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The UK experienced a busy and historic weekend as Operations London Bridge and Unicorn became reality after the Queen’s death on Thursday, September 8, 2022.

The nation is now in a 10-day period of mourning, which continues through Monday, September 19, the day of the Queen’s funeral in Westminster Abbey. King Charles III has declared the day to be a bank holiday. The Royals, including their staff, will mourn for an additional week.

Before going into the weekend’s events, I have a few items to add from the end of last week.

Wednesday and Thursday, September 7 and 8

Last Wednesday, possibly having been busy preparing for her parliamentary statement on the energy crisis on Thursday, Liz Truss’s office cancelled the weekly update on Operation London Bridge, the funeral plans for Queen Elizabeth II. However, Simon Case, the civil servant who is Cabinet Secretary, informed the Prime Minister of the Queen’s decline early on Thursday morning.

Former Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Parm Sandhu told GB News that Operation London Bridge was originally planned in the 1960s and has been regularly reviewed since.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s — Prince Philip’s — plans were Operation Forth Bridge, so named for the magnificent bridge that links the Scottish capital to Fife.

Operation Unicorn involves funeral plans for Scotland in the event the Queen died there.

As my post on Friday explained, the Prime Minister found out about the Queen’s death during the energy debate in the Commons.

On Friday, September 9, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant told GB News that the note she received at lunchtime might well have said:

London Bridge is down.

At that point, the Queen was receiving medical attention and her closest family members were on their way to Balmoral.

The Times reported how Thursday afternoon’s events unfolded (emphases mine):

The six hours that followed brought together a fractured royal family and seemed to unite a nation in apprehension. At 12.32pm, moments after the first signs in the Commons, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.”

It was immediately clear the news was more significant than previous announcements about the Queen’s health. Newspaper websites swiftly reported the announcement …

… At 12.45pm the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall announced that they were travelling to Balmoral. They were already in Scotland after hosting a dinner at Dumfries House in Ayrshire the previous evening. A minute later the Duke of Cambridge, 40, announced that he would be travelling from London. It was now clear that the situation was grave.

The Duchess of Cambridge, 40, remained at their Windsor home and drove to collect Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis following their first full day at their new school to tell them of the news. At 1.30pm the Duke of York, 62, who was stripped of his royal duties after the scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, said that he would also be flying to Scotland. Six minutes later the Earl and Countess of Wessex confirmed that they would also be travelling to Balmoral.

The Princess Royal, 72, had been on the Isle of Raasay on Wednesday and stayed at Balmoral overnight. The Duke of Sussex, despite his long- running troubles with the monarchy, announced at 1.52pm that he was also travelling to Scotland, separately from other senior royals but “in co-ordination with other family members’ plans”. He arrived at Balmoral almost two hours after the announcement of his grandmother’s death. He had flown into Aberdeen airport alone, and his wife remained in Windsor.

Prince Harry, 37, happened to be in the UK anyway, and had been due to attend a charity event in London last night.

The first signs of serious concerns about the Queen’s health had emerged at 6pm on Wednesday, when it was announced that she had “accepted doctors’ advice to rest” rather than attend a virtual meeting of the privy council that evening.

That would have been only an hour after I’d heard a long pealing of bells from Westminster Abbey on Wednesday, which I mentioned in my post on Friday.

More of the timeline continues, including the hour when the Queen’s death was announced:

Soon after the announcement of concerns of the Queen’s doctor, Charles, 73, was seen clutching a large briefcase as he boarded the royal helicopter from Dumfries House with Camilla, 75, for the journey to Balmoral.

The flight carrying William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Sophie took off from RAF Northolt in northwest London at 2.39pm. Royal Air Force flight KRF23R landed at Aberdeen airport at 3.50pm. A short while later, at 4.30pm, the prime minister was informed of the Queen’s death by Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, according to her official spokesman.

Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge was driving his two uncles the 40 miles from Aberdeen airport to Balmoral, arriving just after 5pm. William was behind the wheel of the Range Rover, with Andrew in the passenger seat and Edward, 58, and Sophie, 57, in the back

The Palace said in a statement: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

Charles had acceded to the throne immediately.

The flags in Downing Street were lowered to half mast at 6.36pm. BBC One played the national anthem following the announcement of the monarch’s death, showing a photograph of the Queen, followed by a royal crest on a black background and the words Queen Elizabeth II …

The double rainbow, which I also referenced on Friday, appeared as soon as the flags were lowered to half mast, not only in London but also in Windsor.

On Friday afternoon, The Telegraph reported that only Princess Anne and Prince Charles made it to Balmoral in time to see the Queen before she died:

The King and the Princess Royal were the only two senior members of the Royal family who made it to Balmoral before Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it is understood

As for Prince William and his uncles and aunt:

Royal Air Force flight KRF23R took off shortly after 2.30pm, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.com, landing in Aberdeen at 3.50pm.

Prince William drove the quartet from the airport to Balmoral and they were pictured sweeping into the gates of the castle shortly after 5pm.

It is possible they had known they would not make it, perhaps even before their plane took off.

In the event, by the time they arrived, it was too late.

Prince Harry’s flight was delayed and he did not arrive until 8 p.m.:

he is believed to have been mid-air when Buckingham Palace announced at 6.30pm that the Queen had died, arriving at Balmoral an hour and a half later.

The Duke’s Cessna had been due to land at 6.29pm, a minute before the historic statement. But it was 20 minutes late taking off at Luton Airport, meaning he did not land in Aberdeen until 6.46pm.

The grief-stricken Duke was photographed as he was driven into Balmoral Castle just before 8pm to join other members of his family.

That evening, France paid the Queen tribute by turning off the lights on the Eiffel Tower at midnight and on Friday, at 10 p.m.:

https://image.vuukle.com/21414c90-8f1a-445b-989f-74a955755b28-2ce0bcad-ca7c-47b3-bd29-f5e95920369e

Friday, September 9

On Friday morning, the Telegraph article said that Prince Harry left Balmoral early:

Prince Harry was the first to leave Balmoral on Friday morning, driven out of the gates at 8.20am.

He had to take a commercial flight back to Windsor:

He later boarded a British Airways flight from Aberdeen to Heathrow and is thought to have returned to Frogmore Cottage, Windsor, where the Duchess of Sussex was waiting for him.

Later that morning, the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Union) head, Mick Lynch, announced that the rail strikes planned for September 15 and 17 were cancelled.

Guido Fawkes said that a postal strike was also cancelled (emphases his):

The Communication Workers Union has also called off a planned Royal Mail strike, with General Secretary Dave Ward saying “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen, and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrow’s planned strike action.”

Fair play to both Lynch and Ward, whether they’re genuinely in mourning or its cynical comms, they made the right call…

England’s three main political parties suspended campaigning during the mourning period. This is fine, except that Parliament is adjourned until after the Queen’s funeral, at which point it will continue to be adjourned for three weeks’ worth of annual political party conferences.

If Liz is smart, she will find a way to get the Commons, at least, to reconvene during conference season. There is no justification, especially this year, for every MP to attend these rather superfluous events. Furthermore, the evening events are also times of revelry, which seems inappropriate at this time.

Guido‘s Friday post says:

With King Charles instituting 17 days of mourning, the death of Queen Elizabeth will certainly cast shadows over all three of the major parties’ conferences. Guido understands the Tories are having conversations about how to proceed with their Birmingham gathering in light of the news. With politics grinding to a halt, it’s going to be difficult for PM Truss to enjoy the full political dividend from yesterday’s energy policy announcement…

Parliament is not due to reconvene until October 17. October is the month when the new energy ‘price cap’ — i.e. a dramatic increase — comes into effect. This will affect everyone and a policy really needs to be finalised before then. Conservative MP John Redwood tweeted:

As I write on Monday afternoon, GB News’s Tom Harwood says that a ‘fiscal event’ — an energy policy announcement — could be made on one of the four consecutive days after mourning and before conference recess. He says that his sources tell him that separate legislation would not be required. Let’s hope he is right.

Friday is not normally a day when either House of Parliament meets. However, both MPs and the Lords met to pay tribute to the Queen. The sessions, which also included taking the Oath of Loyalty to King Charles — optional, as the Oath includes successors — continued into Saturday. Every MP and Lord who wanted to speak was able to do so.

The Commons session on Friday afternoon began with a minute’s silence:

Afterwards, the Prime Minister began the tributes:

Guido has the video and pulled out the key quote from her address:

The United Kingdom is the great country it is today because of her, the Commonwealth is the family of nations it is today because of her.

Hansard has the full transcript of Friday’s and Saturday’s tributes from MPs. I commend them to everyone, because many MPs mentioned that the Queen visited their respective constituencies more than once during her reign. Only a handful had never had met her. The contributions reflected a monarch with not only dignity but also good humour. Everyone who met her said that she knew how to put them at ease.

Truss pointed out other historical highlights in her address:

In the hours since last night’s shocking news, we have witnessed the most heartfelt outpouring of grief at the loss of Her late Majesty the Queen. Crowds have gathered. Flags have been lowered to half-mast. Tributes have been sent from every continent around the world. On the death of her father, King George VI, Winston Churchill said the news had,

“stilled the clatter and traffic of twentieth-century life in many lands”.

Now, 70 years later, in the tumult of the 21st century, life has paused again.

Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. She was the rock on which modern Britain was built. She came to the throne aged just 25, in a country that was emerging from the shadow of war; she bequeaths a modern, dynamic nation that has grown and flourished under her reign. The United Kingdom is the great country it is today because of her. The Commonwealth is the family of nations it is today because of her. She was devoted to the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. She served 15 countries as Head of State, and she loved them all

Her devotion to duty remains an example to us all. She carried out thousands of engagements, she took a red box every day, she gave her assent to countless pieces of legislation and she was at the heart of our national life for seven decades. As the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, she drew on her deep faith. She was the nation’s greatest diplomat. Her visits to post-apartheid South Africa and to the Republic of Ireland showed a unique ability to transcend difference and heal division. In total, she visited well over 100 countries. She met more people than any other monarch in our history.

She gave counsel to Prime Ministers and Ministers across Government. I have personally greatly valued her wise advice. Only last October, I witnessed first hand how she charmed the world’s leading investors at Windsor Castle. She was always so proud of Britain, and always embodied the spirit of our great country. She remained determined to carry out her duties even at the age of 96. It was just three days ago, at Balmoral, that she invited me to form a Government and become her 15th Prime Minister. Again, she generously shared with me her deep experience of government, even in those last days.

Everyone who met her will remember the moment. They will speak of it for the rest of their lives. Even for those who never met her, Her late Majesty’s image is an icon for what Britain stands for as a nation, on our coins, on our stamps, and in portraits around the world. Her legacy will endure through the countless people she met, the global history she witnessed, and the lives that she touched. She was loved and admired by people across the United Kingdom and across the world.

One of the reasons for that affection was her sheer humanity. She reinvited monarchy for the modern age. She was a champion of freedom and democracy around the world. She was dignified but not distant. She was willing to have fun, whether on a mission with 007, or having tea with Paddington Bear. She brought the monarchy into people’s lives and into people’s homes.

During her first televised Christmas message in 1957, she said:

“Today we need a special kind of courage…so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.”

We need that courage now. In an instant yesterday, our lives changed forever. Today, we show the world that we do not fear what lies ahead. We send our deepest sympathy to all members of the royal family. We pay tribute to our late Queen, and we offer loyal service to our new King.

His Majesty King Charles III bears an awesome responsibility that he now carries for all of us. I was grateful to speak to His Majesty last night and offer my condolences. Even as he mourns, his sense of duty and service is clear. He has already made a profound contribution through his work on conservation and education, and his tireless diplomacy. We owe him our loyalty and devotion.

The British people, the Commonwealth and all of us in this House will support him as he takes our country forward to a new era of hope and progress: our new Carolean age. The Crown endures, our nation endures, and in that spirit, I say God save the King. [Hon. Members: “God save the King.”]

Labour’s Keir Starmer, Leader of the Loyal Opposition, spoke next. Guido has the video:

The highlight of his speech was this:

She did not simply reign over us, she lived alongside us. She shared in our hopes and our fears, our joy and our pain, our good times, and our bad.

Interestingly, when they were younger, both Starmer and Truss wanted to abolish the monarchy.

Boris Johnson spoke a short time later, declaring the Queen:

Elizabeth the Great.

