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Possibility of new requirements for a Compostela

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Some of us may have saved for a long while to do their pilgrimage and won't be able to do it again so may not be able to "return" two or three times. Whilst I hesitate to say it... has nothing changed? Can only the rich afford to be "godly"?

Some are neither money, nor time rich. Like @anna pugh one of our friends, a devout catholic, would not have the money to keep returning to the Camino and she certainly would not be able to find more than a week to walk as she is a carer. She would love to be able to make her Camino, but age too is a factor as she is in her early 70s. So it is not just myself I am thinking about when I grieve at the thought of the 'qualifying' distance being lengthened.
As before Anna - Buen Camino on what is a fairly challenging, if shorter, route.
 
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movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Some are neither money, nor time rich. Like @anna pugh one of our friends, a devout catholic, would not have the money to keep returning to the Camino and she certainly would not be able to find more than a week to walk as she is a carer. She would love to be able to make her Camino, but age too is a factor as she is in her early 70s. So it is not just myself I am thinking about when I grieve at the thought of the 'qualifying' distance being lengthened.
As before Anna - Buen Camino on what is a fairly challenging, if shorter, route.
Anna if it helps any, I walked the Camino from St. Jean to Santiago to mark my 80th birthday this year. 800 kms seemed quite daunting, but the desire to do this was intense. For me it was a walk in gratitude for all that I have in my life (with not a lot of money) and yes, I had the time. Also, with careful financial planning and doing without certain things I was able to bring it to fruition. As has been written here many times, we all do our own Camino in our own way. Why not just walk the distance that you feel you could complete; Compostela or not - and just see what it reveals to you. I don't mean to over simplify, but you do seem keen on walking.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I think that Anna is doing the Camino 'her way' and, like myself, it is not the Francés. However it is Christmas Eve, so - peace and goodwill to all. :)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Anna. I can't comment on the time you have available for your Camino but will say that the last 100k are not nearly as rewarding, in my view it is because of the coach loads of pilgrims dropped off each day to walk a section. As for your ability to walk, I think everyone is slightly overawed by the idea of walking such a long way. You meet and make wonderful friends and settle down into a pace which suits everyone. Someone commented it's only for the rich, I'm not rich and walked for 65 days, it worked out at less than €30 a day.
Having first walked the CF and later the CI as well as some other pilgrimage walks, I would make two comments:
  • walking from Sarria and Ferrol are quite different, but I never felt that one was any more or less rewarding than the other.
  • having walked from SJPP, the walk from Sarria was quite different to the earlier parts of my pilgrimage, but I never felt it was more or less rewarding because of the differences.
I do find it amusing that the changes that take place after Sarria are seen by some people as detracting from their pilgrimage. Perhaps walking in late Apr/early May is a different experience. I found I was walking with many more people, mainly Spanish, who were vibrant, enthusiastic and joyful. Some behaviour in albergues was more difficult to tolerate, but it was only ever going to be for a few nights that one had to accommodate those changes in any case. I didn't really pay much attention to whether they arrived by bus from a hotel or there was a support vehicle with their lunch, etc, etc. They weren't telling me how to walk my Camino, and I didn't feel it necessary to make pejorative judgements about how they walked theirs.
 
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TerryB

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
. . . . . . . . As time passes and I see and feel the pains and tribulations of others less fortunate than I, all I can do is hope that their opportunities are not diminished by any changes.

Thank you Al! This sums up my feelings exactly. The consequences for a very silent group of would be Pilgrims by the extra distance being proposed, far outweighs in my humble opinion, any gain there might be in reducing the so called "circus" on the Francés.

Blessings for the New Year!
Tio Tel
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
Spot on ... when people ask me what it was like I get down my Credential and tell stories around the stamps, every stamp is a memory of people and places . My compestlas are shoved Away in drawers somewhere

Ours are in the bottom draw in study.
Have been there since 08

In Ostabat when completing the GR65 just before St Jean Pied de Port we ran into 6 Bishops from all the different regions.
Every one BUT one agreed the distance had to be increased.
You can guess where he came from.

