STANDING ON BOTH FEET
The Rural Homestead
A Necessity for an Era of Reconstruction
By Reverend Patrick T. Quinlan
Rural Life Director of the Diocese of Hartford
Vice President of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference
"The Conference commends the efforts of Rural Life Directors and
others who establish and encourage land location service adapted
to their locality with the hope of preventing the loss of faith
which has so frequently characterized land settlements of the
past, and with the purpose of giving proper direction to
Catholics whose ambition it is to settle in rural areas whether
as farmers or rural homesteaders." Resolution adopted at the
22nd Annual Convention of the N.C.R.L.C. Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov.
Copyright: The National Catholic Rural Life Conference
4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310-2199
THE RURAL HOMESTEAD
A Necessity for an Era of Reconstruction
As serious minds turn to the study of the national population trends of
the past century, they become convinced that such trends cannot long
continue if the nation is to endure. There was a time when the country's
population was made up of twenty-five percent urban people and
seventy-five percent rural. This was a healthy situation. But times have
changed. Today our population is twenty-five percent rural and
seventy-five percent urban. This change has had serious consequences.
One of the tragic effects of this change has been the rapid decline of
births, beginning with the 1820-1830 decade and continuing in every decade
with but one exception down to the present time. (Cfr. Appendix, Table I
One would naturally object that an immediate decline in population should
have followed the birth decline. However two circumstances have saved the
nation up to now from such a disaster. Until recent years immigrants with
large families poured into our country. This is no longer the case.
Moreover, a predominate rural people supplied us with a surplus rural
population. This surplus is no longer provided. As a result a decline in
population now threatens. Those who are sufficiently interested to make a
study of the 1940 U. S. Census Report will readily conclude that the most
serious cause of our imminent population decline is our present top-heavy
The necessary brevity of this pamphlet does not permit us to develop in
detail the figures which have brought us to this conclusion. (Cfr.
Appendix, Table II) Suffice it to say that no city of the United States of
today with a population of 100,000 or more is reproducing itself. Typical
of this urban trend we present the figures of seven cities of seven parts
of the nation which provide the following hopeless record:
NUMBER OF CHILDREN UNDER 5 PER 1000 WOMEN--15-49 YEARS, WHITE
(U. S. Census Report, 1940)
Atlanta, Georgia............... 194 New Orleans, Louisiana......... 196
Boston, Massachusetts.... 219 New York, New York.............. 184
Chicago, Illinois.............. 197 San Francisco, California....... 161
Kansas City, Missouri...... 186
Students of population statistics remind us that practically four children
should be born per family to reproduce the race. In view of this fact the
records of our cities are discouraging indeed.
Is "Back to the Farm" the Solution?
Many, recognizing the gloomy effect of our urbanward trend, are ready to
suggest a movement "back to the farm" with the hope that this might save
the nation from impending ruin. At first glance this does seem to offer a
solution. The rural record of births even today presents a far more
encouraging picture than does that of the city as is made clear by the
records of seven States, predominantly rural, in seven parts of the nation:
NUMBER OF CHILDREN UNDER 5 PER 1000 WOMEN--15-49 RURAL FARM
Georgia.................... 435 Oklahoma.............. 456
Iowa ........................ 384 Vermont................. 370
Louisiana................. 461 Virginia.................. 374
New Mexico............ 480
As much as such a movement toward the land might seem to serve in
warding off disaster we fear that this is beyond the realm of realization. We
have not forgotten the manner in which the mechanization of our farms
within the past generation has uprooted the farm family from the soil and
set it adrift always in the same direction, toward the city skyline. The
millions of migrants of depression years are still vivid in our memories.
In spite of the drastic reduction of our farm population, due at least in part
to the increased use of machinery, we are realists enough to expect that the
postwar period will see an increase rather than a reduction in its use. This
no doubt will be followed by a continued rise in our urban population and a
consequent decrease in our national growth, unless some other mode of
living is adopted by our displaced rural people. For both the city family
which would go ruralward and the rural family, uprooted from its holdings
and tending cityward, we recommend the "Rural Homestead." If necessary
let them place one foot in industry but let them at the same time keep one
foot in the soil.
