Monday, December 31, 2012

Animal Updates.... And Big (900lbs) News

It seems that budding farmers veer in some direction or another - veggies, animals, orchards, honey, etc. - something calls them.  I like animals.  I've moved all of the chickens around and everyone is confused (I think I did it wrong).  Each night I have to go and round up/catch chickens and put them where they should sleep - i.e. where they wont die from being eaten.  I really enjoy it though.  The other night it was cold, dark and rainy... and no, I wasn't after racoons, but catching stray poultry.  It hurt and it was late, but I loved it.  Each farm really needs a variety of things, not just animals or plants or what have you, but a ballet of critters mingling on the land.  But... I like the animals.  I like how they recognise me and understand that I care for them.  They're funny and interesting. 

The current inventory is the turkeys and chickens, which you have heard about plenty, but there's also the goats, Molly and Nibbles:

I've moved them to the pasture in a makeshift rotational grazing system.  This usually calls for lots of electric wire and fencing, but I have this old dog pen that did have turkeys in it - now it has goats.  The girls took a little adjusting to it, because they prefer being close to the house, but here they serve the farm much better: they convert the grass into fertilizer and I move them each day to fresh grass.  I go sit in there with them and read sometimes because they do enjoy the company and I enjoy the book, but they need to be out here, not up at the house getting pampered.

 But, the most exciting news is this....

Aren't they beautiful?  The generosity of friends and Divine Providence made it possible for us to take a step towards are deepest agrarian longing: cows.  More pictures soon - stay tuned! 

The fiscal cliff approaches tonight.  Many fear recessions, chaos, and whatever else the politicians have convinced you to fear, but I have the freedom of cows- milk, fertilizer, meat.  Bring it. 

Fan Mail

Thanks friend J for this picture.  Miss you brother.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Danger Down on the Farm

It was cold, rainy, and dark tonight as I walked in. My wife looked at me with an urgency novel to our normal evening routine.  "Are you ready for an adventure?" she asked.  I was. 

"I saw a big raccoon walking up the hill towards the chickens"

"Our chickens?" I asked foolishly.

"Yep.  He walked right up there," she said while pointing to a newly put out group of chicks.  "[Landlady's] comin' over with some traps to set up tonight, she said that it wont leave now that it knows there's easy food out there."

I pondered the investment of time and heart I've put in the animals on this farm.  "He's not getting my birds," I mumbled as I slipped out of town shoes into my rain boots."

I gathered a few more details from the wife.  "You sure it wasn't a cat?"

"It had a big fluffy striped tail."

"Hmmm.  That would be one weird cat."

As I walked out the back door ]Landlady] and her son pulled up in a white pickup that had the wheel-well pulled off on a logging job.

We fumbled to get the traps out, shake out the stinking leaves that the last skunk had left, and take them up the hill to set between the poultry and the woods. Skunks stink, by the way. 

As we tried to keep our balance up the wet slope, I started thinking about how bad we were compacting an area I wantet to revitalize.

But then the son dropped his cage and said, "There he is.  Get me a gun."

As a jogged back to the house I thought of his words... "Get me a gun."  Nah, I thought, I'm getting my gun.  For me.

After loading a single bullet into my Winchester, I walked back up the hill with little hopes he'd still be around.  You see, its weird for a racoon to come out in the day like that (though it was dark by now) and then hang around with us obviously doing all sorts of things around his would-be dinner. 

"He might be rabid," we thought out loud.  "Seems that way to me," said the son, "There he is!"

He reached a hand slightly out for me to hand him the gun.  I walked by him, raised it up, aimed - then the raccoon ducked behind the compost pile.  I slowly sidestepped until I could see him again and shot that mangy critter on this cold, rainy, dark night. 

You see, we've lost almost 50% of the meat birds that were across the street to a very aggressive predator.  This might have just been him.  It seems likely so since he showed so much interest in our birds, but it was also quite strange the way he was acting and keeping somewhat close to us even during a lot of activity.  We gathered the carcass and called the authorities to come and test it for rabbis. 

I came back in, feelin very fatherly for the farm and the family - rabid predators on my farm?  Not tonight! 

