Thursday, October 27, 2011

Layer 485 . . . Canon Giles Fraser, Detonation, Resignation, Principles, St Paul's and Protests

Further to my comment yesterday about Giles Fraser, Canon of St Paul's -

St Paul's Cathedral canon resigns
Giles Fraser quits over plans to forcibly remove Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters from outside cathedral

The canon chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, the Rev Dr Giles Fraser, has resigned in protest at plans to forcibly remove protesters from its steps, saying he could not support the possibility of "violence in the name of the church".

Speculation grew in the last 24 hours that Fraser, a leading leftwing voice in the Church of England, would resign because he could not sanction the use of police or bailiffs against the hundreds of activists who have set up camp in the grounds of the cathedral in the past fortnight.

Just after 9am on Thursday, Fraser tweeted: "It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul's Cathedral."

In a statement to the Guardian, Fraser, who was appointed canon in May 2009, confirmed his resignation, saying: "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."

Fraser quickly became a hero figure among the Occupy the London Stock Exchange (LSX) movement, clearing police officers off the steps of St Paul's and supporting the group's right to peaceful protest after a court injunction stopped it from setting up camp in nearby Paternoster Square. He also delivered a Sunday sermon decrying corporate greed, which was seen as another sign of his endorsement of the protest.

Occupy London said it was "deeply moved" to hear of his resignation.

"He is man of great personal integrity and our thoughts are with him. He respected our right to protest and defended it. For that we are very grateful, as he ensured that St Paul's could be a sanctuary for us and that no violence could take place against peaceful protesters with a legitimate cause – challenging and tackling social and economic injustice in London, the UK and beyond."

A spokeswoman, Naomi Colvin, added: "Courage like that is really very inspiring. It reassures us that what we're doing is important. The people who have a bit of integrity, it's becoming more obvious who those people are. I hope we can do well enough to justify their sacrifices."

Giles Fraser: the jeans and T-shirt wearing cleric of St Paul's Cathedral
Resigned canon known by fans and opponents alike as a fiercely bright, progressive and genial man unafraid to speak his mind

On the face of it, Giles Fraser is an unlikely looking cleric. Bald, jovial, worldly, ferociously bright but genial towards those within the fractious Church of England who disagree with him, his favourite form of garb is jeans and T-shirt.

It is a uniform in keeping with the 47-year-old's support for Chelsea football club and his determinedly demotic persona, though he had to change into a more conventional dog-collar and black suit when translated from his parish in Putney to St Paul's two years ago.

His family background is Jewish, and he was a teenaged Trotskyite before converting to Anglicanism at university. His doctorate comes from a thesis on the 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who famously declared that God – at least in the old-fashioned sense – was dead.

Fraser, served his curacy on a rundown Midlands council housing estate and for 10 years was vicar of Putney parish church in one of the most well-heeled parts of London. He equally valued the church as the scene of the post-English civil war debates on the sort of society England should become.

He has never made any secret of his generally, leftwing, progressive views both politically and within the Church of England, where he has been a prominent supporter of the pro-gay Inclusive Church group, launched at a service in his church.

He will have realised, as some of his colleagues did not, how the cathedral chapter's attempts to close the camp down – and their over-reaction in closing the cathedral – would play in the outside world and how it would make the church appear: scared, cowed, out-of-touch and pro-establishment – the very things he consistently preaches against in sermons and broadcasts.



Giles Fraser
@giles_fraser London
Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral.


Wikipedia is already up to date on the canon who fired himself -


I'm keeping this blog deliberately short as I want to post it quickly!


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