I wouldn’t call myself a bible thumper or a holy roller. I’ve gotten into my fair share of trouble, told lies (who hasn’t!?), and have spent the same amount of nights out as in. Of all the topics to write about and share with others religion seems out of reach. Nevertheless, I’m in Spain and drawn to the idea of examining Catholicism; the differences and the similarities between at home in Seattle and here in Spain.
I’m living in a new country with new people who believe the same things I do, but for some reason I still get lost. Let me explain. I’m a cradle catholic, born and raised in the catholic church. At home, I’m a knowledgeable catholic, I understand the stories, the traditions, the why we believe what we believe and I own it. Of course, there’s always questions and not always answers but that’s why it’s called faith. Here in Spain, though, I feel like a child relearning what I’ve known since the cradle. If you thought Catholicism was weird in the United States, just wait until you experience Spain. If you thought Catholicism was beautiful in the United States, just wait until you experience Spain. It’s weird. It’s different. It’s all the same. It’s all new. It’s all old.
My first Spanish mass was in a town with a total population of 30 people and 25 of them were sitting in mass on Sunday morning. Over 80 percent of the population at mass? That’s weird. The whole church service in Spanish? That’s new. All the readings and mass traditions? Older than I can fathom and the same as they’ve been my entire life. I found myself in utter fascination of how the same ancient routine in a new country could lead me to be so curious.
So why did I choose to explore contemporary Catholicism in Spain? Because it’s interesting to me, hopefully interesting to you and if writing doesn’t challenge me to dig deeper and challenge others to do the same, then I’m doing it all wrong. It’s messy, it’s beautiful, and I love it. Bible thumper, holy roller, just curious, or anywhere in between, I hope you join me on this adventure as I explore contemporary Catholicism in Spain.