And if any other creatures think I'm raising these animals for them, I've got my eye on you...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reverence for Animals

I love the reverence for animals learned on a farm.  Its hard to define, but easier to define the extremes it counters.

On the left we have worshippers of animals.  And even on this side of the scale there is a scale - actual worship all the way to pushing a dog in a stroller (seen it).  The most extreme is the unnatural state of vegetarianism.  Its beyond my pay grade to describe this.  Some on this side still eat meat, and would wince if they saw us processing our chickens here, yet remaining willfully unknowing of the disgusting, unjust factory creatures that live a miserable life before they make it to their plate or paper bag.

On the right we have those that have no regard for life.  Filthy conditions or abuse - no matter, all things are for me and are unimportant because I have un-valued them.  Grow them in confinement, beat 'em... what ev', just gimme mine.  These people also fight dogs.

In the middle is the reverent farmer.  Hank, the cowboy down the road is a great example.  He loves and cherishes each and every cow, ensures their constant well-being and even follows them to the butcher to make sure they are not put into a panic at any point.  But he does send them to the butcher.

My daughter delightfully walks around with a chick in here hand all the time.  She also participates in processing them and eating them.  You see, she's living in reality.  The extremists above are disconnected from real life and unable to properly form a conscience towards animals, over or under exaggerated.  (This is not all to be sure.  Many suburbanites are quite balanced, but blog posts and reasonably timed conversations benefit from generalities - the general kind.)

On Neckties and Catholic Farmers

Recap.  I live on someone else's farm.  I farm that far.  [I love verb nouns.]  I am a serf. We also have very little.  Suburbia took a lot out of me, but it also gave me, in a cruel exchange, interest rates to remember it by.  What a bitch.

Sorry about that...

BUT, as we have less, we do have so much more.  I'm aware of the cliche here, but it is a rare one that is true. The simpler things get, the simpler they are.  But there's one thing I will not get rid of even though in the country I will very rarely need (save for the day Catholic culture is really pumping again).

Neckties.  I have a ton of them.  I love neckties.  Bowties too.  I have collected them over the years from the treasure chest that is the thrift store.  I learned slowly how to spot the best of the best, and I bet now my collection would be retailed at huge sums.  Now, my collection is probably a bit strange, and that's another reason to keep them, but when I meet or srumble upon websites of Catholic farmers, its interesting to me that most of them wear a tie to mass at the least and often even work in a tucked in shirt (formality in our day).  They might be some of the only ones at mass in a suit.  You would think that farmers, rought, dirty, earth-worn that they are, would care little for the city-like, superfluous necktie.  Yet, I would say the necktie is the perfect symbol for a farmer, because its in the same vein as the very reason he farms.

First, lets make sure we get this straight.  Clothes do matter.  As Mark Twain said, clothes may not make the man, but I've never seen a naked man in power.  Even at their dirtiest, they can present more than you might think.

The necktie.  Usually part of the traditional suit, which derives from centuries of transforming army digs into civilian digs.  Men wore suits because their grandfathers did.  Tradition was excepted and respected as each one assumed the general outlay, slowly learning how his own style would develop within the framework of tradition.  Learn the rules and respect them and only then make it your own.  The getup was old and the expression was new.  Colors and textures went with different occasions and seasons.  There were rules, which were breakable only because they were so firm.  It was full of ceremony, personal expression, tradition and general respect for an inherited culture.

Sounds like a farm to me.  A great tradition that must be renewed with each farmer in his own expression; full of necessary and unnecessary beauty, respectful of tradition and the ceremonies of the seasons. 

If this seems like a stretch, here's how I can prove it.  Next time you're at mass, ask the men in ties if they have a vegetable garden.  I bet they do.  They might just be a farmer. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Picture Update

 Breeder stock turkey watchin with siblings.

 Old-window greenhouse.

Holy Mass.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trent and the Duties of Husbands

My other work allows the great blessing of reading the most exhilarating books of all time: catechisms.

This tidbit from Trent is submitted for your edification:

"The husband should also be constantly occupied in some honest pursuit with a view to provide necessaries for the support of his family and to avoid idleness, the root of almost every vice.
  He is also to keep all his family in order, to correct their morals, and see that they faithfully discharge their duties."


