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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 03 March 2013

Ahead of a new BBC TV series, Roy Jenkins and his guests, rugby's JPR Williams and musical star Peter Karrie, discuss Holy sites and pilgrimage. Live music from James Williams.

  • Christianophobia / Holy Places

    On All Things Considered this week Roy Jenkins and guests explore two very different topics.

    It is reckoned that two hundred million Christians across the world suffer because of their faith. This might be the direct persecution which puts them in prison for worshipping, threatens their families and drives them into exile. Or it can be repressive discrimination, which forces them to choose between their religion and getting a job or receiving an education.

    Rupert Shortt, who has written biographies both of Pope Benedict and of Archbishop Rowan Williams has chronicled a wide range of persecution in his book Christianophobia: A faith under attack. He speaks to Roy ahead of a lecture he is giving on the theme at St.Michael’s Theological College in Llandaff this month.

    Also on the programme, many of the thousands who packed St Peter's Square on Wednesday had travelled vast distances. Their pilgrimage to Pope Benedict’s final public appearance as pontiff gave them a part in history. Meanwhile on St.David’s Day, the Pembrokeshire cathedral which bears his name was also, as always, welcoming pilgrims, albeit rather fewer. At a time when many people have given up on formal public worship, interest in sites regarded as holy appears to be growing, and a six-part television series beginning this week on BBC4 called Pagans and Pilgrims: Britain’s Holiest Places should wet the appetites of more potential pilgrims. But what accounts for the growing interest in holy sites? Why are more people visiting them? And what makes a place holy, anyway?



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