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Pilgrims And Tourists to PAY, Except to Pray, to visit the Cathedral in Lugo

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lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I have't been to Rome since 1998, but there was no charge then. However, there is a charge in Leon and in Burgos. So I am not upset by this-- it's not really new. If you want to attend a mass, there is, of course, no charge. Usually, the mass is in a side chapel-- though, not always. In Leon, I paid money, and got an audio set. The information and tour it gave was very well done-- it gave me a much deeper appreciation of the cathedral than if I had simply walked around... Also I think the whole cathedral will be quieter and more reverent. The article states: "The audioguide generates respect for the go listening, silence is generated, and as there is a marked path, visitors follow that order. Order and produce silent respect, which is what we asked the council " -- I am sure if you want to pray, you will be able to go the chapel with the tabernacle, or to confession without paying. -- I know there is a money angle here, but hey, it costs money to hire someone to dust and clean all those crazy baroque cherubs.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I just never heard of paying to visit a church before and just now learned that you have to pay in Leon, Burgos and Oviedo! LOL. I learn something new every day I'm on this forum. I don't know how I missed not knowing this in all my years of researching the Camino but I did.

At least I can get over the shock now. I guess I just assumed it was free. But Kelleymac makes a good point that it does take money to keep things running. I also think the audioguides can be very informative so I do like that.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I just never heard of paying to visit a church before and just now learned that you have to pay in Leon, Burgos and Oviedo! LOL. I learn something new every day I'm on this forum. I don't know how I missed not knowing this in all my years of researching the Camino but I did.

At least I can get over the shock now. I guess I just assumed it was free. But Kelleymac makes a good point that it does take money to keep things running. I also think the audioguides can be very informative so I do like that.
A huge number of churches and cathedrals in Europe (and the UK) charge fees to wander around in them and most do not have audio-tours. The cost of upkeep of these ancient buildings is enormous and is the responsibility of the parish, so with mounting costs and dwindling attendance, many are in serious trouble.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be proud of who you are.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
The article is about the Basilica in Lugo .
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
For some people, entrance fees for churches are a hot topic. As someone who doesn’t get worked up about it and who has visited many of the great Gothic cathedrals (all of them pilgrimage churches!) and others, I don’t even remember where I had to pay and where not or how much I paid in Pamplona, in Burgos and in Leon.

I remember two fees: Canterbury Cathedral was 5 pounds ($6) about 15 years ago, which seemed a lot then. Westminster Abbey in London was around 26 pounds ($33) recently. I just wanted to visit their newly opened triforium (gallery at a higher level than ground floor). These galleries are usually not open to the public. Westminster Abbey charges an extra 5 pounds for access to this gallery which houses some museum artefacts that I wasn’t even interested in seeing but they made me pay the entrance fee for the triforium and for the abbey church as such.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I remember the layout of Lugo Cathedral as a bit confusing so it may be a good idea to be guided if you come only for praying ... I’ve never felt the need that I needed to go to a particular church for pray or quiet contemplation and that none of the dozen churches in the vicinity would do. I sometimes had the desire to attend service in a special place and it has always been possible without any fee paying.

I don’t wander around before or after service in such a case. I vaguely remember that in Burgos, this wouldn’t even be possible because there is a separate entry portal for those who come for mass and there’s some kind of separation bar or glass wall between their chapel and the other parts of the Burgos cathedral.

I believe medieval pilgrims could not wander about either. They entered through say a north portal, walked along the semicircular ambulatory where the relics were and left through a south portal, totally separate from what was going on in the main part of the church. They didn’t have to pay an entry fee but they were expected - perhaps even coerced - to donate generously to the church’s coffers.
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
I remember two fees though: Canterbury Cathedral was 5 pounds ($6) about 15 years ago, which seemed a lot then.
Canterbury waived the entrance fee when I showed my pilgrim's credential. I was invited to leave my rucksack with the security office. There's a stone in the garden that marks the starting point of the Via Francigena and an office nearby where you can get the first stamp for your VF credential (or the last stamp for my Pilgrim's Way credential). They encouraged me to enter the Cathedral and receive a blessing from the pastor on duty if I wished. All in all, it's one of the most welcoming churches that I have visited.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I recall paying in Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. I didn't mind as upkeep must be horrendous and there was usually a museum attached. Smaller churches often had a volunteer sitting in the back with a box for donations. I don't see any of it as a problem. The pleasure I receive is worth something to me.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
The article is about the Basilica in Lugo .
I had to read a sketchy translation several times to get that fact. But, get it I did. So, for those who did not get the memo...