Historian David Starkey would disagree and did so on GB News on Sunday, September 11. He said that ‘the Great’ has applied exclusively to monarchs who waged war, e.g. Peter the Great.

Guido has the video. Boris began by saying that the BBC contacted him recently to speak about the Queen in past tense:

I hope the House will not mind if I begin with a personal confession. A few months ago, the BBC came to see me to talk about Her Majesty the Queen. We sat down and the cameras started rolling, and they requested that I should talk about her in the past tense. I am afraid that I simply choked up and could not go on. I am really not easily moved to tears, but I was so overcome with sadness that I had to ask them to go away.

I know that, today, there are countless people in this country and around the world who have experienced the same sudden access of unexpected emotion, and I think millions of us are trying to understand why we are feeling this deep, personal and almost familial sense of loss. Perhaps it is partly that she has always been there:

a changeless human reference point in British life; the person who—all the surveys say—appears most often in our dreams; so unvarying in her pole-star radiance that we have perhaps been lulled into thinking that she might be in some way eternal.

But I think our shock is keener today because we are coming to understand, in her death, the full magnitude of what she did for us all. Think what we asked of that 25-year-old woman all those years ago: to be the person so globally trusted that her image should be on every unit of our currency, every postage stamp; the person in whose name all justice is dispensed in this country, every law passed, to whom every Minister of the Crown swears allegiance; and for whom every member of our armed services is pledged, if necessary, to lay down their lives.

Think what we asked of her in that moment: not just to be the living embodiment, in her DNA, of the history, continuity and unity of this country, but to be the figurehead of our entire system—the keystone in the vast arch of the British state, a role that only she could fulfil because, in the brilliant and durable bargain of the constitutional monarchy, only she could be trusted to be above any party political or commercial interest and to incarnate, impartially, the very concept and essence of the nation.

Think what we asked of her, and think what she gave. She showed the world not just how to reign over a people; she showed the world how to give, how to love and how to serve. As we look back at that vast arc of service, its sheer duration is almost impossible to take in. She was the last living person in British public life to have served in uniform in the Second World War. She was the first female member of the royal family in a thousand years to serve full time in the armed forces.

That impulse to do her duty carried her right through into her 10th decade to the very moment in Balmoral—as my right hon. Friend said—only three days ago, when she saw off her 14th Prime Minister and welcomed her 15th. I can tell you, in that audience she was as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever I can remember, and as wise in her advice as anyone I know, if not wiser. Over that extraordinary span of public service, with her naturally retentive and inquiring mind, I think—and doubtless many of the 15 would agree—that she became the greatest statesman and diplomat of all.

She knew instinctively how to cheer up the nation, how to lead a celebration. I remember her innocent joy more than 10 years ago, after the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, when I told her that the leader of a friendly middle eastern country seemed actually to believe that she had jumped out of a helicopter in a pink dress and parachuted into the stadium. [Laughter.] I remember her equal pleasure on being told, just a few weeks ago, that she had been a smash hit in her performance with Paddington Bear.

Perhaps more importantly, she knew how to keep us going when times were toughest. In 1940, when this country and this democracy faced the real possibility of extinction, she gave a broadcast, aged only 14, that was intended to reassure the children of Britain. She said then:

“We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well”.

She was right

It was that indomitability, that humour, that work ethic and that sense of history that, together, made her Elizabeth the Great.

When I call her that, I should add one final quality, of course: her humility—her single-bar-electric-fire, Tupperware-using refusal to be grand. I can tell the House, as a direct eyewitness, that unlike us politicians, with our outriders and our armour-plated convoys, she drove herself in her own car, with no detectives and no bodyguard, bouncing at alarming speed over the Scottish landscape, to the total amazement of the ramblers and tourists we encountered.

It is that indomitable spirit with which she created the modern constitutional monarchy—an institution so strong, so happy and so well understood, not just in this country but in the Commonwealth and around the world, that the succession has already seamlessly taken place. I believe she would regard it as her own highest achievement that her son, Charles III, will clearly and amply follow her own extraordinary standards of duty and service. The fact that today we can say with such confidence, “God save the King” is a tribute to him but, above all, to Elizabeth the Great, who worked so hard for the good of her country not just now but for generations to come. That is why we mourn her so deeply, and it is in the depths of our grief that we understand why we loved her so much.

Theresa May’s speech was the funniest. I do wish she had shown this side of herself as Prime Minister. Her comic timing was impeccable:

Guido has a video of most of her address:

Arguably one of May’s most poignant speeches. Some needed light relief for the day...

Here’s the best part:

This excerpt follows:

Of course, for those of us who had the honour to serve as one of her Prime Ministers, those meetings were more frequent, with the weekly audiences. These were not meetings with a high and mighty monarch, but a conversation with a woman of experience, knowledge and immense wisdom. They were also the one meeting I went to that I knew would not be briefed out to the media. [Laughter.] What made those audiences so special was the understanding the Queen had of issues, which came from the work she put into her red boxes, combined with her years of experience. She knew many of the world leaders—in some cases, she had known their fathers—and she was a wise and adroit judge of people.

The conversations at the audiences were special, but so were weekends at Balmoral, where the Queen wanted all her guests to enjoy themselves. She was a thoughtful hostess. She would take an interest in which books were put in your room and she did not always expect to be the centre of attention; she was quite happy sometimes to sit, playing her form of patience, while others were mingling around her, chatting to each other. My husband tells of the time he had a dream: he dreamt that he was sitting in the back of a Range Rover, being driven around the Balmoral estate; and the driver was Her Majesty the Queen and the passenger seat was occupied by his wife, the Prime Minister. And then he woke up and realised it was reality!

Her Majesty loved the countryside. She was down to earth and a woman of common sense. I remember one picnic at Balmoral that was taking place in one of the bothies on the estate. The hampers came from the castle, and we all mucked in to put the food and drink out on the table. I picked up some cheese, put it on a plate and was transferring it to the table. The cheese fell on the floor. I had a split-second decision to make: I picked up the cheese, put it on a plate and put the plate on the table. I turned round to see that my every move had been watched very carefully by Her Majesty the Queen. I looked at her, she looked at me and she just smiled. And the cheese remained on the table. [Laughter.]

This is indeed a sad day, but it is also a day of celebration for a life well spent in the service of others. There have been many words of tribute and superlatives used to describe Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but these are not hype; they are entirely justified. She was our longest-serving monarch. She was respected around the world. She united our nation in times of trouble. She joined in our celebrations with joy and a mischievous smile. She gave an example to us all of faith, of service, of duty, of dignity and of decency. She was remarkable, and I doubt we will ever see her like again. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Saturday’s session in the Commons was another marathon.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle opened it with this:

I now invite the House to resume its tributes to Her late Majesty. I expect to conclude tributes at 10 o’clock, when I shall invite Ministers to move the motion for a Humble Address to His Majesty. A hundred and eighty-two Members contributed yesterday, and many want to contribute today. I hope Members will therefore keep to the informal time limit of three minutes.

An excerpt from John Redwood’s speech follows.

On Friday, he pointed out how historically significant three of our Queens were in British history and for women:

On Saturday, he said:

What always came across to all of us was just how much she respected every person and every institution that she visited. She showed that respect by impeccable manners and great courtesy—always on time, always properly briefed, always appropriately dressed for the occasion.

But, as so many have said from their personal experiences, there was something so much more than that. She was not just the consummate professional at those public events: there was the warm spirit, the personality, and above all the understanding that everyone else at that event was terrified that something was going to go wrong, that they had not understood the protocol, or that there was some magic way of doing it—as my right hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) was explaining—that they had to get right. At those public events, the Queen always relaxed people and showed them that there was no right way, because she was there for the people; she was there for the institution; she was there for the event. That is what we can learn from.

Of course, she was also Our Majesty. She was the embodiment of the sovereignty of people and Parliament; she represented us so well abroad and represented us at home, knowing that as a constitutional monarch, she represented us when we were united. She spoke for those times when we were gloriously happy and celebrating, or she spoke for those times when there was misery and gloom and she had to deal with our grief and point to the better tomorrow. That was why she held that sovereignty so well and for so long—a constitutional monarch who did not exercise the power, but captured the public mood; who managed to deal with fractious and difficult Parliaments and different political leaders, but who was above the politics, which meant that our constitution was safe in her hands. I wish her son, the new King, every success in following that great lead as he has told us he will do, and I can, with others, say today—“God save the King.”

Redwood later tweeted that he had omitted an important part of his speech:

Indeed.

The Queen attended only two of her former Prime Ministers’ funerals, those of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

These are links to Friday’s (continued here) and Saturday’s (continued here) tributes from the Lords, both Spiritual and Temporal.

On Sunday, our vicar said that the Church of England lost her greatest evangelist, the Queen.

I cannot disagree with that.

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke earlier on Friday afternoon, excerpted below.

He recalled her deep faith, something I wish more CofE clergy had:

… What has been said already today has been extraordinarily eloquent. I do not intend to repeat it but to say something about the Queen’s links to faith and to the Church of England. First is her assurance, her confidence, in the God who called her. At her coronation, so long ago, conducted by Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher—the first of seven Archbishops of Canterbury who had the privilege of serving her—the service began with her walking by herself past the Throne, where she would very shortly be seated, and kneeling by the high altar of Westminster Abbey. The order of service said, “She will kneel in private prayer”—and so she did, for some time. The next thing to happen was that homage was paid to her, starting with the Duke of Edinburgh. What that said about her understanding of her role was that she pledged her allegiance to God before others pledged their allegiance to her. She had this profound sense of who she was and by whom she was called.

Then there was her profound, deep and extraordinary theological vision. Many years ago now—seven or eight years ago—I was travelling abroad, and someone who had no knowledge of these things said, “Well, of course, she’s not really got that much intellect, has she? I mean, private tutors and all this—what can she know?” Well, what ignorance. In 2012, she spoke at Lambeth Palace on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee, and the speech she made there is one we return to very frequently, because she set out a vision for what an established Church should be. It was not a vision of comfort and privilege; it was to say, put very politely, “You are here as an umbrella for the whole people of this land”. The subtext was, “If you are not that, you are nothing”. That is a deep vision of what it is to be the Church—of what it is to be not an established Church but a Christian Church. That came from her deep understanding of faith. Every five years, at the inauguration of the Church of England’s General Synod, she came with messages of encouragement and assurance of her prayers. In 2021, her message was,

“my hope is that you will be strengthened with the certainty of the love of God, as you work together and draw on the Church’s tradition of unity in fellowship for the tasks ahead.”

Publicly, Her late Majesty worshipped regularly and spoke of her faith in God, particularly in her Christmas broadcasts, with quiet, gentle confidence. Privately, she was an inspiring and helpful guide and questioner to me and to my predecessors. She had a dry sense of humour, as we have heard already, and the ability to spot the absurd—the Church of England was very capable of giving her material—but she never exercised that at the expense of others. When I last saw her in June, her memory was as sharp as it could ever have been. She remembered meetings from 40 or 50 years ago and drew on the lessons from those times to speak of today and what we needed to learn: assurance of the love of God in her call, and then humility. It would be easy as a monarch to be proud, but she was everything but that. It was her faith that gave her strength. She knew that, but she knew also her call to be a servant, the one whom she served, and the nation she served, the Commonwealth and the world. Over the last 24 hours, I have had so many messages from archbishops, bishops and other people around the world, within the Commonwealth and way beyond it—from China, Latin America and many other places—in a deep sense of loss.

It has been the privilege of those on these Benches to be intimately involved with momentous occasions so often throughout Her late Majesty’s life. As has been said, she has been a presence for as long as we can remember. Jesus says in the Gospel of St Matthew:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”.

May God comfort all those who grieve Her late Majesty’s loss, and may God sustain His Majesty King Charles III in the enormous weight and challenges that he takes on immediately, at the same as he bears the burden of grief, and those around him in his family. May God hold Her late Majesty in His presence, firmly secured in the peace that passes far beyond our understanding.

The Archbishop of York, the Right Revd Stephen Cottrell, spoke in the first of Saturday’s sessions in the Lords. He added some light relief:

My Lords, like most Bishops from these Benches, I have stories to tell; stories of doing jigsaws in Sandringham on Sunday evenings and of barbeques in the woods at Sandringham in the middle of January—I even have a slightly scurrilous story about healing the Queen’s car. Perhaps I will tell it.

I had preached in Sandringham parish church. We were standing outside and the Bentley was there to get the Queen. It did not start. It made that throaty noise cars make in the middle of winter when they will not start, and everybody stood there doing nothing. I was expecting a policeman to intervene, but nothing happened. Enjoying the theatre of the moment, I stepped forward and made a large sign of the cross over the Queen’s car, to the enjoyment of the crowd—there were hundreds of people there, as it was the Queen. I saw the Queen out of the corner of my eye looking rather stony-faced, and thought I had perhaps overstepped the mark. The driver tried the car again and, praise the Lord, it started. The Queen got in and went back to Sandringham, and I followed in another car. When I arrived, as I came into lunch, the Queen said with a beaming smile, “It’s the Bishop—he healed my car”. Two years later, when I greeted her at the west front of Chelmsford Cathedral, just as a very grand service was about to start and we were all dressed up to the nines, she took me to one side and said, “Bishop, nice to see you again; I think the car’s all right today, but if I have any problems I’ll know where to come.”

When I became the 98th Archbishop of York, during Covid, I paid homage to the Queen by Zoom conference. I was in the Cabinet Office; everyone had forgotten to bring a Bible, including me, but there was one there—which is kind of reassuring. Just as the ceremony was about to begin, the fire alarm went off.

The Queen was at Windsor Castle, but we all trooped out of the Cabinet Office, on to the road, and were out there for about 20 minutes until they could check that it was a false alarm and we could go back in. When I went back into the room, there was the screen, with Her late Majesty waiting for things to begin again. I do not know why I find myself returning to that image of her, faithful watching and waiting through those very difficult times. That was a very small part of a life of astonishing service.

The other thing I have noticed in the last couple of days is that we are all telling our stories. Yesterday, I found myself sharing stories with somebody in the street. I at least had had the honour of meeting Her late Majesty; this person had never met her, but we were sharing stories. I said, “Isn’t it strange how we need to tell our stories? It’s not as if she was a member of our family.” Except she was. That is the point. She served the household of a nation. For her, it was not a rule but an act of service, to this people and to all of us.

I remind us, again and again, that that came from somewhere: it came from her profound faith in the one who said,

“I am among you as one who serves.”

The hallmark of leadership is service, watchfulness and waiting. It was her lived-in faith in Jesus Christ, day in and day out, which sustained, motivated and equipped her for that lifetime of service. How inspiring it was last night and this morning to see the baton pass to our new King, King Charles, in the same spirit of godly service to the people of a nation.

I had not thought of this, but the Archbishop of York pointed out the important feast day that coincided with the Queen’s death, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Her Majesty the Queen died on 8 September, the day on which the blessed Virgin Mary is remembered across the world and the Church. Another Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, said of her when she knew she would be the mother of the Lord:

“Blessed is she who believed that the promises made to her would be fulfilled”.

Shot through all our tributes in this House and another place, and across our nation, is that which we have seen, especially as it was only on Tuesday—I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, for reminding us—that the Queen received a new Prime Minister. Can it really be possible? She served to the end—a life fulfilled.

I will finish with a handful of her words. This is what the Queen wrote in a book to mark her 90th birthday, reflecting on her faith in Jesus Christ in her life:

“I have indeed seen His faithfulness.”

I am not supposed to call noble Lords “brothers and sisters”, but dear friends, we have seen her faithfulness too, and we see it now in our new King. May Her late Majesty the Queen rest in peace and rise in glory. God save the King.

Friday, September 9

At 6 p.m. on Friday, two significant events occurred.

The first was an hour-long service of prayer and reflection held at St Paul’s Cathedral:

This service was for people who work in the City of London along with a limited number of members of the public who could apply for wristbands — tickets — to attend. St Paul’s posted a page on how to obtain a wristband and how to queue on Friday afternoon for admittance.

Cabinet members attended and sat in the choir stalls. Prime Minister Truss and her Cabinet Secretary Simon Case sat in the front row. On the opposite side were Labour’s Keir Starmer and other Opposition MPs.

This was an excellent service. The Cathedral helpfully posted the Order of Service, which can be downloaded from the aforementioned webpage.

Truss read Romans 14:7-12:

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live
to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written,

‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’

So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

This prayer in memory of the Queen is beautiful:

Eternal Lord God,
you hold all souls in life;
send forth, we pray, upon your servant, Elizabeth,
and upon your whole Church in earth and heaven
the brightness of your light and peace;
and grant that we,
following the good example of those
who have faithfully served you here and are now at rest,
may at the last enter with them
into the fullness of eternal joy
in Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Amen.

Meanwhile, King Charles III addressed the nation for the first time as monarch:

He spoke for ten minutes, first discussing his late mother then pledging his service to the people of the United Kingdom.

He ended his address by saying that Prince William would become the new Prince of Wales and that he had much love for Prince Harry as he and Meghan continue building their life together overseas.

The Telegraph included the following blurb. The last line comes from Shakespeare:

The broadcast was recorded in the Blue Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, after the King and Queen greeted crowds of mourners outside the gates.

In a final message to his mother, the King said: “To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you.

“Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years.

“May ‘flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest’.”

The walkabout the paper refers to involved much emotion from members of the public, especially women. One lady kissed him on the cheek and another shook his hand. Historically, one does not touch the monarch. That also applied to the Queen, even if a few people did touch her.

Another similar walkabout by the new King and Queen Consort occurred on Saturday afternoon outside the Palace.

The Accession Ceremony took place on Saturday morning. More about that tomorrow.

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On Thursday afternoon and evening, I watched GB News’s wall-to-wall commentary on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It has been excellent.

GB News is available worldwide, live and on video.

Nigel Farage was in London for Trooping the Colour and said that the parade and the enthusiasm of everyone he met elsewhere was very moving, indeed:

Retired Royal correspondent Michael Cole, who had watched the Coronation in 1953 as a little boy on his family’s brand new television set, told Farage that he felt the same way:

Continuing on from Thursday’s post on the Platinum Jubilee, likely to be a one-off event in British history, here is the marvellous flypast that took place after Trooping the Colour:

That evening, the Queen symbolically set off the beacon lighting around the UK and Commonwealth nations:

This video shows how the lighting unfolded at Windsor Castle …

… and here we can see them lit up around the world:

On Friday morning, June 3, a Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s 70-year reign took place at St Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London.

The evening before, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen would not be attending, having suffered ‘discomfort’ after Trooping the Colour. She made a second appearance on the balcony to acknowledge the military personnel and officers participating.

However, the BBC commentators told us that she was watching the broadcast as it unfolded on television.

Interestingly, Queen Victoria arrived for her Diamond Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1897 only to find out that she could not exit her carriage because of ill health. When everyone inside found out, they all — clergy included — went outside to conduct the service there:

The Times‘s Valentine Low wrote the following about Elizabeth II:

The Queen may not have been able to take part in the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards, but she takes her role as Colonel-in-Chief very seriously. Her decision to make that extra appearance was prompted by the same motivation that saw her make a last-minute appearance at the opening of the Elizabeth line: her unwavering sense of duty.

The Queen will be extremely disappointed at not going to St Paul’s. She has a sincere religious belief, and takes her role as head of the Church of England seriously too …

For the moment, the jubilee remains all about the Queen: wherever she is.

Personally, I would have had the Service of Thanksgiving at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen returned to the castle after lunch with the Royal Family following Trooping the Colour.

The Sussexes attended the lunch at Buckingham Palace. They did not appear on the balcony as they are not working members of the Royal Family.

However, once at Windsor, where Archie and Lilibet stayed while their parents were in London, the Queen finally got to meet her newest great-grandchild:

The Daily Mail article has the order of the Service of Thanksgiving, which was traditional and dignified in all the best Church of England ways. Why can’t more C of E services be like that?

St Paul’s Cathedral also has the Order of Service as it was printed for those attending:

Crowds had gathered outside by 6 a.m. in the limited space Paternoster (Our Father) Square affords:

Attending these services as invited guests or military guard requires a bladder of steel and optimum decorum. Waiting for everyone to arrive takes longer than the actual service.

Today’s service welcomed as guests the charity sector, military cadets, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Commonwealth dignitaries, the military, politicians past and present as well as the extended Royal Family.

The public sector were there, too:

Outside were a military guard as well as military representatives from the Commonwealth nations. They had to stand perfectly still as the guests filed into the cathedral.

Here is another set of guards inside:

Musicians played traditional music. The Royal Marines provided the brass accompaniment. The Royal Air Force played the closing fanfare introducing the National Anthem, which concluded the service. Everyone sang his/her heart out. I’ve never heard anything like it:

Former Prime Ministers were in attendance: Sir John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. Brown and Cameron brought their respective wives, Sarah and Samantha.

Members of the Cabinet, including Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Home Secretary Priti Patel, attended.

Opposition leaders Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey were there, along with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and his wife also attended.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson got a huge and prolonged cheer when he arrived at the cathedral, accompanied by wife Carrie.

These photos show Boris and Carrie in the main photo. On the top right are the Camerons and on the bottom right are the Blairs, Tony and Cherie:

The only others who got louder cheers were the Sussexes …

… and the Cambridges:

I have read media reports that the Johnsons and the Sussexes were booed. I watched the proceedings on television. What I heard were most definitely cheers for both couples.

A royal expert commenting on the service said that, where the Queen is concerned:

nothing happens by chance.

Therefore, we can conclude that the fact that the Sussexes arrived by private car and got their own mini-procession down the aisle of St Paul’s was an instruction from the Queen (see second tweet):

The couple sat near the front, next to Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who were with their husbands.

The minor Royals arrived in a large black coach (bus). It took ages for them to file in, as they shook hands with a long line of Anglican clergy, including the Bishop of London, the Right Revd and Right Hon Dame Sarah Mulally, who had a lucrative career prior to entering the priesthood.

The clergy wore elaborate crimson and gold copes which were created for George V’s Silver Jubilee service in 1935. Most of them looked as good as new.

Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) from the Tower of London stood behind them. They were on official duty guarding those inside the cathedral.

You can see both below:

Prince Edward and the Duchess of Wessex brought along their children. I really like Sophie. So does the Queen:

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were the last to arrive:

By now, readers might be wondering who the gentleman wearing ermine is.

He is the Lord Mayor of London — the City of London, that is. This is a rotating one-year position and the new Lord Mayor assumes his responsibilities beginning every autumn at the Lord Mayor’s Show, a parade in the City, which is the oldest part of London and still serves as the financial district.

The Lord Mayor of London is in charge of the City and, in that district, is second in power only to the Queen. Therefore, Prince Charles is subordinate to him while within those boundaries.

For centuries, until the Great Fire of 1666, that part of London was the capital, outside of Westminster, which was some distance away.

Everyone lived and worked there unless they had responsibilities at the heart of government in Westminster, which was most easily accessed by boat along the Thames.

Everywhere else that is now very much a part of the capital was a rural suburb until a few hundred years ago.

From that, we can better understand the importance of the Lord Mayor of London’s historical role.

The Lord Mayor has several swords, now ceremonial, that he uses. However, each sword has its own role. Today’s was the sword of state. If the Queen had been in attendance, he would have worn his most important sword.

The Lord Mayor’s assistant also carries a sword and wears a mink hat for ceremonial occasions:

You can see him outside the cathedral, hands resting on the sword, just immediately to the left of the main entrance:

Returning to the service, these chairs were for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall:

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge sat right next to them in ordinary chairs:

Here is a view of what the congregation saw — the main altar, the choirmaster and the men and boys choir:

Boris Johnson delivered the New Testament reading, Philippians 4:4-9, which one can imagine that the Queen selected personally, as it truly gave us a message about our present circumstances and the transition of the monarchy. We are to think on higher things — and not worry:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

The Archbishop of York, the Right Revd Stephen Cottrell, gave the sermon, as the Archbishop of Canterbury has coronavirus, along with Prince Andrew.

The Archbishop of York’s sermon began with a brief discourse on how seriously the Queen took her Christian duties and ended on a lighter note with references to her favourite pastime, horse racing, particularly apposite as the Derby is on Saturday. Her Majesty is not expected to attend:

Children from the Commonwealth took turns in giving the prayer intercessions.

After the service, guests went to the Guildhall for lunch:

Meanwhile, Britons up and down the land gathered for street parties:

Thankfully, it was another reasonable day in London, dry and partly cloudy.

On Saturday evening, another spectacular concert in the style of those for the Golden and Diamond Jubilees will take place in front of Buckingham Palace.

On Sunday, a celebratory pageant will take place in the same location.

I plan to have more posts next week on the importance of the Queen’s 70-year reign as well as the many social and political changes during that time.

The other week I read a profile of a senior Anglican clergyman, more about whom tomorrow.

At the weekend I read an article in The Telegraph about a long-deceased past Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, John Donne (1572-1631), whom his biographer Katherine Rundell describes as ‘the greatest writer of sex in the English language’.

The article was timely, as the Anglican Communion remembers the poet and preacher on March 31.

It is difficult to know where to begin and where to stop with John Donne (pron. ‘Dun’). One could easily write about him every day for a year. Many of us read at least one of his poems in English class many moons ago. However, he was more than a poet. He was also a womaniser, a scholar, a lawyer, and an adventurer. Later on, he was ordained and had a tremendous following in London for his powerful preaching.

Katherine Rundell’s article about her new book on Donne begins with this (emphases mine):

The power of John Donne’s words nearly killed a man. It was the late spring of 1623, on the morning of Ascension Day, and Donne had finally secured for himself celebrity, fortune and a captive audience.

He had been appointed the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral two years before: he was 51, slim and amply bearded, and his preaching was famous across the whole of London. His congregation – merchants, aristocrats, actors in elaborate ruffs, the whole sweep of the city – came to his sermons carrying notebooks and ink, wrote down his finest passages and took them home to dissect and relish, pontificate and argue over. He often wept in the pulpit, in joy and in sorrow, and his audience would weep with him. His words, they said, could “charm the soul”.

That morning he was not preaching in his own church, but 15 minutes’ walk across London at Lincoln’s Inn, where a new chapel was being consecrated. Word went out: wherever he was, people came flocking, often in their thousands, to hear him speak. That morning, too many people flocked. “There was a great concourse of noblemen and gentlemen,” and in among “the extreme press and thronging”, as they pushed closer to hear his words, men in the crowd were shoved to the ground and trampled. “Two or three were endangered, and taken up dead for the time.”

There’s no record of Donne halting his sermon; so it’s likely that he kept going in his rich voice as the bruised men were carried off and out of sight.

That year, he had a serious illness inspiring him to write a poem about it, a way of self-treatment that he employed throughout his life.

The Poetry Foundation tells us more. Note the language Donne employed, recalling his time as an adventurer at sea during the era of the world’s great explorers:

A serious illness that Donne suffered in 1623 produced a still more startling poetic effect. In “Hymn to God, my God, in my Sickness” the poet presents his recumbent body as a flat map over which the doctors pore like navigators to discover some passage through present dangers to tranquil waters; and he ponders his own destination as if he himself is a vessel that may reach the desirable places of the world only by negotiating some painful straits:

Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them.

By this self-questioning he brings himself to understand that his suffering may itself be a blessing, since he shares the condition of a world in which our ultimate bliss must be won through well-endured hardship. The physical symptoms of his illness become the signs of his salvation: “So, in his purple wrapped receive me Lord, / By these his thorns give me his other crown.” The images that make him one with Christ in his suffering transform those pangs into reassurance.

He was most conscious of his sin and the necessary repentance needed to reach union with Christ. He also used his surname as a pun with the word ‘done’ as we can see in this religious poem, again employing a maritime reference:

In Donne’s poetry, language may catch the presence of God in our human dealings. The pun on the poet’s name in “done“ registers the distance that the poet’s sins have put between himself and God, with new kinds of sin pressing forward as fast as God forgives those already confessed: “When thou hast done, thou hast not done, / For, I have more.” Then the puns on “sun” and “Donne” resolve these sinful anxieties themselves:

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thy self, that at my death thy son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done,
I fear no more.

For this poet such coincidences of words and ideas are not mere accidents to be juggled with in jest. They mark precisely the working of Providence within the order of nature.

Ten years earlier, in 1613, two years before he took Holy Orders, he wrote a meditation about Good Friday as he journeyed from one friend’s house to another for Easter. Again, repentance looms large:

A journey westward from one friend’s house to another over Easter 1613 brings home to Donne the general aberration of nature that prompts us to put pleasure before our due devotion to Christ. We ought to be heading east at Easter so as to contemplate and share Christ’s suffering; and in summoning up that event to his mind’s eye, he recognizes the shocking paradox of the ignominious death of God upon a Cross: “Could I behold those hands, which span the poles, / And turn all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?” (“Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward”). An image of Christ’s degradation is directly imposed upon an image of God’s omnipotence. We see that the event itself has a double force, being at once the catastrophic consequence of our sin and the ultimate assurance of God’s saving love. The poet’s very journey west may be providential if it brings him to a penitent recognition of his present unworthiness to gaze directly upon Christ:

O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
I turn my back to thee, but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou mayest know me, and I’ll turn my face.

Now that we have the measure of the man in his later years, let us look at his life’s journey.

John Donne was born into a good family with good connections, even though, for many years, he and his wife lived in penury with a house full of children.

Donne was born on January 22, 1572, to John Donne and Elizabeth Heywood, both of Welsh descent.

Biography tells us:

His mother, Elizabeth Heywood, was the grand-niece of Catholic martyr Thomas More.

Donne was a middle child, the third of six children.

The Donnes were Catholic. During the Elizabethan era, it was dangerous to be anything but Anglican. Donne’s father was a wealthy merchant who was a warden of the Ironmongers Company, one of the Guilds in the City of London. He kept a low public profile because of his Catholicism. He died when young John was only four years old.

Approximately six months later, Elizabeth remarried. Her new husband, Dr. John Syminges, was a wealthy physician with three children of his own. He, too, had been widowed.

John was privately educated. At the age of 11, he went up to Oxford University, to Hart Hall, which is now Hertford College.

After spending three years at Oxford, he went up to Cambridge, where he studied for another three years.

He left both universities with no degree. This was because he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, because of his Catholicism.

In 1591, he was accepted to the Thavies Inn law school, which was associated with Lincoln’s Inn, one of the Inns of Court. He was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn the following year.

1593 proved to be an alarming and pivotal year for John Donne. Elizabeth I issued a statute against Catholics, ‘An Act for restraining Popish recusants’, for not participating in Anglican worship. It had a drastic effect on the Donne family. One of John’s brothers, Henry, who was a university student at the time, was arrested and imprisoned for harbouring a Catholic priest, William Harrington.

Henry died in Newgate Prison of bubonic plague. At that point, John began to question his Catholic faith. At the time, illness was still connected — as it had been for time immemorial — with a judgement from God.

Donne was known as Jack in those years. He began writing love poems, circulated to a small group of friends and never intended for widespread publication.

Biography says:

During the 1590s, he spent much of his inheritance on women, books and travel. He wrote most of his love lyrics and erotic poems during this time. His first books of poems, “Satires” and “Songs and Sonnets,” were highly prized among a small group of admirers.

375px-john_donne_bbc_newsKatherine Rundell’s article for The Telegraph features and discusses a portrait Donne had commissioned, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. (Image credit: Wikipedia/BBC News)

When Jack was 23, he:

sat for a portrait. The painting was of a figure who knew about fashion; he wore a hat big enough to sail a cat in, a big lace collar, an exquisite moustache. He positioned the 
pommel of his sword to be just visible, an accessory more than a weapon. Around the edge of the canvas was painted in Latin, “O Lady, lighten our darkness”; a not-quite-blasphemous misquotation of Psalm 17, his prayer addressed to a lover. And his beauty deserved walk-on music, rock-and-roll lute: all architectural jawline and hooked eyebrows

To call anyone the “best” of anything is a brittle kind of game – but if you wanted to play it, Donne is the greatest writer of desire in the English language. He wrote about sex in a way that nobody ever has, before or since: he wrote sex as the great insistence on life.

Here is one of his verses from that period, in which he compares a lover to the New World:

License my roving hands, and let them go
Behind, before, above, between, below!
O my America! My new-found land!
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned!

There is also ‘The Flea’:

The speaker watches a flea crawl over the body of the woman he desires:

Mark but this flea, and mark in this
How little that which thou deny’st me is;
Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be.

The sort of love he wrote about was not merely about the union of a man and a woman, but of a transcendent relationship.

Here we encounter some very 21st century language, which I will highlight in bold below.

Rundell says:

There is the meat and madness of sex in his work – but, more: Donne’s poetry believed in finding eternity through the human body of one other person. It becomes akin to sacrament. Sacramentum is the translation in the Latin Bible for the Greek word for mystery: and Donne knew it when he wrote, “We die and rise the same, and prove/ Mysterious by this love.” He knew awe: “All measure, and all language, I should pass/ Should I tell what a miracle she was.” And in “The Ecstasy”, love is both a mystery and its solution. He needed to invent a word, “unperplex”, to explain:

“This ecstasy doth unperplex,”
We said, “and tell us what we love…”
But as all several souls contain
Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love these mixed souls doth mix again,
And makes both one, each this and that.

“Each this and that”: his work suggests that we might voyage beyond the blunt realities of male and female.

In 1596, eight years after the sinking of the Spanish Armada, Donne began two years on the high seas. He fought alongside the Earl of Essex and Sir Walter Raleigh against the Spanish at Cadiz that year, and, in 1597, the Azores, where he witnessed the sinking of the San Felipe.

Donne also went to Italy. He immersed himself in the culture of the countries he stayed in during those years.

His earliest biographer, Izaak Walton, wrote:

… he returned not back into England till he had stayed some years, first in Italy, and then in Spain, where he made many useful observations of those countries, their laws and manner of government, and returned perfect in their languages.

In 1597, he returned to London, prepared for a diplomatic career.

Soon after that, Sir Thomas Egerton, the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, hired Donne to be his chief secretary. He was based at Egerton’s home, York House, close to the seat of power, the Palace of Whitehall, the main residence of the English monarchs.

Like Donne, Egerton had also been a Catholic. He became an Anglican in 1570 in order to continue his career.

Egerton was a widower. His second wife was Elizabeth Wolley, a widow. Her maiden name was More. I am intrigued to know if she was also related to Thomas More, as was Donne’s mother.

In any event, while Donne was working for Egerton, he met his employer’s niece, Anne More, who ended up being his grand passion.

Anne More was a teenager at the time she and Donne met. He was in his twenties.

Katherine Rundell provides us with the love poem Donne wrote for her, which says that if he loved her in wintertime, he loved her even more during Spring. I have excerpted it below:

You cannot claim a man is an alchemist and fail to lay out the gold. This, then, is an undated poem, probably written for the woman he married, Anne More, some time in his 20s, known as “Love’s Growth”:

I scarce believe my love to be so pure
As I had thought it was,
Because it doth endure
Vicissitude and season as the grass;
Methinks I lied all Winter, when I swore
My love was infinite, if Spring make’t more

If as in water stirred more circles be
Produced by one, love such additions take;
Those, like to many spheres, but one heaven make,
For they are all concentric unto thee;
And though each Spring do add to love new heat
As princes do in times of action get
New taxes, and remit them not in peace –
No winter shall abate the spring’s increase.

Anne’s father, George More, was the Lieutenant of the Tower of London.

Both he and Egerton strongly disapproved of the love match.

Regardless, the couple decided to marry in secret in 1601. Anne would have been 16 or 17 at the time. An Anglican priest, Samuel Brooke, a contemporary of Donne’s, conducted the ceremony.

When Egerton and More found out about the wedding, Donne lost his job and was sent to Fleet Prison, along with Brooke. When Egerton and More satisfied themselves that the marriage was valid, they had Donne released from prison. Donne then had Brooke and another man involved released.

Donne’s earliest biographer, his contemporary Izaak Walton, tells us what the poet wrote to his wife upon his release:

John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done.[14]

Indeed, he was undone, because the next several years were wintry for him and his young wife. They lived in penury while she bore him a child every year.

The Donnes were despatched to the Surrey countryside to a small house that Anne’s cousin, Sir Francis Wolley, owned. They lived there until 1604.

In 1605, they moved to Mitcham in South London. There they lived in another small house, unfit for a growing family.

In 1602, Donne was elected as an MP for a Northamptonshire constituency, Brackley. However, as MPs were not paid in that era, he had to search for whatever work he could get. He performed poorly paid law work and also wrote commissioned poems for wealthy patrons. Regardless, the family were only just getting by.

In 1603, Elizabeth I died. James I (James VI of Scotland) succeeded her.

It wasn’t until 1609 when George More reconciled with Donne and gave him Anne’s dowry.

In 1610, Donne met the man who would become his chief patron, Sir Robert Drury of Hawsted, who gave Donne and his family rooms in his house in Drury Lane, London.

That year, Donne wrote Pseudo-Martyr, a tract which encouraged Catholics to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King. Donne made his points about obedience reliant on Scripture and natural law.

Biography notes:

This won him the king’s favor and patronage from members of the House of Lords.

In 1614, Donne was elected as MP once more, this time for Taunton, in Somerset. Although he received five parliamentary appointments, he made no speeches that were recorded.

In 1615, James I encouraged Donne to take Holy Orders. Soon afterwards, he became Royal Chaplain.

The Poetry Foundation tells us that it was a difficult decision for Donne, who felt unworthy. Yet, once ordained, he became a true vicar of Christ:

Donne took holy orders in January 1615, having been persuaded by King James himself of his fitness for a ministry “to which he was, and appeared, very unwilling, apprehending it (such was his mistaking modesty) to be too weighty for his abilities.” So writes his first biographer, Izaak Walton, who had known him well and often heard him preach. Once committed to the Church, Donne devoted himself to it totally, and his life thereafter becomes a record of incumbencies held and sermons preached.

Sadly, in 1617, the love of Donne’s life, his dear wife Anne, died in childbirth. Wikipedia tells us about her married life. After her death, Donne, despite his post as Royal Chaplain, seriously contemplated suicide:

Anne gave birth to twelve children in sixteen years of marriage, (including two stillbirths—their eighth and then, in 1617, their last child); indeed, she spent most of her married life either pregnant or nursing. The ten surviving children were Constance, John, George, Francis, Lucy (named after Donne’s patron Lucy, Countess of Bedford, her godmother), Bridget, Mary, Nicholas, Margaret, and Elizabeth. Three (Francis, Nicholas, and Mary) died before they were ten. In a state of despair that almost drove him to kill himself, Donne noted that the death of a child would mean one mouth fewer to feed, but he could not afford the burial expenses. During this time, Donne wrote but did not publish Biathanatos, his defense of suicide.[15] His wife died on 15 August 1617, five days after giving birth to their twelfth child, a still-born baby.[2] Donne mourned her deeply, and wrote of his love and loss in his 17th Holy Sonnet.

Biathanatos is Greek for ‘life and death’.

However deeply Donne agonised over Anne’s death, God blessed him with the power of religious oratory and as the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Of this period, Biography says:

His elaborate metaphors, religious symbolism and flair for drama soon established him as a great preacher

In 1621, Donne became dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral. During a period of severe illness, he wrote “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,” published in 1624. This work contains the immortal lines “No man is an island” and “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” That same year, Donne was appointed Vicar of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West and became known for his eloquent sermons.

The Poetry Foundation says that Donne’s sermons moved the hardest of hearts:

160 of his sermons have survived. The few religious poems he wrote after he became a priest show no falling off in imaginative power, yet the calling of his later years committed him to prose, and the artistry of his Devotions and sermons at least matches the artistry of his poems.

The publication in 1919 of Donne’s Sermons: Selected Passages, edited by Logan Pearsall Smith, came as a revelation to its readers, not least those who had little taste for sermons. John Bailey, writing in the Quarterly Review (April 1920), found in these extracts “the very genius of oratory … a masterpiece of English prose.” Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in Studies in Literature (1920), judged the sermons to include “the most magnificent prose ever uttered from an English pulpit, if not the most magnificent prose ever spoken in our tongue.”

Over a literary career of some 40 years Donne moved from skeptical naturalism to a conviction of the shaping presence of the divine spirit in the natural creation. Yet his mature understanding did not contradict his earlier vision. He simply came to anticipate a Providential disposition in the restless whirl of the world. The amorous adventurer nurtured the dean of St. Paul’s.

Katherine Rundell tells us that Donne invented words for his sermons. These are very 21st century:

A few years before his own death, Donne preached a funeral sermon for the poet George Herbert’s mother Magdalen, who would “dwell bodily with that righteousness, in these new heavens and new earth, for ever and ever and ever, and infinite and super-infinite forevers”. In a different sermon, he wrote of how we would one day be with God in “an infinite, a super-infinite, an unimaginable space, millions of millions of unimaginable spaces in heaven”. He loved to coin formations with the super- prefix: super-edifications, super-exaltation, super-dying, super-universal, super-miraculous. It was part of his bid to invent a language that would reach beyond language, because infinite wasn’t enough.

John Donne died on March 31, 1631, hence the reason the Anglican Communion remembers him on that day. A large memorial stone statue of him was erected in the old St Paul’s Cathedral. Donne appears in his glorified body wearing the Crown of Life. His memorial started the trend for such church monuments during the 17th century.

He was buried in the old St Paul’s Cathedral, which the Great Fire of London destroyed in 1666. Incredibly, the stone statue of Donne survived the fire and is now displayed in the current St Paul’s Cathedral.

How can one summarise John Donne in one sentence? It would be impossible, for he was a man who was able to combine the earthy with the divine and make both sublime, as God intended them to be.

The Poetry Foundation says:

The transformation of Jack Donne the rake into the Reverend Dr. Donne, dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, no longer seems bizarre. To impose such clear-cut categories upon a man’s career may be to take too rigid a view of human nature. That the poet of the Elegies and Songs and Sonnets is also the author of the Devotions and the sermons need not indicate some profound spiritual upheaval. One reason for the appeal of Donne in modern times is that he confronts us with the complexity of our own natures.

Katherine Rundell concludes:

Sometime religious outsider and social disaster, sometime celebrity preacher and establishment darling, John Donne was incapable of being just one thing. He reimagined and reinvented himself, over and over: he was a poet, lover, essayist, lawyer, pirate, recusant, preacher, satirist, politician, courtier, chaplain to the King, dean of the finest cathedral in London. It’s traditional to imagine two Donnes – Jack Donne, the youthful rake, and Dr Donne, the older, wiser priest, a split Donne himself imagined in a letter to a friend – but he was infinitely more various and unpredictable than that

And then there was the transformation of himself: from failure and penury, to recognition within his lifetime as one of the finest minds of his age; one whose work, if allowed under your skin, can offer joy so violent it kicks the metal out of your knees, and sorrow large enough to eat you. Because amid all Donne’s reinventions, there was a constant running through his lifeand work: he remained steadfast in his belief that we, humans, are at once a catastrophe and a miracle

He believed our minds could be forged into citadels against the world’s chaos: “be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail”. Tap a human, he believed, and they ring with the sound of infinity. Joy and squalor: both Donne’s life and work tell that it is fundamentally impossible to have one without taking up the other.

In the 21st century, Donne’s imagination offers us a form of body armour. His work is protection against the slipshod and the half-baked, against anti-intellectualism, against those who try to sell you their money-ridden vision of sex and love. He is protection against those who would tell you to narrow yourself, to follow fashion in your mode of thought.

It’s not that he was a rebel: it is that he was a pure original. They do us a service, the true uncompromising originals: they show us what is possible.

God broke the mould when he made John Donne. We are blessed to have his poems, essays and sermons as a legacy that withstands the test of time.

Tomorrow, in Part 2, we discover more about an Anglican clergyman who is quite the opposite.

In November 2011, a number of statements were filed with the City of London Corporation in an effort to have Occupy London evicted from their camp around the historic St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Telegraph report included photos of excerpts of the complaints (click on the link to see them), which included (emphases mine):

“desecration” by graffiti and even human waste.

primary school age choristers boarding at St Paul’s … kept awake at night by hardened drinkers shouting abuse.

“very vulnerable people” attracted by free food, tents and clothing. Many showed signs of poor mental health, drinking and drug abuse.

a nine-year-old boy living at the site whose father was one of a group of 15 drug users who had threatened violence to others living there.

a growing threat of violence, including an incident when two women had to hide in a portable toilet for fear of being attacked by some of the men at the camp.

“members of the camp continually urinating through the fence of the Chapter House and the Cathedral itself”.

a member of the camp had urinated through the window of the Crypt Restaurant

“Desecration: graffiti … scratched and painted on to the great west doors of the cathedral, the chapter house door and most notably a sacrilegious message painted on to the restored pillars of the west portico.”

Human defecation … in the west portico entrance and inside the cathedral on several occasions.”

Noisy interruption … to spoken and sung Christian services, after repeated requests for quiet. Foul language has frequently been directed at cathedral staff.”

All these — particularly defecation and urination used as a means of desecration or humiliation — are classic Marxist hallmarks exhibiting a hatred of Christianity. Read Richard Wurmbrand’s Marx and Satan if you don’t believe it.

Some might wonder whether I had intended to use the word ‘desecration’ rather than ‘defecation’ in the title of this post. There is no mistake, for reasons you’ll read below.

Senior Anglican clerics are quiet on the matter.  After all, only last week the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion — the Archbishop of Canterbury — expressed his empathy for England’s youth who rioted in August of this year. Perhaps he would like to invite them — and Occupy — to share the comfort of Lambeth Palace.

However, laity are less complacent. Rex Murphy, a columnist for Canada’s National Post picked up on the increasing sacreligious activity in Western nations.  One of the examples he mentions is the defecation in St Paul’s:

Meantime, overseas, their [O]ccupy brethren in London were found to be defecating (I could use the vulgar term here as it so matches the act, but let us retain some respect) within — not on the steps or in the precincts, but within — St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s — in ancient times the cathedral where John Donne preached, where Lancelot Andrew[e]s, one of the fathers of the King James Bible, was dean, a cathedral arguably second in importance in Christianity only to the Vatican — treated as a sewer …

In short, they turned St. Paul’s Cathedral into a public toilet and used its sacred walls as a crude bulletin board. However, there was no vast outcry at the appalling disrespect, the deep contumely such acts represent.

Timothy Dalrymple, Managing Editor of the Evangelical Portal at the world faith site Patheos, featured Murphy’s article in a blog post of his on Philosophical Fragments. He asked his readers — presumably young American evangelicals or universalists:

What do you think?  Is Murphy over-reacting?  Does he need to learn to take a joke?  Or is he precisely right, that there’s a tendency amongst the oh-so-tolerant to express the crudest mockery of Christianity and expect Christians to suffer the insults in good humor?  What is it within us, even within us Christians, that seems to take such delight in mocking and demeaning what is holy and meaningful?

Well, personally, I don’t know of any Christians who are sacreligious. I know very few unbelievers who fall into that category, as a matter of fact.

This is Dalrymple’s personal take on the scatological incidents:

Personally, I don’t make much of the defecating in St. Paul’s.

Dalrymple is the third generation of Evangelical clergy in his family. He has studied at some of the best universities in the English-speaking world: Princeton, Oxford and Harvard. He has a Ph.D. in Religion. He teaches at Harvard.  Yet, these incidents do not bother him.

I guess I’m too unenlightened to understand the lack of clergy reaction. Maybe Rex Murphy is, too.

Only one of Dalrymple’s commenters, Kubrick’s Rube, condemned the actions:

The alleged incidents at St Paul’s go way beyond mockery- they are criminal actions, and I’d like to think even Christianity’s crudest critics would not endorse them.

This is what a few of the others said — I’m not sure they are all Christians, but several appear to be:

James Williams: I choose to abstain on the complaining about stuff like this.

Megan Sutker: I think Murphy’s outcry is part of the problem, and the very thing he decries. What is holy and sacred? The PLACE?Mr. Murphy sounds like an out-of-touch old guy pining away for the “way-it-never-used-to-be.” It is not a building that makes us who we are as Christians. Rude behavior is just that. But what erodes our credibility as Christians is our righteous indignation over this kind of thing. We waste our energy on THIS, and people (rightly so) wonder why we don’t care about those who are hungry, homeless, in prison…you know, the least of these…

Lee Wyatt: I suspect that some of what happened at St. Paul’s was due to their unwillingness to do anything in support of the protest (with which you might think they would have at least some sympathy).

ukeman: Unfortunate? Yes. Bad taste is always bad taste. Harrumphing about it isn’t going to solve anything.

Tanya: So we are disrespected. Some of that is plain old fashioned persecution, (ignore it, said Jesus) and some of it is justified anger at the history of the institutional church. Just think what that giant cathedral projects in terms of power and abuse … I’m sorry, but for the next little while I think we best suck it up. Until we get past our history with the Empire … And right now — progressive preachers are not enough in number … Frankly, I’d vote for selling the building and giving the money away. And much of the rest of the world would respect us much more for that kind of action than protecting our precious stone buildings and our highculture memories of John Donne.

