Secularization and tourism threatening religious feasts, warns Spanish bishop

.- Noting the large number of feast days that are celebrated in Spain during the month of August, Bishop Jose Sanchez of Siguenza-Guadalajara warned this week that secularization and tourism are threatening to destroy the meaning of religious holy days.

Bishop Sanchez noted that “secularization, properly understood, is beneficial for religious things, because it helps distinguish between the religious and the profane.”  However, he warned, extreme secularization that rejects, “the religious and supernatural dimension, tends to convert religious feasts into a social, customary, or folkloric event - into just another show.”

Bishop Sanchez also emphasized that, “another danger that lurks is the need that some have that their feasts, both religious and secular, contain an element of tourism, especially if they are declared to be of worldwide, national, regional or provincial tourist interest.”  

“It’s fine if tourists attend our religious feasts if it is because of the devotion which they inspire or the beauty of the celebration,” he noted, but to determine their success based on whether or not they are, “declared to be of interest to tourists is to stray from the purpose” of religious feast days.

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