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Interesting stuff, Mark! I think you're very positive about pilgrimage which is great. Medieval pilgrimage was one of those thiings I studied at Uni so it was cool to have a look. Unfortunately there was the darker side too, of course - churches cashing in on the opportunity to get people in - see the angel choir at Lincoln cathedral which was funded by Hugh of Lincoln's shrine. There was also the trade in fake relics and worst of all, you also get over exuberant "pilgrims" turning into crusaders.

Do we have any similar flipsides in modern pilgrimage?

Very true Sarah, thanks for this... If one where to do an acadamic/historic presentation you would have to reflect the "dark side"; indulgences, robbery etc. this was only a 30min presentation of the themes of pilgrimage though, so I did try to put over a positive dynamic... good question at the end, I guess an instantaneous reaction would be the more superficial side; tourism... which I suppose does reflect some of the things you mentioned (except maybe the crusades bit ;) I hope!) "churches cashing in on the opportunity to get people in" and churches/pilgrimage sites becoming museums rather than sacred spaces. The opposite dark side is that many of our historic sites pay no attention to their significance and fail to even try to engage people on a spiritual "Level"... churches have become places for people who "belong" not perigrini, they are locked or ordered simply with the sunday service in mind.

I didn't expect you would have gone into it, it's true. It just struck me and got me thinking too. We're looking at doing stuff for the "spiritual tourists" as my vicar calls them and creating a "Centre for Christian Spirituality" - pretty sacramental concept really as that is what the church is and should be but people hear/ see "church" and think building... they see "Centre for Christian Spirituality" and we hope the response might be different - sacred space not museum hopefully!

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