Spain: Bullfighting Nuns vs. Animal-Loving Children

This is the story of a group nuns who needed to do construction on their monastery and had an idea: organise a bullfighting festival to raise funds.

The nuns from the «Iesu Communio» congregation who live in the La Aguilera monastery, in Burgos province, Spain, are some very unusual nuns, as their denim habits, their website [es] and their Facebook page [es] make apparent. “Split,” not without controversy [es] from the nuns of the order of St. Clare, they occupy San Pedro Regalado monastery [es], which was handed over to them by the Franciscans. Perhaps because this monastery was in a bad condition or because the community enjoys unusual growth and needs space for more nuns, the congregation has embarked upon distinct work and repairs, some very controversial, like the new building annex that, according to many, destroys the harmony of the Baroque site. In his blog Ex Orbe [es], Terzio [es] says:

Junto al precioso conjunto del Santuario de San Pedro Regalado, las monjas-guay de Sor Verónica han levantado un queso fresco con ventanitas y terracitas digno de la peor arquitortura contemporánea.

Beside the beautiful site of the San Pedro Regalado Sanctuary, the Sister Veronica cool-nuns have built a fresh cheese with little windows and little balconies worthy of the worst contemporary architorture.

Cartel de la corrida de toros organizada por las monjas. Imagen de la página de Facebook de este evento.

Poster for the bullfight organised by the nuns of La Aguilera. Image taken from the Facebook page for this event.

On top of that, the construction was done without council permission, which led to a 25,000€ fine [es] being imposed on them by the Aranda de Duero council in August 2012, which could have been even more, because one of the applications had already expired. In order to continue with the reparations of the monastery, the nuns decided to organise, last 4th May, a charity bullfight. But this initiative was picked up by some very special ears: those of the «El cuarto hocico [es]», a virtual animal protection group in the form of a blog, created by some children from Orba de Muel school (Zaragoza, Spain). The “cuartohociqueros” decided to take action and offer the nuns all the money they had at their disposal, 1000 Euros, which came from various donations. They made the offer in the form of a letter in which, among other things you can read:

Para nosotros, los niños, es muy importante que los adultos nos enseñen cómo comportarnos con un ser que puede sufrir. Si tenemos esto claro desde niños sabremos utilizarlo de mayores. Por eso, cuando nos hemos enterado de que querían hacer una corrida de toros para recaudar dinero hemos pensado en ayudarles… pero ayudarles de otra manera ¡¡¡Y esperamos servirles de ayuda!!!

For us kids, it's very important that adults show us how to behave with a being who can suffer. If we have this clear from childhood, we will know how to do it as adults. So when we found out that you wanted to put on a bullfight to raise money, we thought about helping you… but helping you in a different way. And we hope to be of help!!!

Carta de los niños de «El cuarto hocico» a las monjas de Iesu Communio. Captura de pantalla de su web.

Letter from the children from «El cuarto hocico» to the Iesu Communio nuns. Screenshot from their website.

This initiative did not go unnoticed in the online press and social media. The comments on the story are a clear reflection of the division that exists in Spanish society over bullfighting. Glauco commented in tercera información [es]:

Adultos que se esconden detrás de niños para montar un numerito tierno. Qué triste.

Adults that hide behind children in order to kick up a tender fuss. How sad.

While an anonymous commentator said on the same website:

La tauromaquia sólo se entiende en España y un par de países más. Es un espectáculo de la Edad Media. Para catetos que disfrutan con el sufrimiento animal con la excusa de que es “La Fiesta Nacional”. Qué coño fiesta! Es violencia! Abolición ya!

Bullfighting is only understood in Spain and a couple of other countries. It's entertainment from the Middle Ages. It's for hillbillies who enjoy an animal's suffering with the excuse that it's “the National Festivity”. What a rubbish festivity! It's violence! Abolish it already!

Papua shows his support for bullfights on the blog La crónica verde [es]:

(…) Pero bueno seguid diciendo que queda poco a la tauromaquia, como se nota que no has estado en los miles de pueblos taurinos de España en los que la fiesta se centra en el toro.

(…) So ok, keep on saying that there's not much left of bullfighting, it shows you haven't been in the thousands of bullfighting villages in Spain where the party is centred around the bull.

Terry-cola [es] thinks in El diario [es] the complete opposite:

Para que se les dé un poco de vergüenza, ¿qué pensará su Dios?, el verdadero. Incluso Diógenes el cínico se dejó abrumar por un niño que le dio una lección, pero hoy día corren peores tiempos. ¿De verdad alguien cree que España es un país que ama al Toro?. Aquí os dejo una historia fantástica: Fadjen. y

To embarrass them a bit, what would their God think?, truly. Even Diogenes the Cynic gave in to a child who taught him a lesson, but today times are even rougher. Does anyone actually believe Spain is a country that loves The Bull?. I leave you with a fantastic story: Fadjen. and

The nuns also received dozens of messages on their Facebook page [es] criticising their decision. Although at the time this article was written these messages had been erased, you could still read some on the event's Facebook page [es]:

Amalia López: Tiene que estar contento San Francisco con estas señoras.

Amalia López [es]: Saint Francis must be happy with these ladies.

The “Cuarto hocico” kids have not been able to stop the Lerma bullfight [es], but with such a generous gesture they have succeeded in stirring the conscience of many people, and once again laying on the table the controversy over bullfights, which reached its critical point in 2010, when the autonomous government of Catalonia decided to prohibit them in its territory, joining the Canary Islands, where bullfights have not been celebrated since 1991 [es].

These achievements are not surprising, because despite their young age, the “cuartohociqueros” amass prizes and awards: their blog has received the APDDA 2012 Prize [es] from the Parliamentary Association of the Defence of Animales, the National Ecoinitiatives Competition III [es] prize, the Ministry of Culture National CreArt Prize, the 2011 Educared International Prize [es], a Special Certificate of Recognition from the Jane Goodall Institute [es]… They have also created the Facebook page “Children 4 Animals” [es], which is defined [es] as a “Project for the creation of a worldwide network of animal protectors directed by children.”

7 de mayo de 2012: Los niños de El Cuarto Hocico se dirigen al público en presencia de la primatóloga Jane Goodall, Premio Príncipe de Asturias 2003 de Investigación. Imagen tomada de su blog.

7th May 2012: The El Cuarto Hocico children face the public in the presence of the primatologist Jane Goodall, 2003 Prince of Asturias Research Prize. Image taken from their blog.

27 de febrero de 2013: Los niños de El Cuarto Hocico recogen el premio APDDA en el Congreso de los Diputados. Captura de pantalla de su web.

27th February 2013: The El Cuarto Hocico children receive the APDDA prize at the Member of Parliament Congress. Screenshot from their website.

We cannot but agree with Sister Lucía Caram when she tweets:

@sorluciacaram: Estos niños valen un imperio:

@sorluciacaram [es]: These children deserve an empire:[es]

And Moni ANIMAL, also on Twitter, gives us an interesting piece of information:

@ToroLoboVivos: Las monjas toreras no están al tanto de esta bula? …

@ToroLoboVivos [es]: Aren't the bullfighting nuns up to date with this papal bull? … [es]

It refers to the «De salutis gregi Diminici [es]», papal bull, that since 1567 prohibits, under pain of excommunication, people who “have received sacred callings from taking part in these performances (bullfights)”.

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