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Cathedral manners

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Scary

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk from Leon to Camino de Santiago in 2017 with a friend.
#1
Hi , reaching Santiago, especially for the first time is exciting and awe inspiring, sometimes words cannot explain the feeling that one reaches when seeing the Cathedral at the end. However.
I Would just like to politely ask all pilgrims who intend to attend a mass or ceremony at Santiago de compostella either at 12.00 noon or 7.30pm to please please remember your manners and be respectful, it doesnt matter if you are religious or not, any cathedral is a place to be respected.
When my friend and i had taken our seats and the ceremony/service was well underway, i was very disapointed and ashamed of fellow pilgrims who continued to spill in the cathedral loudly and rudely walk around talking despite the hymns playing, wouldnt mind if they would quietly take a seat but many many continue to walk around taking photos ( despite being asked not to during service) and chatting with no consideration or respect for the service, this really really bugged me and im not religious at all.
Please please if you want to just wander around then cant you do it when a mass is not on? Cant you come on time before it starts? I dont really think there is an excuse, with a bit of correct planning and time keeping.
Thanks.
 

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Anemone del Camino

Guest
#2
Alas that ship has sailed as we have discovered in the many threads on the topic here on the Forum. And frankly, considering walkers are only a fraction of people visiting Santiago, until the security guards aren't more ... diligent ... this will not change. It is up to the Cathedral's authorities to decide how much they tolerate. We just have to endure.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#5
Hola @Scary, having been to Santiago three times now I am in complete agreement with your comments. Unfortunately it is not possible to "exclude" non-participants whilst a mass is in progress. Although in Milan I do recall that during mass the central section of the cathedral was roped off with an usher on duty to prevent those not partaking of the service from entering the central section. The cathedral "guards" do regularly remind ALL people within the cathedral to maintain a dignified silence; some people just do not understand. Hopefully prospective "pilgrims" who are not practicing Christians (Catholics?) but who wish to "see" the pilgrim mass will read your post and remember!
 

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Mike Trebert

Guest
#6
I'm not religious but went to mass twice while in Santiago purely to see the botafumeiro. First time, no botafumeiro so I went back 2 days later. Perhaps because the botafumeiro has become such a famous tourist attraction, it should be very clearly scheduled so that those who want to see it and not attend mass could leave mass attendees in peace.

I would have paid an entrance fee to a special session, no problem. If one considers that too mercenary then why is there an exit/entrance from within the cathedral straight out into the gift shop?! That made me uncomfortable, and I can get pretty cynical.

The Camino and the cathedral are both a devotional experience AND a very big business. Cathedral scheduling could be managed better to benefit all concerned IMHO.
 
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Coleen Clark

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked August 2015, planning on walking August 2017
#7
I'm not religious but went to mass twice while in Santiago purely to see the botafumeiro. First time, no botafumeiro so I went back 2 days later. Perhaps because the botafumeiro has become such a famous tourist attraction, it should be very clearly scheduled so that those who want to see it and not attend mass could leave mass attendees in peace.

I would have paid an entrance fee to a special session, no problem. If one considers that too mercenary then why is there an exit/entrance from within the cathedral straight out into the gift shop?! That made me uncomfortable, and I can get pretty cynical.

The Camino and the cathedral are both a devotional experience AND a very big business. Cathedral scheduling could be managed better to benefit all concerned IMHO.
There's a gift shop??? I missed that!!
I was blessed to see the Butifumario and enjoyed the organ and singing. I already anticipated the tourists attitude of some of the people, I accepted that, then ignored it, concentrating only on the celebration. We cannot change the attitude of others, only our reaction to it. Consider this a celebration and then go to one of the many little quiet churches in Santiago for Mass.
 
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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#9
People may wander around, but no one is admitted after mass starts anymore. The rules are announced before the mass in Spanish and English. The bulk of the congregation is Spanish. Probably any outrage needs to be posted in a Spanish language forum. I doubt any rule violators are reading THIS forum...
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
#10
Years ago, when visiting York with my daughter and son-in-law, who lived in UK at the time, we decided to attend the Sunday morning service.

We entered Minster Cathedral and were met by an usher who semi-automatically directed us away from the body of the church to join up with the hordes of tourists who were doing an established circuit. He was quite taken aback when we said we were there to participate in the service, but quickly recovered his composure and directed us to seating. It was an inspiring service, particularly at the start when the boys' choir emerged from the crypts singing beautifully. We quickly learned to ignore the peripheral hubbub.

Tourism is a fact of life, and many historic churches, as other sites, now charge entry from economic necessity. At least I have found that charges do not apply to serious worshippers at service times, even though in places (I experienced this happening in Toledo for example) there were queues of people lined up to pay for guided tours while Mass was in progress.

De colores

Bogong
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#12
Tourism is a fact of life, and many historic churches, as other sites, now charge entry from economic necessity. At least I have found that charges do not apply to serious worshipers...
Burgos, Oviedo, Leon (excellent audi guide btw in Leon!), Sevilla, and even little Tui all charge admittance for visiting. But since Santiago is a pilgrimage destination I think this would be difficult. How can you tell people "thank you for coming to visit the relics and the statue, it'll be 8€ everytime you want to come in and pray"? o_O
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago May 21 to June 3, 2014
Ponferrada to Santiago September 2015
#14
Years ago, when visiting York with my daughter and son-in-law, who lived in UK at the time, we decided to attend the Sunday morning service.

We entered Minster Cathedral and were met by an usher who semi-automatically directed us away from the body of the church to join up with the hordes of tourists who were doing an established circuit. He was quite taken aback when we said we were there to participate in the service, but quickly recovered his composure and directed us to seating. It was an inspiring service, particularly at the start when the boys' choir emerged from the crypts singing beautifully. We quickly learned to ignore the peripheral hubbub.

Tourism is a fact of life, and many historic churches, as other sites, now charge entry from economic necessity. At least I have found that charges do not apply to serious worshippers at service times, even though in places (I experienced this happening in Toledo for example) there were queues of people lined up to pay for guided tours while Mass was in progress.

De colores

Bogong
In attending Evensong at Westminster, and having arrived early to get a seat and not disturb others, a group of visiting clergy arrived late and proceeded to push and shove their way through the pews to get seats. I would have assumed they would have respected the occasion.
At Notre Dame there are two lines, one for tourists and one for Mass attendees. While Mass was on I know tourists were around but it really took nothing away from us as those touring were kept beyond the area reserved for worshippers and ushers maintained the quiet.
Tourism is a fact of life and I wouldn't have been to Westminster or Notre Dame and any number of magnificent cathedrals if not for tourism. But I agree, a little respect, decorum and diligent ushering goes a long way.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#15
Tourism is a fact of life, and many historic churches, as other sites, now charge entry from economic necessity. At least I have found that charges do not apply to serious worshippers at service times,
Another fact of life faced by cathedral authorities is the expensive maintenance of very large and very historic buildings, as well as the additional services necessitated by tourism (more staff, more Masses, more restrooms, more information pamphlets ...). Plus, remember that these are all still functioning parishes, which serve the neighborhood needy and the faithful, just as any parish church does. All this, usually without government tax funds (the particulars vary by location of course).

So I do not begrudge the "photo fee" charged in the British churches, or the "admission fee" charged in many German churches, or the "gift shop" strategically placed by the exit. And if none of those donation opportunities are available, I will buy a candle or two.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#16
...At Notre Dame there are two lines, one for tourists and one for Mass attendees...
Many tourists in Rome are not aware that the Roman temple known as the Pantheon is an active Roman Catholic church (St Mary and the Martyrs), and has been since the 7th century. At Mass times, the doors are closed and no tourists are allowed to enter until completion of the service.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#17
Burgos, Oviedo, Leon (excellent audi guide btw in Leon!), Sevilla, and even little Tui all charge admittance for visiting. But since Santiago is a pilgrimage destination I think this would be difficult. How can you tell people "thank you for coming to visit the relics and the statue, it'll be 8€ everytime you want to come in and pray"? o_O
Agree, the audio guide provided with admission to the Leon cathedral was one of the best. It provided interesting and useful context without drowning me in lists of names of bishops, benefactors, artists, etc.. I wish more of the audio guides took this approach.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#18
Another fact of life faced by cathedral authorities is the expensive maintenance of very large and very historic buildings, as well as the additional services necessitated by tourism
The collection bags in the Cathedral in Santiago get donations from about 10% of the attendees by my observation. Tourists seem to give more often than pilgrims, again by my observation. It may well be that those who protest the most about the charge for the botafumeiro may be the most parsimonious in their other donations. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015
VDLP 2016
Portuguese March 2017
Sanabres September 2017
#19
In the cathedral in Lisbon I saw a man extremely distressed because while he was praying a tourist asked him to move so that he\she could take a photograph...
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP to Pamplona 2011
Pamplona to Longrono 2012
Sarria to Santiago 2018
#20
Alas that ship has sailed as we have discovered in the many threads on the topic here on the Forum. And frankly, considering walkers are only a fraction of people visiting Santiago, until the security guards aren't more ... diligent ... this will not change. It is up to the Cathedral's authorities to decide how much they tolerate. We just have to endure.
'Tis true. Some folks just ain't got no learning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#21
In the cathedral in Lisbon I saw a man extremely distressed because while he was praying a tourist asked him to move so that he\she could take a photograph...
I had a similar experience in the church at Santa Domingo where a tourist was taking photographs as people prayed, then, even worse, in the Cathedral in Barcelona there is a side chapel set aside for prayers with a prominent sign in many languages (and symbols) saying no photographs to be taken. Despite this, and whilst I was praying, a man proceeded to walk up and down in the chapel taking photographs until I remonstrated with him and took him to the sign, at which he point he apologised but by then the sought after tranquility had been shattered so I left. The impulse to use cameras everywhere, and in any situation regardless of how that activity intrudes into religious observances is a modern menace and signals a diminishing of human consciousness with regard to others. Apologies to photographers on the forum who act with sensitivity and respect and don't take pictures of people in/and places of prayer.
 

Scary

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk from Leon to Camino de Santiago in 2017 with a friend.
#22
People may wander around, but no one is admitted after mass starts anymore. The rules are announced before the mass in Spanish and English. The bulk of the congregation is Spanish. Probably any outrage needs to be posted in a Spanish language forum. I doubt any rule violators are reading THIS forum...
While i was there people were being admitted.continuously after it had begun, this the reason for my orivional comment about people coming late.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#23
While i was there people were being admitted.continuously after it had begun, this the reason for my orivional comment about people coming late.
They are not coming in late: they are not there to worship but observe, and see the botafumeiro swing. For that they can pop in at any time. o_O
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#24
I also noticed that visits to the statue of St James behind the altar and to the crypt continued throughout the mass (or did in June 2015 when we were there). I was surprised during one of the masses we attended when something caught my eye amongst the glittering gold behind the altar (we were seated in the nave) and realised I was seeing a pair of arms come around the saint as a visitor embraced him in the traditional way. Having noticed this I then found it hard not to keep seeing the movements of people up and down there. I thought it was strange at the time, but I imagine that if the cathedral authorities were to close this off for every mass the resulting queues would be unmanageable and probably a safety risk. The same may well apply to visits to the main part of the cathedral. As others have said, it's common in large churches for tourist visits to be allowed to continue during services, usually with some attempt to maintain quiet and keep the visitors to the outer aisles. I don't know how the security guards at Santiago can do much when so many pack in to participate in the mass - when we were there hundreds were filling the side aisles shoulder-to-shoulder, all there for mass and unable to get a seat. Unless they start restricting numbers there would be no way to control who was there for mass and who was "just" visiting.

I did see people being held outside the cathedral during the mass on another day, as the doors were closed once mass had begun, but the doors were opened as soon as the botafumeiro started to swing, and people surged in. That did seem strange and potentially unsafe, as this new crowd then effectively blocked the exits as they stood to watch.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#25
That's terrible! I'd pay 5€, tops.
Did you visit either Leon or Burgos? Burgos entry fee (as a tourist) is E7 (E6 for seniors); E5 for pilgrims (produce your passport/credential). I can't remember what I paid for Leon, might have been E3-5 (including the audio guide).

As for whether the Cathedral is a place of worship or a business; well first and foremost its a place of worship and has been for 800 years. Yes it is a (small) business in that ALL the funds from the gift sh0p and those "special contributions" to swing the butafumeiro they are (as far as I have been able to determine) used to maintain the cathedral building. If you have an 800 year old building its maintenance is a major issue and very much an ongoing process. [Again as far as I can determine there is no financial support for the maintenance of the cathedral by any Spanish/Galician Government organisation, happy to be corrected here!]
If had a look at the very top of the cathedral spires and compared their current condition to the condition of the stone work near the steps, then that was what the whole facade looked like in 2013. So you can see its a major work. Hope you enjoyed both your Camino and your visit to the Cathedral! Cheers
 

fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
#26
The church' fathers should decide whether the cathedral is a place of worship or simply another commercial tourist attraction. A mix is inevitably leading to "mixed" reactions and makes us understand why Jesus overthrew traders' desks in the synagogue, the house of His father. We should realize, and be ashamed, that since 2000 years, disrespectful behaviour in church(es) can still be allowed.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#27
Did you visit either Leon or Burgos? Burgos entry fee (as a tourist) is E7 (E6 for seniors); E5 for pilgrims (produce your passport/credential). I can't remember what I paid for Leon, might have been E3-5 (including the audio guide).

As for whether the Cathedral is a place of worship or a business; well first and foremost its a place of worship and has been for 800 years. Yes it is a (small) business in that ALL the funds from the gift sh0p and those "special contributions" to swing the butafumeiro they are (as far as I have been able to determine) used to maintain the cathedral building. If you have an 800 year old building its maintenance is a major issue and very much an ongoing process. [Again as far as I can determine there is no financial support for the maintenance of the cathedral by any Spanish/Galician Government organisation, happy to be corrected here!]
If had a look at the very top of the cathedral spires and compared their current condition to the condition of the stone work near the steps, then that was what the whole facade looked like in 2013. So you can see its a major work. Hope you enjoyed both your Camino and your visit to the Cathedral! Cheers
Hi, I was joking about the 5€. But I would certainly be willing to pay a fair price. By "very big business" I meant the whole group of Caminos and the related churches/cathedrals, and all the infrastructure businesses big and small, which altogether is undeniably a huge industry. And a wonderful one in so many ways, it supports many good people in a country which is still struggling to develop a healthy economy. Individually we visitors don't spend a fortune but collectively over time we have contributed an enormous amount to Spain's economy and I'm happy and proud to have done so while having such a wonderful experience.

Mass tourism can be hellishly destructive and ugly - I had a heated argument just recently with a man who argued that I should go to Venice while I'm in Italy, he thought it was just splendid. Of course it is, but ocean liners in The Grand Canal, (he's a cruise-ist) disgorging thousands of people into a fragile environment is tragic IMHO.

We Caminotarians know that our experience is pretty much the opposite to that grotesque form of mass tourism. Camino is eco-tourism - gentle, slow, contemplative. (Except for the bicycles. Don't get me started about the bicycles. I want to check out the way they manage cyclists on the Via Francigena - there are two seperate tracks, it seems. The bicycle track is less hilly, easier for families to enjoy, judging by the website.)

Buen Camino, - Mike
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#28
I had a similar experience in the church at Santa Domingo where a tourist was taking photographs as people prayed, then, even worse, in the Cathedral in Barcelona there is a side chapel set aside for prayers with a prominent sign in many languages (and symbols) saying no photographs to be taken. Despite this, and whilst I was praying, a man proceeded to walk up and down in the chapel taking photographs until I remonstrated with him and took him to the sign, at which he point he apologised but by then the sought after tranquility had been shattered so I left. The impulse to use cameras everywhere, and in any situation regardless of how that activity intrudes into religious observances is a modern menace and signals a diminishing of human consciousness with regard to others. Apologies to photographers on the forum who act with sensitivity and respect and don't take pictures of people in/and places of prayer.
I've seen this many times.
Personally, I wish they'd just collect all cameras at the door.
 
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