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to Build a Village

Central to distributism is decentralization.  Instead of few owning much, many should own little, especially regarding land. Private property provides a “stable condition of things [man] finds solely in the earth and its fruits.“[1]  The land’s produce can be consumed or sold, providing sustenance and potentially income.  “Hence, man not only should possess the fruits of the earth, but also the very soil…”[2]  This is very different from the large agricultural system today where immense tracts of land are privately owned and in production of a few crops like corn or soybeans.  Many men with small acreage working in a local economy would generate a greater variety in each farm.   This image of a community of small farms is idealized in the village.  If land ownership, however, is not a reality for many, private agreements may help to create stable rights to land that will reach the same ends as ownership, perhaps even the creation of village-like communities.   In fact, firm contracts between farmers and landowners would mirror the village systems of the Middle Ages more than each farmer owning the land.  Looking to the slow rise of medieval villages (and considering their lasting grip on the imagination) can provide individuals with direction and lessons for moving to the land in a lasting arrangement, overcoming the property barrier.
Why The Village?
The medieval village carries with it a caricature of savagery and superstition.  The truth, however, is even more fantastic than the caricature. The villages of the Middles Ages are the richest example thriving culture rooted in land, tradition and faith that peaked in the thirteenth century, the “culmination of the middle ages.”[3]  The fruits defend this truth:  The thirteenth century birthed representative governments, guilds of master craftsmen (from where we still retain the word “mister,” or master); there were saintly kings like St. Louis of France and St. Ferdinand of Spain; saints like Francis and Dominic; theologians like Aquinas, Scotus and Bonaventure; masters of the arts like Giotto and Dante.[4]  Some testaments, perhaps the most amazing, are carved in stone: the gothic Cathedral.
Faith was literally central in the village hub, the parish church, and in the thirteenth century alone twenty Cathedrals[5] were erected in England.   Modern man, master of useful and tall office space, conceives an awe in his heart at the site of these testaments of a culture.  Yet it was not a traveling team of experts and officials erecting them, but each village and its inhabitants. “The men who worked around the Cathedrals were given opportunities to express themselves and the best that was in them as no class of workmen before or since have ever had the opportunity.”[6] From the intricate ironwork of door handles to the sacred art to the bells in the tallest tower to the sea of hand made tiles on the floor – each piece was crafted locally. To duplicate one today would necessitate experts the world over. 
Cathedrals were possible because small villages were teaming with craftsman, artists and farmers.  Village harmony did not merely produce a reasonable and sustainable economy, but joyful men.  This was a time when rainy England was “Merrie England.”  James J. Walsh, commenting on the men that build the Cathedrals, compares the workman of a medieval village with those of today, and considers what made them so merry:
“It is easy to understand that workman would be profoundly merry at heart when they had the consciousness of accomplishing such good work.  Men must have almost tardily quitted their labor in the evening while they hoped and strove to accomplish something that would be worthy of the magnificent building in which so many of their fellow workman were achieving triumphs of handcraftsmanship.  Each went home to rest for the night, but also to dream over what he might be able to do and awoke in the morning with the thought that possibly to-day would see some noteworthy result.  This represents the ideal of the workman’s life.  He has an interest quite apart from the mere making of money.  The picture of the modern workman by contrast looks vain and sordid.  The vast majority of our workmen labor merely because they must make enough money to-day, in order that they may be able to buy food enough so as to get strength for work to-morrow.  Of interest there is very little.  Day after day there is the task of providing for self and others.  Only this and nothing more.  Is it any wonder that there should be social unrest and discontentment?  How can workmen be merry unless with the artificial stimulus of strong drink, when there is nothing for them to look forward to except days and weeks and years of labor succeeding one another remorselessly, and with not surcease until Nature puts in her effective demand for rest, or the inevitable comes.”
Some may claim the village is romanticized – that romance clouds truth; that they were superstitious, fearful and filthy.  But these accomplishments and the social memory of the village proves that, like the love of a marriage, the romantic was the true and the trepidation is the exception.  Those who dismiss medieval villagers as superstitious serfs “know nothing at all of the lives of the towns of the Middles Ages and are able to appreciate not even the slightest degree the wonderful system … that made life so much fuller of possibilities … for all classes and for happiness in life, than any other period of which we know.  This phase … is at once the most interesting, the most significant for future generations, and the most important in its lessons for all time.”[7]
Steps towards a cultural renewal, however, cannot start with merely founding a village.  The founding of anything great is the end of many steps, not the first.  Thus, in reality the village is not a pattern to be mimicked, but a sign of hope, a testament to what man does when man thrives as man.  A true distributist is not placing his hope in villages made by men, but in men that make villages:
“So if I am told at the start: ‘You do not think Socialism or reformed Capitalism will save England; do you really think Distributism will save England?’  I answer, ‘No, I think Englishmen will save England, if they begin to have half a chance.’”[8]
It is right, therefore, to say that what is described below is a looking to the wisdom of ages past, and knowing that men of today are men of at least similar substance, and therefore capable of learning from their fathers.
Wake again, Teutonic Father-ages,
Speak again, beloved primeval creeds;
Flash ancestral spirit from your pages,
Wake the greedy age to noble deeds. (Epmietheus.)

