Somewhat typical of our increasingly mischievous daily paper, The Press (motto: Nihil Utile Quod Non Honestum), I cannot see where either yesterday or today it has published the explanation for the Cathedral's request for an annual Council grant which I posted yesterday. (I understand that the Press has been sent the explanation). Having made trouble with its headlines about the Cathedral's cash request, it has gone silent. Its motto really should be printed as Nihil Utile Quod Does Not Sell More Newspapers (or, in modern Latin slang, 'Yeah, Whatever').
Tomorrow our Synod is being held in which we discuss the Covenant and then many matters relating to the post quake future of the Diocese. This morning in the Press (A5) is an advertisement with two prongs. One, from the Wizard of Christchurch advertises a protest rally outside the Synod at 10.30 am, the other is an open letter from the Chair of the Christchurch Civic Trust to Bishop Victoria and the Chapter appealing for a stop to the order for demolition.
The advertisement for the protest is quite lurid and bizarre, and in the end unreasonable in its argument:
" People of Christchurch it seems impossible to credit it but you have been completely misled by CERA [authoritative body dealing with buildings and their safety], the Bishop, the newspapers and television stations. The Cathedral does NOT have to be demolished." Yeah, right. All those responsible people and organisation are misleading. Pull the other one, Wiz!
"It is being pulled down by the Anglican Church authorities with the backing of CERA who have given no good reason whatsoever ..." Er, good reasons have been given: it is very badly damaged, it is unsafe to leave up, it is getting worse and worse by the day, it would be unsafe to have workers working in it, the expense of repair and restoration (were it feasible) is beyond the reasonable expectations of the church. Need we go on?
"Unless we stop this spiritual slaughter, the city will never be the same again." Umm, the city is already different and will never be what it was again on 3 September 2010 ... we have had major, destructive earthquakes which have, er, changed things.
"What about the generations of personal memories and the major civic events witnessed there?" Ah, yes, all those somewhat staged and formal services with dignitaries not used to being in church shifting uncomfortably in their chairs, coughing and clearing their throats in the wrong places. Not that I can personally say I will miss those memories as I never went to such a service.
"What about losing the central focus of our tourist industry?" Now here is a very good point. The Cathedral was such a focus (except when the Buskers' Festival was on, the Ellerslie Garden Show happening, the weather hot enough to force people to the beaches or cold enough to spur them to the skifields, the Crusaders or All Blacks were playing, or the daffodils displaying their spring colours in Hagley Park). But why not tell us, dear Wizard, why it is the church's responsibility to consider that factor while also racking its conscience over complicity in 'spiritual slaughter'?
But then, most bizarrely, the nub of the argument being made is that, "We are only asking for a pause so that this vital issue can be decided on calmly before action is taken that can never be undone."
Whatever else has happened in our diocesan leaders making the decision about the Cathedral, they have taken considerable time over the matter, acted with complete calmness, and been crystal clear that to deconstruct a building is a decisive action which cannot be undone.
But here is the thing, our leaders have also been clear that to deconstruct the Cathedral is not to decide what then happens. If we want a restored neo Gothic stone building (to modern safety standards) we can still do that, but (as I understand things) we do need to deconstruct in order to build an edifice that generations to come feel safe to enter. We would also need some cash. Quite a bit in fact.
So should the Wizard read this, here is the protest that might work tomorrow morning: gather together, pass the hat around, come up with $100 million plus, and chant, "Here is the money. Let's restore the icon. Here is the money. Let's restore the icon." I have no idea whether it would lead to the Synod agreeing to rebuilding the Cathedral as the icon it has been, but it would certainly give us 'pause' for thought!