John Haas: OWS in England aside (recalling how many times from evangelicals I heard that Alice Cooper had defecated on stage and an audience member ate it, I’ll wait for the facts before making too much of it, thanks), I think it’s pretty clear that American popular culture has been satirical, sarcastic, mocking and such for a long time, certainly since the emergence of popular politics by say the 1790s.

My response follows. Yes, many denominations’ churches — including Anglican ones — are consecrated. When they close down, they are deconsecrated.

Furthermore, Christians do care and do help those in need. However, no matter how much we could feed, clothe and shelter those in need, some would not appreciate it. That also describes those at St Paul’s who have no sense of decorum or appreciation and do not care to cultivate it.

And, yes, the members of St Paul’s clergy who resigned openly gave support to Occupy. They clearly let the danger in and allowed it to remain, throwing pearls before swine.

As for defecating on stage, that was Jim Morrison of the Doors, not Alice Cooper. I knew someone who attended one of the Doors’ concerts in Indianapolis back in the day and saw it for himself. (Alice Cooper played with chickens and snakes.) Presumably, some people see no difference between a consecrated church and a secular stage. Sad.

According to these presumed Christians, defecating in a church seems to be the next logical step in a trajectory of Christian mockery — and they’re not the least bit bothered by it.

Christ warned the churches in Revelation about being lukewarm and inattentive to their faith. Whilst He wasn’t talking about church buildings, they are sacred places to pray and worship. We have an obligation to preserve and respect them as holy places created to the glory of God for the use of the faithful.

I do wonder what these folks will think when they have no more churches and Christianity is proscribed. May they remember what they said about St Paul’s Cathedral: so what?

What breathtaking ignorance.

The past two posts have featured common sense from the Revd Dr Peter Mullen, an Anglican priest who is Rector of St Michael, Cornhill and St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in the City of London. He is Chaplain to six Livery Companies of the City of London and has written for many publications including the Wall Street Journal.

Every service at St Michael Cornhill uses the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Excellent!

Unfortunately, Dr Mullen is due to retire on his 70th birthday on January 11, 2012. It is to be hoped that he continues his Daily Mail and Telegraph columns, which Llew of Lleweton’s Blog — also highly recommended — recently brought to my attention.

This post shares Mullen’s thoughts on Occupy London, which has been making a scatalogical mess of St Paul’s Cathedral over the past several weeks. If you had told me a year ago this was going to happen, I would have thrown you out of the mousehole. Now it is a sad reality of the unchurched, lazy and greedy.

What follows are excerpts of what Mullen posted in the Mail on November 6, 2011 (emphases mine):

But what exactly are the protesters protesting about? Nothing I’ve heard makes me think that they are saying anything other than that some people are richer than others – and it’s not fair. “It’s not fair! – it is the cry of every child in the infants’ class. And so a competent teacher will agree and say, “Yes, life isn’t fair. It never was and it never will be. You’ve just got to work hard and get on with it.”

Work? The word is English as a foreign language to the gang outside St Paul’s who, so far as we can tell, are living on either daddy’s misplaced generosity or state benefits – or, of course, since the human heart is greedy beyond measure, both. They claim to be against capitalism. There is their big banner CAPITALISM IS CRISIS. Do they think we don’t know that? All political systems involve crisis. In fact in Marxism, the preferred philosophy – insofar as this lumpen band of professional narcissists are capable of philosophising – crisis is built into the system, based as it is on the dialectic which makes disagreement and class war not only necessary but desirable. Have they never read Das Kapital? …

The main alternative to capitalism remains socialism. And wherever socialism has been tried it has led at best to economic stagnation and widespread poverty. Of course it has generally progressed to incompetent rule by a privileged and corrupt elite, to the bureaucratisation of society – with all its attendant inefficiency and over-regulation – and usually to the gulag and mass murder as well. It is a pity that the protesters don’t read anything, otherwise they might learn the truth about the history of socialism, communism and the attempt at levelling since the French Revolution and through the monstrous genocides of Stalin and Mao who between them murdered 100 million of their own people in the name of socialism.

Let me give you a tip: whenever you hear the cry, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” listen out keenly for the next sound, because it will be the sound of the tumbrels.

There is this crazy idea that communism/socialism is based on a sense of fairness and kindness of heart. This view is a particular superstition among clergymen. But socialism is not based on those desirable qualities. It is based on control and repression. Eliot warned us against “dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.” That is the fatuous fantasy of society’s sentimental socialists, especially in the church and in the media: that you can regulate to produce goodness.

There is some excuse for the media. Most journalists never attended their Confirmation classes. But there is no excuse for churchmen, for we have been taught the reality of Original Sin from our youth up. Original Sin is not some sort of supernatural perversity. It is simply the way it is with us.

Capitalism is simply the least worst way of going on available to us. It works with rather than against the grain of human nature. Entrepreneurship is good for you! Make a decent mousetrap in order to enrich yourself by its sales and you will rid a million households of vermin. Of course there are people who are richer than others. There always were.  And, as someone [Jesus] said, “The poor are always with you” [Matt. 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8] …

Many still mistakenly believe that eschewing capitalism and ‘harmful’ products (e.g. tobacco, transfats) can save their souls. It’s the Pelagian works-based belief in ‘holiness’, as if anything we could do could merit our own salvation.

Yet, there is another side to this which is those who refuse to do nothing to help themselves and quote New Testament verses ad infinitium in order to make an (erroneous) point in order to make hard-working people feel guilty.

May God help them and us as we attempt to navigate this destructive way between truth and error.

More Peter Mullen editorials to come in the New Year.

Tomorrow: St Paul’s Cathedral latest

Continuing from where we left off yesterday, here is more about Ken Costa, the layman who is bridging the gaps between the City of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and Occupy LSX.

On November 1, 2011, the Telegraph reported:

The cathedral asked Ken Costa, 62, an investment banker and Conservative Party donor, to draw up a plan to “reconnect the financial with the ethical”, and also gave a voluntary role to the Rev Dr Giles Fraser, the cathedral’s former Canon Chancellor, who resigned last week.

That same day, the paper’s Religion Editor, the Revd George Pitcher, added this about the Bishop of London, the Right Revd Richard Chartres and Mr Costa (emphases mine):

Dr Chartres is a man that most organisations under bombardment would want in their trench. He is battle-hardened in crisis management. When the terrorist bombs exploded in London on July 7 2005, he had clergy heading against the flow of evacuees and into the crime scenes to open churches as marshalling points for the emergency services

In meetings yesterday, he punctured the hermetically sealed bubble that was St Paul’s. By lunch, he had his unanimous vote and had appointed Ken Costa, formerly chairman of UBS Europe and Lazard International, “to spearhead an initiative reconnecting the financial with the ethical”. It was an initiative that also brought Canon Giles Fraser back in from the cold – and is consistent with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call today to transform the ethics of the financial world.

Meanwhile, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury

said he supported the main proposals of a recent report from the Vatican calling for widespread financial reform.

The central recommendation is for a financial transaction tax – known as the “Tobin tax” after the economist who developed the idea – levied on the sale of shares, bonds and foreign currency. It would be expected to raise billions of pounds that could be spent in the developing world.

The archbishop said: “This has won the backing of significant experts who cannot be written off as naive anti-capitalists – George Soros, Bill Gates and many others. It is gaining traction among European nations, with a strong statement in support this week from Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister.

“The objections made by some who claim it would mean a substantial drop in employment and in the economy generally seem to rest on exaggerated and sharply challenged projections – and, more important, ignore the potential of such a tax to stabilise currency markets in a way to boost rather than damage the real economy.”

The issue of the Tobin tax is expected to be on the agenda at the G20 summit in Cannes, with European countries considering introducing the levy to help fund the single currency rescue package.

The G20 summit is taking place over the next few days.  However, James Tobin never intended the tax to benefit the developing world as the Archbishop infers. That comes from the anti-globalisation — alter-globalisation — movement:

Tobin observed that, while his original proposal had only the goal of “putting a brake on the foreign exchange trafficking”, the antiglobalization movement had stressed “the income from the taxes with which they want to finance their projects to improve the world”. He declared himself not contrary to this use of the tax’s income, but stressed that it was not the important aspect of the tax.

The Tobin tax is highly controversial and, contrary to what many people think, would most likely trickle down to the average middle-class investor hoping to save for a rainy day.

Tobin, now deceased, was a Keynesian, so, a left-of-centre economist who envisaged his tax as a means of managing:

exchange-rate volatility. In his view, “currency exchanges transmit disturbances originating in international financial markets. National economies and national governments are not capable of adjusting to massive movements of funds across the foreign exchanges, without real hardship and without significant sacrifice of the objectives of national economic policy with respect to employment, output, and inflation.”[1]

“… my proposal is to throw some sand in the wheels of our excessively efficient international money markets.”[1]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, received the news cautiously — with good reason:

Mr Osborne, the Chancellor, has said that he would only support the introduction of the tax on a global basis, because financial trading would simply move from London to other markets such as New York and Singapore. American and Asian governments are thought to be opposed to the levy. Government sources declined to comment on the archbishop’s intervention last night. Dr Williams also called for wider controls on banks, saying they should be compelled to help “reinvigorate” the economy and not put the public’s savings at risk.

We had no idea that the good Archbishop was such an expert in finance:

Writing in today’s Financial Times, the archbishop says: “The rolling-up of individual and small-scale savings into high-risk and high-return adventures in the virtual economy is one of the more obvious danger areas. Early government action in this area is needed. A second plea is to recapitalise banks with public money. Banks should be obliged in return to help reinvigorate the real economy.”

He concluded: “These ideas, which have been advanced from other quarters, religious and secular, in recent years, do not amount to a simplistic call for the end of capitalism, but they are far more than a general expression of discontent.

“If we want to take seriously the moral agenda of the protesters at St Paul’s, these are some of the ways in which we should be taking it forward.”

Meanwhile, many non-Anglicans in Britain wonder why the C of E’s pews are empty on Sundays. That could give us a clue. If only he and other clergy were so zealous in preaching the Gospel.  Let us not forget that in 2008, Dr Williams primed us for another socio-political development:

Dr Williams said it “seems inevitable” that elements of Islamic law, such as divorce proceedings, would be incorporated into British law.

Dr Williams said the UK had to “face up to the fact” that some citizens do not relate to the British legal system, and argued that officially sanctioning Sharia law would improve community relations.

Right.  So, he evidently has little desire to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone in Britain.  Advocating sharia and crippling financial taxes are all right, though.

What does the Bishop of London, a possible future candidate for the Archbishop’s job, think of this? The Guardian fills us in:

When it is pointed out to him that the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has just written an article making very encouraging noises about the “Robin Hood” Tobin tax on financial transactions he barely misses a beat.

“Well, he’s an intellectual of European standing and I’ll certainly read what he says with great attention. He has studied the subject in some detail and, like any other citizen, it’s a totally legitimate thing to do. But if I were to pronounce on the Tobin tax I think I would be … isn’t the City phrase ‘over-trading?‘”

Yes, he would be over-trading — going further than his remit — but that doesn’t prevent him expounding further in the article.

On Giles Fraser?

“he did something quite remarkable” – but rules out the possibility of reinstating him at the cathedral. “I don’t think he wants a way back to membership of the operative chapter, but he’s very much on board. He’s a very important voice which needs to be heard but the St Paul’s chapter of his career has come to an end at his request. I don’t think it’s telling tales out of school. He wants to write.

What exactly is likely to happen to Dr Fraser and Dr Knowles — the former Dean?  Another Guardian article explores the possibilities:

In addition to their salaries and pensions, the two senior figures at St Paul’s Cathedral enjoyed rent-free housing. So what happens now they’ve stepped down?

a spokesman for the cathedral promises that these men of the cloth won’t be turfed out on to the street. “They have three months’ notice and will be paid. They both have time to tie up loose ends, arrange alternative accommodation and move.”

Fraser is the higher profile of the two. He has an agent and is signed up to present a two-part series for Radio 4 on the church and money. How’s that for timing? And, anyway, he could easily slip into a secular institution or freelance as a media vicar, wholly famous for being holy, as it were.

But what of Knowles? He is a church man through and through, with fewer strings in his bow. Both still have their licences and can continue to work as clergy – they just need a vacancy. They might want to return to parish priesthood in which case they would need to turn to the back pages of the Church Times (no signs of a recruitment freeze here). For a more senior position they would need to enter a much more convoluted, consultative process through the Crown Nominations Commission which decides who should be appointed bishops or deans.

A spokesperson at Church House confirms that both men will still receive a pension but it may only kick in at the usual pensionable age. “Regarding housing, they remain in the house until a mutually agreeable time (with either cathedral or diocese). They can apply for anything in the usual way – either at a national church institution or as a parish priest. Or they could be elected suffragan bishop or diocesan bishop.”

But what of the larger Church of England? Who knows? A few clergy rightly see this as an opportunity for evangelisation.  Others see it as another chance to tap into the zeitgeist, furthering the false social gospel of ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’.

The Guardian interviewed several vicars to assess their perspectives going forward. Many are critical of the alarmist closing of St Paul’s Cathedral:

St Paul’s got it wrong,” said the Right Rev Pete Broadbent, evangelical bishop of Willesden. “I hope we have got a chance now to start again and roll back the events of the last two weeks.

“The dean and chapter were clearly wrongly advised and I don’t know why they took the decision to close the cathedral – some of my clergy were down there doing flash mob evening services among the tents.”

Outside St Paul’s on Tuesday Chris Potter, the archdeacon of St Asaph’s, in Denbighshire, was wandering around the camp in his dog collar, chatting to people during a trip to London. “I feel that this is where the church should be,” he said. “It is a very interesting debate … What is clear is that when I do talk about this in sermons, a lot of people feel a great distaste for the huge inequalities we have.

David Jennings, canon theologian at Leicester Cathedral, also in dog collar, was positively fuming. “The church shouldn’t just be supporting this, it should be part of it – St Paul’s should be keeping its doors open all night so protesters can shelter from the cold … “

“I am sitting here, looking through my window at my 14th century parish church and I know that my village is not immune from the financial crisis,” said the Rev Richard Coles, ex-Communard [1980s band], radio presenter and vicar of Finedon, Northamptonshire …

In Mill Hill, north London, the Rev Chris Chivers said: ” This is an massive opportunity to get into an exciting agenda. Too often institutions get cut off and go into an introverted la-la land. We spend a lot of time talking about sex and not enough about money. This is a key moment for us.”

There’s more at the link. However, note that Mr Chivers deplored cautioning against sex but not money. The Bible has specific proscriptions against certain types and circumstances of sexual relations, which could condemn our souls forever on Judgment Day. It has little in it about money per se, other than warnings against greed, theft and idolatry; some of those could consign us to Hell, others not so much.  So, on that basis, sex would be a more universal sermon topic than money.

I do wonder whether Christ will desert the Church of England the way he did the temple in Jerusalem.  These priests are modern-day Pharisees.  No, they are not caught up in legalism — rather, one could say they are antinomian (lawless).  The way they actively reject Christ’s Gospel for secular concerns could lead one to believe that our Lord might well leave them to their own devices and eternal judgment — not for the better.

The subject of unbelief surfaced in last week’s Forbidden Bible Verses, which expanded on John 9:39-41.  This is a dangerous road to travel spiritually.  I mention this, because it appears as if few of our Anglican clergy care for the Word of God. ‘Preach Christ and Him crucified’? No, they reject that for the zeitgeist, whatever topic it concerns this year.

These are men who would no doubt consign Him to death in favour of Barabbas, the original community organiser.  Those are not words I use lightly, and I regret having to do so, but it is the truth. I’m not condemning as much as using my small voice as a layperson as a wake-up call to my own denomination.

A warning from John MacArthur, mentioned at the end of my John 9:39-41 post:

What started out as willful unbelief, this kind of obstinacy became judicial unbelief and Jesus said good bye … your sin remains, I’m through with you.

Matthew 15 verse 12, “Then came His disciples and said unto Him, Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended after they heard this saying?” Lord, You are really offending the Pharisees. ” But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up, let them alone.” The saddest words you’ll ever read … Tremendous shocking statement. Forget them, let them go. That’s Jesus…loving, kind, saving, seeking Savior…let them alone.

What do You mean let them alone? Let them alone, they are blind willfully and now judicially. They’re confirmed in their blindness, they’ve chosen it, they are kept in it…let them alone ...

Compare that with how He treats the eager heart of the blind man who says, “I want to know, please show me.” Light was come into the world but men love darkness rather than light. And they went on in their blindness.

I do not believe many of our clergy could openly confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. They see Him as a moral teacher and no more than that. Where is the Cross for them? The Resurrection? The Holy Spirit? Holy Scripture? Nowhere that I can see.

This isn’t pride — this is a warning to them and an ongoing reminder to the rest of us, myself included.

Preach Christ and Him crucified.

The well-intentioned clergy and staff of St Paul’s Cathedral may have more than they can handle with Occupy LSX.

My recent posts have covered Occupy and St Paul’s. In Church of England (C of E) terms, this could become a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

We have read about the resignations to date. What sort of atmosphere defines St Paul’s?  The Telegraph‘s ‘The Struggle for St Paul’s’ relates one insider’s perspective:

This is a very conservative place, where no one wants to rock the boat, and no one is bigger than the team.

Just so, and this is how it should be, particularly in a cathedral.

And, it seems, the laity on the cathedral’s staff have a particular part in maintaining the gravitas:

One figure who is understood to have taken a particularly dim view of Canon [Giles] Fraser’s outbursts is the cathedral’s registrar, Nicholas Cottam, a retired Major-General.

He has, so far, managed to keep a low profile, but he is described as “the power behind the throne”, and central to convincing the dean to support evicting the protesters.

Having served as a Commanding Officer in Northern Ireland in the early Nineties, he is said to have acted as an enforcer who didn’t like the clergy stepping out of line.

“He runs the cathedral like an army operation and sees the canons as his troops who should follow orders and not speak out of turn,” says one insider.

Good, we need that.

Now, what about the proximity of the clergy and the distance of their views on Occupy?

The [now former] Dean [Graeme Knowles] and his former Canon Chancellor [Giles Fraser] only live a few houses apart, but they have been pulled in different directions, with Dean Knowles being leant on by senior political and ecclesiastical figures, in addition to his registrar.

As Canon Fraser argued for the size of the camp to be reduced through negotiation, the Dean is understood to have already been told by Mayor Boris Johnson that he hoped the cathedral would back stronger action.

Senior figures at the City of London Corporation had decided that the protesters must be evicted, and backing from the cathedral Chapter was the last touch needed to give it moral authority.

Now, let us examine where the C of E’s bishops are in this sorry saga.

The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said that it was not just the public who were bemused by the closure.

“Cathedral deans I’ve spoken to are mystified as to why they would do it,” he said. “It’s made them look like idiots. Anyone who looks at the camp can see that it is complete nonsense to claim that it was done for health and safety.”

However, Britons know that there is a link between leftist thinking and a preoccupation with health and safety. ‘Someone could sue!’ (Translation: money grubbing envy.) Yes, and that’s precisely what a lefty would do.  Next?

On October 31, 2011, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams — the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion worldwide — finally put together some utterances:

He said the resignation was “very sad news” and that the events of the past fortnight had shown “how decisions made in good faith by good people under unusual pressure can have utterly unforeseen and unwelcome consequences”.

Dr Williams added: “The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table and we need – as a Church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed.”

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, is expected to play a large role in the leadership of St Paul’s, although an interim Dean, the Right Rev Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor at the cathedral and a former Bishop of Kensington, has been appointed.

When Rowan Williams stands down as the Archbishop of Canterbury — rumoured to be after the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012 — it is likely that Dr Chartres will be one of the candidates for his replacement. Therefore, it is curious that, about the St Paul’s debacle, he said (emphases mine):

The organisation of the Church of England is a great mystery to me, so never mind for (those) outside.

The way some of the clergy think and act might be a ‘mystery’, but why would the organisation itself be one?  Surely, the C of E has deacons and curates at the lowest level, then vicars above them, then diocesan bishops with the Archbishop of Canterbury over them and the worldwide synod, partly comprised of laypeople.  Why is that a mystery?

What concerns me and other faithful Anglicans is the way that Dr Chartres, like the other clergy, refuses to let go of politics in favour of Christ’s Gospel teachings.

“The question is now in the 21st century what is the role of St Paul’s,” he said.

He denied that the church would now distance itself from the legal action.“

We are not taking a softer line, the camp site has to disappear at some point,” he said. “It has to scale down. But I am told by the Chapter that they would not wish to condone violence.”

But no one, except they, predicted that a polite refusal to continue accommodation of the activists would necessarily end in violence.

The danger is — as, ironically, an Episcopalian rector of my acquaintance told me many years ago — these things become a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.  In other words, say Mr Smith, a mild-mannered English homeowner, spent several minutes talking to every unsolicited salesperson ringing his doorbell (in the UK we have quite a few) in hopes that they would not retaliate by burning down his home. (A quite irrational fear, no different to that of the clergy of St Paul’s wringing their hands over imagined violence from Occupy.) Suppose word gets out to a few of the salesmen, ‘Mr Smith only talks to you out of fear.  He says, “What if they burnt my home down?”‘  This then gives the salesmen rhetorical ammunition to use against Mr Smith on their next call. Should Mr Smith politely say, ‘No thank you, not today’, they now feel confident enough to unlawfully threaten him: ‘Well, Mr Smith, I wouldn’t be so sure about refusing us a bit of time.  Think of the consequences to your home, your life.  Now there’s a good man — this will only take a few minutes …’

The logic between an intimidated homeowner towards an emboldened unsolicited salesman and the clergy of St Paul’s towards a mixed bag of Occupy activists is no different and, as I mentioned, irrational.

Then again, perhaps it takes one to know one.  The Telegraph article tells us that (emphases mine)

Dr Rowan Williams, the current incumbent of Lambeth Palace, has remained silent. A social radical in his youth who was arrested in 1985 for his involvement in a CND demonstration outside a US air force base, it is likely that his sympathy would lie with the protesters.

So, we have a man with a police record as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion worldwide.  And here, I thought, his greatest ‘sin’ was to be a poet (and pseudo-Druid), therefore, a fluffy thinker on matters ecclesiastical.  I did not know he had been arrested. How many people do?

Seriously, you could not make this up.

On November 1, the Telegraph reported that the cathedral plans to drop proposed legal action against the protesters.

My opinion of Dr Chartres — Bishop of London — has gone down at least threefold. He said:

The alarm bells are ringing all over the world. St Paul’s has now heard that call. Today’s decision means that the doors are most emphatically open to engage with matters concerning not only those encamped around the Cathedral but millions of others in this country and around the globe.

I’m not sure what ‘alarm bells’ he is talking about, but it would appear that they are secular rather than spiritual.

Dr Chartres’s comment came as he announced that

St Paul’s … had appointed an investment banker, Ken Costa, 62, to lead a new initiative “reconnecting the financial with the ethical” which will involve various Church and City figures, including the recently resigned Rev Dr Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor.

“I am delighted that Ken Costa has agreed to spearhead this new initiative which has the opportunity to make a profound difference.”

More Giles Fraser. Didn’t I say we hadn’t heard the last of him?  I don’t know anything about Ken Costa. More to follow later.

A later report sees the ‘interim Dean’  — the Right Rev Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor — announce the suspension of legal action:

… the inability to construct dialogue with the protesters during legal proceedings had been a key reason for the decision.

“All along our desire has been to have dialogue with the people outside [the Cathedral].

“While there was the possibility of legal action on the table, the legal advice was that we could not have a dialogue with people during that process.

“That became a source of great frustration for us” …

In the latest developments, the City of London Corporation has said that it has also “paused” its legal action against the protesters to “leave more space for a resolution” of what to do about the Occupy London camp.

Right now, many of us faithful see Anglican clergy pandering to youth-driven politics with no real answers.  We, too, find it ‘a source of great frustration’ but in quite a different way.

More tomorrow, but, for now — and for me — a nice cup of tea and a lie down.

Yesterday’s post reported that the Revd Fraser Dyer, a chaplain at St Paul’s Cathedral, stood down. His resignation came within days of the Canon Chancellor’s letter, that of the Revd Dr Giles Fraser.

On October 31, 2011, the Dean of St Paul’s, the Right Revd Graeme Knowles, tendered his resignation. Unlike Fraser and Dyer, Knowles was supportive of legal action to remove the activists camping around the cathedral.

Dr Knowles said that

“criticism of the cathedral” in the press, media and in public opinion” had forced his hand and that a “fresh approach” from “new leadership” was needed.