THIS NEWS STORY IS ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL IN LUGO - NOT SANTIAGO.

In my global travels, I find this is a very common experience, especially in less visited places. It simply is not easily manageable in large iconic destination, like the Vatican, Notre Dame (pre-fire) or the Cathedral at Santiago.

It is necessary to raise funds for maintaining the increasingly costly ancient structures. As the number of humans (low birth rates) and Catholics (increasing secularization) diminishes over the decades and centuries, alternative revenue sources must be developed. This is a fact of life...

Let us be grateful this notion has not spread to the Cathedral proper at Santiago. For now, they DO charge to visit all the ancillary spaces and places, not directly related to prayer or the Camino experience, per se.

You must pay to visit the Museum, Library, archaeological digs under the Cathedral, the roof, the Portico of Glory, and the Archbishop's Palace.

However, access to the Cathedral proper remains free, hopefully forever.

Hope this helps.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
There's a stone in the garden that marks the starting point of the Via Francigena and an office nearby where you can get the first stamp for your VF credential (or the last stamp for my Pilgrim's Way credential). They encouraged me to enter the Cathedral and receive a blessing from the pastor on duty if I wished. All in all, it's one of the most welcoming churches that I have visited.
When I was in Canterbury an Australian Priest from the Cathedral took me outside to that stone and gave me blessing before I headed off on my journey. It really was something quite special - an Australian pilgrim, given a blessing, in the UK, by an Australian priest. A very special start to a special journey.

However, there is a charge in Leon and in Burgos.
I have been in the fortunate position of being able to go into the Leon Cathedral as often as I want. I remember on one Camino I was in and out probably a dozen times over a couple of days. However that privilege is now denied one unless you have a bottomless purse. That said, the audio guide provided is jam packed with information and enabled me to see that glorious building with new eyes.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
There's a stone in the garden that marks the starting point of the Via Francigena and an office nearby where you can get the first stamp for your VF credential (or the last stamp for my Pilgrim's Way credential).
Useful to know. That stone looks very new (on photos). I don't think it was there 15 years ago ...
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
Indeed, the maintenance of historic church buildings is a huge expense, that is typically the responsibility of the local parish and not the government. It's not just a matter of dusting - roofs and heating systems cost a ton. Add to that the dwindling attendance at services, and the fact that donations or fees are solicited should be no surprise. So I make it a point to always give something; if there is no entry fee, then I make sure to buy a candle (coins are heavy, and we know pilgrims should endeavor to lighten their load).
 
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Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
In PISA we couldn't go into the cathedral except to pray and pay penance.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I have had a quite frustrating experience in some places in France and Spain: churches are open only during Masses, when I think it is not really proper to visit as a tourist. And five or ten minutes atter Mass is finished, the church closes and you are gently escorted to the door. I guess they don't want to expose very old art treasures to thieves or manhandling, but don't have the resources to keep a paid caretaker. So, a moderate fee is an acceptable transaction, and pilgrims usually get a discount (and in some places, a free pass).
Some churches have an alternative method: the entrance is free, but if you want the lights on (romanic churches are usually in semidarkness), you have to deposit an euro....
On the other side, the Catholic church in Spain is not exactly poor. But what is true in general terms, may not be so for specific parishes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
Small time girl welcome to the real world. Whenever I go even in a little church I leave a donation. The up keep on these places are expensive.
 