An Urban Dweller Dreams of the Country
That there is already an urban-rural trend is evident from the mail which
reaches the desks of our Rural Life Directors. That this trend will gain
momentum in the postwar period we have no doubt. However it is in need of
direction. With proper guidance it can turn out to be a tremendous blessing
for the nation. Without this it might well end in chaos.
The city dweller who dreams of a life on the land must frequently be
directed to curb his enthusiasm. He does well when he consults the Rural
Life Director of his diocese. Typical of the city resident who is anxious to
take up rural living and yet is wise enough to seek counsel of one who might
be expected to give sane advice is the writer of the following letter which,
we feel, merits to be quoted practically in full.
Reverend and Dear Father:
Since you are located near me I have chosen to address these
inquiries to you.
I belong to your Faith. I am nearly forty years of age and have
a metropolitan position and my family consists of a wife and two
sons. Within a reasonably short time I shall be entitled to a
pension. For some time I have dreamed of quitting the city,
getting out into the country and establishing myself on what is
know as a "Productive Farm."
Although I could at the present time afford to purchase a modest
place, I had planned to rent a small place until I saw whether
or not I would like the life of a farmer, liked the location,
neighbors, also whether friend wife would take kindly to this
life, for like myself she is city born and raised.
I had thought of a small house, about twenty acres, a cow, some
chickens, maybe a pig and I also was determined to raise the
feed for these animals in addition to the vegetables for myself
and family. Of course it is understood I know nothing about
farming or farm life but from several books I have read I
thought that I might make a go of it. Recently, however, I have
been reading some articles that might make this idea of a city
man establishing himself on a farm appear to be the height of
idiocy. A farmer bulletin of the U. S. Department of Agriculture
on subsistence farming paints a dismal picture and an even
blacker outlook is sketched by a senator of a farm State in a
In view of the foregoing, if you could give me an answer to the
following inquiries, I would be deeply grateful:
1. Is my idea practical?
2. Are there any books or pamphlets which you recommend which
might aid me in coming to a decision?
3. What opportunities do the rural areas afford toward giving my
children a Catholic education?
4. Should I wait, say ten years, until they have at least a high
5. Is farming at my age too hard in view of my inexperience? I
shall be ever grateful for any advice that you might be able to
He Looks Before He Leaps
The author of this letter shows himself to be both sensible and humble. He
seems fully aware that, should he set out to realize his plans without
seeking advice, he might easily overrun his mark.
He is indeed overambitious when he dreams of a productive farm. Farming is
not for him, since he admits his inexperience in this way of life.
To rent an acreage would be for him a serious mistake. There can be no
stability on rented land. It is like building a house upon the sand.
Neither is there any incentive to improve the land, since no tenant can
transmit the results of his efforts to the next generation.
The author of the letter could never become a farmer unless he is gifted
with rare powers of adaptability. Farming is a traditional way of life and
a city-bred person can seldom hope to succeed at it. Twenty acres would
for this reason be too much for him to handle. Twenty acres, if fertile,
is a lot of land and, if not fertile, he will have little use for it.
It would require much farm experience to successfully raise food for a
"cow, some chickens and perhaps a pig."
The bulletin of the U. S. Department of Agriculture to which he refers,
may be correct in painting a dismal picture for a city dweller who looks
forward to becoming a subsistence farmer. It could not, however,
reasonably discourage him from becoming a productive homesteader.
Much wisdom is shown by the writer of the communication. He manifests
prudence when he desires to "quit the city." His intention to carefully
choose the place likewise manifests great prudence. The location must fit
his individual as well as family circumstances.
He treads cautiously in this venture in view of the fact that both he and
his wife are "city born and raised." It is well that he realizes that
unless "friend wife" joins with him wholeheartedly in this venture, it is
doomed to failure before it gets well under way.
We are pleased to note that he is not tempted to start a chicken farm,
thus literally putting "all of his eggs in one basket." He wisely believes
in diversification, "a cow, some chickens and maybe a pig."
He does not intend to raise vegetables as a business. He knows that should
he succeed in raising sufficient for "himself and family" he will do well
for a former city dweller and he will go far in relieving pressure on the
cash income provided through his pension.
He has done well to have read literature on the subject; although he was
unfortunate in having chosen just that which might discourage, while there
is much written which might have had the opposite effect.
He asks many practical questions, questions which are milling through the
minds of many these days; seldom are these questions so pointedly and
What Are the Answers?
