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What makes a pilgrim?

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I think thi is possibly a bit uncharitable.
I agree. We are receiving this information 2nd hand. We don't know what their intentions were, only that they were provided hospitality, but were told that they would not be permitted in to stay in other Association albergues after that.
 
I would suggest that rather than being upset about what happened to them, it would be far more appropriate for us to reconsider some of our previous rhetoric, and instead to be much more upset by the treatment being given to the hospitaleros and association involved, both by the two women and in this thread.
To be fair, the two women at the centre of alberguegate haven't received much sympathy in this thread as a whole.

I agree. We are receiving this information 2nd hand. We don't know what their intentions were, only that they were provided hospitality, but were told that they would not be permitted in to stay in other Association albergues after that.
It might be kinder to consider that their plan to use the donativo network was ill considered to begin with, rather than outright dishonest and that they may possibly have paid their way. While we have two sides of a story, all stories have three...

Anyway, hopefully they will be enlightened as a result of all this fuss, and hopefully many others will too, after reading through the thread.😇
 
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My husband and I are on our 7th Camino right now, the sparsely traveled Camino Mozarabe in SE Spain. Groups of volunteers run the different sections of the Camino and give you codes and things like that to get into the albergues since there are rarely Hospitaleros. The volunteers been helpful and welcoming to us.

We met 2 young women along they way on their break from medical school walking it backwards because it worked a lot better for them logistically to go from Cordoba to Almeria instead of the other way around. One of them has down the Norte. They have their pilgrim passports, are carrying their things, and have gotten stamps from every section up to the section after Granada.

From Cordoba to Granada, they were fine. Then once they got past Granada, a new group of volunteers took over and told them they were not allowed to stay in the albergues because they are not real pilgrims and just sightseeing tourists since they aren’t walking toward Santiago since a pilgrimage is to a sacred place.

So what makes a pilgrim? Many people have opinions on this: “You’re not a real pilgrim if….” Insert what you want: don’t carry your bag. Don’t sleep in albergues. Skip sections. Have tour groups plan their Camino. Etc. You name it, and people have an opinion on it. But they don’t get turned away from albergues.

But I have never heard of people being denied a bed (keep in mind, this is a lonely, hard Camino through the desert) because they are walking east instead of west. I understand it’s their facilities, and I suppose they can do what they want (?) but this is absolutely against the spirit of the Camino in my opinion.

I don’t know what to do about this, but I feel like this group of volunteers is a bit holier than though in their interpretation of what makes a pilgrim.

I’m quite upset about these women being treated this way. Thoughts?
I might be wrong, but didn’t the pilgrims of old have to walk back home again after giving their penance in Santiago?
 
But they weren't !!
Exactly. And, as quoted by @peregrina2000 in post 71 above, Mercedes, the head of the Association has said they also were given dinner that evening and breakfast the following morning. But they were told that this was all an exception to the Association rules and wouldn't be available to them again. That seems to be where the controversy arose.
 
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Exactly. And, as quoted by @peregrina2000 in post 71 above, Mercedes, the head of the Association has said they also were given dinner that evening and breakfast the following morning. But they were told that this was all an exception to the Association rules and wouldn't be available to them again. That seems to be where the controversy arose.

I think that the fact that they were apparently told (but, again this is second hand information) that they were not real pilgrims:

because they are not real pilgrims and just sightseeing tourists since they aren’t walking toward Santiago
 
Do you really think that? If they were using a credential in the form mandated by the Office of Pilgrimages of the Diocese of Santiago, by that use they had agreed they were complying with a number of conditions, including that their pilgrimage was on the Camino de Santiago to the tomb of the saint. If they weren't, presenting the credential as a means of gaining "access to hostels offered by the Christian hospitality of the Way" was clearly untruthful.

They have invalidated the credential for the purpose of accessing a range of pilgrim accommodation, including the accommodation being discussed here. There is an issue of personal morality here that has been touched on earlier. There may be no 'official rules' for albergues, but by using the credential, as individual pilgrims, we have agreed to a set of conditions established by the Diocese of Santiago. Personal lack of fluency in Spanish, French or any other language used in the credential is no excuse for not understanding what these are and the boundaries they establish around how we might complete our pilgrimage.

It seems to me that in failing to adhere to these boundaries, the only people who have failed to honour some, undefined, 'spirit of the camino' are the two women who were refused accommodation. I would suggest that rather than being upset about what happened to them, it would be far more appropriate for us to reconsider some of our previous rhetoric, and instead to be much more upset by the treatment being given to the hospitaleros and association involved, both by the two women and in this thread.
So, Doug, anyone not intending to go to Santiago (no matter what direction they are walking) is not entitled to stay at any lodging that is for pilgrim’s only?
 
