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"Can pilgrimage be evangelistic?" - Church Times article

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
An article on the Church Times website today which I found interesting. Focussing on the work of the British Pilgrimage Trust - an organisation which promotes pilgrimage in the UK in a very broad and eclectic sense including pre-Christian sites and a wide range of ritual practices into their journeys. One of their mantras is "Bring your own beliefs". The main question the writer asks is whether this is merely a pale dilution of the concept of pilgrimage - part of the modern spirituality movement's "religion of the self" - or a useful tool for reintroducing a generation with little exposure to formal religious practice to Christian culture. The author tends towards the second view: "Ironically, unfamiliarity with Christianity has created a new and receptive audience for pilgrimage: one with few religious preconceptions or prejudices, and characterised by openness to new, immersive experiences."

I think the same question could equally be applied to the Caminos which over the last thirty years have gone from being an almost exclusively Catholic practice to a much more diverse and less readily classified experience. My own first Camino was bookended by religious inquisitions: in SJPDP I was refused a credencial partly because I did not carry a letter of introduction from a Catholic priest to confirm my bona fide pilgrim status, and before receiving my Compostela in Santiago I spent 20 minutes in earnest theological conversation with a cathedral priest who was intrigued to discover what meaning pilgrimage might have for a Protestant like myself - a very rare breed at that time. I do not think that it is coincidence that the best-selling English language guidebooks for the Caminos were written by someone whose own spiritual and mystical views were formed in the same type of eclectic traditions which underpin much of the BPT's approach.

 
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The Caminos, once predominately Catholic pilgrimages in Europe, have evolved to include anyone who has been made aware and become interested through internet exposure in one way or another.
 
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Interesting - Christianity, since the reformation has tried new ways of spreading their message.
I do have grave doubts re their pilgrimages though they do seem to be fun, as it seems clear that they are just inventing rituals and rites that have nothing to do with any historical reality .. a result of the 'choose what you like, discard what you don't' modern pick and mix society? also - what I read seemed all to do with the 'I' whereas religion is always to do with the surrender of the 'I' to something greater.

Re "evangelist" - I have never met a Christian from an evangelist church on Camino, not one. The reason I know is that evangelism is 'spreading the Good News' so in all conversations that would come up - the same as talking with Vegans (who tend to be evangelist as well) .. impossible to get past three sentences without them telling you that they are vegan and then why.

I have often wondered why I haven't met any out there so is this a new thing amongst reformist and 'religion curious' people?
 
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I have met several evangelicals on the Camino, an Assemblies of God musician from Australia who was fascinated by his first in-depth encounter with the mainstream of western Christianity, students from Wheaton College, a non-denominational clergy couple frustrated by the lack of "believers' churches" on the Camino, among others. I have also met Mormons on the Camino, an academic couple, and some young Mormons perplexed and perhaps frustrated by the overall atmosphere. Perhaps @David has just been fortunate/unfortunate in those whom he has encountered. While the Wheaton students were not pushing anything-- they turned out to be interesting and genuinely receptive to the different perspectives t hey were seeing-- the others mentioned were like the vegans @David mentions, not shy in letting me know their colours. I've noticed a presentation on the Camino in recent years in an evangelical church in the Ottawa area, but only afterward, so I didn't get a chance to listen in on it.

One phenomenon I encountered was among university-educated people who were curious about the masses in village churches as, aside from television evangelists and a clip about the Pope at Xmas, they had no experience whatsoever of liturgical services. I found myself giving two young university lecturers a quick course on what was happening.

Lots of room here for a thesis or two!
 
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Re "evangelist" - I have never met a Christian from an evangelist church on Camino, not one
@David I think you are interpreting "evangelistic" in a far narrower and more specific sense than the author of the article intended. I feel that she has something much "softer" and more nebulous in mind.
 
(Bradypus posted while I was still typing this comment)

Perhaps it would help if someone (@Bradypus?) can explain what is meant in an article in the Church Times that asks in the headline whether pilgrimage can be evangelistic and where the author wonders whether the BPT (and the Camino) can re-educate a largely religiously illiterate public and perhaps even evangelise it.

I am not too familiar with all this but I understand it to mean to demonstrate, to live, to preach/to inform about and spread knowledge of the lessons of the Gospel as it is understood by mainstream Catholic and other Christian Churches but in a rather subtle way or perhaps "inclusive" way to which believers of all faiths and none are open and even receptive - as these lessons are understood by the Christian mainstream and not by the fringes.

The New Evangelisation is a concept of the current Catholic Church. Google "Nueva Evangelización" and "Camino de Santiago" and there is plenty of further information including from the Oficina del Peregrino website.
 
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Ah David, it may depend on your definition of 'evangelical'! We have met (at the Exeter 'Camigos' although not on the Camino) and I have had a number of 'interesting conversations' on Camino. Maybe the most telling phrase in the Church Times article is the ultimate one and I think most 'evangelical' Christians would be delighted if it were so! " . . . introducing, and perhaps even promoting, Christian culture to a spiritually hungry post-secular generation."
Blessings
Terry B
 
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Perhaps it would help if someone (@Bradypus?) can explain what is meant in an article in the Church Times that asks in the headline whether pilgrimage can be evangelistic
I think the key phrase in the article is "reintroducing secularised generations to Christian culture." Not an attempt to strongarm someone into accepting specific beliefs but giving them an opportunity to experience aspects of religious history and practice which they may not otherwise have encountered. Which may or may not lead them to look further and deeper into religious faith.

At one point in my past I trained and qualified as a teacher of religious studies for secondary age students. A mandatory subject in state schools here but frequently and illegally ignored. Along the way I was astounded at how much what I had assumed was "common knowledge" is no such thing these days. The UK is by far a more non-religious society than the US or some of our neighbours. Church attendance in most denominations has plummeted.

For context perhaps I should add that the Church Times is an Anglican newspaper which is aimed at the centre and Catholic wings of the church. Traditionally liberal in its theology. The more radical Evangelical wings of the church have their own newspapers and magazines. Think more The Guardian rather than the Daily Mail... :cool:
 
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Interesting - Christianity, since the reformation has tried new ways of spreading their message.
I do have grave doubts re their pilgrimages though they do seem to be fun, as it seems clear that they are just inventing rituals and rites that have nothing to do with any historical reality .. a result of the 'choose what you like, discard what you don't' modern pick and mix society? also - what I read seemed all to do with the 'I' whereas religion is always to do with the surrender of the 'I' to something greater.

Re "evangelist" - I have never met a Christian from an evangelist church on Camino, not one. The reason I know is that evangelism is 'spreading the Good News' so in all conversations that would come up - the same as talking with Vegans (who tend to be evangelist as well) .. impossible to get past three sentences without them telling you that they are vegan and then why.

I have often wondered why I haven't met any out there so is this a new thing amongst reformist and 'religion curious' people?
I have met a couple of people over the years that engaged me and had a degree of evangelical fervor. Each time I told them to leave me alone and I don’t want to hear it. I have my beliefs and you have yours. I couldn’t care less what your beliefs are. That is your business and not mine. Leave me and my beliefs alone. I also had a jerk that hassled me because I made a comment that was met with laughter and fun by everyone else that pizza in New York (my hometown) has the best pizza in the world. He said the pizza in New York is bad and what do New Yorkers know about Plizza. I told him that I could take him to 10 places in the Bronx that were made by families who have been making pizza since their family arrived from Italy. I asked him where he was from that could challenge what I said and the traditions of making pizza in his hometown. He was from some small town somewhere in northern Ontario. I told him I would text him the number of the closest Dominos or Telepizza. Absolutely the two worst pizzas I have ever tasted. Then I left the table. He then made another comment about me and New Yorkers. A place he had never been. I told him one should never speak from a position of ignorance and he really taught me the spirit of pilgrimage. The moral of the story. Respect other people’s beliefs and leave us all alone in our beliefs as long as we don’t try to impose them on others. And get a damn sense of humor.
 
the key phrase in the article is "reintroducing secularised generations to Christian culture."
I agree.

To advance [British] pilgrimage as a form of cultural heritage, turning the Christian tradition of barefoot walking from a penitential exercise into a pleasurable sensory experience, Christian heritage not as religious heritage but as a wider heritage of "what made us" in this part of the world, and the line that you quoted - these were the passages that I found the most thought provoking and worth commenting on before I got sidetracked by comments in the thread ... ;)
 
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Interesting - Christianity, since the reformation has tried new ways of spreading their message.
I do have grave doubts re their pilgrimages though they do seem to be fun, as it seems clear that they are just inventing rituals and rites that have nothing to do with any historical reality .. a result of the 'choose what you like, discard what you don't' modern pick and mix society? also - what I read seemed all to do with the 'I' whereas religion is always to do with the surrender of the 'I' to something greater.

Re "evangelist" - I have never met a Christian from an evangelist church on Camino, not one. The reason I know is that evangelism is 'spreading the Good News' so in all conversations that would come up - the same as talking with Vegans (who tend to be evangelist as well) .. impossible to get past three sentences without them telling you that they are vegan and then why.

