And so, as was so wittily written by Oscar Wilde in his play The Importance of Being Earnest, the saying that is written has come to pass….
To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
The Dean of St Paul’s has followed Giles Fraser and resigned from St Paul’s Cathedral. I think that this raises a number of different issues.
St Paul’s Cathedral may not have shown itself in the best light in the past week but some things need pointing out.
Firstly, the media pressure put on people of goodwill show how unbearable it can be for them to continue to operate. The intense, continuous pressure on most people would make them crack, let alone a Cathedral Chapter. I suspect that the downside of 24 hour media coverage is soon passing from being a good (where wrong-doing is being done) to a questionable and intrusive activity. I know that I wouldn’t wish to be under the media spot-light that members of St Paul’s have been put under.
The St Paul’s Institute has been an important vehicle to discuss major issues to do with finance and morality. They have been raising some of the issues that many people would want to see discussed including the Banking Crisis, Multinational companies and their effect, etc.
The way that the Church works is not like some major corporation where a set view is agreed and held to via media spokespeople etc. What has come out is that there has been a discussion within the cathedral about what line should be pursued. In none of this is there even a sniff of wrong-doing, merely the disagreement of how to handle a protest that had camped out on their doorstep. That disagreement has been made public, essentially because there is nothing to hide.
What has evidently happened is that a media firestorm has fallen upon St Paul’s. They, in their muddling way, didn’t work out or communicate a clear and consistent corporate line. They are clergy and not corporate bankers. I thought, unfortunately, that Guido Fawkes wasn’t far off the mark with his tweet earlier today: