Sunday 6 November 2011

The St Paul's Cathedral hornet's nest

At the ABC site, Scott has run a triptych of pieces on the St Paul's Cathedral crisis:
  • Rowan Williams: "The Church of England and the Church Universal have a proper interest in the ethics of the financial world and in the question of whether our financial practices serve those who need to be served - or have simply become idols that themselves demand uncritical service." 
  • John Milbank: "And while very many London clerics over the years have made an honourable social witness, the fact is that the higher echelons of the London diocese have tended to be complicit with just this flummery and too much in love with a power that they can only touch through its trappings. Indeed, it is this sham ritual that has frequently blinded them to genuine symbolic resonance. And now this inherited blindness is exposed for the world to see – a most spectacular blindness. 
  • Luke Bretherton: "For what is a Cathedral meant to be but a place where people can come and experience a different time and space, and can live, if only for a moment, in a vision of a different future, and thereby have reality re-framed?"


notjustabewilderdape said...

I read a very well written article on this in The Australian earlier today.

Doug Chaplin said...

I'm sorry, Ben, but hearing John Milbank crticising flummery and pomposity is like listening to Herod complaining about child abuse.

Pompous Paul said...

Dear Doug. What you have said is called, in Ozy rules football, playing the player rather than the ball (if I was pompous and flummeranieous enough I would probably point out that this is an argumentum ad hominem - but here in Australia they would call me a poofter and piss themselves laughing, so I will hide my terrible secret - I like dead languages...). So, leaving the messenger to one side, I would be interested to know what it is that John actually said that you find to be false or misleading.

Pompous Paul again said...

As an Australian, Milbank’s comments have a strong resonance for me. I remember walking past the Old Bailey and the Bank of England museum on my way to visit St Paul’s a few years ago, and the symbolic synergies between these icons of savage legal brutality, modern credit and British imperial religion, all geographically situated together, was like being stung by a swam of hornets. For it was the closing of the commons – a collusion between the aristocracy, old money and the state religion – in sync with the rise of urban slums to feed ‘labour’ to the satanic factories owned by the new rapacious capitalist class, which produced the collapse of social order that generated the need for a penal colony on the other side of the globe. So the British pillaged Terra Australis and its native peoples and set up a gaol Down Under. I agree with John Milbank, an exceptional moment has arisen full of deep symbolic resonance which the Anglican church – please God! – might seize and find a measure of redemption in. If we are indeed now living in a post-Christendom era then the Anglican church can re-invent itself as no longer the religion of establishment but as an advocate for the true needs of the people against the powers that run the tiny globe for the principalities of violence and greed. May God aid these protestors and Rowan Williams at this time.

John said...

When I read this kind of stuff I wonder what kind of fanasty world these chaps live in and if they have ever read their history books - and I don't mean the "official" history.

Of course the Church of England was always THE establishment church - the Tory party at prayer (while they were forever preying on their millions of world-wide victims).
It was part and parcel of the entire British colonial mis-adventure, effectively providing "religious" justifications for this world-wide project of systematic plunder, and the murder of those who tried to resist or rebel (once colonized)

Why not check out the book Britain's Empire: Resistance Repression & Revolt by Richard Gott/

Praise the "lord" and pass the ammunition!

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