**
When we walk we always remember what Henry Miller once wrote,

One's destination is never a place , but a new way of seeing things.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I will bet that virtually none of us had even heard of the compostela when we embarked on our planning for our first Camino. Why is its availability or its requirements now so crucially important? As I read through some of these posts, it almost sounds as if some people are arguing that taking away the compostela for the 100 km walkers would mean that those people can no longer walk the Camino from Sarria. If that's the place where you are best able to start, due to time constraints or physical ability, you will always be able to start there.

I guess I just don't see, like so many others have said on this thread, why the rules about the compostela is a make or break aspect of walking to Santiago. How would not being able to get a piece of paper have any impact at all on the value of the walk, the challenges you overcame to do it, and the satisfaction and gratitude you experienced walking into Santiago, no matter where you started?
 

zzotte

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Yes peregrina for you to see what it's priority for some folks.

Zzotte
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Further to @peregrina2000 's post, even if the Compostela may no longer be available for 100km there is always the certificate of distance, which I assume you can buy even if you walked from Monte de Gozo.

I remember reading a few years ago that the compostela for religious/spiritual reasons was quite ugly in comparison to the one for other reasons, and the guidebook recommended asking for the pretty one. Of course now the ugly sister has been redesigned to also be pretty. Just sayin as say my neighbours to the south :rolleyes:.
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
No @Anemone del Camino - sorry - as I understand it the 'certificate of distance' is only issued to those completing the minimum distance and with the completed, stamped by the pilgrims' office, credencial; or on production of the relevent compostela.
To put all this in context the 'extra distance' suggestion was apparently one paper presented at the conference..... by a 'non-cathedral' group, so probably not very high on the cathedral's agenda.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
To put all this in context the 'extra distance' suggestion was apparently one paper presented at the conference..... by a 'non-cathedral' group, so probably not very high on the cathedral's agenda.
I would like to think that if Rebekah is part of this group it is one that the cathedral would listen to. :rolleyes:
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Translation, rough, but not Google translated, of the article:

The director of the Foundation 'Cathedral of Santiago', Daniel Lorenzo, said on Monday that "there is absolutely no intent to reform" the mileage necessary pilgrims on the St.James Way have to do in order to qualify for the Compostela.

Lorenzo has also stated that "he knows of a proposal by an association" in this sense/with this intention, but he has admitted to reporters that he doesn't know if this association is "very representative" because/considering - "it seems reasonable" not to substantially change "something that has a long tradition. "

Therefore, the director of the Foundation 'Santiago Cathedral' has said that the solution of the "massification" of the Way must look for "other approaches".

In the same vein has expressed herself the Director of Tourism of Galicia, Nava Castro, claiming the work done by the regional government with its Master Plan of the Camino de Santiago to promote alternative ways, such as the Primitivo or the Via de la Plata.

"For us, the fundamental/key is that the way is being done/walked." explained Castro, who says that the best method to combat the overcrowding of the classic French Way is "diversify" the routes.

Buen Camino, SY
 

anna pugh

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016
Anna. I can't comment on the time you have available for your Camino but will say that the last 100k are not nearly as rewarding, in my view it is because of the coach loads of pilgrims dropped off each day to walk a section. As for your ability to walk, I think everyone is slightly overawed by the idea of walking such a long way. You meet and make wonderful friends and settle down into a pace which suits everyone. Someone commented it's only for the rich, I'm not rich and walked for 65 days, it worked out at less than €30 a day.
That's wonderful for you. I'm not "being dropped off somewhere" and if it helps I am English so am making my Pilgrimage along the camino ingles. I will never have 65 days to make a pilgrimage. When I retire in a few years time I won't have property to sell or a retirement insurance so I need to do this whilst I am working and so can afford to be off work and pay my rent whilst I walk. Not everyone who wants to make the pilgrimage sees it as trek like going over the himalayas. I don't consider this a holiday but a sacrifice but don't judge how much fun others will have from the experience. I won't be in sackcloth and ashes but it's not an alternative from 3 weeks away on safari
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
No @Anemone del Camino - sorry - as I understand it the 'certificate of distance' is only issued to those completing the minimum distance and with the completed, stamped by the pilgrims' office, credencial; or on production of the relevent compostela.
To put all this in context the 'extra distance' suggestion was apparently one paper presented at the conference..... by a 'non-cathedral' group, so probably not very high on the cathedral's agenda.
With respect I don't think it's still quite understood. Those who walk from St. Jean get their Compostela, but also, and only if they wish for one, can receive a 2nd certificate for distance, but are charged a a couple of Euros. Several pilgrims were sharing their delight about this at the Pilgrim Office.
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
With respect I don't think it's still quite understood. Those who walk from St. Jean get their Compostela, but also, and only if they wish for one, can receive a 2nd certificate for distance, but are charged a a couple of Euros. Several pilgrims were sharing their delight about this at the Pilgrim Office.
I agree with you @movinmaggie - it is not always understood.
We were able to send for a certificate of distance, when they first started, and had to submit a photo of our compostela and the credencial with the cathedral stamp. This showed therefore where we had started and tht we had completed our pilgrimage. (This way is no longer available). Now the distance certifiacate is available only in person after you have received your actual compostela or (non-religious) certificate. The distance certificate is about €2.