“I do this with great sadness, but I now believe that I am no longer the right person to lead the chapter of this great cathedral,” he said.

Tory MP Mark Field expressed concern that this latest resignation may stiffen the protesters’ resolve in staying put.  The Telegraph reports:

He said: “The whole thing is farcical. You couldn’t make it up. It’s gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. This tented community has been there for two weeks and has hardly brought the foundations of capitalism to its knees.

“Ironically, the only capitalist organisation that has lost out is St Paul’s. I suspect that these resignations will only ensure that these protesters become more entrenched.”

The next paragraph has an amusing Freudian slip:

The Dead of St Paul’s had pushed hard for the church hierarchy to back legal action by the Corporation of London to remove the 200 or so tents from St Paul’s churchyard.

It really almost is the ‘Dead of St Paul’s’ — clerical career casualties are beginning to pile up.

And there has been extended sick leave as well since Occupy started:

Martin Fletcher, the clerk of the works, who had given the initial advice for the cathedral to close, had been rushed to hospital in an ambulance after collapsing from stress.  He is still on sick leave.

Until a permanent dean can be found,

the Rt Rev Michael Colclough, Canon Pastor at the cathedral and a former Bishop of Kensington, has been appointed acting Dean but it will take several months for a permanent replacement to be made.

However, it appears as if the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, will play a prominent leadership role, at least for the immediate future.

Many people will find this a source of amusement as well as frustration.  Like many fellow Anglicans, however, I am particularly saddened and disappointed at this turn of events.  Many faithful, as I have said before, could have predicted this unhappy outcome.  The clergy, however, still do not seem to grasp that with certain groups and certain philosophies, the principle of ‘give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile’ holds true.

I personally knew two or three people who would have made perfectly good Occupy sympathisers, if not protesters. One was a former close friend, my age, whom I knew many years ago and took in for a year or so.  He had a low-paying job and was obsessed with money, understandably. Yet, he had very little to pay me in rent.  I met his mother who took little time in telling me, ‘Watch that he doesn’t steal from you.  He can be very charming — conniving, even.’  A few months later, things started going missing or just ended up being destroyed and put in the bin without my knowledge — until later, that is. But, this chap — an unbeliever, by the way — did not respect private property: ‘Everything should be held in common, everywhere’.  Because he couldn’t afford certain things, he did not think that anyone else should have them, either.

The other man, English, was retired by the time I met him and was on psychotropic drugs to treat a mental health disorder.  Although from a good family and with a well-paid career behind him, he never really felt he fit in, even though he had loving, Christian parents. (He was a regular churchgoer and knew the Bible very well, possessing an uncanny ability to explain the more obscure passages.) So his intention was to stir the pot a bit in a permanent way, even when he had no desire to live with the changes.  I remember he said that his neighbourhood was not diverse enough, that there should be more immigrants to make it ‘fairer’ and ‘more just’. Two years later, he left the area, which was by then much more diverse.  Suddenly, he no longer cared.  Upon his departure, I do not recall that he said, ‘It will be a great shame to leave’. No, he just left as planned and that was it.  Although he had great sympathy for the marginalised of society, he had also been rebellious at school — so he said. He seemed to carry his schooldays grudge with him into old age, as if he were perpetually trying to get his own back on a perceived ‘system’ or ‘society’.

I felt sorry that neither of these chaps could see where they were going wrong.  They were both foisting their visions of change on everyone else as a vengeful, envious reaction to the status quo. Yes, there are times when societal injustice needs to be changed.  The civil rights movement in the United States comes to mind.  However, propose and work for a change because you have a genuine, heartfelt desire to make things better — not through envy or getting your own back.

It seems to me that both these men suffered from envy.  One envied a social position of authority which he didn’t have, even though he had been successful in his own right.  The other envied money and possessions, despite the fact that he advocated for common property.

This is what seems to be the root of the Occupy movement’s lesser participants: envy.  But it does not appear to be a fleeting envy, rather one which gnaws at them day after day.  They want everyone brought down to their chaotic subsistence level.  Increased taxation is an excellent vehicle for achieving this objective.

A favourite story of the Occupiers and their sympathisers is Jesus’s cleansing of the temple by removing profit-making money changers.

But a better one for all of us, including Occupy and its supporters, is the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17), emphases mine:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Accompanying commentary on the property aspect of this commandment is as follows:

Clarke’s Commentary:

Covet signifies to desire or long after, in order to enjoy as a property the person or thing coveted. He breaks this command who by any means endeavors to deprive a man of his house or farm by taking them over his head, as it is expressed in some countries … and who endeavors to possess himself of the servants, cattle, etc., of another in any clandestine or unjustifiable manner.

Gill’s Exposition:

The apostle [Paul] has reference to it, Romans 7:7. Several particulars are here mentioned not to be coveted, as instances and examples instead of others. Thus, for instance, “a neighbour’s house” is not to be coveted; “nor his field”, as the Septuagint version here adds, agreeably to Deuteronomy 5:21, a man is not secretly to wish and desire that such a man’s house or land were his, since this arises from a discontent of mind with respect to his own habitation and possessions nor his manservant, nor maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbours’; which, with the first clause, serve to explain the eighth command, showing that we are not only forbid to take away what is another man’s property, any of the goods here mentioned, or any other, but we are not secretly to desire them, and wish they were in our possession; since it discovers uneasiness and dissatisfaction with our own lot and portion, and is coveting another man’s property, which is coveting an evil covetousness.

Geneva Study Bible:

You may not so much as wish his hinderance in anything.

Envy violates God’s Tenth Commandment and is a sin. Outstaying one’s welcome is a power play for possession of property one does not own and has no right to — a form of theft, potentially, which goes against the Eighth Commandment.  Possible court action against one’s hosts when asked to leave — in this case, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Corporation of London — is another example of envy.

May Occupy have the good grace to thank the Cathedral administration for their patience and move on.

On October 27, 2010, I reported that the Canon Chancellor, the Revd Dr Giles Fraser, stood down from his position at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Possible legal action against the protesters persuaded him to resign.  As to the sensitivity of asking the protesters to leave — something which can only be done in joint co-operation between St Paul’s and the Corporation of London

Stuart Fraser, chair of the Corporation’s policy and resources committee, told the Daily Telegraph: “I understand why it would be difficult for the Church to be associated with a clearance, which may not be peaceful.

“An application for an injunction will no doubt be challenged.”

The following day, the Revd Fraser Dyer, a cathedral chaplain

followed in the footsteps of Rev Dr Giles Fraser, the Canon Chancellor, and resigned from his position, citing “disappointment” at the decision to pursue legal action against the activists.

My, what a lot of Frasers!

Fraser Dyer wrote in his resignation letter:

I do not relish the prospect of having to defend the cathedral’s position in the face of the inevitable questions that visitors to St Paul’s will pose in the coming weeks and months, particularly if we are to see protesters forcibly removed by police at the Dean and Chapter’s behest.

And, there could be more resignations.  The same Telegraph article reporting Mr Dyer’s resignation also stated that

another senior figure, Canon Mark Oakley, a member of the Chapter, may also consider his position untenable, having voted against going to court to evict the demonstrators.

He told this newspaper’s Mandrake column: “I couldn’t vote for any course of action that might lead at some point to violent behaviour.”

St Paul’s has since reopened, but the controversy over whether the protesters should be allowed to stay continues.  David Cameron, speaking from Australia, said that no one had the ‘right’ and ‘freedom’ to protest no matter where.  Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London, suggested turning on sprinklers around the cathedral in the early hours of the morning.

It isn’t as if the protesters at St Paul’s are devout Christians. The Telegraph highlighted a few of the offences they committed on the cathedral grounds:

Ten arrests have been made at the camp since October 15, for public order offences, possession of drugs and a knife and an assault on a police officer.

One protester, Nigel McCorkell, 43, was handed a community sentence yesterday after District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe, sitting at Westminster Magistrate’s Court, said it was important to preserve the right to “legitimate protest”. The unemployed carpenter was arrested for hurling a beer can at police lines.

Leftist Christian organisations supporting Occupy LSX called for:

demands such as the democratisation of the City of London and the abolition of the City’s own police force.

What’s it to do with them?  Seriously, these folks are CINOs — Christians in Name Only.  I would suggest that they read and reread Romans 13.  In His providence, God gave us governors to ensure public order for everyone’s benefit.  The City of London police have been using restraint and courtesy during this ongoing protest. Tyrannical government may give rise to actions opposing Romans 13, however, the City has been remarkably lenient towards the protesters.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported today that the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres — a likely candidate to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury

addressed the Occupy London activists in a question-and-answer session, telling them that he thought their presence added to the discussion on “the future shape of the world” and he backed the camp’s political message.

The bishop was repeatedly asked to condemn the legal action taken against the protesters by St Paul’s and the Corporation of London. He distanced himself from the decision, insisting that it was a matter for the cathedral clergy alone.

However, just minutes after stepping down from the podium, he hailed the “prudent” decision to seek an injunction against the protesters.

“I can see very clearly that getting the legal situation clear is a sensible precautionary measure,” he said. “I do not subscribe to the idea that it will instantly lead to violence.”

Several protesters later described his stance as “hypocritical”.

So, they will not move on, despite the fact that they have clearly overstayed their welcome.

Well, as I’ve said before, St Paul’s clergy created a rod for their own backs here. Dr Giles Fraser should have allowed the police to clear the protesters when they offered to do so. However, it seems as if he, Fraser Dyer and others thought that it would be a good idea to welcome the group onto their grounds.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of the Frasers or their ilk yet.  Sadly, they have forgotten the Bible and embraced political protest, whatever the cost to Anglicans.

After five days’ of closure, St Paul’s Cathedral could re-open to the public on Friday.

Right now, the Occupy LSX crowd with the apparent help of some of St Paul’s clergy have managed to outdo Hitler.  Whereas the cathedral was closed for four days in 1940, in 2011, it has been closed for five.

The Church of England hierarchy has been strangely silent on the matter up to now. It has been up to the laity to make a stand.  This is what has been happening since I last wrote on the subject a few days ago:

Debate continued over health and safety concerns, among them the possibility that people could trip over guy ropes on the tents:

– Mark Field, the Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster called the closure a ‘monumental own goal’ for the cathedral.

– At long last the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, spoke up.  He asked the protestors to kindly leave the cathedral grounds.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, does not appear to have spoken on the matter.

– The cathedral owns part of the land and the Corporation of London another part.  The Corporation of London said it could only take legal action to removing the protesters if St Paul’s agreed.

– St Paul’s said that their position remained unchanged. The cathedral loses upwards of £20,000 per day.  To date, this has amounted to £120,000.

Choristers from St Paul’s scheduled a singing flashmob on October 26. This is their hymnsheet.

Today, the clergyman who invited the protesters in for Sunday service announced his resignationThe Canon Chancellor, the Revd Dr Giles Fraser, announced his departure on Twitter.

The Telegraph (same link) reports (emphases mine):

Dr Fraser, who pledged his support for the Occupy London protest camp, had warned that he would resign if the Church took legal action to remove the activists.

Just hours after the Corporation of London confirmed that it would seek a High Court injunction to remove them, he acted on his word.

Although the Church has yet to pledge support for the action, amid rumours of a split in the ranks, Dr Fraser announced his resignation on Twitter.

In a short statement, he added: “I resigned because I believe that the chapter has set on a course of action that could mean there will be violence in the name of the church.”

On his Twitter account, Dr Fraser wrote: “It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul’s Cathedral”.

This is the type of clergyman who does the Church of England no favours in its work to make disciples of all men (Matthew 28:19). He has clearly put secular interests above the instruction of Jesus Christ.  However, Dr Fraser probably does not see it the same way.

By the time this post appears, St Paul’s could be resuming normal service (!), but

Stuart Fraser, chair of the Corporation’s policy and resources committee, told the Daily Telegraph: “I understand why it would be difficult for the Church to be associated with a clearance, which may not be peaceful.

“An application for an injunction will no doubt be challenged.”

I hope that the protesters will have the good grace and simple courtesy to move on quietly and clean up after themselves in doing so.

There is nothing that St Paul’s or the Church of England can do to solve our banking crisis and economic meltdown except to pray that God in His sovereignty helps to mitigate the effects that the 99% experience.

To find out what City bankers have to say about Occupy, see my post today at Orphans of Liberty, who have kindly asked me to join their contributors!  I am most grateful for their invitation and look forward to posting on their site as well as here!

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