Monks as scapegoats
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.