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So, Doug, anyone not intending to go to Santiago (no matter what direction they are walking) is not entitled to stay at any lodging that is for pilgrim’s only?
There is no universal set of rules for all albergues. You can't make a statement that covers "any lodging." The groups that own and operate the albergues make their own rules.
 
So, Doug, anyone not intending to go to Santiago (no matter what direction they are walking) is not entitled to stay at any lodging that is for pilgrim’s only?
This is complicated. The official credential of the Pilgrim Office is freely available today, as most of us know, without any deep inquiry by the those providing it into the motives of the prospective pilgrim. This is what the Pilgrim Office English language web-site pages says:
Today there is an official Credencial model distributed and accepted by the Office of Pilgrimages of the Diocese of Santiago. You can get it by requesting it in person at the Pilgrim’s Reception Office or other institutions authorised by the Cathedral of Santiago for their distribution, such as parish churches, Associations of Friends of the Way of St. James, pilgrim hostels, confraternities, etc. In Spain and abroad, some associations related to the pilgrimage have been authorised to distribute their own Credenciales with a reference to the goal of the pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Santiago. (https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-credencial/)
Further on, there is this explanation:
The Credencial does not generate any rights to the pilgrim. It has two practical purposes: 1) access to hostels offered by the Christian hospitality of the Way, 2) serve as certification in applying for the “Compostela” at the Cathedral of Santiago, which certifies you have made the pilgrimage.
which is followed by a list of other conditions that includes this:
And it [the compostela] is only granted to those who make the pilgrimage to reach the Tomb of the Apostle,
So the question that would need to be answered is 'Which are the hostels offered by the Christian hospitality of the Way that can only be accessed by having a valid credential carried by someone who is complying with all the necessary conditions?" And we already know that question is not always easy to answer, although the association at the centre of this discussion has made it clear with respect to its albergues.
 
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I might be wrong, but didn’t the pilgrims of old have to walk back home again after giving their penance in Santiago?
Not really no -- some did, who couldn't afford better, but even in the mediaeval period, some foot pilgrims would choose faster transportation home ; walk there, sail back, or walk then ride back for example. This was particularly true of the Jerusalem Way.

Taking faster transport home became more frequent after the invention of public transport by horse and carriage or by barge in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Fewer pilgrims will have gone on pilgrimage for reasons of penance after the old penalty of minor excommunication was de facto abolished by Pope Martin V in the 15th Century (the Compostela functioned as legal proof that it was lifted, though it could be lifted by other, less perambulatory means as well), but even so, tourism and religious devotion were always purposes for many pilgrims. Some others had more worldly reasons for theirs.
 
So, Doug, anyone not intending to go to Santiago (no matter what direction they are walking) is not entitled to stay at any lodging that is for pilgrim’s only?
Perhaps a better way of framing one's moral consideration here is to ask whether, if one isn't intending to go to the Cathedral, one would be entitled to carry a credential from the Pilgrim Office. It would seem to me that, other than someone returning home after completing a pilgrimage, one would know that they weren't intending to accept the conditions established by the Pilgrim Office. My thinking is that this would invalidate the credential.

This is not to say that someone mightn't walk to another pilgrimage destination using a credential issued for that purpose. I walked to Fatima with a credential from one of the now defunct Portuguese pilgrim associations, and outside the Iberian peninsula, I have regularly walked to pilgrimage destinations with credentials that gave me access to accommodation arranged on the basis that I was walking as a pilgrim.

One might hope that, as a general rule, the confraternities, associations and individuals running pilgrim albergues will accept such alternative ways of establishing one's bona fides as a pilgrim. But as others have said, they are entitled to establish their own rules on such matters and enforce them as they see fit.
 
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What started as a relatively simple situation where two people walking a pilgrimage route discovered that local rules barred them from staying at a set of particular albergues has somehow escalated into a series of statements suggesting that people who have no intention of completing the walk into Santiago de Compostela are not entitled to carry a pilgrims passport that is associated with the Caminos Santiago.

This is probably news to a number of experienced pilgrims on this forum who I regularly see posting statements that they have no intention of walking into Santiago de Compostela (any more) but I suspect continue to carry a pilgrims passport that relates to the Caminos Santiago.
 
This thread is still rambling on ... since various references to history had been made, including by the OP, perhaps it is useful to point out again as others have already done repeatedly that:
  • Pilgrimage does not mean pilgrimage on foot. Pilgrimage on foot is part of a wide concept of pilgrimage. Wider today than in the Middle Ages.

  • Camino pilgrims do not have a right to low cost accommodation. Where does this idea come from?
BTW, I am not convinced that everyone is out and about because they want a cheap holiday. Or a cheap pilgrimage which is then usually labelled as an affordable pilgrimage. It is the availability of accommodation, the well-established and reliable net of albergues that is attractive for many.
 