There will we find laws which shall interpret,
Through the simpler past, existing life;
Delving up from mines and fairy caverns
Charmed blades to cut the age’s strife. (Rev. Charles Kingsley)[9]

The Fall of Rome and Rise of the Village
With the image of the village in mind, with its craftsmen and small farms, considering the history of its creation is in order.  Moving forward, it must again be noted that what is sought in learning about the village is the ends that property provides: free cultivation of the fruits of the earth in an economic and social arrangement lasting enough to produce culture.  
A fact often missed in discussions about private property and villages is that most of the property that was cultivated in places like England was not actually owned by the farmers. Their arrangement with landowners was, however, mutually enriching and as rooted as an ancient vineyard.  Though today all social and economic systems of the Middle Ages are swept into the definition of “feudalism,” this fails to acknowledge the variety of arrangements and the clear benefit this afforded the peasants, as these arrangements between classes were the basis of the village. This mutual agreement, however, was born from a much less mutual though somewhat agreed arrangement: slavery.
In fact, the word village is derived from the Latin word villae, which was a Roman system that remained in place even after the fall of Rome and the rise of Byzantium between the fourth and sixth centuries.  Villas (the English version of the word) were large estates owned by a sole proprietor (a dominus, or “lord”) and worked by slaves.[10] The agrarian life, however, was not primarily for local sustainability, but for export and the general wealth of the lord. What was given the slaves was given so that they might produce more, not thrive as men.  Slavery and other forms of servitude were often undesirable, but they afforded a certain sense of stability in the world of constant war and invasion that follows the fall of Rome. The peasant class was “at once exploited and protected,”[11] but their stability was lasting enough for culture to develop and they helped build the foundation of Christendom itself. Slavery prior to the rise of Christianity was an assumed part of life.[12]  Few questioned it.  Jesus freely speaks of slavery as a matter-of-fact human institution (Matthew 25:45-51).[13]  St. Paul even provides moral guidelines for those living in this state.
As Rome declined the Church’s influence grew.  This influence reached deep into rural life as the sees of bishops became less centered around cities and more of a countryside reality, with monasteries gaining significant sway.[14]  In fact, if cities remained at all after the fall of Rome it was because the bishop was there.[15]  Western Europe was transforming as monastic influences from Ireland, but even more so from Benedictine Italy, compounded in places like England.[16]  The Church’s anthropological philosophies grew roots in more and more minds.  Rulers and inhabitants tasted the grace of sacraments, and traditional slavery became distasteful. Landowners did not have to free their slaves, but they had to answer for their treatment and acknowledge they were indeed men like themselves,[17] and that for Christians the deepest reality (deeper than the economic system of the time) was that there was “no more slave and freemen”[18] even when their was.
The second move towards freeing the slaves of the giant estate was more pragmatic. As Rome fell and Moslem imperialism cut off the Mediterranean (the main trade route from West to East), economies became more localized and dependent upon themselves. From this came a more communal agrarian state.  Replacing international trade as a source of wealth for estate owners, land became “the sole source of subsistence and the sole condition of wealth,”[19] and all relied on what could be produced and traded locally, as opposed to produced in large quantities by slaves and shipped to Byzantium.[20]  Lords of the land became dependant on the slaves and a more closed economy developed, requiring more sustainable and mutually enriching practices for men and the land.  Merchant traders became husbands (“house-bounds”) of the land and estate owners, cutoff from international trade, did the same.  “[They] did not do so because of choice but from necessity…”[21] No longer could proprietors keep slaves in production for the sake of export, but he became, in a sense, enslaved to his slaves.  He needed them to reap the fruits of the land and they needed him for protection from foreign invaders.
“By the ninth century, when this process had been gradually at work for … three hundred years, one fixed form of productive unit began to be apparent throughout Western Christendom.”[22] This unit was the village.  The lord still owned the land, but the inhabitants were no longer slaves.  In fact, the dependence of the lord on his people gave rise to the people themselves having permanent rights to cultivate the land and later even owning small parts of it.  The lands had distinct divisions of rights and customs that ensured that the lord of the land and the peasants had sufficient produce and that the land itself was cared for and not worked as to deplete its fruitfulness. 
