Sunday, 23 October 2011
Oh Ye Of Little Faith
As it is Sunday, for a change some attention to religion is paid, or rather the catechisms of capitalism. The unholy business outside St. Pauls Cathedral and the closing of the doors of sanctuary has excited a lot of attention.
According to Mathew 21:12 in the King James version “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves”.
This suggests that those on the outside are more Jesus people given the nature of their protests than those inside. St. Paul’s costs a lot of money to keep going and it is important that people enter in large numbers and leave with less money than they had on entry.
Doves may not be on sale but a wide range of knick knacks and souvenirs are as well as some religious tracts and books. Indulgences are not available and nor are much in the way of holy relics, other than the Duke of Wellington down below. But there is a decent café with a reasonable choice of goodies, cake as opposed to communion.
The present St. Paul’s is a creation of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the previous medieval church being lost to the flames in the Great Fire of 1666. It was a Stuart period enterprise embodying the Stuart love of expense with the inability to find the money to fund it.
Quite what it cost the economy to put it up during a period of serious economic difficulties is a question. It must certainly have diverted a lot of capital that might have been used for other purposes. Figures I have seen suggest it must have put a strain on whatever the GDP was then. Since then it has been a high maintenance item.
Its present iconic status is owed a great deal to its survival during World II and especially the striking photographs of it standing proudly whilst around it flames engulfed the ruins of much of The City. It did symbolize the idea that Britain could take it and survive.
Now it struggles to keep its dome seen between all the buildings that are going up both close and near. There is a deep irony that The City now dwarves St. Paul’s. Mammon is winning and is triumphant.
Meanwhile the Chapter of St. Paul’s produces it accounts according to the litany of modern accounting management and its annual reports speak the language of the MBA faithful and not those holding the inferior Doctorates of Divinity. The Chapter orates the familiar financial gospels with faith in the figures rather than the word.
It has yet to work out how to make its prayers and services an income stream. In earlier times this was not difficult because they provided leverage for the faithful to put their trust in eternity. Today in The City the overriding need is create credits to enable an eternally rising money flow.
This is not the cause of the closure of its doors. Nor is it the doubts or heresies of the Clergy, the Metropolitan Police, nor the Health and Safety people, although all are castigated as the sinners.
The ones who are responsible are the mysterious anchorites of the security services who from their walled up cells have uttered prophesies that the faithful must give heed to.
It is that St. Paul’s is a soft target and if you allow a large mob composed of fervent sects of other faiths, secular or religious, to camp out at an open entrance then within them will be not just the creatures of Satan but of other trouble makers from around the world. This time the bombers are on the ground and not up in the air.
And it might not just be the incense burning that you could smell.