|UK||MARTYRS PILGRIMAGE COULD END|
The annual pilgrimage to Tyburn in central London where more than 100 martyrs were hanged, drawn, and quartered in the 16th and 17th centuries is to be axed following complaints that it disrupts shopping in Oxford Street.
For the past century, hundreds of pilgrims have followed the 3 km route from the Old Bailey to Marble Arch along which the martyrs were dragged on hurdles or taken by cart to a gruesome death at the gallows. But this year's walk, next Sunday, will be the last.
Organisers are under pressure from police to reroute the procession away from Oxford Street, which has become increasingly busy on weekends. And they feel that if they can no longer walk in the footsteps of the martyrs, the event loses much of its significance.
Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood told The Daily Telegraph: "It is a sign of the growing secularism and commercialism of our age, exemplified by such things as Sunday opening. We all respect the tremendous integrity of the martyrs and, of course, many Protestants as well as Catholics died during those times. In many parts of the world, there is more martyrdom now than ever before."
Mother John Baptist, a 77-year-old nun at Tyburn convent near the site of the executions, at Marble Arch, said the news had come as "a great blow" to her cloistered community.