The first of three divisions was the domain (the lord’s land), which was privately reserved to the landowner, though still often worked by the peasants in a form of employment.  The second division, though still legally the lord’s, was reserved in apparent perpetuity for the villagers, who had now worked the land for generations.  The land reserved for them was completely for their own private cultivation and sustenance. Modern equivalents would call them “homesteads,” though there is still remnants of the tradition in the English word “yard,” derived from name of these lands: “yardlands.”  The yardlands were essentially small farms set aside for support of the family.[23] A third division of land was the “common lands” where both the lord and the people had rights.  These lands helped sustain villages and the lord and had specific guidelines for what could be produced on it.  “For instance, in a certain village, if there was a beech pasture for three hundred swine, the lord might put in but fifty: two hundred and fifty were the rights of the ‘village.’”[24]  Overgrazing or mistreating the land was a direct threat to food security and was not tolerated. 
Thus the villae became a village, and the slave a yeoman. To this day the word village brings to mind images of harmony and simplicity.  The community was strong and vibrant and the sustainable agrarian culture grew other needs that were filled locally: metal-working, clothing, construction, etc.  This came about in stages, the most important of which was the rights to farm the land.  Even if later land was purchased and privately owned by the farmer, while this was of course better, it was of little change.  What was important was the ability to cultivate the fruits of the earth freely. 
The dismantling of this culture took much less time than building. There were a succession of revolutions that took apart each key piece: The Protestant Reformation removed the deep religious unity and in some cases removed the land and power from villages and guilds; the French revolution further removed religion from the public square and moved man into a spirit of contempt for the past (rejection of tradition); the industrial revolution took men from their homes and crafts, hurting the family deeply; the sexual revolution completed the breakdown of the family and healthy sexuality.
How to Build a Village
The Church now continues to insist that revivals of culture depend completely on the revival of families, and even the rural character of the past.  “The rural family,” said Pope Benedict, “needs to regain its rightful place at the heart of society.[25] Culture based on families can be developed by following the process of building that brought us to places like Merrie England.  This process can be divided and turned into four guiding principles.  The first principle is the most critical, because it answers the problem of land ownership, but the second two are integral to thriving on the land after families arrive. 
The first principle is the development of landowner and farmer relationships.   Land is the critical ingredient to regaining a culture of rural families, but it is also the biggest hurdle. When economies closed after the rise of Islam in the seventh century, those who owned the land and those who were formerly slaves (and sometimes still) created the mutually enriching relationship that became villages. Today, as economic conditions worsen, a return to the land for many of the masses that work in the industrialized system seems viable and almost inevitable.  Large estate owners may be very interested in having small farms checker their land.  This principle also assumes that the recovery of agrarian culture is necessary.  Just as the village had its start in farming, the same is true today for cultural renewal.  Traditions of leasing land are already present in the US, but much more creative leases may be needed to help answer other issues.  However, this approach does not require any legal or political adjustment in many rural settings where codes and ordinances already favor agriculture. 
The nascent village of medieval times and the rights they worked out can serve as a model.  A landowner can retain certain land for himself alone (which could perhaps be worked in a part-time employment of those living on the land).  The other divisions would be the “common lands” where a percentage of produce is given to the landowner (perhaps the lease agreement is a cash value, but is paid with produce at market price).  Then those living on the land could have permanent homes and yardlands for their own “homesteading.”  In essence, the landowner would be keeping the land, but giving part of it away in the form of farming rights to the permanent families (and the agreement would need to be able to survive if the land was sold).  Along with permanent families there could easily be programs of apprenticeships and interns that would help cultivate the land in exchange for food and experience. 