This is probably news to a number of experienced pilgrims on this forum who I regularly see posting statements that they have no intention of walking into Santiago de Compostela (any more) but I suspect continue to carry a pilgrims passport that relates to the Caminos Santiago.
The credencial conditions which @dougfitz points out have been in place for a long time. It will only be news to experienced pilgrims if they have not taken the time in the past to read the credencial and take note of what it says. Though I think that in practice these conditions may more often have been read, understood and then simply disregarded as an outdated rhetorical flourish by those who otherwise might find them inconvenient. Rather like the religious/spiritual elements of the text of the Compostela.
 
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The only exception would be in Granada, in the monastery of San Bernardo, which is donativo, but they accept anyone and everyone. Their religious belief in Christian Hospitality leads them to accept pilgrims, tourists, beggars, and homeless — anyone who knocks at their door.
This is an interesting quote.

Again, since the OP reproaches that not enough is known about history:

The medieval system of hospitales is gone for good. For many reasons. And it is not coming back. The contemporary traditional Jacobean hospitality sees itself in this tradition but it is not the same. Different aims, different financing. So forget about the Middle Ages.
 
Do you really think that? If they were using a credential in the form mandated by the Office of Pilgrimages of the Diocese of Santiago, by that use they had agreed they were complying with a number of conditions, including that their pilgrimage was on the Camino de Santiago to the tomb of the saint. If they weren't, presenting the credential as a means of gaining "access to hostels offered by the Christian hospitality of the Way" was clearly untruthful.

If that is so, they have invalidated the credential for the purpose of accessing a range of pilgrim accommodation, including the accommodation being discussed here. There is an issue of personal morality here that has been touched on earlier. There may be no 'official rules' for albergues, but by using the credential, as individual pilgrims, we have agreed to a set of conditions established by the Diocese of Santiago. Personal lack of fluency in Spanish, French or any other language used in the credential is no excuse for not understanding what these are and the boundaries they establish around how we might complete our pilgrimage.

It seems to me that in failing to adhere to these boundaries, the only people who have failed to honour some, undefined, 'spirit of the camino' are the two women who were refused accommodation. I would suggest that rather than being upset about what happened to them, it would be far more appropriate for us to reconsider some of our previous rhetoric, and instead to be much more upset by the treatment being given to the hospitaleros and association involved, both by the two women and in this thread.
Your post enticed me to search for my credential of the Via de la Plata, issued by the " Federacion espanol de associaciones de amigos del Camino de Santiago". There was no text on it that said you had to comply to the condition that you had to walk to Santiago or any other condition regarding your motivation to walk the camino. This credential was accepted in every ( kind of) albergue and was used by most pilgrims. I did not check all my other credentials, but I am quite sure I used similar ones on most of my other caminos. To many people the conditions you refer to are not known and you cannot say that they willingly do not adhere to rules they do not know.
(I did not walk the Mozarabe, perhaps on that route only the credential that you mention is "valid", but I presume that this is not the case.)
 
Well, as to the two French versions of the credencial, the smaller cream-coloured one from the Paris Association, that you can also obtain at Lourdes, describes the conditions for obtaining the Compostela, mentioning dans une perspective chrétienne / con sentido cristiano (it's bilingual). It mentions nothing about getting into any Albergues.

The larger white one that anyone having started from SJPP or Arles will be familiar with, makes a request towards the civil, religious, military, and gendarmerie forces to assist the pilgrim qui entreprend vers Compostelle la traditionnelle pérégrination, à la manière des anciens pèlerins. Then at the back adds : Ce "carnet de Pèlerin" est seul destiné aux Pèlerins à pied, à bicyclette ou à cheval, qui désirent faire leur pèlerinage dans une démarche spirituelle.

It makes the exact same points that @Kathar1na has detailed about giving no "rights".

But then it adds :

Il est nécessaire de respecter le règlement des Refuges de Pèlerins etc. We are to foillow the rules of each individual Albergue, this is clear.

I will add that as to what con sentido cristiano means, in its Catholic sense, this refers to pilgrims who intend what the Church intends in pilgrimage. And this is far more generous in spirit than some might think !! It is not to "reserve" the pilgrimage to Catholics only nor indeed to Christians exclusively, but it refers to any who follow the pilgrimage in the manner defined/desired by the Church, which is the case of the vast majority of pilgrims to Santiago -- it means that you are walking (biking, riding) the Camino with an intention of visiting the Tomb of the Apostle / the Cathedral, or after having done so.
 
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Not really no -- some did, who couldn't afford better, but even in the mediaeval period, some foot pilgrims would choose faster transportation home ; walk there, sail back, or walk then ride back for example. This was particularly true of the Jerusalem Way.

