Troubling scenes in a northern Spanish village on the route to Santiago de Compostela, whose 46 inhabitants have driven out Benedictine monks following a dispute over the restoration of the village church.

The ABC newspaper has the story. The details of the saga -- the monks want to make  changes to the Romanesque church, which belongs to the monastery; the villagers object  -- are much less important than the YouTube video of the monks leaving the village to cries of "Fuera! Fuera! Y no volvais!' -- "Out! Out! And don't come back!"

Watching it, you realise that this is what has happened since time immemorial, when the crowd unites and there are scapegoats to hand. It's a chilling scene, made more chilling by the crowd's anxious laughter and the way they are led by those shouting. The dignity of the monks -- who have kept a careful silence -- is in obvious contrast. 

The video shows the monks leaving Rabanal del Camino (Leon) after being recalled by their German mother house, following violent episodes earlier this month when villagers attacked the monks. No date has been given for their return. The monks leave a big local gap: they tended to pilgrims on the Road to Santiago, and ministered to local parishes. 

Comments

Anonymous | 9/21/2009 - 8:05pm
I finished my Camino this year and passed through the village of Rabanal and actually talked to one of the monks..unfortunately we arrived very late and so could not attend and services. For my part I would hope the Bishop would ask the villergers to do an act of penance for this disorder..If I was the bishop I would make sure no services are conducted by a priest ubtil this is resolved.
Anonymous | 9/15/2009 - 10:10am
I am not sure about the YouTube video that this article speaks about. But, there is one I found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBwbBNBJFDc
I cannot but agree with one of the comments above: they are/were an oasis of prayer in the Camino de Santiago.
Anonymous | 9/1/2009 - 9:44am
Just saw this post this morning and when I clicked on the video connect was informed that the video has already been removed.
Anonymous | 8/31/2009 - 10:39pm

The link to the video does not work, even after setting up an youtube account. Searching Benedictine monks and Rabanal del Camino (Leon) yields this entry, but it does not load: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ahTsUtF5BM&translated=1]Demonstration in Rabanal del Camino (Camino de Santiago) against monks ...[/url]

Anonymous | 9/1/2009 - 3:38am
I am saddened by this news, as I stayed in this little village last year while walking the Camino of St James. I am a lapsed Catholic, but these monks were gentle and prayerful, and many of those staying in the village went to vespers in this little church. I was asked to do the version of the reading in English- there were not too many English speakers around. Usually it was something I would balk at, but in the serenity and peace of this liturgy I was glad to have a chance to do it.
By the way, I think the monks want to restore the simplicity of the Romanesque part of the church, and the Baroque altar has been moved to another local church. This is just one of the issues.
There are of course many factors in this dispute, but I hope it can be
resolved soon. These monks provided an oasis of prayer along the Camino.