07:52 Friday 28th October 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: The Church very much in the news at the moment.
BRUCE RUDDOCK: Indeed.
PAUL STAINTON: St Pauls Cathedral is on the TV every night, which is sort of a good thing, but not a good thing, because people are camped out in front of it. Imagine that at the Peterborough Cathedral, on the grass there, full of tents. That would be interesting. But I understand you knew Dr Giles Fraser, who resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Pauls on Thursday. And everybody seems to .. nobody seems to have a bad word to say about the guy. It’s an awful situation, isn’t it?
BRUCE RUDDOCK: It is a difficult situation. I still know Giles, and most of us do, who are in the Cathedral world. I think the mistake he made was to resign, but I think also it’s a fascinating way of showing how Anglicanism does its business. There you’ve got this really difficult complicated situation, where even who owns the ground round St Pauls Cathedral is a highly complex issue. And the Church has on one hand tried to wrestle with the issues concerned, and at the same time it’s had to try and respond in a way that is fair to everybody. We’re accused of being a bit wooly as a result, but I would prefer a church that kind of tries to engage with the serious problem in modern society, without coming to a simplistic conclusion.
PAUL STAINTON: If you had a number of people with tents that wanted to come and pitch up on the grass in front of the cathedral, would you welcome them all?
BRUCE RUDDOCK: Well it depends on what sort of tents they were and what they wanted to do when they were there.
PAUL STAINTON: They look pretty nice tents to me, judging by the queue outside Starbucks every day, they don’t look very poor.
BRUCE RUDDOCK: Yes. No, I don’t think they do really. But I think we have to say we’ll cross that bridge if we ever have to come to it. And I hope we never have to.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. It’s difficult, because once you welcome them on of course, then it’s not very Christian to shoo them off is it? So ..
BRUCE RUDDOCK: No it’s not. But on the other hand the Cathedral grounds in Peterborough are private property, therefore we would have a stronger legal case for inviting or persuading people to move on, than a place like St Pauls, where their land is half owned by the City, half owned by the Cathedral, and is all entangled in medieval documents somewhere. So we’re luckier than they are.