“The earth is a huge wounded creature; she is ill. Bending over her, not as a slave over the clod, but as the physician over a prostrate sufferer, the tiller lovingly showers on her his care. But love, for all that it is so necessary, is not enough. To know nature, to know, so to speak, the temperament of one’s own piece of land, sometimes so different from that of the very next plot; to be able to discover the germs that spoil it, the rodents that would burrow beneath it, the worms that would eat its fruits, the weeds that would infest its crops; to determine what elements it lacks and to choose the successive plantings that will enrich it even while it rests — these and so many other things require wide and varied knowledge and information

(…)

After the land has been so abandoned, capital hastens to make it its own; the land then becomes no longer the object of love but of cold exploitation. Generous nurse of the city as well as of the country; it is made to produce only for speculation — while the people suffer hunger; while the farmer, burdening himself with debts, slowly approaches ruin; while the national economy becomes exhausted from paying high prices for the provisions it is forced to import from abroad. This perversion of private rural property is seriously harmful. The new ownership has no love or concern for the plot that so many generations had lovingly tilled, and is heartless towards the families who till it and dwell upon it now.

(…)

Work unites all men in common service to the needs of the people and in a unified effort towards perfection of self in honor of the Creator and Redeemer. In any case, remain firm in regarding your labor from the point of view of its essential value. You and your families are contributing to the public welfare; such labor protects your fundamental right to an income sufficient to maintain you in accordance with your dignity and cultural needs as men. It implies also your recognition of the necessity of uniting with all other occupational groups who labor for the various needs of society. Your labor therefore, embodies your support of the principles of social peace”

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Venerable Pope Pius XII

On Rural Life

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