Joanne & I went to see the movie “The Way” with friends. The film features Martin Sheen on a pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain. The Sheen character achieves spiritual healing with the journey. We were all impressed with the message, acting and the scenery. (Is Sheen related to – an ancestor of Bishop Fulton J….. ?)
But Compostela is a shrine to a Christian victory over the Muslims in the 9th century C.E. The victory is credited to the help of Santiago - St. James. Who is the St. James of the legend makers? Is he the Apostle James the Greater, brother of John; is he the leader of the early Christian Jerusalem community? Is he the author of the Epistle of James – brother of Jesus? Can we say yes to all of the above? Legend relates that St. James preached in Spain, and returned to Jerusalem to be martyred. His remains were sent on a boat to northwestern Spain. They were found at Compostela and his ghost aided in defeating the Muslims. Santiago is often depicted in statues on a white horse with a sword raised in battle to kill Muslims. Santiago de Compostela is also referred to as Santiago Matamoros – St. James the Muslim killer. A town in Mexico is named Matamoros after St. James.
The pilgrims in Sheen’s movie achieved spiritual healing through love. But to what extent is it healing if it is not based on truth? The pilgrims in the movie suppressed part of the story. Santiago de Compostela is a shrine to the killing of enemies, and has nothing to do with love - Charity. Without truth is the movie a romantic cover up of hatred?