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questions asked when getting a credencial

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2008, half Via del Plata 2011, Camino Fisterra 2011, Camino Aragones 2013.
Are you asked why you're doing the camino when you seek a credencial from a religious organisation and should I say "for religious reasons" if so? Along the camino is there any distinction made between believers and non-believers? (I was brought up catholic but am non-religious now)


Nunca se camina solo

The Confraternities and Associations which issue Credenciales such as the CSJ in the UK and the Irish Society of the Friends of St James http://www.stjamesirl.com/ are not religious organisations.

No one will ask if you are religious. When you arrive in Santiago and go to the pilgrims office you fill in a form giving your motivation those who do not count 'spiritual' as part of their reason for making the pilgrimage can obtain another document, a certificado, to attest to their having completed it.


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Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Senyor Pirotecnic - when you register at Roncesvalles you are given a form to fill in which includes your reasons for walking el camino: Religious, Spiritual, Cultural, other. On my first camino I ticked all four. At many other places you just pay your 1 or 2 euro and are given the credencial no questions asked. There are even some churches that have them available with an honesty box to put the money into.
It is when you go to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago that they will ask for your motivation and, as Johnny says, if you say that you did not walk for Religious/Spiritual reasons, you can ask for the tourist certificate. You HAVE to walk 100kms, cycle or go on horseback 200km, to qualify for the Compostela. They are very strict about this rule. Here is an interesting excerpt about the awarding of the Compostela:

Canon Genaro Cebrián recalls that the Compostela is no longer used to atone for the sins. He refused a compostela to the Queen for failing to meet the requirements. To be granted the Compostela "it is necessary to confess a religious faith."
"They are not asked about their faith, if they are Catholics, Buddhists or Islamists. We only ask that the reason is religious", he added. Therefore, atheists and agnostics can only aspire to an alternative “welcome” document.
The Queen was among the latter. Queen Sofia visited a few years ago years ago after travelling a few kilometres accompanied by members of the Royal Guard. At the end of their journey they requested the 'Compostela' for her Majesty. But Cebrián refused because they had not fulfilled the requirements, so they were offered a souvenir certificate instead."
The reason given by the Pilgrim Office for restricting the compostela to those with the official church credencial was so that prospective pilgrims could, when obtaining the credencial from their local priest, discuss their journey with him, so putting the emphasis on spiritual (though not necessarily Christian/RC) journeys rather than cheap holidays.

If churches are handing out credencials without doing this, then they're rather missing the point!

It was never clear how they would achieve this outside Spain and they had to restrict it to Spaniards only. So you can continue to get a credencial from your local Jacobean assoc who, as the others have said, won't ask any questions.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
That is quite right Peter.
There is a misconception that the issuing of credencials was the Church's idea. It was the idea of the Spanish Federation as Javier told us a year or so ago:
The credential was born from the associations, from Elias Valiña in Jaca (1987), just to open the albergues to the pilgrims. Nothing about the Cathedral, nor the Compostela. It wasn't their matter.



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