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October 31, 2011


As an old rightwing guy my views of course are at and in a different place.I would say this though.I think a conversation on this with Natalie,judging by the tenor of her post,could be an exercise which would force me to examine my beliefs more carefully.Although I suspect you may be a little more combatitive than Natalie on this point.I would say the same of you.This doesn't sound much like a compliment but its intended as one.Can we at least agree that the resignation of the Dean here is highminded and principled.

Hi John, of course we can agree on that point about the Dean, and I'm also willing to say that this is a thorny issue for St. Paul's, as I think the Bishop of London has expressed; it certainly would be if the encampment were happening outside our own cathedral here in Montreal. And I hope I'm not all that combative...I always try to listen and reconsider my own views, and I respect anyone who is willing to have a genuine discussion. Thanks for implying that!

Hi Beth.I hope i was more than implying and anyway combatitive wasn't meant to be pejorative.

Here in Montreal, our Diocesan Synod recently passed three resolutions dealing with justice issues. the first declared Synod to be "in solidarity with Occupy Montreal and all others who have drawn attention to the grave disparities of the current economic systems.”

The second asked that the Government of Canada "re-examine the proposals of its bill which seeks to cancel the gun control registry, in order to protect and enhance the control of guns in our society and provide effective registration without criminalisation of the individual so as to balance the different needs of Canada’s urban and rural communities”

The third asked for a reconsideration of the omnibus crime bill to ensure the preservation of the process of rehabilitation and reintegration for those who are detained by the criminal justice system. Restorative justice has been a major thrust of the system here in Quebec, and the fear is that this is threatened by new crime bills.

Not that I find the issue as a whole amusing, of course, but there's a priceless photo on the BBC news website today of a hapless clergyman spotted amidst the tents of the protest camp: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2011/nov/02/occupy-london-live-coverage-of-st-paul-s-protests?newsfeed=true

One of the (many) broader issues this is highlighting in the UK context is how much of the space we assume to be public is in fact privately owned, especially, but by no means only, in London's financisl district. I see that the Bristol protest camp is also outside the cathedral there. Cathedrals do tend to have attractive and central urban sites and more open space around them than most buildings, of course. But also, the London protesters were stopped by police from even entering the space they first had in mind and this would be the case with many sites in many cities.

The focus on the church's embarrassment could not be better, of course, for all the interests and individuals who hope to ignore the protesters' messages.

Internecine strife in the Church of England has provided diversion from crucial social issues for generations so the shenanigans at St Paul's come as no surprise. However, what will be interesting is the position adopted when the imminent order to quit issued to the Occupy campers becomes actuality with a robust eviction.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.