Good to see also the comment from the Cathedral re distance - thank you @SYates - this will be a relief to many worried future pilgrims.

Finally - Buen Camino @anna pugh
 

anna pugh

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016
Anna, I think that you may be over estimating what it takes to walk 100km. The average age on the Camino has got to be well into the 50s, and the vast majority are people who are walking it are sedentary and have never done so ething like this before. With a good pair of shoes and as little as you can manage to carry this will not be difficult. The expense especially if you are coming from outside of Europe is no doubt an issue, but not the distance unless you face somesort of handicap. Don't worry so much about it.[/QUOTE
Thank you Anemone.. I am nearly 60 , not in the best of health and have never done any kind of exercise previously and have a very sedentry lifestyle. Even with my one a day week (my day off) practice training 6 hours continous walking I'm only covering 15kms.. 100 feels like the moon :) .. I commute 100 miles a day and know I could never walk that far.. which is why the Ingles seems so perfect for me in many ways. It's just sad when it sounds as though so many people are dismissive of this kind of effort that some people make
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
I will bet that virtually none of us had even heard of the compostela when we embarked on our planning for our first Camino. Why is its availability or its requirements now so crucially important? As I read through some of these posts, it almost sounds as if some people are arguing that taking away the compostela for the 100 km walkers would mean that those people can no longer walk the Camino from Sarria. If that's the place where you are best able to start, due to time constraints or physical ability, you will always be able to start there.

I guess I just don't see, like so many others have said on this thread, why the rules about the compostela is a make or break aspect of walking to Santiago. How would not being able to get a piece of paper have any impact at all on the value of the walk, the challenges you overcame to do it, and the satisfaction and gratitude you experienced walking into Santiago, no matter where you started?

If the "Compostela" has no value, why not abolish it altogether? The fact that it is suggested that the minimum requirement should be 300 k. means that it becomes elitist. This cannot be good in any context, let alone a "religious" one.
I have walked both long and short distance Caminos and for me, the Compostela for the Camino Inglés has just as much, if not more value, than the first one. (The first time I walked from home in England, only using the ferry as did pilgrims of old.) Why? because I walked the Inglés with my wife!

Blessings on all prospective pilgrims - Do not let this thread put you off walking what will be the journey of your life :)

Tio Tel
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Anna, isn't surpiring to realise how long we actually walk when we compare it to driving? The same thing happens on the Camino: you look ahead and tell yourself you will never make to that bridge, windmill, town. And you do. But then you look back and realise the distance you have just covered. WhenI walk at home walking 7 km feels like a lot, but not on the Camino, don't know why. Perhaps because I don't know what's ahead of me? You'll be fine.

As for why there are those pushing to increase the requirement I would say it's not to diminish the accomplish,ent of those for whom 100km it is an accomplishment but in the hopes of returning the Camino experience to what it used to be even just 5 years ago. The compostela is now a holiday souvenir for which people will do as little as possible to get it and unfortunately that trophy chase has really changed what used to be a wonderful experience. But as Laurie put it, you know in your heart what you put in, what you got out, just cherish your credencial and special photos.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
The compostela is now a holiday souvenir for which people will do as little as possible to get it and unfortunately that trophy chase has really changed what used to be a wonderful experience.
I think this is speculative nonsense. There might be a problem with the numbers of pilgrims on the CF starting at Sarria, and addressing that might be a worthy objective. But I think there are other options to achieving this than increasing the minimum distance. And I think an underlying assumption in looking at these options is that they are needed by genuine and sincere pilgrims who have chosen to do the minimum distance for reasons only they can know. In my view, for us to speculate that their motivations are other than genuine and sincere is both unnecessary and unhelpful. Let the cathedral authorities worry about that and how they might address it if they think it is a problem, but don't make it a motivation for the changes being proposed.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... The compostela is now a holiday souvenir for which people will do as little as possible to get it and unfortunately that trophy chase has really changed what used to be a wonderful experience. ...

I politely disagree, for a lot of pilgrims I have met, 100km where the limit they could do, either strength or time-wise. And the experience is still the same, as said experience takes place in the heart of every person and nowhere else. Buen Camino, SY
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I have reached the point where, as my final post on this subject, I am going to say the following:-
This is one of the most selfish and judgemental issues currently spoiling the atmosphere of the Camino. :(
Solution?
Historically the original way was from Oviedo to Santiago, so make that the walk for a Compostela - and probably the Inglés too as the original route for those coming in from UK or Ireland. If you want to walk a longer distance that is OK - but with no compostela or anything else at the end.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Yes is it an issue which seems to provoke selfish and judgemental reactions. That was certainly the case with me but over time my views have changed. I was very proud of my first Camino. I walked 1000 kms from Seville in winter. It changed my life and I’ve been walking the Camino routes ever since. Whilst this has been a truly spiritual experience in many ways I have also at times experienced a feeling of having “done better” than others who had walked for less kilometres or had walked in better weather. In the beginning I carried everything on my back and slept in albergues. I felt a far better pilgrim than those who used luggage forwarding services and slept in hotels. I went to Mass whenever it was available and often found I was the only one of the pilgrims who had arrived who was there. “Call themselves pilgrims? Where are they?” I privately thought. I walked every step of the way and thought less of those who skipped a bit, or got the bus because they were tired, or missed out what they described as an ugly section. And cyclists! Judgemental - oh yes!

Being here in Santiago now for some years I’ve met many who have come for different reasons and used different ways to get here. Some walked long distances, some short. Some cycled or drove or came with a parish group on a bus, some sailed into Coruña on a great cruise ship and came by bus to crowd the Pilgrims’ Mass and then returned immediately to catch the afternoon tide. Amongst this throng are people with different motives - faith, sport, recreation, holiday-making. So where are the “pilgrims”?

My conclusion is that being a “pilgrim” is nothing to do with the Compostela or how we get here but rather what we feel in our hearts, in that mystical part of us which senses the work of the Divine in the journey which we make.

In my view everyone who defines themselves as such is a pilgrim to the Tomb of Santiago. And I believe there is no such thing as a superior or inferior pilgrim. Like religions there are different roads to the Kingdom and different ways of being a pilgrim to Santiago. I abhor pejorative labels like “quickie pilgrims” because it implies an elitist superiority based on what – miles walked?

At the moment everyone arriving in Santiago can get a Certificate of one kind or another from the Cathedral. The Compostela for those who walk or cycle the requisite distance, a Certificate of Welcome for those who travelled the requisite distance for reasons other than spiritual and a Visitors Certificate for those who have visited the Tome of the Saint. The three look remarkably similar! And of course for those who qualify for the Compostela there is a distance certificate which records the kms walked and the starting point. I have to say that given that none of these Certificates bestows anything other than being a certificate recording arrival in Santiago I am quickly coming to the conclusion there should only be one "Compostela" for everyone!

In the current debate there seems to be two points in contention: how to separate and recognise in some special way the longer distance walkers from others and what to do about the very busy stretch from Sarria to Santiago.

I am ambivalent about the first question: Why would I as a pilgrim who walked 1000 kms want a better/different certificate than a fellow pilgrim who walked 500 or 100 kms? But I can understand that some people might. I suspect the cathedral will not produce a “long distance certificate” for walking pilgrims but perhaps FICS might. Why not?

Secondly it seems to me that the problem of the business of the final 100 kms is because of lack of marketing of the other routes and the lack of building enough infrastructure to support pilgrim numbers.