Taking faster transport home became more frequent after the invention of public transport by horse and carriage or by barge in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Fewer pilgrims will have gone on pilgrimage for reasons of penance after the old penalty of minor excommunication was de facto abolished by Pope Martin V in the 15th Century (the Compostela functioned as legal proof that it was lifted, though it could be lifted by other, less perambulatory means as well), but even so, tourism and religious devotion were always purposes for many pilgrims. Some others had more worldly reasons for theirs.
Thanks for the explanation very informative.
 
In my opinion, the OP's question was answered in post #82. The information provided there clearly states the parameters under which a Pilgrim may utilize the albergue network between Almeria and Granada. I think this answers the OP's original question, with possibly some question of the exact interaction.

In my opinion. others individual moral or personal views on how this should have been handled, including WWJD are antidotal to the specific guidelines outlined by the local association. I am not saying your views don't have value but that they are outside the parameters of this debate.

That said, the level of support and guidance provided, over 9 etapas, by this organization are unmatched. There is no stretch on any Camino, I have walked, that has provided this level of support.
 
Your post enticed me to search for my credential of the Via de la Plata, issued by the " Federacion espanol de associaciones de amigos del Camino de Santiago". There was no text on it that said you had to comply to the condition that you had to walk to Santiago or any other condition regarding your motivation to walk the camino.
I, too, have credentials like that issued by the Pilgrim Office in SJPP, the Amigos in Covas (for the CI), and one of the Tourist Offices in SDC (for the walk to Muxia & Fisterra). But I also have many versions of the more modern credential issued by the Pilgrim Office and Via Lusitania in Portugal. These all have a page with the conditions I spoke of earlier listed in either Spanish or Portuguese. I walked with the first of these in 2016, so I feel fairly safe suggesting that anyone who obtained their credential recently will have something similar.
To many people the conditions you refer to are not known
This may well be true. Why is less clear. The conditions are clearly printed in credentials, the Pilgrim Office has a readily accessible web site that has these and a wealth of other detail in both Spanish and English, and there are forums like these where we regularly refer to that web site as the authoritative source for a variety of matters.
you cannot say that they willingly do not adhere to rules they do not know.
This is a fair point. But equally, while ignorance about a rule might explain someone failing to comply with it, it will never excuse that.
 
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On another tack, there are numerous people walking up and down caminos, in particular the Francés who are clearly homeless. They are never refused admission to donativos (or at least the rules say they should not be). For the hospitalero, a pilgrim should be anybody who walks through the door with a credencial. One does not judge.
I believe that the Credential was established during the Middle Ages for the exact purpose of proving Pilgrimage so that homeless wanderers traversing back and forth along the Camino could NOT take advantage of Pilgrim support infrastructure.
 
I believe that the Credential was established during the Middle Ages for the exact purpose of proving Pilgrimage so that homeless wanderers traversing back and forth along the Camino could NOT take advantage of Pilgrim support infrastructure.
perhaps we are a little more generous these days, or maybe the modern day picaro has adopted the basic step of acquiring a new credencial every time they set out. Hospitaleros are instructed not to judge.
 
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I believe that the Credential was established during the Middle Ages for the exact purpose of proving Pilgrimage so that homeless wanderers traversing back and forth along the Camino could NOT take advantage of Pilgrim support infrastructure.
Not really, given that most mediaeval hospitals functioned simultaneously as medical establishments, Albergues, hostels, and homeless refuges. Certainly, some monasteries and whatnot would have conditions permitting pilgrims to stay for a night without any other "hospital" activities per se, and there were some specific pilgrim hospitals in locations where they were needed from the sheer numbers, but these too had a medical function towards assisting injured pilgrims and ones that were ill, and as to whether they helped the homeless or not would doubtless have varied from the one to the next.
Is there any evidence of credentials being used 1000 years ago??
Not in the modern form no -- which is an invention of the 1940s IIRC.

Pilgrims did carry identification papers with a somewhat similar function, though they were centred around an individualised letter of introduction from the pilgrim's parish priest or Bishop or Abbot etc.

Proof of passage came in the form of physical tokens rather than as modern rubber stamps on paper.
 
So apparently page 6 did not get updated when page 5 got updated? And this ought to be corrected now?

Guia Mozarabe.jpg

The guide for the Camino Mozárabe between Almería and Granada has been updated. Page 6 now contains the same information in English as page 5 in Spanish: Pilgrims must walk in the direction of Santiago to qualify for staying in these albergues. It is even marked in red and right at the top of the page:

Guia March 2024.jpg
 
I, too, have credentials like that issued by the Pilgrim Office in SJPP, the Amigos in Covas (for the CI), and one of the Tourist Offices in SDC (for the walk to Muxia & Fisterra). But I also have many versions of the more modern credential issued by the Pilgrim Office and Via Lusitania in Portugal. These all have a page with the conditions I spoke of earlier listed in either Spanish or Portuguese. I walked with the first of these in 2016, so I feel fairly safe suggesting that anyone who obtained their credential recently will have something similar.