I have often wondered why I haven't met any out there so is this a new thing amongst reformist and 'religion curious' people?
On our recent camino, starting Le Puy in Velay, on a brutally hot, long, uphill day, as slow but steady walkers, we kept being passed up by three evangelicals singing their hearts out. I must admit while the rest of us were gassed, they somehow were bouncing along. And when we reached a long awaited fountain, they made way so we could douse ourselves, drink deeply and fill our bottles. Lots of great people on the camino and I count them in this category.
 
I have met a couple of people over the years that engaged me and had a degree of evangelical fervor. Each time I told them to leave me alone and I don’t want to hear it. I have my beliefs and you have yours. I couldn’t care less what your beliefs are. That is your business and not mine. Leave me and my beliefs alone. I also had a jerk that hassled me because I made a comment that was met with laughter and fun by everyone else that pizza in New York (my hometown) has the best pizza in the world. He said the pizza in New York is bad and what do New Yorkers know about Plizza. I told him that I could take him to 10 places in the Bronx that were made by families who have been making pizza since their family arrived from Italy. I asked him where he was from that could challenge what I said and the traditions of making pizza in his hometown. He was from some small town somewhere in northern Ontario. I told him I would text him the number of the closest Dominos or Telepizza. Absolutely the two worst pizzas I have ever tasted. Then I left the table. He then made another comment about me and New Yorkers. A place he had never been. I told him one should never speak from a position of ignorance and he really taught me the spirit of pilgrimage. The moral of the story. Respect other people’s beliefs and leave us all alone in our beliefs as long as we don’t try to impose them on others. And get a damn sense of humor.
I’m sorry for your encounter with one of the rarely seen or heard rude Canadian. We Newfoundlander’s are often on the receiving end of such ignorance.

My experience of meeting evangelicals on the CP was a little disturbing. I mean, you help someone with their blisters and the next day they give you pamphlet and ask you to scan their QR code.

The experience of repeated attempts to engage left me very concerned for the predatory stalking of more vulnerable people on the Camino.

Then there was the guy who was surprised that the Camino was so secular, and that he’d not met more people like himself - a single white male in senior management at a large utility, who felt that people like him were being marginalized by “The Elites” who control the world.

When he said that he'd "followed the rules", I asked what rules? He'd started in SJPdP, cycled from Pamplona to ... (Sarria I think) and was walking the last 100km to get his certificate. :rolleyes:

I didn’t mind the rant about the Catholic church, or that global warming, and so many other things are “Fake” - made up by who know who. He said "It's all on the internet. Just look it up."

I didn’t even mind the rant that vapor trails were a plot by elites to control us, but I pulled up lame when he said that The Beatles were a Fake band. Is there nothing sacred!? 😆

All part of the wonderful experience that is the Camino. :)
 
the key phrase in the article is "reintroducing secularised generations to Christian culture
And do the Caminos de Santiago or at least the first one among them, the Camino Francés, have this effect on the “spiritual but not religious” ones and a “largely religiously illiterate public“ with all its centuries-old cathedrals and churches, with portals and sculptures that tell core Christian teachings and stories, its many pilgrim masses and pilgrim blessings open to all, its attempts at copying the Christian hospitality of the Middle Ages, its glorious and final pilgrim mass in the Cathedral of Santiago, its award in the form of a document in Church Latin decorated with a colourful pattern from a book that is about 880 years old and full of Christian sermons, liturgy and related narratives?

I have my doubts.

And here we are discussing missionary evangelicals (btw I’d be curious to know from where they came to the Camino - were they Spanish?) because of a headline that catches our attention and a small phrase (“perhaps even evangelise” - merely a “perhaps even”!) that appears to me to be more an afterthought than the main theme.

:cool:
 
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I agree.

To advance [British] pilgrimage as a form of cultural heritage, turning the Christian tradition of barefoot walking from a penitential exercise into a pleasurable sensory experience, Christian heritage not as religious heritage but as a wider heritage of "what made us" in this part of the world, and the line that you quoted - these were the passages that I found the most thought provoking and worth commenting on before I got sidetracked by comments in the thread ... ;)
I think the British Pilgrimage Trust offers a great service. I too agree with the key phrase.
30 years ago the mother of a fifteen year old in Zaragoza asked my friend to give some guidelines for 'reading' Spanish history and culture via religious art and heritage. She wanted the girl to be able to interpret her culture through that. As the mother had no religious experience at all, she felt inadequate to guide her daughter by herself. Art and music both, they hold the keys to who we are...(opinion, not gospel 😇)
As I write this, I recall a woman who used art to be evangelistic, I think. I have never watched her documentaries, but today I might change that!
Sister Wendy.
The experience, the mood, of the various centuries is indeed our teacher in understanding culture. I am fairly unlettered in this kind of learning. It is never too late, is it?
 
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the British Pilgrimage Trust
Whilst their work on many of the shorter and more local pilgrimage routes is a positive contribution, sadly they seem to go out of their way to avoid descriptions of the longer British routes to the major Shrines, including those from the various parts of Britain towards Canterbury, Rome, or Compostela.

And the four types of pilgrim they describe on their front page do not include the traditional religious & Christian pilgrim, which seems quite bizarre.

So, somewhat the opposite problem to what you encountered with Mme Debril in SJPP !!

I think Gavin Ashenden has put his finger on some reasons underlying these opposite viewpoints.

 
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I think Gavin Ashenden has put his finger on some reasons underlying these opposite viewpoints.
I think that like almost any discussion on religious matters the reality is a great deal more nuanced and messy than the stark broad-brushed contrasts which Ashenden makes. Especially with regard to the Church of England and Anglicanism which is very far from being monolithic and homogeneous in its thinking on any subject under the sun! I'd also question his notion that Protestant Anglicanism was born out of the Enlightenment. Most understandings of "the Enlightenment" would date its beginnings about 150 years after that unfortunate difference of opinion between Henry and Rome which most people would consider the birth of Anglicanism.
 
I had not known about "Silent Discos in Incredible Places" but I do know about this commercial enterprise in the UK now. I can see that this is of relevance for the UK and I can even see that this is perhaps related to the goals of the secular British Pilgrimage Trust with its activity radius in the UK but I have not yet managed to see the connection to the Camino de Santiago and how or whether it can bring a post-secular society closer to its Christian heritage or reaquaint its "spiritual but not religious" members with it.

For all I know the Reformation bypassed Spain, and Gothic Spanish cathedrals and other churches are not owned by non-Catholic Christian parishes and archbishoprics? Or even, as in the Netherlands and perhaps elsewhere, have become totally secular commercial / privately owned buildings that are now devoid of their original purpose?

On the contrary, the Cathedral of Santiago appears to be keen to keep secular commercial activities and events with no relation to religion out of their space anyway if we are to believe for example Emilio Estevez, and I guess that the other big cathedrals along the CF like Leon, Burgos, Pamplona and others have similar policies?
 
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I think that like almost any discussion on religious matters the reality is a great deal more nuanced and messy than the stark broad-brushed contrasts which Ashenden makes. Especially with regard to the Church of England and Anglicanism which is very far from being monolithic and homogeneous in its thinking on any subject under the sun! I'd also question his notion that Protestant Anglicanism was born out of the Enlightenment. Most understandings of "the Enlightenment" would date its beginnings about 150 years after that unfortunate difference of opinion between Henry and Rome which most people would cons

Ah, this is a common error. The Anglican church (the Church of England) is not a Protestant church, it is a Catholic church - it did not come out of the Protestant new religious reality, it came at the same time but for mainly non-doctrinal/theological reasons.
The Anglican church is a reformed Catholic church with the same ecclesiastical structures, rites, practises. It is a 'slimmed down' version with a different head, so separate from Rome authority. Henry was Catholic and remained so.

But you are right in that it is not monolithic. The Catholic church, the Universal church, is ruled from Rome whereas the Anglican church has more in common with a franchise system, each national church throughout the world can be very different indeed to the Anglican church in England and unlike with the Pope in Rome the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot tell other Anglican communities abroad what to do or to believe.

The Reformation and the Enlightenment are not the same thing. The enlightenment was non religious, a cultural societal change that came after the freedom of religious thought brought about by the Reformation. The Reformation started really with Martin Luther, though he didn't appear out of a vacuum. It gained ground when the Bible was translated into English and other languages as it meant that Christians could see that a vast amount of Catholic teachings weren't in the scriptures but had been invented later - so the 'protest' that became the Protestant movement.
With Anglicism none of this happened - we know why Henry separated from Rome but he kept the church as a Catholic church, just dropped a few of the suspect items such as indulgences and so on.

Rome recognises that the Anglican Church of England is Catholic as any vicar may 'move across' to the Catholic church. In fact, when female clerics were allowed a number of CofE vicars did leave and move across to the mainstream Roman Catholic church - with their wives and children, so Rome does actually have some priests who are not celibate.

I attend my high Anglican church in Bath and it is almost indistinguishable from a Roman Catholic church, incense included - I am at home there. As an Englishman my Catholic church is my Church of England Anglican church, as it too is Catholic.
 
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Rome recognises that the Anglican Church of England is Catholic as any priest may 'move across' to the Catholic church. In fact, when female clerics were allowed a number of CofE vicars did leave and move across to the mainstream Roman Catholic church - with their wives and children, so Rome does actually have some priests who are not celibate.
I think we are wandering off topic but a little clarification here might help. Those Anglican priests who were received into the Catholic church were then required to be ordained by a Catholic bishop before serving as priests. Their Anglican orders were not recognised as valid. A former teacher of mine is amongst their number. John had become an Anglican bishop but was still required to be ordained before serving as a Catholic priest. As he is still married he could not become a Catholic bishop but was quite recently granted the title of Monsignor. The issue of clerical celibacy within the Catholic church is another one where the situation in practice is far less clear-cut than popular understanding would suggest. It is the default position of the Latin rite church - which is what most people immediately think of when the term "Catholic" is used. There may be individual dispensations on a case-by-case basis which allow married men to be ordained. That is rare but possible. But there are also a number of smaller Catholic churches in full communion with Rome which follow other rites and practices which include the routine ordination of married men as priests - essentially the same practice as the Eastern Orthodox churches.
 
And trying to return to Pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago: Remind us, please, when pilgrimage became unfashionable or unpopular in England or was even forbidden.

One remarkable aspect of today's pilgrimage revival is the fact that non-Catholic Christian churches, at least in parts of Europe other than Spain, are embracing this new movement, too.

In fact, while pilgrimage to Santiago was a Catholic endeavour say from the 19th century onwards, can one say the same about the medieval pilgrimage mass movement? Everybody was Christian without the distinctions we know today. My own ancestors were presumably too poor to be able to afford a very long-distance pilgrimage but I have little doubt that some of them went to pilgrimage sites that kept relics or to places where they believed that miracles had happened.

History and feudal structures caused my whole village to be made Protestants one day, including my ancestors, and to this day the village is still predominantly Protestant. Pilgrimage was no longer done by them and relics lost their importance for them. But does this mean that the medieval pilgrimage, both spiritual and what is left as material testimony in the form of architecture, excludes this from being part of my very own cultural-religious-spiritual heritage?
 
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I think we are wandering off topic but a little clarification here might help. Those Anglican priests who were received into the Catholic church were then required to be ordained by a Catholic bishop before serving as priests. Their Anglican orders were not recognised as valid. A former teacher of mine is amongst their number. John had become an Anglican bishop but was still required to be ordained before serving as a Catholic priest. As he is still married he could not become a Catholic bishop but was quite recently granted the title of Monsignor. The issue of clerical celibacy within the Catholic church is another one where the situation in practice is far less clear-cut than popular understanding would suggest. It is the default position of the Latin rite church - which is what most people immediately think of when the term "Catholic" is used. There may be individual dispensations on a case-by-case basis which allow married men to be ordained. That is rare but possible. But there are also a number of smaller Catholic churches in full communion with Rome which follow other rites and practices which include the routine ordination of married men as priests - essentially the same practice as the Eastern Orthodox churches.

Of course they had to be ordained within the Roman church - how else could it be?
 
I'd also question his notion that Protestant Anglicanism was born out of the Enlightenment. Most understandings of "the Enlightenment" would date its beginnings about 150 years after that unfortunate difference of opinion between Henry and Rome which most people would consider the birth of Anglicanism.
He is a former Anglican Bishop, and he's talking about Anglicanism today in its differences with Catholicism, not about the Reformation -- but I think that misses the point he was making about a utilitarian understanding of church structures versus a spiritual vision of them ; which I think is pertinent to how different people may view pilgrimage and its purposes in starkly different ways.
 
And trying to return to Pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago: Remind us, please, when pilgrimage became unfashionable or unpopular in England or was even forbidden.
1538 apparently. "when Henry VIII banned pilgrimage in a 1538 injunction by Thomas Cromwell commanding his subjects “not to repose their trust and affiance in any other works devised by men’s phantasies besides Scripture; as in wandering to pilgrimages, offering of money, candles, or tapers to images or relics, or kissing or licking the same.” About the same time as the order was given to completely destroy and remove the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury.
 
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And trying to return to Pilgrimage and the Camino de Santiago: Remind us, please, when pilgrimage became unfashionable or unpopular in England or was even forbidden.

One remarkable aspect of today's pilgrimage revival is the fact that non-Catholic Christian churches, at least in parts of Europe other than Spain, are embracing this new movement, too.

In fact, while pilgrimage to Santiago was a Catholic endeavour say from the 19th century onwards, can one say the same about the medieval pilgrimage mass movement? Everybody was Christian without the distinctions we know today. My own ancestors were presumably too poor to be able to afford a very long-distance pilgrimage but I have little doubt that some of them went to pilgrimage sites that kept relics or to places where they believed that miracles had happened.

History and feudal structures caused my whole village to be made Protestants one day, including my ancestors, and to this day the village is still predominantly Protestant. Pilgrimage was no longer done by them and relics lost their importance for them. But does this mean that the medieval pilgrimage, both spiritual and what is left as material testimony in the form of architecture, excludes this from being part of my very own cultural-religious-spiritual heritage?
But does this mean that the medieval pilgrimage, both spiritual and what is left as material testimony in the form of architecture, excludes this from being part of my very own cultural-religious-spiritual heritage?

In my opinion, humble or not! it does not exclude.
What has been is part of what is. And, what will be..
Or am I misinterpreting smarter people than myself?
Now do not ask me to justify, because I can't, but just let me say it makes sense and I totally count on the building blocks of time and being in the realm of existence that we know, that we can touch and feel.
 
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I might now do the same one of these days. ☺️

I looked up the entry on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendy_Beckett. Her TV series is not available on the BBC iPlayer but there are videos on YouTube.
I watched Sister Wendy's videos. She is not only adorable but so fascinating in her descriptions.

I lived in Rome for five years and when I learned that there were more than 900 churches and chapels in this city that is truly a village to those who live there (unlike the tourist experience which I always warned visitors is "work"), I decided to visit as many as I could as a way to learn the history, art, architecture, archeology, music and sculpture . This led me to also become acquainted with just about every square inch of Rome as I made it to 572 churches. I keep bugging myself to do a website to provide a guide for those who wish to learn more about Rome via visiting churches.
 
Wow, I would never have guessed that in 900 years! @jungleboy and @Wendy Werneth have a big task ahead of them!😳...😉😂
It took a lot of effort to even find some of the churches and chapels and it could be an adventure to find a way to get inside. But I was not to be deterred!

One thing I learned that I pass on to others who would like to enjoy churches in Rome seldom visited: Every Lent, which is in full swing right now, there is a 400 year old practice called The Station Churches of Lent. There is a schedule of churches to visit each day during the 40 days of Lent.

Each morning, seminarians at the North American Pontifical College walk down from their perch in Vatican City to a different church for mass at 7am. It's always attended by other visiting priests, so one can see as many as 50 around the altar with the seminarians in the pews upfront. Anyone can attend, and most of the "original" churches, which began as homes where Peter and others preached, are on the list. The mass is short with always a brief, unforgettable homily by one of their best professors at the college or a visiting priest or bishop.

We loved going to these masses before I went to work. And this gave me time to look closely at some churches otherwise not open, take photos and make notes.

The Italians have their Station Church masses at 5pm.

If I do go back to Rome to complete work on a website, it will be during Lent. This is also a time of few visitors, making it more pleasant time to come as a visitor and tourist.
 
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I’m sorry for your encounter with one of the rarely seen or heard rude Canadian. We Newfoundlander’s are often on the receiving end of such ignorance.

My experience of meeting evangelicals on the CP was a little disturbing. I mean, you help someone with their blisters and the next day they give you pamphlet and ask you to scan their QR code.

The experience of repeated attempts to engage left me very concerned for the predatory stalking of more vulnerable people on the Camino.

Then there was the guy who was surprised that the Camino was so secular, and that he’d not met more people like himself - a single white male in senior management at a large utility, who felt that people like him were being marginalized by “The Elites” who control the world.

When he said that he'd "followed the rules", I asked what rules? He'd started in SJPdP, cycled from Pamplona to ... (Sarria I think) and was walking the last 100km to get his certificate. :rolleyes:

I didn’t mind the rant about the Catholic church, or that global warming, and so many other things are “Fake” - made up by who know who. He said "It's all on the internet. Just look it up."

I didn’t even mind the rant that vapor trails were a plot by elites to control us, but I pulled up lame when he said that The Beatles were a Fake band. Is there nothing sacred!? 😆

All part of the wonderful experience that is the Camino. :)
You have far more tolerance than I do so bless you for that. I probably would have mumbled "you are a moron, and please remember I do not exist to you" as I walked away. Sometimes the Bronx in me just jumps out before I can check myself :). Also the experience with the Canadian is definitely nothing to apologize about. He could have been from anywhere. I always tell my Canadian friends that they are way too nice!!!! Haha.
 
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Interesting - Christianity, since the reformation has tried new ways of spreading their message.
I do have grave doubts re their pilgrimages though they do seem to be fun, as it seems clear that they are just inventing rituals and rites that have nothing to do with any historical reality .. a result of the 'choose what you like, discard what you don't' modern pick and mix society? also - what I read seemed all to do with the 'I' whereas religion is always to do with the surrender of the 'I' to something greater.

Re "evangelist" - I have never met a Christian from an evangelist church on Camino, not one. The reason I know is that evangelism is 'spreading the Good News' so in all conversations that would come up - the same as talking with Vegans (who tend to be evangelist as well) .. impossible to get past three sentences without them telling you that they are vegan and then why.

I have often wondered why I haven't met any out there so is this a new thing amongst reformist and 'religion curious' people?
religious posts on here but your answer cried out to me. Lol. I am a pastor (retired) in a very conservative evangelical church. We have not met so your answer is still true - but I wanted you to know we are there. I have walked 6 Caminos (2 Frances, 2 Primitivo 1 Portugués Coastal and 1 Portuguese Central (in reverse). For me, they are very much prayer walks - and anyone I walk with for very long comes to know that. I tell people “I don’t pray with words, I pray with my steps. Every step is a prayer … and TODAY some of those steps will be for you”.

But that’s as “evangelistic” as I get.

I have encouraged many of my evangelistic friends to do a Camino - NOT as a tool for evanglism - but as a means of seeking. Several of them have done so.

So - we are there - and we can often get past three sentences without broadcasting

In fact, I think it safe for me to say that personally, among my evangelical friends I am an evangelist of the Camino. Which is just the opposite of being an evangelist to my Camino friends.
 
I think the British Pilgrimage Trust offers a great service. I too agree with the key phrase.
30 years ago the mother of a fifteen year old in Zaragoza asked my friend to give some guidelines for 'reading' Spanish history and culture via religious art and heritage. She wanted the girl to be able to interpret her culture through that. As the mother had no religious experience at all, she felt inadequate to guide her daughter by herself. Art and music both, they hold the keys to who we are...(opinion, not gospel 😇)
As I write this, I recall a woman who used art to be evangelistic, I think. I have never watched her documentaries, but today I might change that!
Sister Wendy.
The experience, the mood, of the various centuries is indeed our teacher in understanding culture. I am fairly unlettered in this kind of learning. It is never too late, is it?

Sister Wendy Beckett. She knew a thing or two about art and could tell an engaging story. She inspired me to have an interest.

(Spoiler alert. The answer to every second art question on University Challenge is ‘Caravaggio’. If you’re not sure try Artemesia Gentileschi)
 
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It is sad how narrow peoples' views are. To paraphrase St. Francis, Evangelism takes many many forms. Some of them are even spoken.
The Camino is packed with generosity, transformation, breakthroughs, and epiphanies of all kinds. These all qualify as "works of the holy spirit," expressions of the Good News of God's love for all of us. That's what evangelism is made of... not shoving pamphlets and doctrines onto others, or even leaving churches open for random visitors. The spirit that inhabits the Camino is a lot bigger than any of our little constructs. It's there, it's free to all, you can take as much of as little as you like, or none at all.
 
@Bradypus, I should probably put this somewhere else but it was mentioning this article about the British Pilgrimage Trust and watching a current thread that made me go back to the BPT website which I had known of since its inception. I think their attempts at defining Pilgrimage Basics and their Four kinds of pilgrims (though more three kinds than four kinds I think) and their Nature of Pilgrimage - the latter two both on the introductory page - is much closer to contemporary concepts and contemporary practice than the definitions that one finds in a dictionary or a Wikipedia article.
 
I think their attempts at defining Pilgrimage Basics and their Four kinds of pilgrims (though more three kinds than four kinds I think) and their Nature of Pilgrimage - the latter two both on the introductory page - is much closer to contemporary concepts and contemporary practice than the definitions that one finds in a dictionary or a Wikipedia article.
I think that a lot of the disagreements which crop up here on the forum and elsewhere in the online Camino world are related to an ever-expanding range of definitions of pilgrimage. With proponents of one definition often rejecting those used by others. Within the last 24 hours for example there has been some argument about whether walking between two fairly arbitrary points which happen to be along a recognised Camino route should be considered a pilgrimage and therefore allow the use of pilgrim albergues. Personally I lean towards a more conservative and traditional view which involves definite intentions and a destination with clear symbolic value. A view which would embrace much of what the BPT promotes. However unlike some on the forum I do not equate pilgrimage exclusively with walking and I think it is really a much wider concept. Pilgrimage may be increasingly difficult to define in short simple terms but simply giving in to total relativism and accepting without question every other person's definition as self-evidently legitimate feels like a cop-out.
 
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I think that a lot of the disagreements which crop up here on the forum and elsewhere in the online Camino world are related to an ever-expanding range of definitions of pilgrimage.
I have no problem whatsoever personally with a proper range of definitions, and indeed lexicographically it would be erroneous to exclude these or those definitions.

