Saturday, March 26, 2016


The recently formed Fraternidad International del Camino de Santiago (FICS) has made a proposal to extend the minimum distance required for pilgrims to earn a Compostela from 100 km to 300 km.  (So far the Cathedral is not impressed and has said that they will not be dictated to by anyone or any organisation.)

The document was signed by Anton Pombo [FICS] and translated and circulated on Facebook by Rebekah Scot  "Read, consider, and inwardly digest. And SHARE! The latest from FICS: (my clumsy translation. Sorry)"  

'Debate' and 'discus' was not included and I'm doubtful that it is welcomed.  After reading through the document a few times, I posted a few questions on the FICS Facebook page today and the flame-throwers started taking aim almost immediately! 
I feel that all healthy debate should always consist of opposing opinions and that it is the subject that should be debated, rather than attacking the messenger.   I was taught that the basis of any good science is to prove a concept wrong, not try to prove it right. 

Much of what is written in the proposal makes sense, but there are also glaring inaccuracies, and a lot that many might not agree with.   Although I have written comments on each section of the document, this time I will keep my opinions to myself.  If anyone is interested in reading my opinions you can contact me.

Why do pilgrims have to walk the last 100 km to earn a Compostela anyway? 
There are two reasons.  One, included when the 100 km distance was introduced by the Archdiocese in 1993, is to ensure that pilgrims put in some effort and sacrifice for the expiation of their sins before being awarded the Compostela.   

“El esfuerzo y sacrificio en expiaci├│n de los pecados"

Two, is that pilgrims wanting a Compostela must actually walk to the shrine containing the tomb of the saint.  Walking 3 500km from Bulgaria won't earn you any kudos unless you walk the last 100 km to the cathedral.  

FICS' reasons are a little more obscure.  Many pilgrims presumed that it was to relieve the ever growing problem of overcrowding on the last 100 km, but the aim is to make pilgrims walk longer distances so that they can:

"reclaim the long distance Camino and the values that make it unique: effort, transcendence, searching. reflection, encounters with others, solidarity, ecumenism or spirituality, all of them oriented towards a distant, shared goal."

We know that this proposal came out of a meeting of FICS big-guns in Sarria.  Rebekah called them 'Camino heavyweights' and their combined knowledge, care for all things Camino and their integrity is not questioned. But there are unsubstantiated claims made, assumptions, negative terms used to describe particular pilgrims.   Were they unanimously accepted by all the esteemed and learned delegates, or are they just personal perceptions of a few people? 

To read what others think - visit this link:

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