Finally – a few months ago I met three sets of pilgrims almost all at the same time. The first was a man with a physical disability who had walked from France. He said he was a disabled athlete and had enjoyed the Camino but he didn’t believe in God and wouldn't attend the Pilgrims' Mass. The second was a young woman who had come with a parish group on the bus from Santander. She had collected petitions to Saint James and was here to lay these with her prayers at the Tomb. Last was a family of a pilgrim who had died on the Way to Santiago. They flew here to reconnect in some way with a lost parent. To think and pray and just be around the places their parent had been. There is a certificate for each of them if they want it. Are any pilgrims better than others – who am I to judge?

I hope everyone has a very happy and peaceful New Year.

John
 
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Madidi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2012 & 17: Fisterra Muxia 2013 & 2015: Ingles 2014: Madrid 2015: Salvador & Primitivo 2016
Yes is it an issue which seems to provoke selfish and judgemental reactions. That was certainly the case with me but over time my views have changed. I was very proud of my first Camino. I walked 1000 kms from Seville in winter. It changed my life and I’ve been walking the Camino routes ever since. Whilst this has been a truly spiritual experience in many ways I have also at times experienced a feeling of having “done better” than others who had walked for less kilometres or had walked in better weather. In the beginning I carried everything on my back and slept in albergues. I felt a far better pilgrim than those who used luggage forwarding services and slept in hotels. I went to Mass whenever it was available........

As always John, a beautifully expressed observation.

Warmest regards from Ireland.

Un feliz y un nuevo año santo.

S.
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
C. Frances sections Apr-Jun 2019
JohnnieWalker, thank you for this beautifully expressed post. I hope those who make the pejorative comments about "quickie" pilgrims and the like, take time to read and reflect on what you have written here.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Yes is it an issue which seems to provoke selfish and judgemental reactions. That was certainly the case with me but over time my views have changed. I was very proud of my first Camino. I walked 1000 kms from Seville in winter. It changed my life and I’ve been walking the Camino routes ever since. Whilst this has been a truly spiritual experience in many ways I have also at times experienced a feeling of having “done better” than others who had walked for less kilometres or had walked in better weather. In the beginning I carried everything on my back and slept in albergues. I felt a far better pilgrim than those who used luggage forwarding services and slept in hotels. I went to Mass whenever it was available and often found I was the only one of the pilgrims who had arrived who was there. “Call themselves pilgrims? Where are they?” I privately thought. I walked every step of the way and thought less of those who skipped a bit, or got the bus because they were tired, or missed out what they described as an ugly section. And cyclists! Judgemental - oh yes!

Being here in Santiago now for some years I’ve met many who have come for different reasons and used different ways to get here. Some walked long distances, some short. Some cycled or drove or came with a parish group on a bus, some sailed into Coruña on a great cruise ship and came by bus to crowd the Pilgrims’ Mass and then returned immediately to catch the afternoon tide. Amongst this throng are people with different motives - faith, sport, recreation, holiday-making. So where are the “pilgrims”?

My conclusion is that being a “pilgrim” is nothing to do with the Compostela or how we get here but rather what we feel in our hearts, in that mystical part of us which senses the work of the Divine in the journey which we make.

In my view everyone who defines themselves as such is a pilgrim to the Tomb of Santiago. And I believe there is no such thing as a superior or inferior pilgrim. Like religions there are different roads to the Kingdom and different ways of being a pilgrim to Santiago. I abhor pejorative labels like “quickie pilgrims” because it implies an elitist superiority based on what – miles walked?

At the moment everyone arriving in Santiago can get a Certificate of one kind or another from the Cathedral. The Compostela for those who walk or cycle the requisite distance, a Certificate of Welcome for those who travelled the requisite distance for reasons other than spiritual and a Visitors Certificate for those who have visited the Tome of the Saint. The three look remarkably similar! And of course for those who qualify for the Compostela there is a distance certificate which records the kms walked and the starting point. I have to say that given that none of these Certificates bestows anything other than being a certificate recording arrival in Santiago I am quickly coming to the conclusion there should only be one "Compostela" for everyone!

In the current debate there seems to be two points in contention: how to separate and recognise in some special way the longer distance walkers from others and what to do about the very busy stretch from Sarria to Santiago.

I am ambivalent about the first question: Why would I as a pilgrim who walked 1000 kms want a better/different certificate than a fellow pilgrim who walked 500 or 100 kms? But I can understand that some people might. I suspect the cathedral will not produce a “long distance certificate” for walking pilgrims but perhaps FICS might. Why not?

