New Year’s meme

It’s the first line of the first post of each month. Mine goes back only as far as April, because that’s when I started this blog. I found it at landismom’s site.

Wednesday, April 17th – Standing on a 45 degree angle from the surrounding Eixample grid system, this hospital was built by Domènech i Muntaner based on the notion that aesthetic harmony and pleasant surroundings were good for the health.

Wednesday, May 3rd – In the basque language (Euskera),txacolín is a fizzy, dry white wine poured from a great height.

Thursday, June 1st – Enjoying some cava and tapas on our balcony…

Monday, July 3rd – Now… this one I didn’t foresee: that no only would Brazil forget how to play football but that we would have to be reminded of it by the French.

Sunday, August 6th – Some cities are beer cities while others are wine cities.

Saturday, Sept 2nd – One of the things I most enjoy doing is learning about different cultures and participating in popular cultural events.

Sunday, Oct 1st – My parents, my brother, his wife and three-year old child have just left Brazil on their wayto Europe.

Saturday, Nov 4th – Tonight we went to the movies with Jackie, Sebastian, Francisca,Isa & Jordi to see Copying Beethoven.

Dec, 1st – Christine, a friend from Montreal, was visiting last week and in between tourist sites, we took her to Wushu, our favourite restaurant.

The Great (Ecumenic) Mosque of Cordoba?

The Great Mosque of Cordoba can be seen as a symbol of the many layers of Spanish history and of all the peoples that carved this nation. After the Muslim conquest of the Spanish kingdoms, Abderraman I ordered the construction of a mosque on the site of a Visigothic church (which was itself built over a Roman temple). When Cordoba fell back into Christian possession in the thirteenth century, it was turned back into a church.

Earlier this week, the president of the Islamic Association of Spain, Mansur Escudero, wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI requesting that Muslims be allowed to pray in front of the mihrab* of the great mosque, alongside Catholics. Escudero alleged that the shared use of the building would help bridge relations between the two groups and would follow the example set by the recent visit by the pope to the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. The bishop of Cordoba quickly issued a press release denying the request saying it would only cause “confusion” among the faithful. His exact words are interesting: “sólo generaría confusión en los fieles, dando pie al indiferentismo religioso”.

What does he mean by “indiferentismo religioso”? That people wouldn’t be able to tell the two religions apart? Well, maybe stressing the things we have in common wouldn’t be so bad. But god-forbid we make a muslim seem less alien to a christian… That would be too revolutionary.
I think the Church lost a great PR moment here. The Great Mosque of Cordoba is mostly a tourist site these days. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit it every year. Catholics don’t find it a practical place in which to do their worship. That role is played by more local parish churches. Allowing the Mosque of Cordoba to be used as an ecumenic temple would be mostly a public-relations effort that would probably disturb few Catholics and fit well with all the efforts of interfaith dialogue pioneered by the late Pope John Paul II.

When I first moved to Canada, I was surprised to find that the local Catholic church shared the building with a Protestant church. One could go to mass at 9 AM or attend a Protestant service at 11:30. Martin Luther and Jean Calvin probably turned in their tombs, but I thought it was great. It shows respect towards each other and reminds us that we have more uniting us than we do separating us.

As a Spanish tourist said when asked if Muslims should be allowed to pray in the building, “Es de sentido común, es la mezquita de Córdoba”. A couple from Valencia added that after all, the Muslims also have the right to pray.

*a mihrab is a niche in the middle of a building that indicates the direction of Mecca

Mansur Escudero praying by the mosque of cordoba

photo © El Pais

Ten things I want to do in 2007

1. Spend less time on Internet and more time at the gym

2. Become less politically alienated – learn more about the issues that plague the city, country, and world in which I live

3. Be more creative – I want to rejoin the Hart House Camera Club and take more photography classes. I also want to take an intro to Art History class

4. Teach. I’ll be a TA (Teaching Assistant) for the first time this year, which is something that I both need and want to do. I’m also a bit nervous because I really want to be a good teacher…

5. Learn Hebrew. It’s only fitting since I study Jewish history…

6. Do volunteer work. I worked as a volunteer in Montreal in an elementary school and at the volunteer bureau’s office. It was a very fulfilling experience and one I hope to repeat one day.

7. Start writing my thesis. eeeeeek.

8. Take an Indian Cooking class. Hopefully my friend Gen will join me! Anyone else from Toronto care to join?

9. Show Toronto to my Barcelona friends

10. Read more literature

What about you? what do you want to do in 2007?

PhD Comic