This may well be true. Why is less clear. The conditions are clearly printed in credentials, the Pilgrim Office has a readily accessible web site that has these and a wealth of other detail in both Spanish and English, and there are forums like these where we regularly refer to that web site as the authoritative source for a variety of matters.

This is a fair point. But equally, while ignorance about a rule might explain someone failing to comply with it, it will never excuse that.
The fact that there are many credentials out there that dont mention the conditions/rules prove to me that the rules are not that clear as you suggest. The comparison that comes to my mind is a person with a nutallergy, buys a product where the text upon the package says nothing about the presence of nuts. He gets sick, complains to the producer and he gets the answer the information is available on the website.
To be clear the volunteeers and the organisation have every right to apply their tules, their motivation is sound too. My point is the unclarity about the definitions. What is the difference between a pilgrim, a trekker, a tourist; what is the difference between a pilgrimmage a camino and a trek and so on. Most of the times these differences are not very relevant, in this situation thete is a collision
I, too, have credentials like that issued by the Pilgrim Office in SJPP, the Amigos in Covas (for the CI), and one of the Tourist Offices in SDC (for the walk to Muxia & Fisterra). But I also have many versions of the more modern credential issued by the Pilgrim Office and Via Lusitania in Portugal. These all have a page with the conditions I spoke of earlier listed in either Spanish or Portuguese. I walked with the first of these in 2016, so I feel fairly safe suggesting that anyone who obtained their credential recently will have something similar.

This may well be true. Why is less clear. The conditions are clearly printed in credentials, the Pilgrim Office has a readily accessible web site that has these and a wealth of other detail in both Spanish and English, and there are forums like these where we regularly refer to that web site as the authoritative source for a variety of matters.

This is a fair point. But equally, while ignorance about a rule might explain someone failing to comply with it, it will never excuse that.
 
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I believe that the Credential was established during the Middle Ages for the exact purpose of proving Pilgrimage so that homeless wanderers traversing back and forth along the Camino could NOT take advantage of Pilgrim support infrastructure.
It is possible, but it is proven that the modern credential has been set by the "Société Française des Amis de Saint-Jacques" because some french pilgrims had been arrested in Spain during the 50's or the 60's because they were considered as "wanderers", which was not a nice title under Franco...
Notice that the french word "coquin" (rascal) comes from "coquille" (scallop shell) because in the Middle Ages some crooks wore scallop shells in order to be considered as pilgrims...
 
The fact that there are many credentials out there that dont mention the conditions/rules prove to me that the rules are not that clear as you suggest.
There are no universal rules, though there were some in the late 20th Century.

As to what's written down, truth is that these rules change to at least some degree from year to year, so that it's really just best to consult the most recent version.
 
It is possible, but it is proven that the modern credential has been set by the "Société Française des Amis de Saint-Jacques" because some french pilgrims had been arrested in Spain during the 50's or the 60's because they were considered as "wanderers", which was not a nice title under Franco...
As far as I can remember, the very first credenciales in something like the modern form were produced in a Holy Year in the 1940s, and for that year alone.

You may be quite correct that those French ones were the first to be provided more systematically year to year, and in any case it is indeed in the 1950s that the credencial became more normative.
 
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As to what's written down, truth is that these rules change to at least some degree from year to year, so that it's really just best to consult the most recent version.
Very true. Since my first Camino the pilgrim office has moved the goalposts significantly several times: introduced a 100km minimum distance for a Compostela, made using a cathedral-approved credencial mandatory, invented the "two sellos per day" rule, and most recently insisted on walking an approved route to qualify for a Compostela.
 
Just to be clear, the women were Spanish and would not have been looking at the English guide.



I wasn’t there and have no first hand knowledge.
I have been staying out of this until now but since a staff members of the forum is on what I’ve been able to see in at least two posts clearly spreading false information regarding the situation I feel like I have to jump in.

Just to be clear, I WAS there and the two women in question where NOT Spanish, did not speak much Spanish and DID read the English guide on page 6. I know this since I spent the evening with them on the night in question and read the communication (that was also in English) between them and the Association.

Since you were not there, as you clearly state. Why would you claim that they are Spanish? Where did you get this information?

As a staff member of the forum, in what way does stating false information as facts add to the discussion in this thread?
 
