British history has been punctuated by stories of turbulent priests more often than by stories of recalcitrant congregations. As Thomas à Becket discovered to his detriment, it is usually the clergy — and not their flock — who find themselves in danger of being ousted. As of October 16, London’s famous St. Paul’s cathedral sits squarely in this tradition, with its dean, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, now publicly regretting the leniency he initially showed the camped-out members of “Occupy London Stock Exchange” — the British franchise of the now-global “Occupy” brigade. If Dean Knowles had expected to be afforded the same respect by OLSX that he has become accustomed to from his parishioners, he was sorely mistaken. Since their free pass was issued, the people-in-tents have made it blindingly obvious that they are not merely differently dressed members of the City of London’s laity, but, literally, occupiers intent on holding the fort at all costs.
And there are costs. When the first protesters arrived, the cathedral’s authorities turned the other cheek, accepting the imposition of the protest camp with alacrity. St. Paul’s even took the unusual step of instructing London’s police to leave the protesters where they were. In doing so, an unfortunate precedent was set. As the crowd has grown to 2,000 strong, access to the landmark has been gradually blocked, forcing St. Paul’s to close its doors for the first time since 1940, when German bombs rained indiscriminately down on the city during the Blitz and an unexploded incendiary forced evacuation for a few days while the device was removed.
Keep reading this post . . .