The Principle of Compassion

October 27, 2011,
Claire Montanaro

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of the dilemma over the ant-capitalist protest at St Paul’s Cathedral.

As it continues, there is a belief today that that the Canon Chancellor will resign over disagreements with the cathedral authorities as to how to deal with the protestors camping outside and so preventing the normal operating of the church. He has defended their right to peaceful protest while colleagues wish to take legal and if necessary forceful action to remove them.

His approach, it seems, is based on the question “What would Jesus do?” – another way of asking, what is the course of compassion?

There are understandable arguments on both sides: the right to self-expression in a public place, the rights of those who wish to worship, the rights of disappointed visitors, the nuisance of a large camp in central London and the right to lucrative revenues from tourism. The dilemma is immense, but it is interesting how big a part money plays in it from the perspective of the protesters and also of the cathedral.

I am relieved the decision is not mine to make. Meanwhile, witnessing this stark situation is an excellent reminder to me that the key test in any difficulty is to ask – how best can I apply the principle of compassion? The answer is always clear and always right.


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I am a spiritual teacher, channel and writer with a special interest in esoteric philosophy and the world in transition, who loves nature and wildlife.  My aim is to help your human and soul journey through spiritual wisdom, spiritual connection and the raising of consciousness.


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