[Diggers350] Cover-up at St Paul's -- Clerics suppress report on bankers' greed to save church embarrassment
dave.bangs at virgin.net
Sun Oct 30 10:57:49 GMT 2011
This weekend edition (29th-30th Oct) of the Morning Star carries a damning report on the finance people pulling the strings at St Paul's.
Google Morning Star website. Headline: "Who Hold The Purse Strings?" (Rory MacKinnon),
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From: Paul Mobbs
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Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2011 9:53 AM
Subject: [Diggers350] Cover-up at St Paul's -- Clerics suppress report on bankers' greed to save church embarrassment
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Exclusive: Cover-up at St Paul's -- Clerics suppress report on bankers' greed
to save church embarrassment
Brian Brady, Jane Merrick, Independent on Sunday, 30th October 2011
A highly critical report into the moral standards of bankers has been
suppressed by St Paul's Cathedral amid fears that it would inflame tensions
over the Occupy London tent protest.
The report, based on a survey of 500 City workers who were asked whether they
thought they were worth their lucrative salaries and bonuses, was due to be
published last Thursday, the day that the Canon Chancellor of St Paul's, Giles
Fraser, resigned in protest at the church's tough stance.
But publication of the report, by the St Paul's Institute, has been delayed in
an apparent acknowledgement that it would leave the impression that the
cathedral was on the side of the protesters.
The Independent on Sunday understands that the decision has upset a number of
clergy, who hoped that the report would prove that the church was not detached
from a financial crisis that had its heart yards from the cathedral itself. The
decision will fuel the impression that the wider established church is
attempting to stifle debate about the tent protest, as leading members of the
Church of England, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have failed to
comment publicly about Occupy London.
A spokesman for St Paul's Cathedral said: "It has been decided to delay
publishing this report until further notice as it wouldn't get the proper
debate it deserves in light of the present circumstances."
The spokesman refused to comment what the report's findings were, but it is
understood it raised profound concerns about the banking sector's willingness
to accept responsibility for the financial crisis.
Such a critical analysis, coming from the institute which is described as part
of St Paul's Cathedral's "wider mission", would be seen as highly inflammatory
at a time when the church is going to the High Court to attempt to remove 200
tents from its land.
The report was the most ambitious in a series of assessments on the banking
industry commissioned by the institute, which was set up to provide "an
informed Christian response to the most urgent ethical and spiritual issues of
Dr Fraser, who resigned on Thursday over St Paul's hardline position against
the protesters, is the director of the institute. He was unavailable for
comment. It is understood that the decision to delay publication was taken by
the Cathedral Chapter, but it did not play a part in Dr Fraser's resignation.
A spokesman for the Bishop of London said the diocese was not aware of the
report, and there is no suggestion that anyone beyond St Paul's has been
involved in delaying its publication. Yet the apparent cover-up is the latest
damaging revelation in the saga which has dented the Church of England's PR
image. At a time when few senior church people are willing to come off the
fence about the St Paul's protest, there is a danger with the withholding of
this report that the church will be seen to be actively suppressing the sort
of debate that many of its critics favour.
The St Paul's Institute survey was due to be published on 27 October to mark
the 25th anniversary of the "Big Bang", when the financial markets were
deregulated in 1986.
The Rev Andrew Studdert-Kennedy, the Rector of Marlborough, who produced a
series of reports on the financial industry during a sabbatical at the
institute in the summer, said he had been asked to write a piece accompanying
the launch of the survey results. He said last night: "I can see why they
chose not to publish the report last week. It was going to get swallowed up by
the other things that were happening. I watched it all with absolute dismay.
The thing that really bothers me is when people say the church should be
engaging in these issues, because that is precisely what the institute was set
up to do. It has done an enormous amount of work."
Mr Studdert-Kennedy, who refused to comment directly on the survey findings,
said he had been "astonished" by the attitudes some City workers displayed
towards the financial crisis. He said: "I did speak to many people about
morality. I was amazed by how many banking crises there had been and how
sanguine people were about them. A number of people said 'this is just what
happens – it's the nature of banking, it's the nature of capitalism'.
"It's one thing having a historical perspective, but I was astonished that
people didn't try to learn a bit more. There is a recognition that there is
something wrong, but a reluctance to admit that they are part of the problem.
They can be good at criticism but not so good at self-reform. What we have got
there is so much that is human nature, related to how they behave in groups."
He conceded that the publicity surrounding the camp had been "awful".
He added: "There may have been a very good reason to close the doors, but the
way it was going to be seen by the outside world was terrible. It looks as if
the church has come down on one side of the argument and the protesters on the
Yesterday, pressure mounted on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams,
and leading Church of England bishops to speak out about the continuing battle
over the Occupy London camp. Dr Williams wrote what is understood to be a
"supportive" letter to Dr Fraser when the latter resigned, but has refused to
Besides the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, only two others, the suffragan
bishops of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, and of Sherborne, Graham Kings, have
commented on the continuing crisis.
Over the past three days, The IoS asked 80 Anglican bishops to comment on the
protest. Besides these three, 16 gave a direct no comment or insisted it was a
matter for the London diocese; 18 were away or unavailable for comment, and
the remainder failed to respond.
Dr Wilson has accused St Paul's of a "hysterical over-reaction" to the
Dr Kings told the IoS that the "the PR could have been handled much better"
over the saga, adding: "I do question stratospheric bonuses but I am not
against capitalism itself."
"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')
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