Bearing crosses

CHRIST emerges from his refuge for the second time in as many weeks and again he is greeted by the sinners. The Sweet Name of Jesus band plays mournful tunes while the hooded penitente parade behind the cross through the streets of Orgiva. It’s a spectacle . . .

I feel I am standing on a fault-line between tradition and repression. On one side of the gulf is passion and pageantry, on the other the stark ugliness of religion’s control of the people through the blind acceptance of sin.

This is how the church worked in Spain for centuries – and in Britain, too. You are sinners, you people; you are tainted with the original sin of Adam and Eve; repent and secure your place in heaven; accept your suffering, your poverty, your lowliness, and you shall, through the blessed quality of meekness, inherit the Earth. But you must die first. That’s the deal.

Jesus and the penitents disappear round a corner near the Italian Cafe. The smell of incense lingers with the sounds of trumpets and drums. I decide I don’t want to inherit the Earth. I’m quite satisfied with the here and now.

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21 thoughts on “Bearing crosses

  1. Impressive to see Al, but to paraphrase Marx – religion is the opium of the masses. I’m talking about Karl of course. As far as I am aware Groucho, Chico and Harpo had no great opinions on religion as a tool of the repressive state apparatus.

    Comanchero George

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    1. I’m glad you said it was Karl, George, because I thought for a minute you were referring to Adolph Marx, the erstwhile Bishop of Brownsville, Texas, who was installed in September 1965 and died less than two months later. He had opinions on religion but apparently it didn’t do him much good.
      Cheers, Alen

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    1. Ha ha. I worked with a guy who wrote a sports story about an Aborigine rugby player and the spell-check put aubergine in instead, and it went in the paper.
      Capa. Great bloke. Didn’t he take the first photograph during the Spanish Civil War?
      Cheers, Alen

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  2. Yes, the ‘dying fall’ I think it is called (Kapa) saw a fantastic exhibition in London once but his wife was the bravest she got shot while she was photographing on top of a Landrover. There is also some discussion over the authenticity of the photograph, one will never know but on that note … Kim
    Your pictures, once again, are fab but those people give me the creeps!

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    1. I remember you going to the exhibition, Kim. I would have liked to have gone to that myself. And I remember reading about the debate. These sort of claims always seem to be made by people who were never there and have certainly never taken photographs while under fire.
      Cheers, Alen

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  3. Whoops again Capa, oh and apparently someone who is far more clever than me has just pointed out that there were no Landrovers then but I am pleased to note I wouldn’t know the difference between that and a Bentley, it was a tatty thing with wheels.

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  4. My personal view of religion (and also, strangely, Richard’s) is that it was originally created as a tool for control of a population before there were many laws or lawcourts. It worked in the early days as the people were bribed/threatened into behaving in the required manner. However, I think it’s long since outgrown it’s purpose – but I don’t object to people practicing it or believing if that’s what they want – just I can’t subscribe to it myself any more.

    Religion in Britain has given us some lovely old buildings though and also makes a section of the population behave in a generally nice manner.

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    1. Well, I can’t add to that Carol. My personal views on religion are pretty much catered for there. All I will say, is that despite being a non-believer, I do enjoy singing a good old hymn.
      Cheers, Alen

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  5. They’re the ones, the Pointyhoods. So creepy I used an image of them to illustrate a coven in one of my novels. Twothings come to mind: 1 – how do they stay upright, they’re so tall? 2 – at the end of the day do they turn them upside down and eat ice cream in them?

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    1. They are definitely creepy, Chris. What I can’t understand is how they recognise each other. It would be easy to infiltrate them because once you’ve got the costume on, everyone looks the same.
      To stay upright, perhaps they have counterbalances on their legs. I bet you didn’t think of that. There is also a boom in the sale of Cadbury’s Flakes at Easter, so perhaps that answers the ice cream question.
      Cheers, Alen

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