Postsecular Pilgrimage: The Idea of the Book
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Ashrine turns into a pilgrimage site when its narratives or reported miracles, most successfully a combination of the two, appeal to a wider public. Pilgrims spread these news and narratives all over the pilgrim paths they use. They bring home devotional objects as souvenirs like shells from a beach holiday. Indeed, the pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, a remote place in northwestern Spain near Finisterre, the end of Europe, spread the scallop—the “mussel of St. James” in many European languages—all over continental Europe. In October 1987, the Council of Europe declared the St. James pilgrimage route the first European Cultural Route because it links the formation of a modern European identity beyond nations to a medieval common European heritage. Most recently, the route experienced a huge revival. It now attracts all sorts of people interested in sportive or cultural hiking and various forms of self-experience. Further east, in a similarly remote place close to the French Pyrenees, Lourdes developed since the apparition of the Virgin Mary in the late nineteenth century a global attractiveness that spread the Lourdes Madonna, white with a blue girdle, all over the world. Lourdes grottos or at least symbols of this shrine are to be found in almost any Catholic community from New Orleans (USA) to Chennai (India), notwithstanding the large number of Catholics who think of it as kitsch. The Lourdes Madonna is an icon that brings Catholics from all over the world together, but you can also distinguish two different types of Catholics by asking if they like the spirituality associated with Lourdes or not.
KeywordsInternational Relation Political Theory Language Game World Religion Catholic Church
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