The questions presented by the author of the letter are so very practical
that we do not hesitate to give the answers to them which might be given
by the average Rural Life Director of the average diocese.
1. Your idea is a very practical one in particular in this our day. By
putting it into effect you will not only promote your own individual
welfare and that of your family, but you will also assist the nation in
the solution of one of its most grave problems, the achievement of a
balanced urban-rural population. We would only suggest that you aim at
rural homesteading rather than farming.
2. There are many constructive and encouraging books and pamphlets on this
subject and more are constantly coming from the press. We recommend that
you keep in touch with the Book Department of the National Catholic Rural
Life Conference, which Conference aims to keep homesteaders informed
concerning literature on this subject. (A brief list is given at the end
of this pamphlet.)
3. In some dioceses, such as St. Louis, the Rural Life Program has
developed to such a degree that rural children have excellent
opportunities to acquire a parochial school education. In other dioceses
the Rural Directors are bending every effort in cooperation with the rural
pastors to imitate the success of the pioneer St. Louis Bureau. These
programs are not always successful in providing parochial schools for the
children; but in many places, such as the Diocese of Trenton and Syracuse,
groups of sisters are located in central places from which they go forth
to the surrounding territories and instruct the rural youth, in season and
out of season, in religious matters.
4. Should you delay for ten years before you begin to put your plan into
effect you will find by that time that your children have grown firmly
into city ways and habits and your dream will end up merely as a dream.
Take time by the forelock. As soon as you have chosen the proper location
and you are free to leave the city, depart.
5. Farming at your age and with your background would indeed be difficult
if not entirely impossible. Rural Homesteading would be within your powers
and we are convinced that you and the members of your family would find it
Advice along these lines was given to the author of the letter by the
Rural Life Director to whom he had addressed his queries. The return
letter of gratitude gave much satisfaction to the Director and merits to
be quoted here.
Reverend and Dear Father:
Thank you very much for your kind and most encouraging reply to
my inquiries. What you call "Rural Homesteading" is, I believe,
what I want to do. I'll certainly be content if I can live off
my land--my family and myself. I feel that it will be one of the
best moves of my life when I go from the city to the country. I
view with alarm the pagan, anti-religious, materialistic
elements that have practically taken over the city and I am most
anxious to remove my children from this environment. Further I
feel that it will do all of us a world of good.
For the next two years I shall be plotting and planning and
praying to Saint Isadore to help me to attain my objective.
The Urban Counter Inducement
Certain urban leaders, recognizing this sane trend toward rural living and
fearing the effect it might have upon their financial and political
status, are doing much to discourage the very thought of it and are
promoting projects which they hope will induce the city dwellers to remain
within city boundaries. In doing so they would keep the families small and
the people propertyless.
The mayor of a great metropolis, in a recent broadcast, pointed with pride
to a postwar project of an equally great insurance company which would
settle some 1,250 families upon twelve acres of land within the city
limits. A city journal, far from voicing opposition to the plan, gave
approval and publicity in the following words: "For middle-classed
families, the new project will embrace 1,250 apartments to shelter 3,400
persons at an average basic rental of approximately $12.50 a room a
A project such as this may succeed in concentrating votes within a given
area since it professedly aims to shelter 2,500 husbands and wives. It
will do little to increase the future population of the nation since the
total number of apartments will house but 900 children, that is, an
average of about seventy-two one-hundredths of a child per family.
The Rural Homestead
The question might well be asked: What is meant by the Rural Homestead as
distinguished from the Farmstead? Both indeed should promote family
living. Both should be characterized by ownership. Whereas the Farmstead
is established upon an acreage sufficiently large to support the family
through agricultural pursuits, the Rural Homestead is established upon a
small acreage upon which the family dwells and from which the breadwinner
goes forth to the nearby place-of occupation that he might earn the cash
income for the family.
The Rural Homestead should not be established upon a narrow lot but rather
on no less than one acre of fertile land. We cannot insist too often upon
the fact that the property should be owned by the homesteader, for only
ownership tends to make of the members of the family permanent dwellers.
It should be purchased within a commuting distance from the place of
employment of the breadwinner. It is very important that the system of
education within the homesteading area give proper direction and training
to the children of homesteaders that they might do their part in assisting
the family to derive full value from the acreage.
