For the past 28 years, the main custodians of the Camino routes in Spain was the AMIGOS – the Spanish Federation of Friends on the Camino - formed at a congress of national and international Jacobean organisations in Jaca in 1987. [b]
I was told by a member of FICS that the new organization is ‘outside’ the AMIGOS but some members of AMIGOS are also members of FICS. Anybody connected to the Camino whether they are past, present or future pilgrims, walkers, hikers, tourists or tourogrinos, service providers, historians, archaeologists, artists, restorers and so on should be infinitely grateful to the founding members of the AMIGOS for their passion and involvement in all things related to the Camino de Santiago.
There has been a small army of volunteers who work, unseen by most peregrinos, on the preservation of the art, architecture, literature, music and history, and also the trails and paths that lead to Santiago. Many of the same committed people attended the FICS conference so it would seem that the Camino is in good hands!
Section 3: Tourism and Pilgrimage
Section 4: Hospitality and Welcoming the Pilgrims
Its taken me a couple of weeks to read and digest the Manifesto, which essentially isn't too different from the annual AMIGOS congress reports in that it raises the same concerns about degrading of Camino paths, deterioration and decay of monuments and historic landmarks, and the rising numbers of pilgrims and tourists on the Camino Frances in particular.
In this blog post I comment on the first topic. Posts on the other topics will follow. The comments and views on these posts are mostly mine: the translations are by Google.
FICS MANIFESTO 2014:
"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.”
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."
“LA CREDENCIAL. COMO RECUERDO CUANDO LA PEREGRINACION FINALIZA
"THE CREDENTIAL- AS A REMINDER FOR WHEN THE PILGRIMAGE ENDS.
In the late 1950's and early 1960's 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. This was issued in the Holy Years of 1954, 1965, 1971 and 1976. 428 credenciales were issued to both car and walking pilgrims in 1965 : 451 in 1971 and only 240 in 1976.
“.. ello proponemos ante este Congreso que las credenciales no sean expedidas solo en Roncesvalles o Jaca, sino que ellas obren en poder de todas las Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago extendidas por Espana y otras naciones para su entrega a los que han de hacer la peregrinación. Pensamos que ello sería un buen motivo para que las credenciales tuviesen una difusión más extendida.”
For the purposes of granting the Compostela at the Pilgrims’ Office only the credential issued by the Cathedral, or by those that are issued by Friends of Santiago Associations that clearly contain information about the religious character of the Santiago pilgrimage, will be accepted.”
FICS MANIFESTO 2014:
Año Santo: 1993
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 (not by Galician tourism), was to ensure ".. effort and sacrifice in expiation of sins.." (El esfuerzo y sacrificio en expiación de los pecados...")
This has 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. The Indulgence (for the remission of sins and time spent in purgatory) is given to Catholic pilgrims only. They must comply with the requirements of visiting the cathedral, reciting a prayer, such as the Creed or Lord's prayer, praying for His Holiness the Pope; attend mass and receiving the Sacraments of confession. Millions of Catholic pilgrims to the tomb of St James in Santiago still earn the indulgence, especially in holy years, but they don't have to walk there. Indulgences for specific lengths of time - days or years - were abolished shortly after Vatican 11 and there are now only two types of indulgences - plenary (full remission of sins) and partial.
The Indulgence (for the remission of sins and time spent in purgatory) is given to Catholic pilgrims only. They must comply with the requirements of visiting the cathedral, reciting a prayer, such as the Creed or Lord's prayer, praying for His Holiness the Pope; attend mass and receiving the Sacraments of confession. Millions of Catholic pilgrims to the tomb of St James in Santiago still earn the indulgence, especially in holy years, but they don't have to walk there.
Indulgences for specific lengths of time - days or years - were abolished shortly after Vatican 11 and there are now only two types of indulgences - plenary (full remission of sins) and partial.
Printed or written indulgences issued by churches and sold by wandering 'Pardoners' were one of the main gripes of Luther, Erasmus et al and a leading cause of the Reformation and the split in the church.
"I would never have thought that such a storm would rise from Rome over one simple scrap of paper..." (Martin Luther)
In the last "Year of the Faith' (2012-2013) the Vatican announced that Plenary Indulgences for the faithful would be valid from October 2012 to November 2013. (Converts would have to go to '...the church where they were received into the embrace of the Holy Mother.')
"Vatican City, 5 October 2012 (VIS) –
According to a decree made public today and signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro
de Castro and Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, respectively penitentiary major and
regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Benedict XVI will grant faithful Plenary
Indulgence for the occasion of the Year of Faith. The indulgence will be valid
from the opening of the Year on 11 October 2012 until its end on 24 November
“If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.....” (Ps. 136:5)
This quotation is a preface to the following declaration:
In the name of God. Amen
To whomsoever this letter is consigned, we attest that:
(here the pilgrim’s name is inserted)
as happily reached Jerusalem and devotedly visited the Holy Places.
(date and signature)
I don't think we can lay the blame at the Galician tourist board. Not all the Camino walks in Galicia start in Sarria (although that is the most popular and the one that is being alluded to by the Manifesto). Some trails in Galicia are well over 100km long and all seem to be advertised equally.
After the decline in pilgrimages from the 15th century, it seems that the issue of a certificate stopped for a few centuries, was revived in the 18th century and then stopped again at the end of the 19th century.
When the three members of the "Los Amigos de Camino de Santiago" in Estella made their pilgrimage to Santiago they were warmly received and were issued with the new Compostelana certificates. The wording was different from the previous certificates:
Some stats claim that in 1974 only 6 Compostelas were issued. Records prior to the 1970's were lost.