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What is the significance of the modern Credencial?


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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:
The first modern 'credencial' was issued in the late 1950's to road pilgrims who followed a road map of routes for pilgrims and tourists which was published for the 1954 Holy Year. Five road routes leading tourists and tourist-pilgrims to Santiago were developed closely following what would become the 'Camino de Santiago' roads 30 years later. A road map of these routes for pilgrims and tourists was published for the 1954 Holy Year with information on churches, monuments, hotels and restaurants along the way.

A concertina style credential was issued, with blank squares, so that travelers could obtain a stamp at the places they stopped at along the road including Jaca, Valcarlos, Pamplona, Estella, Logroño, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Frómista, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada and Monastery of Samos. On arrival in Santiago they could ask for the pilgrim diploma which was funded by the Ministry of Information and Tourism and signed by the Archbishop of Compostela

In 1963, Antonio Roa Irisarri, Jaime Eguaras Echávarri and José María Jimeno Jurío, members of the newly formed association of "Los Amigos de Camino de Santiago" in Estella, made a pilgrimage to Santiago dressed in Capuchin habits and leading a mule with a wagon. They designed a Pilgrim's Credencial to have stamped along the way which was approved and blessed by Cardinal-Archbishop of Santiago Archbishop Fernando Quiroga Palacios. The cover design with a walking cane, gourd and scallop shell was adopted at the first international Jacobean conference held in Jaca in 1987.

According to Javier Martin (AMIGOS), the modern version of the 'Credencial del Peregrino' was not connected to the church or the Compostela, and according to the founding members of AMIGOS it was a 'memento' to the pilgrim's walk.
"The credencial del peregrinos had nothing to do with the cathedral or the church, it was the idea of the congress, of Elias Valina at the congress, for the pilgrims and the albergues, not for the church.”
Minutes of the AMIGOS Congress 1987: "The credencial would serve to identify a pilgrim, and when he has reached Santiago, to be a memento of the sacrifice and effort put into the pilgrimage."
By the year 2000 dozens of people and tour operators were designing their own credenciales, which were being presented to the Pilgrim Office for a Compostela. Many tourists who were only travelling by bus were able to use their tour company issued credenciales to collect stamps at bars, restaurants, hotels, tourist offices etc., and present their credencial to the pilgrim's office for a Compostela. The Archdiocese stepped in and declared that only official credenciales (those issued by them and affiliated organisations) would be accepted for the Compostela.

The Compostela, as you know, is only given to those who meet the 100km for walkers and 200km for cyclists requirements. The only reason that I have been able to find for the 100 km requirement, which was imposed by the church for the earning a Compostela , was to ensure:
".. effort and sacrifice in expiation of sins.." (El esfuerzo y sacrificio en expiación de los pecados...")

This resulted in many people confusing the Compostela with a remission of sins, or the Catholic indulgence. Over the past 15 years I've read hundreds of articles describing the Compostela as a 'get-out-of-jail' card. The Compostela is not the 'get-out-of jail-card', it is a certificate of completion awarded to pilgrims who walk or horseback ride the last 100km to Santiago de Compostela, or cycle the last 200km.
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Well-researched, Sil!:) To-day, "changes in significance" can be attributed to the Camino "aficionados"' ever increasing materialism, instead of ".. effort and sacrifice in expiation of sins.." (El esfuerzo y sacrificio en expiación de los pecados...") as you so correctly recall. :( By "aficionados" I do not mean the many people (gracias a Dios) who day-by-day are sacrificing their time and efforts to try and keep the Caminos (notice the plural) within the original context.:)

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