While I totally get the need for some type of rules, conditions etc for staying in albergues I personally think there's times it is quite OK to bend the rules, as in the case of the peregrinas in question. It was quite obvious they were pilgrims and I suppose actually being there and seeing them with their packs, dusty shoes etc the totality of the situation would add more to it, instead of being a one dimensional text description here. I think they should have just lied or whatever in the first place just to avoid such a situation. I give kudos to all volunteer hospitaleros but I'm sure there are ones that cannot see shades of gray.
Several years ago I walked the Camino Portugues all the way to Finisterre and then took a bus/train to Pamplona and walked as far as I could with what time I had left. I got all the way to Carrion de los Condes and bused back to Burgos to spend the night and then bus to Madrid to fly home from there. When I arrived in Burgos I saw no point in going to a hotel so I decided I would just stay at the big municipal albergue there again as it is very close to the bus station. I had just stayed there a some days prior walking to Carrion. Was I still technically a pilgrim at that point? Of course. I was still on my PILGRIMage on the way home. I also had three different sets of credentials I had been filling up from Porto and beyond, so I simply used a different one than I had when I stayed in Burgos some days prior. No problem, got it stamped and got a bunk and that big albergue was not even remotely at capacity that night. Sometimes you just do what you have to do.
 
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Since you were not there, as you clearly state. Why would you claim that they are Spanish? Where did you get this information?
You are absolutely right and I apologize profusely. Based on what Mercedes told me and what I heard from PMs from others involved in the association, I concluded that they were Spanish. That was a mistake.

Please know that my purpose has always been to try to shine more light on this situation, and I think it was important for Mercedes and the association to have the chance to state their position. I should absolutely not have made any assumptions, and I apologize.

Edited to add: I have also edited my earlier post to remove the inaccurate information.
 
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Definitely not right it’s YOUR Camino
In another thread I wrote:
Buy we should all remember, in the din of the "It's my Camino" voices, that no one walks a Camino alone, even on the least walked route. You are walking amongst others: those who walked before, those who walk with you (if there are any), those who will walk after, those who provide the support infrastructure, those who live in the land you are walking through. It isn't only a "my Camino"; it is also an "our Camino".
I think this is especially important in this context.

A long time ago, in the early age of online discussion forums, there was a saying that went along the lines of "Freedom of the press belongs to them as owns the presses". The idea was that you have the right to write whatever you want, but you don't have the right to require others to use their resources to publish or disseminate it.

So long as you are completely self sufficient, "it's YOUR Camino". Once you start relying on others, your ownership is diminished. If you want to rely on them, you have to play by their rules. They get to choose how they want to spend their resources. That may mean leaving an albergue before you want to, or not being let in when you want to be let in. That may mean not staying more than one night in the same albergue when, in your Camino you want to take a rest day. And, in this case, it may mean staying at another place if you aren't walking towards Santiago (although the people running the albergues have informed us that no one was turfed onto the street).
 
Perhaps a better way of framing one's moral consideration here is to ask whether, if one isn't intending to go to the Cathedral, one would be entitled to carry a credential from the Pilgrim Office. It would seem to me that, other than someone returning home after completing a pilgrimage, one would know that they weren't intending to accept the conditions established by the Pilgrim Office. My thinking is that this would invalidate the credential.

This is not to say that someone mightn't walk to another pilgrimage destination using a credential issued for that purpose. I walked to Fatima with a credential from one of the now defunct Portuguese pilgrim associations, and outside the Iberian peninsula, I have regularly walked to pilgrimage destinations with credentials that gave me access to accommodation arranged on the basis that I was walking as a pilgrim.

One might hope that, as a general rule, the confraternities, associations and individuals running pilgrim albergues will accept such alternative ways of establishing one's bona fides as a pilgrim. But as others have said, they are entitled to establish their own rules on such matters and enforce them as they see fit.
What about someone who walks from St. Jean to Santiago in one year, and then in a future year walks from Le Puy to St. Jean, so that they can feel they have walked the complete Camino from Le Puy. Would the walk from Le Puy to St. Jean with a credencial be one that was done under false pretenses?
 
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This is an interesting quote.

Again, since the OP reproaches that not enough is known about history:

The medieval system of hospitales is gone for good. For many reasons. And it is not coming back. The contemporary traditional Jacobean hospitality sees itself in this tradition but it is not the same. Different aims, different financing. So forget about the Middle Ages.
The Mission Emmanuel in Tres Cantos on the Camino de Madrid, just outside of Madrid, takes a similar approach to that of the Monastery of San Bernardo.
 
