Letter: Reflections on paying to pray

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The Independent Online
From Mr P. J. Castle

Sir: Last Friday, I found myself in London with some time to spare. I freely entered Westminster Cathedral, spent some time in quiet reflection and prayer, lit a candle and left a donation.

On Saturday, I was in Canterbury and decided to repeat the exercise in the cathedral there. To my surprise, I discovered that I was forbidden to enter even the grounds without joining a queue and paying a pounds 2 entrance fee. Musing as to why the ecclesiastical authorities of the established church should now deem this important part of our national heritage to be a tourist attraction, rather than a place of worship, I adjourned to the Catholic church of St Thomas for a time of quiet.

I was astonished when the Church of England threw away millions of pounds on ill-advised business deals. I am much more astounded that they should seek to recoup but a tiny part of this in a way that is causing excessive ill-will, as was evidenced by the many I listened to "outside the walls".

Yours faithfully,

Peter Castle

Gillingham, Kent