A Matter of Conscience: St. Paul’s Cathedral versus the City of London

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.”

One of the three clergymen who resigned on ,October 27 was the Canon of St. Paul’s, Giles Fraser. In an interview with The Guardian, he said:

“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.”

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2 responses to “A Matter of Conscience: St. Paul’s Cathedral versus the City of London

  1. Michael Gundy

    There is a high level of fear. One can measure a country’s “misery Index” which consists or the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate. In many parts of the world, this is at a high or at least in the upper range.

    Certainly, tearing down capitalism seems like a far too simple solution. The four components of capital are: land, money, labour and creativity. Creativity, over much of the last century has been the cause of approximately 80% of wealth creation. I believe this what the good Rabbi was referring rather than the abuses of greed.

  2. If the Chief Rabbi is involved, the target could again be the Jews. I don’t understand the OCCUPY WALL STREET movement. They want to protest but what will come if we let them win? In Oakland, CALIF the movement was infiltrated by anarchists. What they want I don’t know either.