As I noted last week in my piece on the “occupation” of London’s St. Paul’s cathedral, in Britain, “as Thomas à Becket discovered to his detriment, it is usually the clergy — and not their flock — who find themselves in danger of being ousted.” True to form, Graeme Knowles, the dean of St. Paul’s has stepped down ahead of a possible eviction of the campers. The Guardian reports:
The perceived dithering and divisions of church officials over the protest camp outside St Paul’s in London have claimed a second major scalp with the resignation of the cathedral’s dean, the Right Rev Graham Knowles.
The dean – whose job is sufficiently senior that a replacement must be approved by the Queen – announced that mounting criticism over the cathedral’s handling of the situation made his position “untenable”.
In a statement read on his behalf to the media at the Chapter House, opposite St Paul’s, Knowles said: “In recent days, since the arrival of the protesters’ camp outside the cathedral, we have all been put under a great deal of strain and have faced what would appear to be some insurmountable issues.
“I hope and pray that under new leadership these issues might continue to be addressed and that there might be a swift and peaceful resolution.”
In my article, I suggested that Knowles would “now publicly [regret] the leniency he initially showed the camped-out members of ‘Occupy London Stock Exchange.’” Anyone familiar with the Church of England will not be surprised to see such “dithering and divisions,” but this reaction is more severe than I would have anticipated.