The Catholic Church.. but not as you know it.
27.04.2008 - 27.04.2008 19 °C
Religion in Ecuador is really quite something.
I got up this morning with the intention of going to the National Museum of Ecuador but by the time I made it there it had closed for the day. For want of anything better to do, I decided to follow a crowd of Quiteños who had gathered nearby.
After about 10 minutes, we reached the city´s historic centre, home to some of the country´s oldest and most famous churches. Shortly afterwards, we reached ´La Iglesia de San Francisco´(an incredibly ornate building reportedly gilded with 8 tonnes of Conquistador gold) and just in time for the beginning of Mass.
The next 20 minutes or so (I´m no saint, that was about as much as I could take..) rank among the most surreal in my life. The priests conducting the service switched, seemingly at random, between Spanish, Latin and a weird religious trip-hop (think Christian Rock, but with a phatter bassline, or perhaps Massive Attack but with more references to divine providence). After what seemed like an eternity, I got up and left.. with all the subtlety of a giraffe in dark glasses trying to sneak into a polar bears-only golf club (to quote Blackadder).
As I wandered around the winding streets of the Old Town afterwards, I began to realise why the Church had resorted to the gratuitous use of riddim(z). All around me were dancers, jugglers and other assorted street-performers, many of whom were drawing crowds at least as big as the congregation in the church I had just left. Clearly the Church had felt the need to up the ante in order to keep the faithful, well, faithful.
Good shout, I say. Let me know when they let Dizzee Rascal play Chelmsford Cathedral.