Most people associate the beach with summer fun -- but a Catholic group in Spain warns that it can also be a site for sin, which is reason enough to segregate beaches by sex.
The Traditionalist Group Pedro Menéndez de Avilés posted a call to its Facebook page decrying mixed beaches because they promote "sins of the flesh," reports the Spanish website the Local. (Menéndez was a 16th-century conquistador and the founder of Spanish Florida.) "Catholic, preserve your decency in summer, too: Don’t go to mixed beaches!" reads the posting to Facebook.
"The scenes that you see on mixed beaches are often close to sin," a spokesman for the organization told the Local. "The nudity of the bodies and the prevailing hedonism can weaken the devout soul."
Founded in 2014, the group is closely linked to Carlism, an extreme conservative political movement in Spain that has always had close ties to the Catholic Church. Carlists do not recognize the current royal family as legitimate. The movement was most prominent from the 19th century through the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
The Facebook posting also outlined a series of guidelines for Spanish Catholics to follow during the summer holiday season. According to the group, Catholics should "avoid mixed bathing" because "it almost always entails close proximity to sin and scandal." The group also cites the "Norms of Christian Decency," a set of guidelines published by the Spanish bishops in 1958, during the Franco regime.
The group provides advice on appropriate beach attire, as well. For men, "a simple bathing suit" will do, and women should choose beach gear that covers the body and includes "a little skirt for when out of the water." If swimmers are in mixed company, they should stick to swimwear in the water but cover themselves with a bathrobe as soon as they emerge.
While Spain is known for its beaches and tourism, the group wants Catholics to "set an example to their compatriots and to local Spaniards."
“Mixed bathing (individuals of different sexes), almost always leads to occasions of sin and scandal and as many precautions as possible should be taken,” the text posted to Facebook reads. "If there are no segregated beaches close by, we think the best option is to not go to the beach."