Is this a Catholic blogue?

I was talking on the phone to a friend earlier today who said, “Your blog’s really weird, mate.”

Naturally, I assented to this proposition without any resistance, as the blogue is designed to be weird.  I was therefore happy once again to know that I have friends with great discernment and discriminatory taste.  But he then asked, “Is it supposed to be a Catholic blog?”

That set me back slightly.  As I was one of the founding members of catholicismpure.wordpress.com and the designer of its banner, and still a supporter of its ethos and future success, and my own private blogue was a bit of whimsy which emerged as a sideshow – or practice piece – while I was playing around with WordPress functions, I suppose it accidentally became “a Catholic blog” without really intending to be.  There is nothing unCatholic about it, I think.  But it wasn’t designed specifically as a ‘Catholic blog’.  Difficult one.

I managed to get catholicismpure.wordpress.com successfully onto the Hermeneutical Father’s blogue-list, but I very much doubt if my own blogue would ever be regarded by Fr. Finigan as something worth supporting.  Quite right.  It’s a load of nonsense.  But, yes, it is a Catholic blogue.  There will never be anything on here that is intentionally contrary to Catholic faith and tradition.  It will be a blogue with a slightly weird – let’s say idiosyncratic, rather than weird, as it sounds more sophisticated – angle on life.  You might expect that from someone who describes himself as a rabit piligrimin.  And who promotes donkeys…  Ah, time for another donkey photo.

The real question, however, is what does the blogue become now the rabit piligrimin has stopped piligrimining, and come to rest for a while in this place? The answer lies in the question.  Is this a Catholic blog?  This is a Catholic piligrimin blogue, and will now explore the question of what has become of the Catholic tradition of piligriminage.  I have had the arguments – time and again – with the modernists and the new age people (what does that phrase actually mean?)  Now we shall set out the agenda.  What is a Catholic piligrimin?  What is the difference between piligriminage and a walking holiday…  a cultural journey…  a ‘personal spirituality’ quest… etc.

We shall explore these questions.  Comments will be welcome.  If anyone arrives from the forum I have now been banned from http://www.caminodesantiago.me  for irritatingly raising this question over the past few years and causing unpleasantness – otherwise known as genuine argument – among the great multitude of people who believe The Camino is their God, you would be very welcome.

The roads to Santiago were Catholic roads, walked by Catholic pilgrims.  This blogue – now rabit has come to rest in one place for a while – will explore piligriminage and attempt to bring some focus into the question of Catholic piligriminage.  Pope Benedict will be in Santiago soon, after his visit to the UK, and possibly to recover from his visit to the UK in a more supportive environment!  What better time than this to begin such an exploration of Catholic piligriminage?

Watch this space…  And while I’m busy in the next few days, starting my new job tomorrow, why not take a look at catholicismpure.wordpress.com and in particular today’s post by Teresa about the symbolism of Pope Benedict’s coat of arms with its bear.  I often wondered about the scallop shell on Benedict’s coat of arms, until it was pointed out to me that the shell refers, not to Santiago, but to the boy on the beach in the story of St Augustine as he explains the Holy Trinity.  I always amazes me that the early Catholic theologians and philosophers were so immersed in the Trinity before the Christian world had come to terms with the Cross!  It was centuries later that the Cross became the acceptable and accepted focus for the Incarnation and its central message for humanity.

Puente la Reina: Rabit Piligrimin before the Crucifix in the Iglesia del Crucifijo

Yes, this is a Catholic blogue, and your rabit piligrimin would suggest that any piligriminage on the Way of St James, le Chemin Saint-Jacques, el Camino de Santiago, that is not focused on the Cross of Jesus, is simply not a piligriminage but a nice walk.  Some of you may have no idea how contentious that statement may appear.  Others of you will already be enraged.  Experience has taught me that the provocative statement itself is a necessary one.  So yes, do please watch this space.  There is more to come.

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About Gareth Thomas

A fairly mixed career starting as an aircraft technician and later Franciscan friar eventually led into secondary school teaching. I settled in Spain where I teach Geography part-time and spend the rest of my time looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I have two blogs: a geography blog and a donkey blog.
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