Would you like to make a pilgrimage to Fatima on foot? If you're not able for some reason, a man in Portugal is willing to make the journey on your behalf.

For 2,500 euros ($3,169), Pilgrim Gil will make the journey in your place -- and send you a certificate stamped along the way to prove he walked your every step.
Carlos Gil, 42, who owns a small computer company, took up this medieval practice four years ago when he suddenly "felt an urge to walk to Fatima" and said charging each client was simply a way to keep doing what he loves.
"I make the trip to Fatima once or twice a year because it elevates my spirit," said Gil. "Sometimes the trip is so intense that I forget I'm doing it to fulfill my client's promises."
Like a true pilgrim, Gil begins his seven-day journey to Fatima on foot from his home in Cascais, a small town on the outskirts of Lisbon, about 160 kilometers from the shrine. It takes him another six days to walk back.

I know, it sounds almost like simony, and it probably trips all the alarms for an Evangelical: not only is it devotion to our Lady, not only is this a medieval devotional practice, but this amounts to vicarious devotional practice: giving someone else a stipend while he does the devotional practice for you! I mean! If it's not the full Tetzel, it's close, eh?

But somehow I like the idea: according to Gil, he's not making a profit off the pilgrimages, just covering his expenses and making up for the time away from his business.


...thinking if eight of us go in together, it'd be less than $400 apiece...

The problem with the quote ascribed to Tetzel ("As soon a coin in coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs") is it comes to us not from Tetzel or his writings but from Luther himself.

How is this different from sponsoring a walk-a-thon participant? Not much.

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on November 1, 2006 2:54 PM.

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