Legal and contractual foundations will need building, but the hope present in these arrangements is truly exciting.  Despite Marxist and politically motivated assertions of class warfare, history shows that these relationships can prove fruitful for all.   In fact, there are already examples of a coop approach (between farmer and owner) to land in place in the West, and the ideas should be more circulated amongst ditributist circles. The Church has "has always supported the model of cooperatives"[26] and since land is the biggest hurdle, creative methods are in order.  In the UK there is a program called Landshare, which links up landowners and small farmers for this very idea.  Another example is the Community Land Trusts of the New Economic Institute which are forms “of common land ownership with a charter based on the principles of sustainable and ecologically-sound stewardship and use... Individual leaseholders own the buildings and other improvements on the land created by their labor and investment, but do not own the land itself."[27]  Farmers assume all liability for the operations and the lease is even transferable to heirs.  By living in the home they are guaranteed the rights to farm the land, even if they do not technically own it. This arrangement of a trust or lease with a proprietor is very reminiscent of medieval villages and their legal and customary divisions of land.
The second principle is the emphasis on local economy.  The relationship of landowners and workmen (and other landowners and other workmen), especially if seperated from other economies for imposed or chosen reasons, will naturally create local economy.  Because “every economic decision has a moral consequence,” local systems must have consistent moral foundations, and “the canons of justice must be respected from the outset, as the economic process unfolds, and not just afterwards or incidentally.”[28]  As they did for the process of transforming slaves into yeoman, local economies of this sort can transform factory workers to agrarian craftsmen provided there is consistent and compatible philosophy and theology, though the religious uniformity of the villages of the Middle Ages would prove difficult.  Yet medieval principles of the “common good” (another extract from the vocabulary of “common lands”) are very important as well as belief in men of good will.   
This economy depends on the land being in sustainable use, and this is the third principle.  Though environmentalist demand ecological stewardship for the sake of nature, sustainable stewardship in this discussion is primarily for the sake of man.  In harmony with nature, as part of creation himself, man is at peace.   Again, sustainable agriculture can help to bring men into harmony if they agree that the land is a treasure to be cultivated virtuously. 
For this to happen, there must be a firm establishment of the workmen on the land, and that is the fourth principle: permanency.  Even if this permanency varies in the future, there must be at least long-term agreements (in the case of a workman working a landowners land) that maintain a dependency on the land.  This permanency will help to create sustainable attitudes, even in those who lack virtue because, as the medieval philosopher Duns Scouts pointed out: “a distinction of property is decidedly in accord with a peaceful social life.  For the wicked take care only of what is their own…”[29] He was speaking, of course, about the very villages and divisions of rights described above.  If a man is permanent, and needs the land healthy so it will produce, he will be more likely to use sustainable practices. 
In Conclusion
The villages of the Middle Ages are not repeatable, but the events and circumstances that gave them birth have many parallels today. Like Rome, there are large world powers that appear increasingly unstable (the economic collapses of 2008 seem very repeatable, even likely so). Like the huge land estates during the fall of Rome, there are giant pieces of property that are not able to be fully realized by the landowner alone.  Like the closing of the Mediterranean, there is even the parallel of a surge in Islamic power that creates instability in global markets.
Centralized power and wealth has proven unworkable, but as they fall men may cheerfully pick up the tools of their fathers and realize that they really don’t need banks that cannot fail and giant governments that wont admit failure.  In other words, the fall of the giants may be the rise of the lowly.  Men are creative, need friendship, and men need to eat - and in this are the basic ingredients of the village.  These ingredients, like the fruits of the earth, simply need to be cultivated and harvested.  Current economic disasters may be just the catalyst to this cultivation. The decline of the dollar may see to the raising of more barns.  And herein is the most exhilarating hope: the associating of men for the common good. This “habit of cooperation”[30] is part of the nature of man as a relational and communal creature. 
Sadly, cooperation it is often coerced by the grace of disaster, as in the case of a hurricane (or flood or terrorist attack, etc.) when power goes off and screens don’t project anymore and men are forced to go outside to live and serve.  The hurricane honeymoon of community seems to wane as fast as it waxes.  However, the slow cultivation of the village ideal is not a honeymoon, but a cultural renewal.  Workmen will associate with landowners to find land to cultivate; workmen will associate together to share costs of equipment and production; families will associate in leisure and festivity.  When the big entities fall and can no longer hand out what is wanting or enslave men to wanting, men will hold hand out to neighbor and not to the distributer.  Many speak today of answering needs, of ending the loneliness of suburbia and the boredom of the machine.  But the need might actually be to simply need a neighbor again.  The village is essentially an association of men that need each other, not merely for raising barns, but also to inhabit the pubs together. 