Terry W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
April 2018
April 2019
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
You will be reading it right. Dont loose the faith I am Catholic as well and re found my faith on the first Camino. BUT things are changing after my third Camino this year I have found a change in the air and it is not for the good. I believe the tourism department is getting involved with the Camino. Things like knowing you will get a bed as long as you get there by the time they open is not always the case now. I think some organised groups are now able to pull strings and book at Municipals now, I saw a sign on a municipal door sold out at 12.30 how can that happen.
Regards Rome fifteen years ago my wife and I were in the vatican and were able to get a blessing from one of the priests there .It was only going to cost ten Euros. It would appear that they do not have enough money. I just said a prayer instead. Enjoy your faith even if you dont enjoy some of the hardware that goes with it.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I have visited the cathedrals in Burgos and Leon, although I much prefer San Isidoro in Leon, with the combination of an active parish church and real age. I didn't mind paying to see the Pantheon, but I liked just sitting and worshiping, outside of mass times. This is what I also like to do in Santiago: just sit in the cathedral and soak in the quiet and the sense of satisfaction when I have completed my pilgrimage. I have stayed three times in San Martin Pinario, but have never been into their church, where you always have to pay. Paying attracts tourists. I am not interested in walking around with my ears plugged in, doing an audio tour. What I want to read about the churches on the camino Frances I can find in Gitlitz and Davidson and read outside of my prayer time. Permission to be in a church during mass without paying has several disadvantages for me: The biggest is, of course, that as an Anglican Christian I can attend, but not partake. I do not question this, but I suffer it. Besides, the hordes of tourists who attend mass in Santiago Cathedral with their cell phones raised to get the best photos disturb and disgust me. I prefer to attend mass elsewhere, and to pray in the cathedral when it is relatively empty. I am looking forward to the situation in Santiago this fall, where a number of churches will be open for pilgrim worship. Perhaps it will be possible to often find a quiet place to pray in one of these churches. And the hordes of pilgrims/tourists may be diverted away from churches which are primarily open for worship.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I did edit the title of the thread to include Lugo so it's clear for the readers. It should also be noted that you can click on the appropriate flag for a translation in your native tongue. While the site mentions Santiago in ITS title, as C clearly pointed out (thanks for helping me to see clearly lol) the article is about Lugo.

However with so many Spanish churches charging a fee, I can only wonder if Santiago will follow suit at some point in the future. I understand now that charging a fee is normal but this is the Catholic Church. It's not exactly poor.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, (2019)
Canterbury waived the entrance fee when I showed my pilgrim's credential. I was invited to leave my rucksack with the security office. There's a stone in the garden that marks the starting point of the Via Francigena and an office nearby where you can get the first stamp for your VF credential (or the last stamp for my Pilgrim's Way credential). They encouraged me to enter the Cathedral and receive a blessing from the pastor on duty if I wished. All in all, it's one of the most welcoming churches that I have visited.
I walked the VF in 2014 and wasn’t aware of the ‘starting stone, so missed it. I returned to Canterbury a couple of years later and resolved to be photographed by the aforementioned marker. To my horror, the stone had been removed just a few days earlier as it had been damaged, so all I could photograph was the bare patch of earth where it usually resides!!

On the subject of charging for tours of churches, all I ask is that they set the price at a realistic level, so that the less well off aren’t unfairly excluded. By way of example, Ourense Cathedral is extremely good value for roughly 4euros entrance fee.
 

alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2005 2007 Frances
2016 Leon to Santiago
I have no problem with fees. Burgos and Leon are really incredible museums. I no longer have an expectation as a pilgrim that I do not need to pay my share. I am grateful that it hasn't become fully monetized.
And I always pray for free in OCebrerio: my goto place for good feng-shui.

Maybe they have seen the success of a donativo model in the albergues and discarded it as non-workable.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
I just never heard of paying to visit a church before and just now learned that you have to pay in Leon, Burgos and Oviedo! LOL. I learn something new every day I'm on this forum. I don't know how I missed not knowing this in all my years of researching the Camino but I did.

At least I can get over the shock now. I guess I just assumed it was free. But Kelleymac makes a good point that it does take money to keep things running. I also think the audioguides can be very informative so I do like that.
Oviedo is free to pilgrims. This was made clear to me at the entrance as I went to collect my del Salvador Compostella.
At Oviedo I attended mass for pilgrims in a nearby church, not far away.
Burgos and Léon were too expensive for me, and packed with tourists anyway. There was also a pilgrims mass in the neighbouring chapel.
But paying, well, these buildings cost a fortune to run and renovate. There has to be a balance I suppose, between paying and praying visitors. K
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I am a Catholic priest, and I am never happy about paying to enter a church. Many Anglican cathedrals in UK charge, though I am not aware of any Catholic cathedral or church in UK or in Ireland which does.

