Catholic Hendcl Correspondent
LIVING conditions in rural Spain are described as "inhuman and un-Christian" in a pastoral letter by Bishop Anoveros Ataun of Cadiz and Ceuta. It is published in the official organ of Spanish Catholic Action, Ecclesia.
It is thought in Madrid that the letter is an oblique attack on government policies to promote industrialisation while leaving Spanish farmers in extreme poverty. It was also obviously an attack on the structure of the Spanish agricultural system in which wealthy landowners grow wealthy at the expense of day labourers.
The living conditions of poor farmers in his own Andalusian diocese were "appalling", the Bishop said.
"In our own province of
Cadiz", he wrote. "thousands of farming families live in slum huts the e most elementary con
ditions of hygiene, ventilation and comfort. Migratory workers who move with their families to large estates during the working season are offered lodgings and living conditions that are scarcely human.
"The contrast between the life of farm workers and the sumptuous life they see on the estates too often gives them reason for a conscious or unconscious outcry against iinjustice."
Migration to cities
Bishop Anoveros said he was disturbed by the migration of farmers to the cities, leaving the countryside stripped of people and in a state of abject poverty.
The Bishop warned against, a process of development which had only economic goals. "The social development of consciences must be the necessary foundation on which economic development depends," he said. In a six-point programme for improving the Spanish farm situation, Bishop Anoveros saki it was time to apply the social teachings of the Popes in concrete situations. and to hold fewer con
ferences merely to discuss them as theories.
What was needed, he said, was a "realistic appreciation that day labourers are human beings, with rights that affect their progress and that of their families. Furthermore, in a Christian sense, they arc brothers."
The Bishop said the scandal of having too much money while others are poor "may be the greatest sin of all".