From this week’s Private Eye (50th Anniversary Issue)…
The Canon (for it is he): Brothers and Sisters, you are gathered here together in your tents to make your voices heard in protest at the recent failings of global capitalism.
Protesters: Yes indeedy!
The Canon: You are right welcome here as the church has a long tradition of helping the poor and crusading for social justice wheresoever it may be needful.
Protestors: Thanks be to you, O Canon.
(There follows a reading from the Book of Health and Safety Regulations, Chapter 7, Page 75, paragraph 13b.)
Reader: The erection of tented structures within 10 metres of the Cathedral’s main access point creates an unacceptable safety hazard to visitors in so far as the tent guy ropes may cause serious injuries and the associated cooking devices of the camp dwellers may constitute a fire hazard to tourists and worshippers alike who are not covered by the ecclesiastical church insurance policies issued by Messers Whittam Strobes of Chichester.
(The Dean will here take over and close the Cathedral doors until further notice.)
The Dean: O Lord close our doors.
Protestors: Result! Way to go!
The Dean: Let us now pray for the Cathedral and its revenues that are so severely stricken by this well meaning but ultimately rather irritating protest. Let us pray for the gift shop with its agreeable postcards and reasonably priced audio guides which are now lying idle. Let us pray for the coffee shop with it’s excellent carrot cake and organic smoothies. And let us pray above all for those entrusted with collecting the admission fees which usually amount to over £16,000 per day.
Protestors (outside): Boo! Capitalist bastards!
The Dean: That is indeed a very fair comment, however, we are a business like many others with huge overheads and a small army of clergy whose modest stipends do need to be paid.
Clergy: Got any spare change, guv?
The Dean: We shall now sing our final hymn.
Hymn: There is a green hill far away, perhaps you would like to go and camp there instead?
Protestors: We shall not be moved.