November 2nd, 2011
11:00 AM ET
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said "the best outcome" of the controversies surrounding the occupation would be to "effect credible change in the financial world."
He expressed understanding for the protesters, saying: "There is still a powerful sense around - fair or not - of a whole society paying for the errors and irresponsibility of bankers."
He said there was "impatience with a return to 'business as usual' - represented by still-soaring bonuses and little visible change in banking practices."
Williams, the titular head of the world's 70-million-strong Anglican Communion, had been largely silent as the tent camp in front of one of the world's best-known cathedrals caused controversy within the Church of England and the country.
But amid the controversy, Williams, said, "we are at risk of forgetting the substantive questions that prompted the protest."
In a piece published in the Financial Times newspaper Wednesday, Williams argues for three proposals.
"Routine banking business should be clearly separated from speculative transactions," governments should pour more money into banks, which should be "obliged in return to help reinvigorate the real economy," and "a comparatively small rate of tax (0.05%) being levied on share, bond, and currency transactions and their derivatives," he said.
That last proposal is known as the "Tobin Tax" or the "Robin Hood Tax." The British government has opposed it, Williams writes.
The protests "do not amount to a simplistic call for the end of capitalism, but they are far more than a general expression of discontent," he said.
"If religious leaders and commentators in the UK and elsewhere could agree on these three proposals, as a common ground on which to start serious discussion, questionings alike of protesters and clergy will not have been wasted," Williams said.
The dean of St. Paul's, the Right Rev. Graeme Knowles, resigned earlier this week after intense criticism of his decision to close the cathedral for a week in the face of the protest camp.
Two other clergy quit earlier as the cathedral appeared to be preparing to ask the courts to evict the protesters.
The cathedral announced Tuesday that it would not take legal action against them.
The activists set up camp outside St. Paul's just over two weeks ago when their attempt to storm the nearby London Stock Exchange failed.
The cathedral, located in London's financial district, is one of the UK's top tourist attractions and staged the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981.
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