My Camino journey continues to surprise me. I am still enjoying it and at the same time wishing I was home snuggling with my dogs.
Before I came here, I read books, researched, and chatted with my good friend who has walked the camino herself. One of her expressions stuck with me unknowingly but came up in my mind on my journey. She remarked that she found the ornate golden altars, art and statues in the many churches disgusting when the areas surrounding the church filled with poverty and despair. I almost defended the ideology being a (very) lapsed Catholic. True to that thought I went into the first big Cathedral and her words rushed to my mind. I held the thought for a moment and then forgot about it.
Today I met an extremely interesting History Professor who was filled with stories not only about Camino history but Catholic history. I picked his brain and engaged in deep philosophical chats about everything and nothing. He is a devout Catholic and was remarking that so far (half way) he had only come across one other Pilgrim who admitted to walking the way for religious reasons. Being in academics he is used to people questioning him so he enjoyed the banter. Plus he is Irish and lives in America so he is used to debates. He proposed quite radical reform for his church and getting females into clergy wouldn’t be the answer. He used the idiom his American wife had proposed that ‘the church needs to have a garage sale of everything’. He explained that priests had become real estate managers and only had 10% of their time to devote to ecumenical matters. The spiritual gap that modern life dwellers felt, is not being addressed by the church and that an overhaul is needed. The discussions went on and the information is still sinking into my psyche and he later left to go to Mass. I asked him to say a prayer for us and he added that he would light candles for us. He walks early and far daily and I doubt our paths will meet again but tonight I am grateful for these ‘chance’ encounters that I am having which helps me flex my brain and ideology.
Tomorrow sees me take another train to the chocolate capital of Spain. Sadly the planning is a little bit off on this part as it is ‘Domingo’ which means everything is closed so I am not sure I will be able to taste this capital!