Every inch of space should be properly utilized by the homesteader who
occupies this blessed acre. The house should be sufficiently large to
accommodate not only the actual family but likewise a goodly potential
increase in numbers. (At least the initial plans for the home should be
such that when finally executed the house might serve this purpose.) There
should be a shelter for a cow or a goat, as the case may be, a coop to
house enough chickens to supply the family with eggs and an occasional
fowl for the table.
A playground should be provided for the little ones that they might
recreate without "getting on their neighbor's nerves." The garden plot
should be large enough to permit the growth of a supply of potatoes,
cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, beets, onions and numerous products which will
provide a varied table diet throughout the summer months and a well
stocked cellar for the seasons during which vegetables do not grow. Such a
cellar proves itself to be of greater value to the homesteader and his
family than are treasures hidden in vaults. The dollar may be inflated or
deflated but a quart of peaches remains a quart of peaches.
There is room on an acre for a variety of fruits: apples, pears, cherries,
peaches. Here the essential importance of ownership is again brought to
light. No person will be tempted to plant strawberries, asparagus or the
like on rented land, since these demand more than one season before
production. A tenant garden frequently turns out to be of the victory
garden type which so frequently is grown on borrowed ground. The soil is
often returned to the owner, mined and in worse condition than that in
which it was taken over.
The Chinese ruralist follows an excellent principle which might well be
adopted by the homesteader from the start. The Chinese father hopes to
transmit the land to his children in better condition than that in which
he received it from his elders. A tenant will not be ambitious to plant
fruit trees, since years must pass before a yield may be expected.
The members of a family firmly established on an acre or two will soon
fully appreciate their way of life. Potatoes, cabbage, a mess of beans
fresh from the garden plot, a supply of eggs from the hen house, a pail of
milk, fruit from the trees and bushes will require little cash outlay, are
little drain upon the earnings of the breadwinner, which earnings are
necessary to meet the bills which demand cash transactions. Those who have
been fortunate enough to have already experienced this way of living now
say: "It isn't what you earn that counts today. It's what you save."
The day is now past when city comforts surpass those of the rural area.
The rural homestead can and should be located upon a good and, if
possible, upon a hard surfaced road which will be quickly swept clear of
winter snow. Electricity, with all the conveniences provided by such
power, can be provided for these homes. Communications with the outside
world are plentiful since there is the radio, telephone, the daily
journal, and the mail brought to the door. Frequently there is to be found
the artesian well, the pure and limpid waters of which will flow in
The homesteader will seldom crave the movie or public amusements as does
the city dweller who finds them necessary as absorbers of surplus hours;
and yet these are within the reach of the homesteader should there be an
occasional demand. There are in addition to all these, the beautiful dawns
and twilights, the vast skies by night revealing a galaxy of brilliant
stars, exercise in the open and dustless air, surrounded by the glories of
God's creation. These are comforts which build up the soul of man and are
not to be found in artificial surroundings.
Development of Personalities
Not only are the urban comforts of today within the reach of the rural
homesteader but moreover rural living offers to both husband and wife
exceptional opportunities for the development of their personalities. The
task of the average city worker presents him with little or no chance to
develop his talents. Frequently he performs but a single operation
throughout the day along the assembly line. Should the city worker be at
the same time an urban dweller he seldom finds it possible to exercise
creative talents during leisure hours. But should he be a homesteader,
gardening, caring for the flocks, and landscaping will bring into play the
initiative and the talents which would otherwise remain hidden.
Homesteading will make of him a more complete man, a better husband.
The wife of the homesteader will also be given a fine opportunity to enjoy
a more wholesome life. She will see the value of being surrounded by
numerous little ones. With love and devotion she will give her hours to
their care. She will be in a position to teach them better than she would
have been, had she remained an urban wife. By working in the garden at the
side of her husband, by sharing with him and with the children in the care
of the chickens and other domestic animals, by preparing the products of
the garden as well as the fruits of the trees for winter consumption, she
will develop talents which previously would have. been thought to have
been beyond her powers. The personalities of each and every member of the
family will benefit greatly by this way of living.
We have at times seen small groups of closely related families living on
homesteads within close proximity. Grandparents are thus surrounded by
their married sons and daughters and are frequently distracted, as they
love to be, by the merry laughter of their numerous grandchildren at play.
