Sunday, 30 October 2011
Frustrations at the Cathedral
It's been a frustrating week for anyone who longs for the church to break out of the 'private, ineffectual religious club' image that it seems to suffer under in the UK. At just the point when there was a ready made group of people literally on the doorstep of St Paul's Cathedral (what amazing opportunities - quick what shall we do? go and mingle; be seen in dog collars; have outdoor discussions/services...?) the Cathedral closed down, to bizarrely reopen a few short days later. The heavy symbolism of the church shutting its doors just when the action was hotting up was not lost on journalists, who on the whole seem to have shown a slightly better grasp of the many ironies than anyone towing the official Cathedral party line. 'What astute Anglican (...) could look out over a sea of the best behaved civic protesters (...) and see a problem instead of a vast, synergetical opportunity?' asked Lucy Mangan in the Guardian. Astute Anglicans indeed. I don't like to think (and nor did Giles Fraser) of how this is going to end but at least it's shown that the supposed Christian messsage isn't entirely lost on commentators - and when there's a meaty subject to hand, the church has a vital role to play in contemporary life and many rich, if sometimes squandered, opportunities.