Your post enticed me to search for my credential of the Via de la Plata, issued by the " Federacion espanol de associaciones de amigos del Camino de Santiago". There was no text on it that said you had to comply to the condition that you had to walk to Santiago or any other condition regarding your motivation to walk the camino. This credential was accepted in every ( kind of) albergue and was used by most pilgrims. I did not check all my other credentials, but I am quite sure I used similar ones on most of my other caminos. To many people the conditions you refer to are not known and you cannot say that they willingly do not adhere to rules they do not know.
(I did not walk the Mozarabe, perhaps on that route only the credential that you mention is "valid", but I presume that this is not the case.)
Your post inspired me to look at the credencial currently issued by the Canadian Company of Pilgrims (which was the one they re-issued after they made all required changed to comply with the requirements of the Cathedral and Pilgrim Office in Santiago).

It does not say that one must be walking with a spiritual or religious or Christian sentiment to use the credencial, only to receive the Compostela. It does not say one must be walking towards Santiago to use it. There are a few things that could be interpreted as alluding to the fact that one is expected to be walking towards Santiago but nothing that explicitly sets it out as a requirement. The requirements explicitly stated are: "As a pilgrim it is your responsibility to walk with gratitude and generosity for the hospitality you receive, and to respect others as well as the cultural, historic and natural environments along the Way."

If the Cathedral and Pilgrim Office really thought that credencials were only to be used by people walking with religious purpose and/or Christian sentiment, one would think they would say something to the many pilgrims who show up presenting credencials and at the same time not indicating such purposes or sentiments when applying for a Compostela or Welcome Certificate.

How was one supposed to collect the stamps for a Welcome Certificate if the credencial wasn't to be used?
 
I believe that the Credential was established during the Middle Ages for the exact purpose of proving Pilgrimage so that homeless wanderers traversing back and forth along the Camino could NOT take advantage of Pilgrim support infrastructure.
I'd be interested in your sources for this. My research has indicated that the modern credential is, just that, modern. It is, to be sure, based on the letters asking for safe conduct that pilgrims set out with, much like modern passports are. But they weren't used for accessing a network of pilgrim accommodations (nor did they collect stamps :)). In fact, I remember reading in Gitlitz and Davidson's The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook (p.59) of the pilgrim hospice in Roncesvalles

As a pilgrim hospice, but also as the major hostelry between France and the kingdom of Navarra, it was naturally open to everyone. A Latin 12th-c. hymn called "La Pretiosa", includes these verses
Its doors open to the sick and well,
to Catholics as well as to pagans,
Jews, heretics, beggsars, and the indigent,
and it embraces all like brothers.

That doesn't sound like a big concern to keep pilgrim infrastructure for pilgrims.
 
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What about someone who walks from St. Jean to Santiago in one year, and then in a future year walks from Le Puy to St. Jean, so that they can feel they have walked the complete Camino from Le Puy. Would the walk from Le Puy to St. Jean with a credencial be one that was done under false pretenses?
I have suggested that one needs to make their own moral calculus about these matters given the clear statements by the Pilgrim Office on this matter. I cannot make that moral calculus on anyone else's behalf, nor do I expect that I will need to express judgement on the calculus they do make.
 
Their time, their resources, their Albergue, their rules.

We bring gratitude and humility.

'my Camino, my way', imho, has little to do with a "true" Camino experience, and even less to do with pilgrimage.
 
To return to the original issue, under what conditions may an albergue refuse admission? Any conditions they choose. Albergues are not a public service or a public space and the people running them are not public servants. Having said which, they won’t usually turn anyone away who needs a bed, nor did they in this instance.
 
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I have been staying out of this until now but since a staff members of the forum is on what I’ve been able to see in at least two posts clearly spreading false information regarding the situation I feel like I have to jump in.

Just to be clear, I WAS there and the two women in question where NOT Spanish, did not speak much Spanish and DID read the English guide on page 6. I know this since I spent the evening with them on the night in question and read the communication (that was also in English) between them and the Association.

Since you were not there, as you clearly state. Why would you claim that they are Spanish? Where did you get this information?

As a staff member of the forum, in what way does stating false information as facts add to the discussion in this thread?
The nationality of the two women is a minor point. More importantly, they were allowed to stay the first night. Equally importantly, the providers of the albergues have a perfect right to determine who uses them.
 
“The doors are open to the sick and well to Catholics as well as to pagans, Jews, heretics, beggars and the indigent, and it embraces all like brothers.”
You are back in the Middle Ages again ;).

Roncesvalles was more like the monastery of San Bernardo, which is donativo, but they accept anyone and everyone. Their religious belief in Christian Hospitality leads them to accept pilgrims, tourists, beggars, and homeless — anyone who knocks at their door - a quote from a member of the Almeria/Granada association.

Medieval Roncesvalles was not like today’s Camino albergues in the voluntary sector. Roncesvalles was very rich, they had income from their possessions. They were not “donativo” in the sense that pilgrims who stay today finance, or were expected to finance, what tomorrow’s pilgrims eat. They did not have a mass tourism problem in medieval Roncesvalles and “leisure” and “holidays” were not a big business and economic factor like today.