Living on the land provides additional comforts and joys for such groups
However, since circumstances do not often permit groups of closely related
families to band together as homesteaders, we would like to see families
desirous of rural living settle together in a given area somewhat along
the pattern of Amish agricultural groups. These groups are united not only
by the common bond of religion but of nationality as well. Where there
exists a common bond not only of religion but likewise of nationality
there can be left little room for friction. Minor differences which might
arise can be readily settled at meetings of the leaders of such homestead
groups. In groups such as these the Cooperative Movement in its various
phases might well play an important roll after careful study on the part
of members of the group.
We are aware that settlements made up of families which are blessed with
the common bond of nationality and religion are not within the reach of
thousands of those families which would settle on the land. For these
thousands seeking relief from city living we recommend that they settle,
even as individual families if necessary, in rural areas within reasonable
distance of the church in the midst of a fair percentage of their co-
In order to give proper direction to persons who thus seek to establish
themselves on the land, Rural Life Directors of some dioceses are giving
serious thought to the establishment of a land location service in
cooperation with reliable Catholic real estate agents; which service will
make it possible for potential homesteaders to readily find places within
three miles of their place of worship and surrounded by a goodly number of
Practical Points for Homesteaders
1. Establish your homestead within three miles of your church. Your
personal zeal may inspire you to keep up your religious practices at a
greater distance. This zeal may not be transmitted to your children.
2. Settle within an hour's commuting distance of the place of employment
of the breadwinner of the family if his work takes him into a great
metropolis. Should he be employed in a smaller city it may be possible to
establish the homestead within a half hour of his place of work. Thus you
will have one foot in industry and one foot in the soil. This is real
3. Unless both husband and wife agree that rural living is the proper way
of life, do not attempt it. To disregard this counsel is to invite failure
4. If possible settle on a hard surfaced road not too far from a state
highway. Federal and state roads are usually cleared first after winter
storms. (There are some exceptions to this rule.)
5. Make sure that the water supply is adequate the year round. The cost of
digging a well is always a question mark until the well is dug.
6. If you plan to construct your home rather than to buy one already
completed, buy your acreage now, make your complete plan for your future
home, and then build as circumstances and finances permit. Much is being
said about prefabricated houses in the postwar period. Look into it. It
may have something to offer.
7. Do not be tempted to invest in too much land. Buy what you think you
can conveniently use. There are rural people who become land poor.
8. Let no man tempt you to go into the chicken business unless you have
had much experience. Inexperienced chicken farmers often lose small
fortunes which have been acquired throughout the greater part of a life
9. Let your children share early in the labors of the homestead as well as
in its joys. It will teach them initiative and will make of them
industrious and good citizens.
10. Prospective Catholic homesteaders should seek advice concerning proper
locations from the Rural Life Director of the Diocese to which they belong
or in which they hope to settle. In case you do not know the name of the
Director of your Diocese nor his address, mail your letter to the Rural
Life Director, in care of The Chancery of the Diocese
11. Do not hesitate to become acquainted with your new rural neighbors.
They are one of the finest assets of rural living. Ruralists are not
A Final Word
We conclude these pages with a quotation taken from an article prepared by
Louis Bromfield for the May edition of "The Reader's Digest" entitled:
"The New Pioneer of the Land." Whereas the author directs his words to
those who would reestablish farms, we feel that his words might be well
taken by those who hope to pioneer in homesteading.
"There are in the armed services thousands of young men who are hungry for
land and economic independence and security and dignity which come from
all these things. There is no more free, rich and virgin land to give
them, and the naturally rich land, if for sale at all, commands
prohibitive prices. But scattered from one end of the country to the other
are thousands of farms which need salvaging."
Many of these abandoned farms within reach of our large cities are being
broken up today into small acreages and will in time be occupied by
potential homesteaders. May you and your family become happy, industrious
We are informed through the careful studies of Dr. O. E. Baker,
formerly Senior Economist in the Division of Farm Population and
Rural Life, United States Department of Agriculture, that in the
year 1800 there were 976 children under five years of age per
1,000 women between the ages of 16 and 45. One decade later, in
the year 1810, there were exactly the same number. However from
the year 1820 down to 1934 there was, with one sole exception, a
decline of births recorded for each decade within that period.
Let us look at the record.
Number of Percentage of
Decade Children Change
1800 ........................... 976 ....
