Spurred by Pope, Spanish Catholic Church Confronts Sexual Abuse Reply

Priestly contrition Granada

Yahoo.com, Madrid (AFP) — Spain’s Catholic Church, which has long been accused of silencing cases of priests sexually abusing children, is starting to take a hard line against offenders, spurred by Pope Francis. A judge in the southern city of Granada on Tuesday charged 10 priests and two Catholic lay workers with sexually abusing altar boys in their care, or being complicit in such acts, from 2004 to 2007. It is the biggest and most serious paedophilia case involving members of the Catholic Church known so far in Spain.

The case was brought to light by a former altar boy, now 25 and a member of the Catholic institution Opus Dei, who wrote to the pontiff to say he had been molested. Pope Francis called the unidentified man to offer the Church’s apology and in November the pontiff said he had ordered a church investigation into the case, saying it had caused him “great pain”. The young man who wrote to the pope “never imagined the issue would take on the significance that it did,” his lawyer, Jorge Aguilera Gonzalez, told AFP. “If it wasn’t for the pope’s intervention, it would still have been an important issue, but just one of many.”

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One Spanish Town’s Solution to Housing Crisis Reply

Spanish householders evicted

Jenniffer Riggins writes for Smart Planet.com–Last year, the mayor of the 22,000-person village of Armilla, Granada, realized that a staggering 15 percent of all Armilla’s homes were vacant. This is the same town where more than a third of its residents are unemployed, many facing evictions or already living on the street. The town’s leaders saw this as an opportunity.

The city decided to perform an experiment in which its leaders approach landlords and real estate agents to rent out their empty places to local homeless families at dramatically decreased rates. They began negotiating with cautious optimism that goodwill and the fact these homeowners were earning nada off these properties would pose persuasive enough arguments to participate.

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Cave Squatters Resist Eviction in Granada Reply

Cave eviction protest

World Bulletin, Granada, December 14, 2013–The Spanish authorities in Granada are attempting to evict a community of people living in caves on the Sacromonte mountainside opposite the famous Alhambra fortress and palace. Residents living in the San Miguel Alto caves are resisting attempts to evict them, with dozens staging protests this week against the Granada City Council, which claims the caves are at risk of collapsing.

However, residents say that this is the third attempt to evict them in 6 years, and claimed that when the last report stating the instability of the caves was released three years ago, no official had actually inspected the caves. More…

“Turncoat!” I’m Guilty and Here’s How It Happened 1

Michael Booth’s Book Relates the Metamorphosis from American Boy to Spanish Turncoat

The Turncoat ChroniclesHow does a young man from deepest Midwestern U.S.A. transform himself from a normal American college student, ad agency shill and conscript soldier into a card-carrying Spanish citizen? And why? This is the story that Michael Booth recounts–45 years on–in his ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles. Booth, who discovered a Spanish village outside Granada in 1969 where he made a home for his family, still lives there. In the intervening four-and-a-half decades he has learned valuable lessons of simplicity, humility, humanity and solidarity. His teachers: the uncomplicated and generous villagers of his pueblo. More…

Take a Quick Timelapse Trip Around Andalusia Reply

Seville horse carriage

This four-and-a-half-minute timelapse video from the Spanish Tourist Office takes us  on a trip round Andalusia, Spain’s largest and southernmost region, focusing  on its culture, important cities, picturesque towns, accommodation and entertainment, and its modern range of services for visitors. Most foreign travelers consider Andalusia the most “typical” and most enchanting of the Spanish regions, as it offers what most people expect to find in Spain: sunny beaches, fiestas with girls in frilly flamenco dresses and gentlemen on horseback, and some of the finest tapas bars in Spain.This video includes:

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Editor’s Plumbing Update 9

Mike Booth EditorEleven days ago, on October 21, we mentioned here that ¡Alegria! editor, Mike Booth,would be on sick leave “for a couple of weeks.” It didn’t take that long. Booth was out of Granada’s Ruiz de Alda hospital with a set of shiny new coronary arteries just eight days later, and now he’s back stoking up the fires at ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Living. Booth found his experience in a Spanish hospital astonishing. “Everything functioned like clockwork. Everybody smiled and laughed at my jokes, and I was out of there–new–in record time.

“It was like a brief holiday in a high-tech Spanish village,” says Booth. “I never thought of Spain precisely as a world leader in medicine, though it is true that this country has the largest, most-advanced organ transplant program in the world. In fact, after spending eight days on the inside, I wonder if this isn’t what Spain should be exporting: some of those wonderful doctors and nurses.”

Granada’s Alhambra Palace Embodies Poetry, History and Mystery Reply

women Alhambra GranadaThis five-minute video of the Alhambra Palace produced by The Guardian offers us a romantic and literary view of Granada’s 13th-century Moorish palace, which bathed in oriental splendor till the Reconquest of Granada by the Christians at the end of the 15th. You will recall, “In fourteen hundred ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”

It was at that very same time that Ferdinand and Isabella were culminating their conquest of Granada. More…

It’s About Loving Spanish Spain 2/2 7

Gypsy horse trader

This is the second and final part of Bart Sedgebear’s “¡Alegria! Foundation” interview with  editor, Mike Booth

What did you do for a living when you arrived in Spain?

I wrote and photographed travel stories for newspapers and magazines. On winter mornings I breakfasted  a couple of “sol y sombras” (brandy with anise) with my neighbors in the “Diablo’s Bar” just off the village square. For years I thought that was the normal breakfast in Spain. More…

“We were amazed by just how kind everybody was…” 3

A Video Interview at Home in a Spanish Village with Londoners Alan and Stella Sekers

Alan Stella Sekers

Alan and Stella Sekers on the terrace of their village house in Quentar

When Alan and Stella Sekers retired from teaching they wanted to introduce some adventure into their lives, perhaps living in Spain. They discovered Quentar, “their” Spanish village, almost by accident when they went to visit some friends there. They soon made the decision to look for a house of their own in the village. One old ruin of a place appeared in short order. They flew back down from London and… Well, let’s let them tell you what happened.  More…

“Spain Gave Me the Opportunity to Create My Own Life” 2

Annabella's kitchen

Annabella’s kitchen

French Painter Annabella Gorlier’s Spanish Lifestyle

French painter, Annabella Gorlier, came to Granada as an Erasmus student and never looked back. A series of unexpected events took her to live with her young family high on a mountainside from where she could fly down to the town whenever she wanted.

Annabella GorlierAnnabella Gorlier never expected to end up living in Spain high on a mountainside with a Spanish compañero who flies and two bi-lingual children. “No,” says Annabella, “but if I had dreamed a life when I was a girl it would have been something similar.” More…