These references to history are not very relevant to define what Camino pilgrims are or should be and to tackle the issues that the contemporary volunteer albergues are faced with.
 
The nationality of the two women is a minor point. More importantly, they were allowed to stay the first night. Equally importantly, the providers of the albergues have a perfect right to determine who uses them.

Yet, moralities and judgments aside, it does appear to be at the core of the misunderstanding between the parties involved.

I think this thread has been very helpful for pilgrims new and old, in better understanding why it is so important to respect and uphold the principle and ethos of the donativo, if it is to survive into the future. But the points have been well made, it seems to be going in circles now.
 
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You are back in the Middle Ages again ;).

Roncesvalles was more like the monastery of San Bernardo, which is donativo, but they accept anyone and everyone. Their religious belief in Christian Hospitality leads them to accept pilgrims, tourists, beggars, and homeless — anyone who knocks at their door - a quote from a member of the Almeria/Granada association.

Medieval Roncesvalles was not like today’s Camino albergues in the voluntary sector. Roncesvalles was very rich, they had income from their possessions. They were not “donativo” in the sense that pilgrims who stay today finance, or were expected to finance, what tomorrow’s pilgrims eat. They did not have a mass tourism problem in medieval Roncesvalles and “leisure” and “holidays” were not a big business and economic factor like today.

These references to history are not very relevant to define what Camino pilgrims are or should be and to tackle the issues that the contemporary volunteer albergues are faced with.
True. But you are taking my quote out of context. If you take another look at the post (#142), you'll see it was a direct response to this post (#125), which I quoted:
I believe that the Credential was established during the Middle Ages for the exact purpose of proving Pilgrimage so that homeless wanderers traversing back and forth along the Camino could NOT take advantage of Pilgrim support infrastructure.
Since Matty was making assertions about the pilgrim support infrastructure in the Middle Ages, I think a response about the Middle Ages is directly on point.
 
you are taking my quote out of context
Gosh, I had to search around to find my earlier post in this thread of 150+ posts. It doesn't really matter much but I got curious about what I had written in that post.

I had not quoted anyone in particular, I had quoted the lines of a widely known poem from the Middle Ages. I've seen these lines a dozen of times before, and so did others presumably. The conversation in the thread had returned to the conditions of the Middle Ages, and I repeated again that those conditions are irrelevant for the situation of association managed Camino albergues in 2024. I found it interesting to contrast their philosophy in 2024 with the philosophy of an albergue run by a religious order nearby in 2024, in particular since the Almeira/Granada association albergue manager had referred to the brothers' albergue in Granada and had mentioned that the brothers' albergue policy was different from the association's albergue policy.
 
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You are back in the Middle Ages again ;).
Seeing that we're back into this old "argument" ...
Roncesvalles was more like the monastery of San Bernardo, which is donativo, but they accept anyone and everyone. Their religious belief in Christian Hospitality leads them to accept pilgrims, tourists, beggars, and homeless — anyone who knocks at their door - a quote from a member of the Almeria/Granada association.
Not quite that simple, and modern parallels will always be faulty, even those most coherent with the mediaeval monasticism. The small Monastery at Sarrance is a good modern example of the sort of Christian Hospitality that you refer to, but it's still modern, not mediaeval.

Roncesvalles was a major, large Monastery, equivalent to an Abbey in importance, and it owned large swathes of land in its environs, and even today retains ownership of a swathe of its immediate surroundings.

Apart from its primary religious purposes, there was a Hospital at Roncesvalles which combined activities of medical nature with local Christian activities for the local villagers, Christian hostelry, commercial hostelry, what we would now tend to call "retreats" but more like what I saw in the Monastery at Ligugé, providing calm and peace for individual discernment, support for pilgrims, assistance towards the indigent.

So yes, all that you have quoted belongs to it certainly -- but Roncesvalles did not provide Hospitality in a narrow manner, but rather Christian Charity in a far broader sense, and not just towards travellers and others from outside, but foremost to those living in the Monastery properties and nearby villages.

The Monasteries most like what Roncesvalles used to be like that I've stayed in myself, on my Camino Ways, are Ligugé and the Abbey En Calcat, though a few Convents in France and Italy have provided similar with a more feminine touch. The purposes of such places far transcend to accept pilgrims, tourists, beggars, and homeless, though they do have a centuries-old tradition of welcoming pilgrims specifically. But not "anyone", and at least some degree of Christian purpose was and is to be expected or at least hoped for.
 
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which is followed by a list of other conditions that includes this:
And it [the credential] is only granted to those who make the pilgrimage to reach the Tomb of the Apostle,
The credencial or the Compostela? The latter, I suppose. 99% or more who came to our albergue had credenciales but not all planned to go to the Tomb.
 

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