The Bishop of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral try to mop up the mess:
St Paul’s seeks new direction and suspends legal action
Bishop of London backs away from further confrontation, recalling that the cathedral had been a ‘symbol of freedom’
The Rt Rev Richard John Carew Chartres exuded an aura of benign ecclesiastical calm having performed the most dramatic reverse ferret in modern church history.
The Bishop of London was cloistered in his 17th century palace – confusingly called the Old Deanery – after overseeing a meeting of the St Paul’s Cathedral chapter at which his colleagues had unanimously agreed to overturn virtually every single decision they had reached over the past two weeks.
“Reverse ferret” is, technically speaking, a term used in Fleet Street, just down the road, to describe the moment when an editor executes a startling editorial U-turn.
But it was the bishop who brought off a remarkable tactical volte face. Stepping into the shoes of the recently-departed dean of St Paul’s, Graeme Knowles, Chartres decided to suspend legal action against the protesters who are camped out barely a hundred yards from his sitting room – and to disregard the legal and health and safety advice which had previously led to the closure of the cathedral.
“The symbolism of the closed door was the wrong symbol,” said Chartres, who also announced an initiative, led by a former investment banker, with the aim of “reconnecting the financial with the ethical”.