All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Mrs Castillos view on life

Plastic fantastic. Where do your peppers come from.

On cardinals and carnival
22 February 2013 @ 10:58

Some days ago, I listened to the Spanish national radio, as they interviewed an old journalist about what happened the day Franco died.

The journalist remembered how the Franco administration reacted very badly to the fact that "normal" journalists announced the news before it was official , with the words "Franco is dead. Franco is dead. Franco is dead".  It was true, he was dead, but the journalist got into trouble because the regime wanted to stay in control of all information - as a good, dictator-ruled country should...

I tend to forget that Spain was a dictatorship only 35 years ago, and that this of course influences how things work in the country today. The most upsetting thing I´ve learned about the Franco regime though, is its extremely tight relationship to the catholic church.. The scandals just keep coming... what about that baby-stealing nun that recently died - “sor Maria” - that just refused to say anything and to go to "tribunal", when they knew she had been stealing babies saying they were dead (and giving them away for adoption to fascist families with no children?).


I used to consider myself as a religious person, but after baptising my two children in the catholic church, I´ve been having some regrets.  Maybe I should have thought it over once more when I asked for the liturgy so that I could translate it into Norwegian for my friends and family, and discovered they were actually performing an exorcism on my little baby girl? Maybe I should have refused when "el cura" asked for my sons name and insisted we´d give him a "good catholic name" as well, because of the need of a protecting saint? (I´ve always found their obsession with saints kind of cute, but when I think of it, I find it more and more disturbing. I think they see their saints as gods, contrary to the third amendment) La Virgen del mar, la Virgen del Pino, La Virgen de la panaderia...seems "la Virgen" has been seen everywhere, and so we worship a stick (Check out "la Virgen de Guadalupe”, Spain) or a statue and carry her around and put her on a boat every August while we sing for her...)


This brings me to "the news of the century": the pope´s resignation. I think it´s a very decent thing to do when you´re 86 and feel you can´t to the job anymore. I really can´t see how it´s possible to do a good job ruling 1 billion faithful catholics when you´re too old to walk and hardly can talk. Cannot say I´m eagerly awaiting the words "habemus papam" from Rome, still it will be interesting to see if it´ll be one of the ten Spanish cardinals or if they have the courage to choose an African. Or maybe a woman....HA HA HA...women can´t speak in church, we all know that of course. Shouldn´t be allowed to speak publicly, even. 

new pope


So, while I´m having all these negative thoughts about the Catholic Church, I find myself in an awkward position. I love the fiestas, I love that people dress up and do crazy things, I love to mingle with the locals and to listen to the music, I even love to enter the churches and lighting candles and to admire the art (even though I always ask myself how on earth they got the money, and I answer that I don´t want to know and it was surely a gift from someone rich, not a result of exploiting poor believers). I can do as most people do, of course, just pretend there´s nothing religious about the fiestas. Maybe it isn´t. Maybe the church just adopted the fiestas and put a virgin into it, so that people could be allowed to continue their much loved partying. 

I´m quite sure nobody at my children`s school think about carnival as a religious celebration, for example. At least I heard nothing about eating meat and preparing for 40 days of fast. The preparation last week was quite secular and wonderfully Spanish: they celebrated it for a whole week. So, tuesday last week I sent my children to school wearing wigs. The next day I added ties. And the day after an apron. Friday was the big party with carnival-queen and king and children are asked to dress up in dresses made from "recycled material". And still they wonder why Spanish children score low on the international PISA-tests? Hm. That´s another story, I guess I´ll write about that another day. 



On the stolen-babies scandal:

(in Spanish)

(in English),8599,2112003,00.html



Like 0


eggcup said:
22 February 2013 @ 10:12

Very interesting piece Mrs Castillo. I am very much against the Catholic Church, myself, for various reasons (paedophile priests, the spread of AIDS because of their position on contraception, anti-divorce, anti-abortion, anti-gay - need I go on?) and when my children were in the local Spanish village school I forbade them to receive religious instruction. They then had to sit in the same classroom and do colouring, so in the end I gave in, thinking that they might learn something... As you say, the Catholic Church was very complicit also with Fascism, so in a way, what's to like? Nevertheless, many of my friends in the village seem to get some comfort from it...
Being a bit of an aguafiestas, I'm not into the fiestas either - too much forced jollity for my liking, but the Spanish mostly love them, so that's their business. It seems to do something for them, and with the crisis I expect they'll be enjoying them even more, as a means of escapism.
Anyway, another good thought-provoking piece. All the best. Eggie.

MrsCastillo said:
22 February 2013 @ 11:03

Funny you should say that about the religious instruction...I wanted to do the same, but realized the school wasn't going to give them any I bought the books and we´ll take the serious discussions later. No harm in them learning about Christianity, it´s really the institution that is a problem, not the (base of the) religion itself. (Check the website-link included...I wanted to include it in the blog, but couldn't do it properly)

MrsCastillo said:
22 February 2013 @ 11:04

Davespain said:
23 February 2013 @ 12:23

Very interesting blogs.....only some more often please! :)

Patricia (Campana) said:
18 March 2013 @ 21:10

As with everything else a lot of sensationalism and scare-mongering goes on.
Like any normal person I am much scandalised by activities under the guise of organised religion. Countries like Spain, and Ireland, (my home country) are practically secularised now. But, as with all institutions, it is a pity "que pagan justos por pecadores".
And yes, there are scandals, many of them, unfortunately. And, down through the ages.

However, at least I know what I am talking about. Educated in Ireland, at a convent secondary boarding school (dreadful!), afterwards at an Irish university, there is little I don't know about Catholicism.
The manifestations are different in different countries. In some places, like Spain, more colourful, in other countries more austere.
Traditions mixed in.

I don't ridicule other countries' traditions and celebrations. It's their way and that's fine by me.

MrsCastillo said:
18 March 2013 @ 21:50

Patricia: If you think I'm ridiculing Spanish traditions and celebrations, you are wrong. I'm trying to make some fun out of it, and that is FAR from ridiculing. I would have no problem in making fun of my own country's traditions and celebrations as well. In the end, these celebrations are all the same. And trust me, I do also know what I am talking about.

Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x