Anglican Church cleric defends Occupy protestors, resigns from cathedral
Anglican Canon concerned that cathedral's decision to evict protestors 'may lead to violence'
Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser with London's landmark St. Paul's
Cathedral has stepped down, reportedly over concerns that it planned to
evict anti-capitalist protesters camped outside. "It is with great
regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St. Paul's
Cathedral," Fraser said on Twitter this week. While that announcement
had no formal explanation, Fraser told the London Evening Standard
newspaper he was stepping down from a post he had held since 2009 as he
believed the cathedral was set on a course of action that "may lead to
Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser with London's landmark St. Paul's Church of Englan Cathedral has stepped down, reportedly over concerns that it planned to evict anti-capitalist protesters camped outside.
As of Fraser's decision, the Dean of St. Paul's, the Right Rev. Graeme Knowles said that the cathedral would be "very sorry to see him go," but did not elaborate on his decision.
Protestors at the Occupy London Web site said they were "deeply moved" by Fraser's resignation.
"From the moment Occupy London arrived at St. Paul's Churchyard he respected our right to protest and defended it," the post read.
"For that we are very grateful, as he ensured that St. Paul's could be a sanctuary for us and that no violence could take place against peaceful protesters with a legitimate cause - challenging and tackling social and economic injustice in London, the UK and beyond."
Knowles said he was optimistic the cathedral might be able to reopen after changes to the way the tent city, which sprang up outside two weeks ago, was laid out.
"The staff team here have been working flat out with the police, fire brigade and health and safety officers to try to ensure that we have confidence in the safety of our worshippers, visitors and staff which will allow us to reopen," he said in a statement.
Knowles says the church believes in the right to peaceful protest, but had asked the protesters to move on. He said the church was consulting lawyers on measures it could take, including court action.
The cathedral, which normally welcomes thousands of visitors daily, would be closed until further notice because of "practical and safety issues," including a fire risk from stoves used by protestors.
The Evening Standard quoted London Mayor Boris Johnson Thursday as calling for new laws to prevent tent cities "erupting like boils" across London, and telling the activists: "In the name of God and Mammon, go."
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: St. Paul's Cathedral, Occupy protestors, resignation
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