Whilst tent-dwellers were Occupy-ing the space to the West of St Paul's Cathedral, the Archbishop of Canterbury was praying alongside Pope Benedict and other faith leaders in Assisi last week. And from tomorrow Assisi hosts another inter-faith gathering of importance, to launch the first global network aimed at "greening" pilgrimages. Mary Colwell writes about it in the current issue of The Tablet.
Some will ask, why the need for "greening"? Surely pilgrim walkers inherently proclaim a green gospel, rejoicing in nature as they go - this magnificent beech might easily have escaped my attention had I been car-borne along the little road from Upper Coberley to Hilcot on Friday. But then of course not all pilgrims are walkers or cyclists: many indeed jet to faraway destinations to give themselves the warm glow so many get from worshiping at a sacred place. Indeed, I have campaigned in the past for more virtual pilgrimages.
Mary's final sentence sets out a - for me, unfamiliar - quote from St Francis: "There is no use walking to somewhere to preach if your walking is not your preaching." And there was I thinking the expression "Walking the talk" was a recent invention!