Beatification of Newman is scaled down

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The beatification of Cardinal Newman, one of the key ceremonies in the Pope's forthcoming visit to Britain, has been dramatically scaled down, disappointing thousands of pilgrims.

The Catholic Church has moved the event from Coventry Airport, where 150,000 people were expected to attend, to Crofton Park in Birmingham – a much smaller venue, close to Newman's burial site at Rednal Cemetery, which will struggle to accommodate many more than 70,000 pilgrims safely.

The announcement is a blow to Coventry Council, which had been in year-long talks with the Church to hold the ceremony, scheduled for 19 September, at the airport. The move is part of a general scaling back of key set pieces of the Pope's visit prompted by concerns about rising costs; the visit is being partly funded by the Church.

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