I avoid all churches which charge, however 'magnificent' they are. I am not the least bit averse to making a voluntary contribution. I am always happy to note that the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool (my original home) does NOT have a compulsory charge.

Walking the Via Francigena last year there were many great cathedrals which I did not visit along the way. There is no shortage of smaller and more welcoming churches. I am prepared to discuss the situation and seek entry at Mass time. I was searched by two armed army personnel and made to drink water from my bottle before I was permitted to enter for weekday Mass at the Duomo in Milan last year.

My unhappiest experience was at Siena, were I was interrogated, no other word is possible, for my reasons for seeking entry to the church for 0800 Mass on Sunday, even as the bells were ringing to summon the faithful. They were desperate to keep out people who were not coming for Mass (which was 'free'). A totally unironic sign outside the cathedral announced that it was 'closed' on Sunday morning - because of liturgy. It would be open after Masses had finished. And the default assumption seemed to be that I was likely to be 'cheating' my way in.

The website for Siena Cathedral lists the following who are allowed free entry.
  • Children up to the age of 6
  • Visitors either born or resident in the Municipality of Siena
  • Accredited journalists
  • Handicapped visitors with one caregiver
  • Clerics of both genders
  • Students enrolled at the Università di Siena or at the Università per Stranieri
  • Parish groups from the Archdiocese of Siena with an accompanying letter from their parish priest
I would NEVER seek free entry on the basis that I am a cleric, (although I have to say I am a cleric of only one gender, not both!)

It saddens me that the list does not include the advice that free entry is available to "poor people". While they are excluded, I will not go.

It saddens Pope Francis also who has said In Evangelii Gaudium:

46. A Church which “goes forth” is a Church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way. At times we have to be like the father of the prodigal son, who always keeps his door open so that when the son returns, he can readily pass through it.

47. The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.


I am aware of the cost of upkeep of churches.

To answer @lizlane there is no charge for entry to St Peter's in Rome. (There is often a monstrous queue for security check.)

My happiest experience was at the wonderful Abbey of San Magno in Fondi on the Francigena del Sud. A monastery and refugio open all hours (literally 24/7), with no resident community and a note at the gate, "Entra Ti Aspettavamo". (Come in, we have been expecting you.) The sign was in Italian and Arabic.
 

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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
I agree with Fr. Tim. However when churches begin to be more museum and cultural artifact, instead of a regular and popular place of religious worship, as is the general case across Europe, having to raise money for maintenance by charging admission is a logical result.

I am aware that some countries pick up the costs for routine maintenance to maintain these very old churches, as they are also important historical features to the country. This is both for tourism and history purposes.

However, I am likewise aware that the ability of a country or city to contribute to the costs of maintaining these very old and complicated and expensive to maintain buildings varies from country to country. The EU avoids direct, regular funding, although they do issue grants to help with renovation.

Hope this helps.
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
We pay for a seat during mass. Pays for maintenance and the high costs of heating the building in winter. Insurance and security are becoming of greater concern and this won't stop in any forseeable future. Vandalism is an important reason to keep doors locked.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
I’m kind of mixed on this. I am a Catholic and on my last Camino (Portugués)I stopped at almost every church/chapel/oratory to pray or meditate. Only in the cathedrals or basilicas did I encounter admission charges. In Tui at the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de Tui, for example, I was free to visit and pray in the Blessed Sacrament chapel and later attend Mass. I did pay a separate fee, however to take the self guided audio tour of the rest of the cathedral, museum and cloister gardens. Same experience in Ponte Vedra. At Santiago I was happy to hug St James behind the High Altar and pray before his tomb in the crypt and attend Mass. I would hope that for valid pilgrims this would continue to be free.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.
This quote firmly sums up my thinking. Especially for Catholic Churches. I hope they keep Pope Frances away from Leon and Burgos and Lugo when he comes in 2021. I worry that people who already know the great wealth of the Church are not further turned away from God altogether when they chose to visit and are asked money to enter. And hearing Father Tim's experience at being turned away for actual mass just breaks my heart. A believer still has tools to cope with this disappointment. Someone who seeks God might feel rejected.

