Telegraph
2:55PM GMT 31 Oct 2011
Speaking publicly about the crisis for the first time, Dr. Williams added: “The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table and we need – as a Church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed.”
Dean Knowles said today: “It has become increasingly clear to me that, as criticism of the cathedral has mounted in the press, media and in public opinion, my position as Dean of St. Paul’s was becoming untenable.
“In order to give the opportunity for a fresh approach to the complex and vital questions facing St. Paul’s, I have thought it best to stand down as dean, to allow new leadership to be exercised. I do this with great sadness, but I now believe that I am no longer the right person to lead the Chapter of this great cathedral.”
Yesterday, he addressed protesters at the camp, insisting that he was keen to listen and to answer their questions.
However, he looked distinctly uncomfortable on the podium and was heckled as he failed to answer why legal action had been sought.
He admitted that he found it “quite difficult” that the protesters assumed he did not share their views simply because he used different methods of expressing them. Just hours later, he advised the cathedral Chapter of his decision to step down.
Good. He should be uncomfortable, the pompous hypocrite.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is technically the ‘second in command’ of The Church of England since it’s titular head is the British Sovereign.