Secondly it seems to me that the problem of the business of the final 100 kms is because of lack of marketing of the other routes and the lack of building enough infrastructure to support pilgrim numbers.

Finally – a few months ago I met three sets of pilgrims almost all at the same time. The first was a man with a physical disability who had walked from France. He said he was a disabled athlete and had enjoyed the Camino but he didn’t believe in God and wouldn't attend the Pilgrims' Mass. The second was a young woman who had come with a parish group on the bus from Santander. She had collected petitions to Saint James and was here to lay these with her prayers at the Tomb. Last was a family of a pilgrim who had died on the Way to Santiago. They flew here to reconnect in some way with a lost parent. To think and pray and just be around the places their parent had been. There is a certificate for each of them if they want it. Are any pilgrims better than others – who am I to judge?

I hope everyone has a very happy and peaceful New Year.

John

So good to hear the wise words of our pal JW, I've missed you!
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
With those thoughtful words @JohnnieWalker, as always, makes a most valuable contribution. He's right, there are many aspects to this debate and he covers everything that we need to consider.

I don't have a view on what the Cathedral authorities should do; as a liberal protestant it is not my business (other than to be respectful, and grateful for the Church's safeguarding of a sacred site). It seems in some people's minds the plenipotenciary indulgence (purely religious) has morphed into the Compostela, which is not the case at all.

As to the section between Sarria and Santiago, from my observation it is only crowded for a few short months. It was crowded in June, not very in September. It is OK, provided the infrastructure continues to support the numbers during the busy months. I noticed it was all very clean in September so I assume the local authorities (or individuals) had taken proactive anti-litter action. We can all help by removing a bit of litter as we walk, and encouraging others to do the same.

Johnnies suggestion has merit, that FICS themselves issue a certificate. FICS could just as easily and authentically issue a distance certificate as the Cathedral authorities. It just needs marketing. So far the Church has a monopoly on that. A thousand years of practice does help!
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Yes is it an issue which seems to provoke selfish and judgemental reactions. That was certainly the case with me but over time my views have changed. I was very proud of my first Camino. I walked 1000 kms from Seville in winter. It changed my life and I’ve been walking the Camino routes ever since. Whilst this has been a truly spiritual experience in many ways I have also at times experienced a feeling of having “done better” than others who had walked for less kilometres or had walked in better weather. In the beginning I carried everything on my back and slept in albergues. I felt a far better pilgrim than those who used luggage forwarding services and slept in hotels. I went to Mass whenever it was available and often found I was the only one of the pilgrims who had arrived who was there. “Call themselves pilgrims? Where are they?” I privately thought. I walked every step of the way and thought less of those who skipped a bit, or got the bus because they were tired, or missed out what they described as an ugly section. And cyclists! Judgemental - oh yes!

Being here in Santiago now for some years I’ve met many who have come for different reasons and used different ways to get here. Some walked long distances, some short. Some cycled or drove or came with a parish group on a bus, some sailed into Coruña on a great cruise ship and came by bus to crowd the Pilgrims’ Mass and then returned immediately to catch the afternoon tide. Amongst this throng are people with different motives - faith, sport, recreation, holiday-making. So where are the “pilgrims”?

My conclusion is that being a “pilgrim” is nothing to do with the Compostela or how we get here but rather what we feel in our hearts, in that mystical part of us which senses the work of the Divine in the journey which we make.

In my view everyone who defines themselves as such is a pilgrim to the Tomb of Santiago. And I believe there is no such thing as a superior or inferior pilgrim. Like religions there are different roads to the Kingdom and different ways of being a pilgrim to Santiago. I abhor pejorative labels like “quickie pilgrims” because it implies an elitist superiority based on what – miles walked?

At the moment everyone arriving in Santiago can get a Certificate of one kind or another from the Cathedral. The Compostela for those who walk or cycle the requisite distance, a Certificate of Welcome for those who travelled the requisite distance for reasons other than spiritual and a Visitors Certificate for those who have visited the Tome of the Saint. The three look remarkably similar! And of course for those who qualify for the Compostela there is a distance certificate which records the kms walked and the starting point. I have to say that given that none of these Certificates bestows anything other than being a certificate recording arrival in Santiago I am quickly coming to the conclusion there should only be one "Compostela" for everyone!

