Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Church rift widens as aide attacks bishop over handling of St Paul's protest

A senior aide to the Archbishop of Canterbury has ridiculed the Bishop of London over his handling of the St Paul's protest.

An email sent from an official close to Rowan Williams expressed dismay over Dr Richard Chartres's role in the crisis and accused him of presiding over a public relations disaster.

The message, seen by the Evening Standard, is further evidence of a growing rift at the top of the Church of England over the Occupy London protest camp on St Paul's doorstep.

Initially, the Bishop of London called for the anti-capitalist "tent city" to leave and encouraged the cathedral to take legal action against the protesters.

However, St Paul's, led by Dr Chartres, performed a U-turn last Tuesday and dropped plans to seek a High Court injunction against the 250-tent camp. It is understood the decision followed a phone call last Monday between the Bishop and Dr Williams, who is said to have been deeply unhappy at the cathedral's initial decision. Later that day the Archbishop released a statement backing the protesters and said he sympathised with the "urgent larger issues" they raised.

The row emerged today as St Paul's published a report that argued the development of technology had caused the City to lose its morals. Read more

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