Most of my praying will be on the path itself, visiting smaller churches along the way but it does rankle my sensibilities. Churches in the US take care of their buildings. In mine, there is a financial report in every bulletin, where we are on our giving, where we are on our budget. So in this sense and only this sense do we "pay for a seat in mass" as Mina put it.
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
This quote firmly sums up my thinking. Especially for Catholic Churches. I hope they keep Pope Frances away from Leon and Burgos and Lugo when he comes in 2021. I worry that people who already know the great wealth of the Church are not further turned away from God altogether when they chose to visit and are asked money to enter. And hearing Father Tim's experience at being turned away for actual mass just breaks my heart. A believer still has tools to cope with this disappointment. Someone who seeks God might feel rejected.

Most of my praying will be on the path itself, visiting smaller churches along the way but it does rankle my sensibilities. Churches in the US take care of their buildings. In mine, there is a financial report in every bulletin, where we are on our giving, where we are on our budget. So in this sense and only this sense do we "pay for a seat in mass" as Mina put it.
The great wealth of the church in Spain that you do not tire of mentioning is stuck in buildings and art. It isn't cash at all. It costs a fortune to maintain these buildings and art. Old, even medieval buildings crumble. Many visitors treat a church like a free museum, it is expensive to manage large crowds and minimize the damage that they do. And so on.
Another part of that 'wealth' goes to the elderly and the poor. Should the church stop supporting them to cater to the visitors?
Security is another great concern in Europe where there have been terrorist attacks, and many attacks on churches that are hardly ever mentioned in the press.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
I had to read a sketchy translation several times to get that fact. But, get it I did. So, for those who did not get the memo...

THIS NEWS STORY IS ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL IN LUGO - NOT SANTIAGO.

In my global travels, I find this is a very common experience, especially in less visited places. It simply is not easily manageable in large iconic destination, like the Vatican, Notre Dame (pre-fire) or the Cathedral at Santiago.

It is necessary to raise funds for maintaining the increasingly costly ancient structures. As the number of humans (low birth rates) and Catholics (increasing secularization) diminishes over the decades and centuries, alternative revenue sources must be developed. This is a fact of life...

Let us be grateful this notion has not spread to the Cathedral proper at Santiago. For now, they DO charge to visit all the ancillary spaces and places, not directly related to prayer or the Camino experience, per se.

You must pay to visit the Museum, Library, archaeological digs under the Cathedral, the roof, the Portico of Glory, and the Archbishop's Palace.

However, access to the Cathedral proper remains free, hopefully forever.

Hope this helps.
Thanks for the “straight skinny”. This should allay fears for many.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Well, some hard data for the discussion (I include links, sorry, everything in Spanish)
The total income of the Archbishopric was in 2016 of 22.855.000 euros. From this total, a 34% (roughly, 7,7 millions) was from alms, donations, etc.. Almost 6.3 millions came directly from taxes (yes, in Spain, as in other European countries, taxpayers can adjudicate part of their money to their preferred charities).
In the chapter of expenses, almost 10 millions was dedicated to construction, maintenance, restoration of buildings. A 4,4 millions went to the clerk (this does not distinguish between canons and local priests...there are differences, obviously). See the news article here
It is worth noticing that many restoration works are supported by public funds. This includes the current ones in the cathedral of Compostela, which received 17 million euros in 2014.
The pilgrimage/ tourism to the cathedral has also a considerable spillover effect in the Galician economy; that amounts to 30% of the tourism income (for the record, I did not like the ironic tone of this article).
Please take notice that in Spain this is sometimes a sore and touchy topic. There is a long history here...
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
I just never heard of paying to visit a church before and just now learned that you have to pay in Leon, Burgos and Oviedo! LOL. I learn something new every day I'm on this forum. I don't know how I missed not knowing this in all my years of researching the Camino but I did.