Benedict. Charity in Truth: Caritas in Veritate. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009.

Benedict, Pope. “Message to UN Director General of Food and Agriculture.” Lecture, United Nations, Rome, 2012.

Chesterton, G.K. Outline of Sanity. Norfolk: IHS Press, 2002. Amazon Kindle edition.

Hilaire Belloc. The Serville State. Central: Forgotten Books, 2012.

Jerret, Bede. Social Theories of the Middle Ages. Tacoma: Angelico Press, 2012.

Pirenne, Henri. Economic and Social History of Europe. New York: Harvest Books, 1933.

Pirenne, Henri. Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade. New York: Princeton University Press, 1969.

“Community Land Trusts.” New Economics Institute. (accessed November 4, 2012).

Walsh, James J. The Thirteenth: Greatest of Centuries. New York: Catholic Summer School Press, 1913.

[1] Pope Leo XIII, “Rerum Novarum” (encyclical, Rome), 7.
[2] RN 7
[3] James J. Walsh, The Thirteenth: Greatest of Centuries (New York: Catholic Summer School Press, 1913), 5.
[4] Walsh, 4
[5] The Cathedral is the chief church of a diocese, where the bishops chair (the cathedra) is.  Thus, this does not even account for mere parish churches.
[6] Walsh, 125
[7] Walsh, 127
[8] G.K. Chesterton, Outline of Sanity (Norfolk: IHS Press, 2002), under “chapter 1,” Amazon Kindle edition.
[9] Both excerpts were found in the proem of The Thirteenth: Greatest of Centuries
[10] Hilaire Belloc, The Serville State (Central: Forgotten Books, 2012), 42.
[11] Henri Pirenne, Economic and Social History of Europe (New York: Harvest Books, 1933), 12.
[12] Belloc, 32
[13] That is to say it was an accepted reality, not a condoned or promoted system.
[14] Dawson,174
[15] Henri Pirenne, Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade (New York: Princeton University Press, 1969), 60.
[16] Dawson, 181-184
[17] Belloc, 45
[18] Galatians 3:28, Knox
[19] Pirenne. 10
[20] Pirenne ,9-14
[21] Pirenne, 11
[22] Belloc, 44
[23] Pirenne, 60
[24] Belloc, 45
[25] Pope Benedict, “Message to UN Director General of Food and Agriculture” (lecture, United Nations), emphasis added.
[26] Pope Benedict, “Message to UN Director General of Food and Agriculture” (lecture, United Nations).
[27] “Community Land Trusts,” New Economics Institute, (accessed November 4, 2012).
[28] Benedict, Charity in Truth: Caritas in Veritate (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 37.
[29] Bede Jerret, Social Theories of the Middle Ages (Tacoma: Angelico Press, 2012), 125.
[30] Pirenne, Medieval Cities, 120.