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The ending of the Occupy protest at St Paul’s

07 March 2012


From Mr Nigel Wildish

Sir, — Your editorial on 2 March suggested that Occupy London had achieved something, in that you urged St Paul’s Cathedral to make good its offers of engagement. You also implied, however, that the Occupy action at St Paul’s needed to end; you said that once the camp had faded from prominence, its reason for continuing disappeared.

I would urge all cathedrals that have recently experienced the Occupy movement to conduct an appraisal of the benefits and disad­vantages of the encampments. We hear of benefits, such as the raising of awareness of the important divisions between the rich and the poor; we hear of damage that the Church has suffered, such as the resignations in London, and the cost and/or lost income suffered around the country.

I believe that many of us would like to know what the cathedrals themselves think of their Occupy experience. What benefits have arisen, and what losses have been suffered? We can all offer an opinion about their relative strengths, but we need a balance sheet of the items to carry that out. Cathedrals should then be praised for such openness.

Would the Occupy movement itself also be able to offer us their thoughts on this subject? An honest appraisal is what I am asking for, not polemic.

Fair City
25B Ravensdale Avenue
London N12 9HP

From Mrs W. Prendergast

Sir, — I wonder if other readers felt as uncomfortable as I did about your front-page picture of an appar­ently praying protester being moved on by police outside St Paul’s.

I fully support the need for prayer for those working in or visit­ing the cathedral, the police, the protesters, and their campaign; but I question the way of going about it.

Seeing that photo brought to mind Matthew 6.5. Are those who have been making a show of prayer doing it more to make a point by being seen by men rather than from a desire to ask God’s guidance? It seems to me that they are creating a picture of people apparently pray­ing, simply as an added form of protest to gain sympathy.

9 Endfield Road
Bournemouth BH9 1TJ

From Canon Wealands Bell

Sir, — Much has been made of the fact that protesters were moved from outside St Paul’s last week while praying, and images such as that on your own front cover are undeniably upsetting.

But praying is not a kind of vir­tual sanctuary knocker, and cannot protect individuals against the ac­tions of properly exercised author­ity. If it was lawful and necessary to move people from that space at that time, it was lawful and necessary. Their praying or not praying is irrelevant.

Indeed, I dare say that some of the police and bailiffs were praying, too.

23 The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD

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