At least I can get over the shock now. I guess I just assumed it was free. But Kelleymac makes a good point that it does take money to keep things running. I also think the audioguides can be very informative so I do like that.
No need to pay in any church. The cathedral in Burgos and Leon are free to enter but the museum part has a charge, just like the Vatican museums charge but the church part is free. In Burgos cathedral museum, at certain times there is a reduced rate for pilgrims and at Easter 2013, it was free on production of your credencial. The huge cathedral in Malaga has two lines. One for those wishing to view the museum part and one for those wishing to pray. Security watch for people pretending to pray and then producing cameras. An odd arrangement. Entering a church to pray will never be charged for but museums do charge, and it is the cathedral museum you are paying for, and the upkeep has to be paid for somehow. Only Britain as far as I know subsidise museums and libraries so that they are free to all
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
Was in rome last week and st peters does not charge....don't think the church is exactly short of money. As a tip visit as near to 7pm when it is virtually empty...whe we were chucked out they would have been maybe 50 people inside
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The cathedral in Burgos and Leon are free to enter but the museum part has a charge, just like the Vatican museums charge but the church part is free.
I went into Burgos Cathedral in 2017 and 2018 and into Leon Cathedral in 2018 and we paid each time for entering and for staying in the cathedral itself (nave, side chapels etc). In Burgos, the museum part appears at the very end of the walk through the cathedral, in Leon it is separate and there is an extra fee.

There are no entry fees in Burgos for visits on Tuesday afternoon.
In Burgos, there are two side chapels that are permanently reserved for personal prayer and liturgical celebrations. I don't know how this is organised in practical terms. ArtiSplendore is involved with ticketing etc, it's the same company as for the cathedral in Lugo.

These are extraordinary places - places of worship but also places of extraordinary history with extraordinary art and extraordinary visual expressions of the Christian faith.

Current fees:
 
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lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
The great wealth of the church in Spain that you do not tire of mentioning is stuck in buildings and art. It isn't cash at all. It costs a fortune to maintain these buildings and art.
I was speaking of the Roman Church as a whole. Even my piddly parish gets funds from the Diocese if they fail to meet their mark. I'm sorry if you did not pick up on the fact I was referencing the Church as a whole with their billions in tithes.
Another part of that 'wealth' goes to the elderly and the poor. Should the church stop supporting them to cater to the visitors?
I would never suggest that, especially if I am concerned about the people who are not in a friendship with God or the Church, how they might feel facing a charge to enter. I would say any church that does refuse to care for the poor, the old and the vulnerable, and even their own building, is no longer a part of the universal church. But this comment relates not at all to the discussion so I hope others will not get too-far off topic because of it. In America, we do not rely on the government to subsidize our churches. We do have separation of church and state. This is an obvious cultural difference. Mainly because we don't have many-centuries old buildings to go and visit beyond Washington DC and if we do, it is not likely they are churches. Another difference is that income churches take in are not subject to country-wide tax. Contributions are tax-deductible.

I am also well aware of the defacing of the Cathedral in Santiago, the terrorist attack on Notre Dame but all of these attacks were done by people on the outside of the building, not in them. I don't particularly want to go to a church I must enter through a metal detector. I'm quite sure my rosary would set off the alarms lol.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I am also well aware of the defacing of the Cathedral in Santiago, the terrorist attack on Notre Dame but all of these attacks were done by people on the outside of the building
Unfortunately there have been many violent attacks inside houses of worship. The 2019 Notre Dame fire was not a terrorist attack, but there was an attempted situation near the cathedral in 2016..
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I am a bit of a Philistine. Not exactly sure what that means, by the way. I was a bit surprised when I went to visit the cathedral in Pamplona to be asked to pay an entrance fee. I declined. Then I thought about it. I was going to visit the exhibition. I was not going to pray there. So, fair enough, says I. Later, I returned, and paid the entrance fee, and read every blessed piece of information, looked and listened carefully to all the bits and pieces of the total experience. It was a good exhibition, although I disagree with the philosophy/theology/inferences that were propounded, especially in the closing stages. So, in a way that softened my reaction when I returned to Leon Cathedral a couple of years ago to discover that there was an entry fee. It is not an entry fee to the religious edifice. It is for a cultural - and truly wonderful, testament to the human heart seeking meaning. So, I have no problem paying to have the experience. If I want to go as a believer, I need to pay attention to the times for services. End of story. For me. You may well have another point of view! My favourite cathedral? It has not yet been built.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I am a bit of a Philistine. Not exactly sure what that means, by the way.
@kirkie: in modern usage "a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts." which doesn't sound like you friend. Or you could try: "Philistine, one of a people of Aegean origin who settled on the southern coast of Palestine in the 12th century BCE, about the time of the arrival of the Israelites." I'm minded that Samson "killed two thousand with the jaw-bone of a mule" according to the old song. Claim ancestry if you wish. ;)

