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Stations of the Cross altered for World Youth Day May 29, 2008

World Youth Day organizers in Sydney, Australia, have altered the traditional pattern for the Stations of the Cross in a bow to ecumenical and inter-religious sensibilities, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Instead of the usual 14 stations, the Stations of the Cross that will take place in Sydney on July 18 will be a shortened version, "founded entirely on passages from the New Testament," the Morning Herald says. Stations based on pious tradition, such as those recalling Christ's falling three times, and Veronica wiping his face, will not be included. The choice of an exclusively Scriptural approach is intended to appeal to other Christian groups, organizers say.

The text for the Stations of the Cross has also been chosen to avoid language that might offend Jews or inflame anti-Semitic feelings. Bishop Anthony Fisher, the chief organizer for World Youth Day in Sydney, explained: "In the choice of scriptural texts you can choose ones that are less likely to be misinterpreted by people to encourage that kind of feeling and we've chosen those texts carefully and in consultation with others."

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