Monday, September 11, 2006

European Directives - Spanish Style

Just before my holiday I met one of our elderly parishioners being accompanied home with blood pouring from a head wound. They told me that Mary had tripped and hit her head on the way to Mass. In good spirits she said: "I can sue the parish!". I knew it was a joke but nevertheless when I got home one of the first things I did was to check where exactly she had fallen. As it happens she hadn´t yet reached the Church when she tripped. Thanks be to God she is now fine.
We often get communications from some department of Head Office reminding us to carry out ´health and safety checks´, ´risk assessments´, and ´´disbility audits´ with warnings of dire consequences should we be found lacking. I employed a non-Catholic, professional to carry out our ´disability audit´because I wanted objective advice and I had heard horror stories of priests being told to lower their sanctuaries, hack out the marble, and abolish the Choir loft. The result was a very reasonable report which basically said we were okay.

In Spain a rather more relaxed approach is taken to such things: dead trees are left in village squares so that children can play on them, metal boxes jut out of walls at head height to remind you to look where you´re going and wild bulls are let loose on the streets so that you can have some exercise running away from their horns.
There is, of course, disability legislation. Disability access to establishments is required and so ramps are de rigour but, as the photo shows, it´s still a case of "they make the laws but we keep them"!


Robert Duncan said...

Father, sounds like you are enjoying our wonderful country here ... I say that as I finally took out my Spanish citizenship after living here now over 17 years.

Fr Stephen said...

Lo pase' pipa!