Pope in Spain and Watch Out For The Swinging Thurible !

On a two day visit to Spain, Pope Benedict XVI has consecrated Antoni Gaudi's awesome unfinished Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia, as a basilica in the Spanish Catalan city of Barcelona.

                                                                          Image source 
Gaudi's greatest work has been under construction for more than a century, and will not be finished before 2026.
The name of the church means Holy Family in English.
 Antoni Gaudi, a Barcelona architect and staunch Catholic who dedicated his life to the project died tragically  in 1926, only a few years after it was begun. He is on the path to possible sainthood. 

Click here for link to a wonderful website dedicated to his works
 Pope Benedict at door of Sagrada Familia

The light-filled basilica is awash in Christian symbolism and imagery; its planned 18 spires which pierce Barcelona's skyline represent the 12 apostles,
the four evangelists,  and Mary and Jesus.

                                                                                             Image source

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the door of the Sagrada Familia prior to celebrate a solemn mass consecrating Barcelona’s famous temple in a basilica on November 7, 2010, during his two-day visit in Spain.
The basilica's three main exterior facades depict Christ's birth, death and resurrection;

the 52 palm treelike columns inside represent the 52 Sundays of the year. 
Benedict praised Gaudi for integrating nature, scripture and liturgy in his masterpiece in a way that overcame the distinction between the temporal and the eternal world. 

"Antoni Gaudi did this not with words but with stones, lines, planes and points," Benedict said. 

Loads in the news on this so here are a few choice links :
Rocco Palmer at Whispers in The Loggia has excellent and extensive report of the visit and speeches here
BBC report and video from here 

Full text of his speech in Barcelona from the UK Catholic Herald is here 
CNN report is here

Here At dotCommonweal  is a link to an an extract from his homily and there is another interesting one  here on the Pope's comments on the aggressive anti-clericalism in Spain.

Yesterday he visited Santiago de Compostela,( left and below), which houses the tomb of Saint James,  and  has been one of the main Christian pilgrimage sites since the Middle Ages. 

Today, believers and non-believers make the trek along the ancient route, many of them hiking for hundreds of miles.

See this amazing video of the great swinging thurible at Santiago, at a maximum speed 42mph (!)

On his second visit to Spain since he was elected, the Pope  drew criticism from leftist commentators for remarks he made on his flight to the country on Saturday when he said the country was going through a period of "aggressive secularism like we saw in the 1930s."
Government officials did not react, but critics questioned the comparison of declining religiosity — only 15 percent of those Spaniards who say they are Catholic regularly attend church — with the anti-clerical movement of the 1930s.
Some even saw it as a tacit support of what followed in the Republican government of the 1930s, the 36-year dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who was close to the Church.
"The state spends 6 billion euros each year to finance Catholic activities (schools, religion classes, reconstruction of churches, bishops' salaries). 

Is that aggressive secularism or a threatening anti-clericalism?" wrote journalist and commentator Juan G. Bedoya in El Pais newspaper's Sunday edition.
The pope called for a "re-evangelisation" of Spain, which has produced some of the most influential Catholics in history : and has given the world a "constellation" of great saints including St John of the Cross, St Francis Xavier, St Teresa of Avila and St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits.
Spain's history is intensely linked to the Church. The country's Catholic monarchs in the 1400s expelled Muslims and Jews or enforced their conversion to Christianity through the Inquisition, as well as funding the evangelisation of the New World.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this - very informative and beautiful pictures.

Philomena Ewing said...

Hi Andie,
You are most welcome and thank you for comments. That thurible is awesome and I couldn't resist the video.