Count yourself amongst the innocent abroad willing to seek understanding. I loved your: "It is not an entry fee to the religious edifice. It is for a cultural - and truly wonderful, testament to the human heart seeking meaning."
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
I went into Burgos Cathedral in 2017 and 2018 and into Leon Cathedral in 2018 and we paid each time for entering and for staying in the cathedral itself (nave, side chapels etc). In Burgos, the museum part appears at the very end of the walk through the cathedral, in Leon it is separate and there is an extra fee.

There are no entry fees in Burgos for visits on Tuesday afternoon.
In Burgos, there are two side chapels that are permanently reserved for personal prayer and liturgical celebrations. I don't know how this is organised in practical terms. ArtiSplendore is involved with ticketing etc, it's the same company as for the cathedral in Lugo.

These are extraordinary places - places of worship but also places of extraordinary history with extraordinary art and extraordinary visual expressions of the Christian faith.

Current fees:
Go through the doors at the side by the steps and fountain. They take you into the Burgos cathedral for prayer and Mass. In 2016, the Holy Door was open as well. Obiviously, this part of the cathedral is open to all at all times. The doors in the main square down from the ticket office take you into the basement museum which has a fee . As I said, the day I went in back in 2013 (Holy Thursday), it was free to pilgrims between 3 and 5pm. The only time I went into Leon was a Sunday morning Mass and I just followed the crowd. The only church I spent money in, other than to light candles, was the church in Navarette where you can pop a euro in the slot and the magnificent altar and sanctuary are lit up.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Speaking of which (not that we were) - for anyone who wants to visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine cathedral in Poland, get there for the 7.30am mass on a Sunday. You will be allowed to go down and return using the lift, Gratis. free. For the privilege of attending the liturgy and admiring the amazing decorative work.
 

shubertj

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles 2017 Fin/Mux 17, 19 Invierno 2018
Primitivo 2019
I just never heard of paying to visit a church before and just now learned that you have to pay in Leon, Burgos and Oviedo! LOL. I learn something new every day I'm on this forum. I don't know how I missed not knowing this in all my years of researching the Camino but I did.

At least I can get over the shock now. I guess I just assumed it was free. But Kelleymac makes a good point that it does take money to keep things running. I also think the audioguides can be very informative so I do like that.
We were just in Oviedo and Lugo a month ago if you show you pilgrim passport they let us in free in Oviedo and Lugo.
 

VeganCamino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future Frances from Saint Jean Pied du Port to Burgos, starting in June.
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
I visited Rome last year and we didn't pay to go in any cathedral. I think this is unique to Spain. Also saddens me. I paid 40 euro to go to la Sagrada. Granted it's a huge tourist attraction. I had a really really really hard time being allowed to sit in the silent section to pray. They kept saying tourists not allowed. I've overall found Spain to be the least friendly country I've ever visited. hUGe bummer! I keep hoping that will shift but so far it's been hard on many levels and being kicked out of churches on a pilgrimage is a little heartbreaking.
 
Camino(s) past & future
No Camino yet, but I live near the Camino.
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
Here is the link for the article I just read:

I'm really not sure what to think except what I'm reading can't possibly be true but I keep reading and re-reading to make sure I'm reading it correctly. My initial reaction is utter disbelief followed closely by disgust. However, I'm trying to check these emotions.

