St Paul's Cathedral, in the heart of London's financial district, has for centuries occupied a delicate position between God and Mammon, benefiting from the generosity of rich financiers while supporting the more numerous poor.
The tents erected on its doorstep by protesters against the excesses of modern capitalism and its huge inequalities in wealth have presented the Church with an excruciating dilemma -- should it side with them or the bankers they criticize?
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the head of the Church of England, stepped into the debate Tuesday, backing calls by the Vatican last month for sweeping reforms of the world economic system and the creation of ethical regulation of financial markets.
Archbishop Williams specifically mentioned three points in the Vatican document:
1. separation of ordinary retail banking from higher risk investment activities
2. recapitalisation of banks with public money
3. most controversially a financial transaction tax.
Meanwhile, St. Paul's Cathedral has decided not to evict the protesters, reversing its earlier plan.
Here is a link to Archbishop Williams' essay, although free registration is required