Friday, November 18, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Occupy The Lord's House

Sign from Occupy Brisbane Site

As the Vatican attempts to pour cold water on the possibility of Pope Benedict's popemobile cruising through the wordlwide "Occupy sites" in solidarity, the Anglicans have taken out an injunction  to remove the London  protesters from the square in front of St Paul's Cathedral. 


The flurry of excitement about the Pope doing a "World Occupy Tour" (WOT2011) was generated by a statement from the office of the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace. The  statement came in the form of a "Nota" ("Note in Vaticanspeak)  Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority.

The contents of the statement reflect many of the issues of concern being raised by those who have "occupied" cities around the world. Sentences from the statement could easily sit alongside the current agenda for example at my local Occupy Site in Brisbane.

"Recognizing the primacy of being over having and of ethics over the economy, the world’s peoples ought to adopt an ethic of solidarity to fuel their action.


Economics and finance need to be brought back within the boundaries of their real vocation and function, including their social function, in consideration of their obvious responsibilities to society – for example, that of nourishing markets and financial institutions which are really at the service of the person and are capable of responding to the needs of the common good and universal brotherhood. 


The time has come to conceive of institutions with universal competence, now that vital goods shared by the entire human family are at stake, goods which individual States cannot promote and protect by themselves.


The birth of a new society and the building of new institutions with a universal vocation and competence are a prerogative and a duty for everyone, without distinction. What is at stake is the common good of humanity and the future itself."


Meanwhile in London the Bishop of Buckingham,  Alan Wilson blogged his dismay at the decision of the Dean of St Pauls' Cathedral to close the sacred space  citing issues of health and safety due to the presence of the occupiers.The BBC News service  has published a great image of the relationship between the Cathedral and the London Stock Exchange which  makes it an obvious  site for an "occupy" event.

However, the announcement of a campaign by Cathedral Chapter to evict the protesters by legal action has been revealed as part of the very economic system the protesters are challenging. In a statement from Australia the British PM David Cameron said ""We need to ensure that important places like St Paul's Cathedral are open to the public, open for tourism."

Not all Cathedral staff  have been supportive of these decisions. Fraser  Dyer, a cathedral chaplain followed in the footsteps of Rev Dr Giles Fraser, the Canon Chancellor, and resigned from his position citing g 'disappointment " at the decison to pursue legal action against the activists.

In my fathers house there are many mansions, but no tents thank you!!! (Adaptation of John 14:2)

Christians for the Occupy Movement
Where you stand determines what you see
The Occupy Movement...Your Kingdom Come
Huffington Post reports on Occupy London


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