1810 ........................... 976 0.0
1820 ........................... 928 --4.9
1830 ........................... 877 --5.5
1840 ........................... 835 --4.8.
1850 ........................... 699 --16.3
1860 ........................... 714 +2.3
1870 ........................... 649 --9.1
1880 ........................... 635 --1.8
1890 ........................... 554 --12.8
1900 ........................... 541 --2.4
1910 ........................... 508 --6.1
1920 ........................... 486 --4.3
1930 ........................... 407 --16.3
1934 ........................... 350 --14.0
The following information has been culled from the 16th Census of the
United States, 1940. These figures deserve serious study. They are cold
but realistic. They unfold a tragic story. As we read them we cannot but
ask ourselves: Can we survive?
Note that: (a) the urban birth rate is in all instances lower than the
state average; (b) the rural non-farm rate in the vast majority of cases
surpasses the state average; (c) the rural farm rate is in most instances
well above that of the rural non-farm.
To derive the full benefit of a study of these figures we must keep two
facts constantly before our minds: (1) 75 percent of the population of the
United States is to be found in the urban column; (2) 80 percent of the
present membership of the Catholic Church is within city boundaries.
We must conclude that the survival of both Church and State depends upon
our present and future attitude toward rural people, the source of most of
our future citizenry and church membership. Rural Rural State State Urban
Alabama....... 368 248 397 448
Arizona....... 364 269 418 466
Arkansas....... 371 222 348 457
California....... 234 201 331 318
Colorado....... 322 253 298 428
Connecticut.... 216 210 232 220
Delaware......... 241 200 274 336
District of Columbia 161 ... ... ...
Florida .............. 271 201 348 410
Georgia............... 333 239 322 435
Idaho ................ 379 318 399 429
Illinois ............. 236 207 315 349
Indiana .............. 283 250 336 325
Iowa ................. 313 255 327 384
Kansas ............... 286 246 284 346
Kentucky ............. 397 237 441 491
Louisiana ............ 336 224 421 461
Maine ................ 318 258 374 345
Maryland ............. 256 212 317 361
Massachusetts ........ 229 225 267 261
Michigan ............. 303 258 412 389
Minnesota ............ 291 228 329 398
Mississippi .......... 363 225 360 437
Missouri ............. 272 202 337 377
Montana .............. 327 245 379 406
Nebraska ............. 297 239 307 361
Nevada ............... 281 219 329 ...
New Hampshire...... 272 256 313 257
New Jersey ........... 203 196 242 238
New Mexico ........... 422 325 488 480
New York ............. 209 195 274 320
North Carolina ....... 381 247 375 438
North Dakota ......... 363 247 343 442
Ohio ................. 263 226 351 345
Oklahoma ............. 350 250 378 456
Oregon ............... 259 208 325 304
Pennsylvania ......... 254 220 326 337
Rhode Island ......... 217 215 215 266
South Carolina ....... 353 247 380 423
South Dakota ......... 344 263 326 411
Tennessee ............ 350 225 400 421
Texas ................ 321 259 357 402
Utah ................. 405 331 502 532
Vermont......... 323 269 350 370
Virginia ............. 317 217 391 374
Washington ........... 265 217 336 318
West Virginia ........ 388 240 467 453
Wisconsin ............ 302 249 351 397
Wyoming ............. 325 258 336 417
Average ........... 304 239 349 384
THE FOUR AIMS OF THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC RURAL LIFE CONFERENCE:
1. To care for the underprivileged Catholics living on the land.
2. To keep on the land Catholics who are now on the land.
3. To settle more Catholics on the land.
4. To convert the non-Catholics now on the land.
True civilization is rooted in family culture. Without it
civilization cannot endure; without it civilization will decay
Bishop Aloisius J. Muench
The N.C.R.L.C. is committed to the belief that the well-being of
the nation rests to a large measure on a healthy agrarianism.
The Conference regards the betterment of rural conditions as the
starting point in the regeneration of society.
"Manifesto on Rural Life"
One hope for relief in the universal misery of the present lies
in the reversal of the policy which produced the factory and the
factory system. This reversal, without depriving men of the
benefits of industrial progress, would reinstate them as
independent home owners in rural communities. Such a change in
the living conditions of millions of people would be a
revolution, but some radical adjustment in restoring the balance
between rural and urban population is imperative if our
civilization is not to disappear.
"Statement of the Bishops"