There has been a colossal row between St. Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London about the eviction of protesters, reminiscent of the situation in 1170 A.D., the basis of T.S. Eliot’s play, Murder in the Cathedral. The present conflict led to the resignation of three members of the clergy. Yesterday, resisting the City, the Cathedral suspended its legal action against the Occupy London protesters.
Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, issued this statement:
“The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call. Today’s decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe.” St. Paul’s now intends to engage “directly and constructively with both the protesters and the moral and ethical issues they wish to address.”
“I used to be a socialist and for a long time I did have the view that there was something intrinsically immoral about capitalism. I changed my mind quite fundamentally about that quite a few years ago. I had a conversion sitting in Notting Hill market, reading the chief rabbi on the subject – an essay called ‘The Moral Case for Market Economy.’
“I think there is a very clear question here to be addressed,” he continues, “and the reason that the protesters have captured some of the public imagination is because a great many people think that something has gone wrong in the City of London and that the wealth generated by the City does not exist for the benefit of us all.
“So, yes, I am sympathetic to that extent. I am not sympathetic to the extent of self-righteous ‘bash the banker’ rhetoric. I am not sympathetic to ‘let’s bring down capitalism.’ I really think there is a moral self-righteousness about saying what you are against but not saying what you are for.”