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Qualifying for Compostela: purpose

BarbaraW

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances part (2019)
I hope to complete my CF this spring, and my thoughts are turning to whether I might honestly apply for a compostela, assuming I make it. It's not a question of distance /stamp rules, but of meeting the requirements about purpose.

I started my Camino for no reason other that a friend asked me to go with her. It was one year on from the untimely death of my husband and I felt the need to say yes to every invitation that came my way. I returned from a wonderful two weeks with a deep sense of peace and gratitude, and strong desire to walk the rest of the way.

The information on the Pilgrim Office website refers to "religious or spiritual reasons, or at least an attitude of search". As a "hopeful agnostic" albeit of Christian background I cannot claim the first and I'm not sure about the second. "An attitude of search" I can wholeheartedly sign up to. The compostela itself doesn't include this last phrase, but does appear to require Christian sentiment (pietatis causa). My Latin rusted away long ago, but I see that Google translates this as for compassion, which I am comfortable with.

I don't know what sort of scrutiny the Pilgrim Office brings to this - probably not much, because of the sheer weight of numbers, but I'd really welcome reflections.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
A "hopeful agnostic"; hoping you will be proved wrong, hoping for that little moment of revelation or understanding? I'm not teasing. This old pagan walks the Ways in a constant search. My Old Guys don't do much other than exist. I've always looked for something I could have faith in, that might give back something beyond mere existence. Haven't found it yet but I do have a few Compostelas none claimed or held in shame.

You'll know when you get there.

Buen camino
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I don't know what sort of scrutiny the Pilgrim Office brings to this - probably not much, because of the sheer weight of numbers, but I'd really welcome reflections.
The pilgrim office do not actively question you on your motives these days. There is a box to tick on the form you fill in. If you tick 'religious' or 'spiritual' you will be taken at your word and given a Compostela. If you really feel personally that your journey was not walked in pietatis causa then you can receive a very similar welcome certificate instead of the Compostela. That is a matter for your conscience. At the end of my own first Camino I had a long and quite searching conversation with a priest from the cathedral staff about my motives, my understanding of pilgrimage and the saints and my experience of the journey before I received my Compostela. But that was in part curiosity on the priest's side on meeting a Protestant theology student and the conversation was an exploration of a different tradition rather than a pass/fail exam. I found it very useful in helping me understand my pilgrimage. Sadly numbers these days would not allow such a conversation and the pilgrim office in practice concerns itself with making sure people have met the criteria about minimum distance, route and so on.
 

BarbaraW

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances part (2019)
Thank you Kirkie. I'm not torturing myself, and thought also that the query might interest others especially the more theologically minded. It also occurred that I might know the answer when I get to Santiago!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Please realize, too, that just because one is a Christian walking the Camino, the question is still valid as to if one walked for spiritual/religious reasons. Perhaps that Catholic was simply out for a nice long walk or “wanted to travel more”.... In short, the compestella is not a test of what you believe but really an indication of what you seek.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Thank you Kirkie. I'm not torturing myself, and thought also that the query might interest others especially the more theologically minded. It also occurred that I might know the answer when I get to Santiago!
From what I've read of others accounts (or heard in podcasts, etc.), I think a number of people find that, while they start their caminos with perfectly secular intentions, they find that by the end their journey has acquired some sort of spiritual dimension. For me, these people also qualify for a Compostela with the way the wording has been broadened. And if you translate as "compassion", my experience of the pilgrim community is that it is rife with that quality.
 


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