A World with a Range of BeliefsEdit
Religion comes up often in the world of Spice and Wolf, not just as represented by the church but also by the practices of pagans. Like government, commerce and social standards, religious faith in the setting of Spice and Wolf reflects a world which is in flux. Reflecting the changes caused by a stronger sense among humans in their abilities and their dominance of their landscape, belief systems are portrayed as being in conflict with one another and in flux as well. This in itself is cause for stress since religious faith usually claims to be based on eternal, unchanging realities. Thus when Holo says "when did the church start thinking so highly of itself?" (I need to check this quote), Lawrence is uncomfortable, thinking as most humans that the church had always been the way it is.
In the first episode, and in the first manga, the theme of conflict between faiths is introduced. The pagans still have a strong hold, but they are also clearly on the decline which is the very reason Holo finds herself released from her old oaths and is free to travel back home to the North.
Holo by her very nature as a pagan deity finds herself at odds with this institution. Her attitude towards it is condescending indifference, but she is also aware, especially as she travels, that she stands in some peril. While claiming to be a god herself, she admits that she is not certain what that means and defaults to "I am Holo the Wise Wolf."
Outside of the city of ________, Lawrence warns Holo that the people of this town do not want any religious term of ornament shown. Even nuns and priests obey this unwritten law.