Bishop comes face to face with protesters – but won't back down

 

The Bishop of London said he does not want the anti-capitalist protest outside St Paul's Cathedral to end in violence, as he defended a legal challenge which could lead to the camp's eviction.

Speaking to hundreds of protesters on the cathedral's steps yesterday, the Right Rev Richard Chartres said he shared demonstrators' concerns about corporate greed, but refused to abandon the legal route which has shaken the Church of England.

He told demonstrators the site had become an "experiment" and "laboratory" for democratic protest and the legal bid did not mean "we are on the inevitable road to violence".

"Whatever happens, nobody wants violence," he said. "There is nothing that will efface the value of what's been done better than violence." But he countered: "The camp could be taken over by people who are very different from the ones who are in charge at the moment. I think it is a prudent measure."

Today, as two legal challenges to remove the 200 Occupy London Stock Exchange tents in the financial district begin, the cathedral will attempt to quell protesters' frustrations over the bishop's tone, which appears to be confrontational yet conciliatory.

St Paul's, left reeling after two resignations last week, is said to still be "agonising" over its eviction decision and is working on potential solutions – including a permanent tent protest within the building.

A cathedral insider said another option was to ask protesters to reduce the size of the camp – but that would cause friction between the cathedral and the City of London Corporation.

Both go the High Court today seeking to break up the camp, but while the Corporation – which looks after interests in the Square Mile – is keen to evict protesters with force if necessary, the cathedral wants to avoid the prospect of police dragging protesters away from the religious landmark.

The Rev Graham Knowles, the Dean of St Paul's, who has been criticised after the cathedral closed for a week for the first time since the Blitz, said there was no financial pressure to close or take up the legal fight.

"I find it quite difficult you assume I do not hold the same views as you simply because I don't use the same methods of expressing my views as you," he told demonstrators. "We do have to allow ourselves space to do things in different ways as well as doing things together."

A spokesman said the Dean and the cathedral are considering "all options".

As well as a scaled-down tented protest, it is understood St Paul's is open to the idea of having a tent inside the cathedral "for as long as necessary".

All sides agree any eviction would only follow months of legal wrangling. Meanwhile, protesters remain adamant they will not be moving.

Yesterday, one protester, Tammy Semede, told the Bishop, Dean and assembled crowd the Church's stance had caused her doubts about her faith.

"I went for Communion [in the cathedral] and didn't feel I was able. The Church's behaviour has affected my faith," she said.

One piece of good news for St Paul's was the decision by a cathedral canon to stay. Canon Mark Oakley was said to be considering resigning but yesterday used Twitter to confirm he will not.

Last week, Dr Giles Fraser, the canon chancellor of St Paul's, and the Rev Fraser Dyer, a junior chaplain at the cathedral, quit over the decision to pursue legal action to break up the camp.

Dr Chartres also said a report by the St Paul's Institute – a wing of the cathedral – on business ethics would be released, but he refused to say when.

Expected to attack banking ethics, and due to be released on the day of Dr Fraser's resignation last Thursday, its delayed publication had caused more controversy for the troubled Church.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape