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Catholic Herald article

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JabbaPapa

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There's a pleasant enough article on pilgrimage in general, from a British perspective, up at the Catholic Herald :

This is easily one of the best articles I've read that covers most of the bases as to why folks go on pilgrimage. As many of you know, I've walked the Way to SDC on five occasions. I could have gone every year since 2008, but find that although the Camino holds a special religious place, I am still drawn to additional sites and specific locations that add to the foundation of my faith. Over the years I've traveled and walked: the Holy Land, the Isle of Iona, the pilgrimage along St Magnus Way on Orkney, Scotland, reverently walked the Cathedrals of Westminster, Notre Dame, Cologne and Basilica of Lourdes.
All that said, whether your decision to walk the Camino, or any site off your normal track...walk with an open mind, embrace a sense of wonder and gather in the many bouquets of wild and deeply personal experiences all have to offer.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
There's a pleasant enough article on pilgrimage in general, from a British perspective, up at the Catholic Herald :

Thank you for the article. It is not a publication I would normally open, but I do say I believe in the right of all to say their say, and I am glad I read the article. There are some keen observations, and I appreciate them.
 
It is interesting to me that this article was written by an atheist! He definitely makes insightful comments. It is with the read! Thanks!
Many atheists are closer to being true believers than they will admit. But, that's a different discussion and borders on breaking the “rules” of the Forum.
That said, if you truly believe the Camino holds sway over your progression walking the Way then you believe something greater than yourself is at play.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Interesting piece. Do wish that the author had relied on more than just his own impressions for leaving in tact his view that "as an atheist I find peculiar that a long journey, requiring time and money, should afford privileged access to a deity through the intercession of a holy place."
There are clear structural reasons that had to do with the improved health, social recognition, benefits to towns that grew up around cathedrals, etc that accrued as concrete evidence that one did indeed acquire 'privileged access to a deity' (that is: it wasn't just some expensive mass delusion).
In many of these structural accounts, the deity actually hardly matters, but is the agreed-upon reason to take one's pennies to the cathedral. But what did one get in return at the outset of these formalized pilgrimages?
Better food in more regular supply than one is likely to have had in the small village from whence one had travelled (and where the village saint's relic had little miraculous power to bestow).
Fresh air and sunshine and an absence of really hard labour.
The cachet of "seeing the world" -- an education of sorts.
The blessing of one's local priest to take this sojourn/rest either as a reward for penitence or as an effort to heal an illness (blindness, paralysis -- certain types of which we now know to be reversible with diet, moderate exercise, relief from badly ventilated huts, etc).
The economy of the Cathedral system gave regular hospitals that *could* and *did* actually heal the sick, create clinical medicine, develop fairly sophisticated apothecaries...
There is a maxim in sociology: "That which we treat as real is real in its effects."
Faith delivers.
I'm still an Atheist Catholic, but I would not dismiss this aspect of the pilgrimage so swiftly as the author.
 
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NomadJMJ

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances May 2017
Interesting piece. Do wish that the author had relied on more than just his own impressions for leaving in tact his view that "as an atheist I find peculiar that a long journey, requiring time and money, should afford privileged access to a deity through the intercession of a holy place."
There are clear structural reasons that had to do with the improved health, social recognition, benefits to towns that grew up around cathedrals, etc that accrued as concrete evidence that one did indeed acquire 'privileged access to a deity' (that is: it wasn't just some expensive mass delusion).
In many of these structural accounts, the deity actually hardly matters, but is the agreed-upon reason to take one's pennies to the cathedral. But what did one get in return at the outset of these formalized pilgrimages?
Better food in more regular supply than one is likely to have had in the small village from whence one had travelled (and where the village saint's relic had little miraculous power to bestow).
Fresh air and sunshine and an absence of really hard labour.
The cachet of "seeing the world" -- an education of sorts.
The blessing of one's local priest to take this sojourn/rest either as a reward for penitence or as an effort to heal an illness (blindness, paralysis -- certain types of which we now know to be reversible with diet, moderate exercise, relief from badly ventilated huts, etc).
The economy of the Cathedral system gave regular hospitals that *could* and *did* actually heal the sick, create clinical medicine, develop fairly sophisticated apothecaries...
There is a maxim in sociology: "That which we treat as real is real in its effects."
Faith delivers.
I'm still an Atheist Catholic, but I would not dismiss this aspect of the pilgrimage so swiftly as the author.
Plz define “Atheist Catholic”.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Plz define “Atheist Catholic”.
Having nothing better to do right now, my first question to you would be: Why are you asking this question? Does it really need a "definition"? I see on your avatar that you joined the forum in 2017 and also participated actively in forum discussions so you must know that most discussions about religious aspects quickly veer off the factual and go down the path of expressions of personal opinion and that will be against forum rules.