What annoys me with the BPT definitions is that they do exactly that -- provide a narrow range of definitions whilst, in a seemingly deliberate manner, excluding the normal and traditional definitions in favour of their own revisionist ideas.
 
Thank you for posting the article. I was unfamiliar with the British Pilgrimage Trust, and I am grateful to have learned of it. In reading some of the posts my mind turned to Epictetus' statement, "The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile." The essence of his thoughts was that wisdom beings with recognizing our own ignorance and limitations. Accepting what we don't know is a sign of true wisdom.
Though I personally reject the concept of truth being relative, I am firm that my search for truth is personal. I relish discussion and conversation with others of all faiths because I have yet to meet someone that could not teach me something. Their different definitions for concepts known to me are easily discovered, which at times, I must agree, can be frustrating. Far too many have lost a grasp of Western Civilization's cultural heritage.
 
Sister Wendy Beckett. She knew a thing or two about art and could tell an engaging story. She inspired me to have an interest.

(Spoiler alert. The answer to every second art question on University Challenge is ‘Caravaggio’. If you’re not sure try Artemesia Gentileschi)
And beyond Sister Wendy: I have just revisited the National Gallery website here in Ireland. The options for in person and online learning are both informative and free!
If (and perhaps the answer is yes for you, reader) you think that art can expand your understanding of the pilgrimage experience in your own life, check out your own Art Gallery and see what it might add to your preparation for understanding your experience while walking to Santiago.
I am personally happy to have rediscovered a wonderful resource. 😇
 
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I'm listening to an unrelated video on a topic that would outrageously violate forum rules if discussed here -- but it occurs to me from it that "evangelical" etc. in the Church Times article actually means somewhat the opposite of what it would mean in an American context, in that the British and particularly English evangelicals are the conservatives whereas US evangelicals do tend to be either more liberal or more moderate.

As to how this is relevant to the Camino and pilgrimage generally in relation to this article, my point is that Church Times seems to be suggesting that BPT in its writing is proposing a progressive notion of pilgrimage but in the practice of the actual walking trails and their relationship with certain churches, cathedrals, and whatnot is de facto promoting something that in practice is far more traditional, perhaps because the wishes and purposes of those walking along these paths are somewhat at odds with the views of the BPT ?

So that possibly the Church Times article isn't really about religion per se, but about conflicting understandings about pilgrimage itself, and pilgrims with traditional views of it actually subverting what BPT seeks to promote ?
 
At one point in my past I trained and qualified as a teacher of religious studies for secondary age students. .... Along the way I was astounded at how much what I had assumed was "common knowledge" is no such thing these days.
This reminds me of a visiting American academic's description of a lecture he had given on religious iconography. Mindful that many of his students might have limited knowledge of Christian tradition, he identified the two figures on the crosses on either side of the crucified Christ. He was, however, gobsmacked by the supplementary question: 'And who's the guy in the middle?' I have to remind myself that current students are doubtless gobsmacked by my ignorance of what they assume to be common knowledge.
 
Along the way I was astounded at how much what I had assumed was "common knowledge" is no such thing these days.
I have to remind myself that current students are doubtless gobsmacked by my ignorance of what they assume to be common knowledge.
😊.

One of the lasting delights of my long walk to Santiago is the fact that I got more interested in medieval iconography thanks to the Romanesque sculpture along the way. I remember exactly when it happened: in Aulnay in the Saintogne area. Words like psychopomp (an important function of Saint James for the medieval man and woman) and tetramorph (the four evangelists in a specific visual arrangement) now roll off my lips without effort.

So I definitely got more acquainted with our common religious-cultural heritage due to walking the Camino de Santiago. I don't know how common this effect is. On a section that I walked with my daughter we fell in with a group of mostly younger caminantes. One of them, a young student from a European country, asked me who this Saint James actually is. I was astonished but found the question quite endearing. At least he was interested. I suppose that these days Saint James no longer occupies the high rank in popular faith that he once had?
 
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On a section that I walked with my daughter we fell in with a group of mostly younger caminantes. One of them, a young student from a European country, asked me who this Saint James actually is. I was astonished but found the question quite endearing. At least he was interested. I suppose that these days Saint James no longer occupies the high rank in popular faith that he once had?
I am sure that St James is less well known now than perhaps 50 or 100 years ago for most Europeans. Many now have very little contact with churches in their upbringing or with formal religious studies in their education. Even so one might reasonably hope that someone actually walking a Camino would have asked the question in advance. But that is an unsafe assumption to make.
 

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