In the current debate there seems to be two points in contention: how to separate and recognise in some special way the longer distance walkers from others and what to do about the very busy stretch from Sarria to Santiago.

I am ambivalent about the first question: Why would I as a pilgrim who walked 1000 kms want a better/different certificate than a fellow pilgrim who walked 500 or 100 kms? But I can understand that some people might. I suspect the cathedral will not produce a “long distance certificate” for walking pilgrims but perhaps FICS might. Why not?

Secondly it seems to me that the problem of the business of the final 100 kms is because of lack of marketing of the other routes and the lack of building enough infrastructure to support pilgrim numbers.

Finally – a few months ago I met three sets of pilgrims almost all at the same time. The first was a man with a physical disability who had walked from France. He said he was a disabled athlete and had enjoyed the Camino but he didn’t believe in God and wouldn't attend the Pilgrims' Mass. The second was a young woman who had come with a parish group on the bus from Santander. She had collected petitions to Saint James and was here to lay these with her prayers at the Tomb. Last was a family of a pilgrim who had died on the Way to Santiago. They flew here to reconnect in some way with a lost parent. To think and pray and just be around the places their parent had been. There is a certificate for each of them if they want it. Are any pilgrims better than others – who am I to judge?

I hope everyone has a very happy and peaceful New Year.

John
Thank you for this beautiful post John.
Wish you well, Peter.
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
JW, you've elevated the discussion to a whole new level of meaning. Thank you so much for your humble and honest contributions...here and 'out there'. We should copy this to post whenever one of those 'who is a real pilgrim' discussions pops up.
You're so right--it's all about what's in the heart that matters. The rest is less important.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
So Johnnie - how can we fix this error in their education??? Happy New Year!

Teaching them English? *Tongue in cheek, foot in mouth, hides and runs* Buen Camino, SY

PS I hold the Cathedral stuff, canons and lay, in highest esteem I hasten to add ...
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
So Johnnie - how can we fix this error in their education??? Happy New Year!

An old greek once wrote ,
"Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible"
This post [ OP ] is not about what is wrong , rather a call to analyse what has gone wrong.
As JW beautifully explained there will be twists and turns , confusion and contradictions but there must still be a debate.
It should [ give me a break] not take long for the hierarchy SY to consider this problem if they follow the old saying;
"There is no greater courage than the courage to see what one sees".

No more serious stuff from me , off to Tassie and a lovely secluded beach on Bruny Island .
Safe and healthy New Year to all.
 

Maryindigo

Member
Past OR future Camino
Past Camino Sarria to Santiago 12 April 2016
Planning the next one !
I hope this is not too off topic, but I just wanted some clarity about the Pilgrims Passport. I am walking my first Camino April 2016. I am assuming I can order it from the Shop on this forum. I am meeting some friends in Sarria and they will walk only Sarria to Santiago. Can I order all three passports from the forum shop? And this is the passport we carry with us and get signed as we walk the Camino? Or should I just get my own when I get to SJPP?




Hi Geri
I am also walking Sarria to Santiago in April i arrive in Sarria on the 12th.When are you travelling ? I got my passport from The friends of St James here in Ireland but yes you can order from the forum here also. Buen Camino
 

anna pugh

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016
Anna, isn't surpiring to realise how long we actually walk when we compare it to driving? The same thing happens on the Camino: you look ahead and tell yourself you will never make to that bridge, windmill, town. And you do. But then you look back and realise the distance you have just covered. WhenI walk at home walking 7 km feels like a lot, but not on the Camino, don't know why. Perhaps because I don't know what's ahead of me? You'll be fine.

As for why there are those pushing to increase the requirement I would say it's not to diminish the accomplish,ent of those for whom 100km it is an accomplishment but in the hopes of returning the Camino experience to what it used to be even just 5 years ago. The compostela is now a holiday souvenir for which people will do as little as possible to get it and unfortunately that trophy chase has really changed what used to be a wonderful experience. But as Laurie put it, you know in your heart what you put in, what you got out, just cherish your credencial and special photos.
Hi Anemone.. yes I completely understand this point abut the camino being a walking holiday with a special celebration at the end that you don't get from walking the Cheviots. When I first started thinking about this it was as a pilgrimage . I certainly don't intend to have another lifetimes of "naughtinesses" to require another such 'sacrifice' :)
 

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