I have just read the piece by Andrew Mead headlined 'Stations of the Cross' (AJ 3.8.00).
I find the use of this headline offensive. In case you do not know or have overlooked the significance of this, for Christians in particular it represents the extreme suffering of the Son ofGod on our behalf for our sins. It involved flogging with whips with metal (lead) dumbells attached till the soldiers had to stop in case Jesus died before crucifixion.
It represents the insults of the soldiers and the pressing of a crown of thorns onto his head, the beating with rods, the carrying of the cross through the crowd to Golgatha, stripping him of his garments and nailing him to the wood through his wrists and feet.
Perhaps you now see why this term should not be used lightly and out of context.
Ralph Pattisson, Newcastle upon Tyne