Saturday, July 08, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 8.7.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • The annual Pamplona bull runs have begun. Interesting to see the TV channels interviewing the medics immediately after them, to get all the gory details of the injuries received. Very Spanish.
  • Here's the estimable Don Quijones addressing one of the more important issues of the moment - Will the Spanish state and Cataluña push each other into a financial abyss? Surely not
Here's another extract from Townsends' 1792 book. It gives the background to the Spanish civil service exams called Oposiciones. These are imposed on all those who aspire for a government post - including teachers - and lead to a vast expense of time and money among the hopefuls. Most of whom fail, of course. Year after year:- In one of my morning visits at the archbishop’s palace, I had the satisfaction of being present at an opposition, or disputation, between the candidates for a vacant benefice; a scene admirably described, by the author of Gil Blas. Vehemence, on such an occasion, is not only sanctioned by custom, but is certainly excusable, in men who are contending, not merely for fame, but bread. The judges are the diocesan, affiliated by six of the chapter; and the examinations are in the sciences, ethics, divinity, and canon law. Many ecclesiastical preferments are disposed of in this way. Thus in every cathedral four canons are chosen by opposition; these are, the penitentiary, for receiving the confessions of the chapter; the preacher; the professor of theology; and the civilian, who conducts their law-suits. The rest are given through favour, either by the diocesan, the chapter, or the king, according to the month in which the vacancy happens. When a candidate makes application to the state, either for protection in general, or upon a special occasion for preferment, he presents a printed copy of his memorial, called 'Relacion de los Meritos, Titulos y Grados y Excercicios Literarios de A, B' of which the original is lodged with the secretary of slate, and contains his name; the place of his nativity; his rank; his age; the university, in which he studied, with the degrees he has taken; his acquirements; his conduct in his profession, as a priest, as a preacher, and as a confessor; setting forth his regularity, his zeal, and his success, with his peculiar privileges, such as that he is permitted to read the prohibited books, and to confess both sexes; and stating, finally, that he is every way qualified to receive any ecclesiastical preferment to which he may be presented.  

We're tempted in the West to think it's a very long time since we saw attitudes we now associate with places east of us, especially where Islam dominates. The underlined bit in this fascinating tale from Townsend suggests otherwise:- Not far from the city of Seville is a building, now verging to decay, near to which I often passed, without asking for what it was designed but, one evening, walking with the gentleman to whom I had been recommended by count Florida Blanca, struck with its form, I desired him to tell me what to what purpose it had been put. At first he seeme to pay no attention; but, upon my repeating the question, I received an evasive answer, such as tended only to awaken my curiosity, and to make me more urgent with him for information. At last he told me, that this strange kind of edifice is called 'el quemadero'; but begged that I would never disclose to any one, from whom I had received my information. The name was sufficient, together with the form, without further inquiries, to explain the horrid use to which it had been too often put. I urged him no further on the subject and, without lots of time, hastened from a spot which my imagination painted all in flames. The next day, however, I returned with one of the judges, who, as such, could venture to be more communicative. In answer to my questions, he informed me, that the 'quemadero' was so called from the verb 'quemar', to burn, served the purpose of a scaffold for burning heretics ; and that, about four years before, a woman had suffered on it, by a sentence of the inquisition, to which he had given his sanction. From him, and from others, I obtained the following particulars. This woman was a 'beata', professing one of the three vows imposed on nuns, of which, poverty and obedience are the regular companions; yet that vow she broke. In the accusation she was charged with having corrupted her confessor; who, poor man as the less culpable of the two, was merely banished. Had this been her first offence, it had been punished with less distinguished severity; but, not satisfied with having been guilty of sacrilege in one instance, she went on corrupting the priesthood and, either from passion or from vanity, extended daily, over the servants of the altar, the dominion of her charms; till, either by pride, or by remorse of confidence, she lost her understanding; and foolishly imagined that she was acting under a divine authority. Some say that she vindicated her conducy upon the principle that both parties were free from obligation; but others, and more justly, say, that she pretended to have been an angel. This being a crime within the cognizance of the inquisitors, she was brought to trial, was convicted, and was burnt.  

By the way, claiming divine authority/instruction is still a standard excuse among Christian leaders prosecuted for having sexual relations with their followers.

Nutters Corner: Is there no limit to the madness of these people?:-
  • Televangelist Frank Amedia reveals that God had given Trump the gift of 'breaker anointing.' That means he can break up anything he wants. Including North Korea. Trump tweets because he gets bored with nonconsequential things, part of his God-given gift of 'discernment.' He receives downloads that now he’s beginning to understand come from God.
  • Another televangelist, the ineffable Jim Bakker, agreed and added that the president’s volatile Twitter presence is all part of the gift of wisdom that God had told him he gave Trump. 
Finally . . . This is getting ridiculous . . . I've been passed on a zebra crossing by dozens of cars in the last year but in every single case the driver has been a woman. Are Spanish females determined now to sink to male levels of aggression and individualismo? In contrast, yesterday a young male raised his hand in apology when I was still a metre or more from the crossing. All very confusing.

Today's cartoons:

Here's a modern take on a famous wartime cartoon, from today's Times:-

And here's the orginal, from David Low:

Hitler: "The scum of the earth, I believe".                                     Stalin: "The bloody assassin of the workers, I presume."               Over the body of Poland

And here's another one from The Times, yesterday:-
Of Mr Trump, someone has rightly said that: He was elected president in part because he has a genius for provoking his enemies into a deranged frenzy. Causing them to take their eyes off the real issues. Hence my continued view that he should be met everywhere by silence and placards merely saying LOSER.

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