I was surprised to read that the now infamous Britishpaedophile – Jimmy Savile – was a Catholic. But I guess the Pope bestowing a Catholic knighthood should have been a clue. And not just a common or garden Catholic but a Mass-every-day Catholic. One wonders why. Perhaps be combined Mass attendance with Confession, in the hope that his sins would be absolved and the gates of Paradise kept open for him. But my recollection is that your contrition needs to be genuine and your resolution to avoid future sin sincere for you to get absolution. Absent these, the sins remain on your soul and it's the pits of Hell which remain open for you. So, it's a nice irony to know that, if Savile was right in his beliefs, then he's surely spending eternity in an inferno. And if he wasn't, he isn't. And all that mass-attending and confessing was a waste of time. Though it surely means that at least one priest out there knew about his activities for an awful long time. And presumably said nothing. Not even to the Pope.
Strangely enough, another branch of Christianity came up today, in a BBC podcast. This was the Church of Unification, otherwise known as the Moonies. I hadn't been aware that these people have the fascinating belief that Jesus Christ failed to carry out his father's orders to marry and to establish the Divine Family as a model for we Martian and Venetian strugglers. (As an aside, you'd think God the Father would have known in advance of Jesus's failure and so moved to Plan B, but we'll ignore this for now.) Anyway, after 2,000 years (nothing to God, one assumes) Jesus appeared to the Rev Moon and asked him if he could make good the divine cock-up and establish the Divine Family himself. Which the Rev Moon duly did, amassing substantial sums of money in the process and, say some, dealing in an expanded concept of 'family' by spreading his seed far afield. And now he's dead and the Divine Family is proving only too mortal in disputing the wealth that somehow always accrues to the founders of religion. Each member is, of course, represented by very mortal and venial lawyers who could well – à la Jarndyce & Jarndyce – exhaust the family fortune in due course. And why not. This could be God's Plan B.
Here in Spain there are several figures floating around of the number of empty properties in the country, with a range of 800,000 to 2,500,000. So, if one had to guess at how many properties are still being built a year in Spain, it would probably be around nil. But, no, it's 200,000, which were the annual sales before things went mad in the phoney boom (bum) years and which are way above current levels of demand. Given the long lead time on Spanish building projects, it's quite possible all of these were started six years ago. But I rather doubt it. So are they all being built to a very high standard in high-demand places where (Russian?) buyers are likely to appear first? I rather doubt that too. Does it make sense? Well, it must to someone, I guess.
Some readers will recall my calvario in getting the various local registries to recognise that I'd sold my house in the hills in 2011 and, therefore, wasn't liable for the 2012 municipal taxes on it. But, frankly, I wasn't confident that Peter would tell Paul and that the bill I'd been sent would be withdrawn. And, of course, it hasn't. It's been re-sent to me, with a 10% surcharge for non-payment. So, now it's the appeal process. Which I'm guessing won't be simple and quick. Maybe I should go to the Consumo. It worked for Yahoo.
I mentioned Galician white elephants yesterday. Another of these is the station for the AVE high-speed train up in Ourense, the manor of the political baron I mentioned a week or so ago. This was designed by no less an architect than Norman Foster and is costing 67m euros. Mind you, the budget for Vigo's beats that easily, at 95m. Suspiciously, this was approved just a few days before the PSOE party left power. Rushed through, one assumes.
Finally . . . Here's a book I will be ordering and which may be of interest to a reader or two - Sorry! The English and their Manners by Henry Hitchings,
Sorry if it isn't.