I'm too lazy to look it up but I think both of the large Christian Churches (Catholic/Protestant) teach that you cannot undo your own baptism. Furthermore, once baptised as a small child and growing up in your individual family and church community environment, you may or may not only fashion your personal religious belief and refashion it again and again or distance yourself from it - you also absorb a lot of cultural elements and cultural-historical knowledge specific to all this. It becomes part of you. Which is why you may view aspects of historical or contemporary pilgrimage traditions and expressions with different eyes from those who don't share this background.

And now I'll leave it at that. However, I find the content of @Faye Walker's long contribution more essential to the article and more worthy of exploring than her last sentence which I perceived just as a bit of a personal touch.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
the author
Worth pointing out perhaps, for the benefit of those who haven't read the article or haven't read it to the end, that this article was not specifically written for the readership of a London-based Roman Catholic monthly newspaper, namely The Catholic Herald. They merely reprinted this article.

The article was written as the introduction to a book called "Britain's Pilgrim Places", published by and for the British Pilgrimage Trust (BPT). The BPT is a recently formed non-profit organisation in the UK. They aim to reestablish or newly create pilgrimage paths and destinations of pilgrimage in the UK. Their motto is "Bring your own belief", i.e. they aim to promote pilgrimage (on foot) with or without religious background of any kind. In fact, on their website, under "What is pilgrimage", they write that pilgrimage is for everyone, promoting holistic wellbeing via pilgrim practices and connecting you with yourself, others, nature and everything beyond.

They want to advance British pilgrimage as a form of cultural heritage that promotes holistic wellbeing, for the public benefit, which includes physical, mental, emotional, social, environmental and spiritual health.

BTW, I didn't make the connection at first but later I realised that Simon Jenkins is a columnist of The Guardian newspaper.

Links:
Britain's Pilgrim Places: The Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK
British Pilgrimage Trust: BPT



 
Last edited:

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Having nothing better to do right now, my first question to you would be: Why are you asking this question? Does it really need a "definition"? I see on your avatar that you joined the forum in 2017 and also participated actively in forum discussions so you must know that most discussions about religious aspects quickly veer off the factual and go down the path of expressions of personal opinion and that will be against forum rules.

I'm too lazy to look it up but I think both of the large Christian Churches (Catholic/Protestant) teach that you cannot undo your own baptism. Furthermore, once baptised as a small child and growing up in your individual family and church community environment, you may or may not only fashion your personal religious belief and refashion it again and again or distance yourself from it - you also absorb a lot of cultural elements and cultural-historical knowledge specific to all this. It becomes part of you. Which is why you may view aspects of historical or contemporary pilgrimage traditions and expressions with different eyes from those who don't share this background.

And now I'll leave it at that. However, I find the content of @Faye Walker's long contribution more essential to the article and more worthy of exploring than her last sentence which I perceived just as a bit of a personal touch.
Thank you Sabine — this is precisely it.
 
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grayland

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This thread has strayed across the line of the forum rules regarding discussion of religion.
It will be closed for now.
 
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