As a recent convert to Catholicism, I have not visited Rome. Do this go on there?
Hi there lizlane, this is a very sad development of churches here in Spain. I live here in Rioja Alta, which is where Santo Domingo de la Calzada is located. I moved to La Rioja just a few years ago, but I first came here in May/June of 1994 to celebrate "San Juan del Monte" in Miranda de Ebro, a town in Burgos province on the banks of the Upper Ebro River. I remember back then I took an excursion with my Mirandés friends to Rioja Alta and we stopped in Santo Domingo d.l. C. and we visited the cathedral there. That's the cathedral with a chicken in a cage, and back then it was free. That was of course 25 years ago, but last year I wanted to go inside and realized you had to pay to get in. I said "no thanks". This last December I spent a few days in the old town of Burgos just before Christmas with my wife and kid. Burgos of course boasts Spain's very first and thus oldest gothic cathedral; it's a magnificent and stunning temple, but I wanted to go inside and have a look around just to admire the arquitecture, but of course you must pay to do a tour, can't go in there just like that even if you're a believer. I sarcastically asked the employees at the counter "must I pay to enter the house of God?" If you want to attend mass or say you want to, you can enter through the main portal, and to the left inside the cathedral there is a side chapel where local Catholics attend mass on Sundays, HOWEVER, access to the main parts of the cathedral are closed, you can only access the entrance area to look at it from a distance or access the side chapel to attend mass. I guess they only use the main altar for "big shows" :) Anyhow, this is something that disturbs me of Spain. I lived may years in Germany and was able to enter any famous cathedral for free like Cologne, Regensburg, etc. Even Notre-Dame-de-Paris I was able to enter for free on several occasions. Cheers.
 
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bgil

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
European Peace Walk 2015, Camino Frances 2016
Clarification based on the article.
1. If you enter the church to pray they'll let you in free and give you a quite place for your prayers.
2. The entrance fee includes an audio guide which is really helpful because there is so many interesting things to see. It also means that people are quiet as they go around the church.
3. If you are a pilgrim and show your credencial the entry fee is only 3.5. Students are 4. Seniors pay 4.5 and regular is 5.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
In 2012, on my first walking Camino, when I arrived in Burgos I made sure of my sleeping arrangements and then made a bee-line for the Cathedral. I was eager to tour it. I'd toured it once before, as a young train-ridin', backpackin', tourista in 1977, and remembered it vividly.... (BTW: in 1977 I found it awe-inspiring -- and very quiet -- and largely empty -- and there was no entrance fee charged.)

Anyway, in 2012 I lumbered into the entrance/gift shop/whatever. I wasn't toting my mochilla, but was very obviously a peregrino. I fully expected that there would be some sort of fee to pay this time, and so had my wallet out. Ah, but I was also wearing my clerical collar! ... The man behind the counter looked me up-and-down and asked, "Are you really a priest?" Surprized, I said that I was. He waved away my attempt to pay, saying "Just go in, Father. And welcome! Please pray for Espana." Which, you can bet, I did.

So I paid no entrance fee. ... And you know what? I've felt guilty about not paying ever since.

Never gonna make that mistake again. Certainly not when I tour it again in September, and pray once more for Espana.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
No Camino yet, but I live near the Camino.
In 2012, on my first walking Camino, when I arrived in Burgos I made sure of my sleeping arrangements and then made a bee-line for the Cathedral. I was eager to tour it. I'd toured it once before, as a young train-ridin', backpackin', tourista in 1977, and remembered it vividly.... (BTW: in 1977 I found it awe-inspiring -- and very quiet -- and largely empty -- and there was no entrance fee charged.)

Anyway, in 2012 I lumbered into the entrance/gift shop/whatever. I wasn't toting my mochilla, but was very obviously a peregrino. I fully expected that there would be some sort of fee to pay this time, and so had my wallet out. Ah, but I was also wearing my clerical collar! ... The man behind the counter looked me up-and-down and asked, "Are you really a priest?" Surprized, I said that I was. He waved away my attempt to pay, saying "Just go in, Father. And welcome! Please pray for Espana." Which, you can bet, I did.

So I paid no entrance fee. ... And you know what? I've felt guilty about not paying ever since.

Never gonna make that mistake again. Certainly not when I tour it again in September, and pray once more for Espana.
Don't feel guilty Rappahannock, enjoy the privilege as a member of the company :-D LOL!!! Cheers.
 
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