The Catalan Catholic Church has registered 3,722 properties without the need to prove their ownership beforehand and in some cases in open conflict with the public. Under a Francoist law – generously extended in 1998 by José María Aznar until 2015 – the ecclesiastical hierarchy could register without any other requirement than the nothing stands in the way episcopal, in notarial functions, any property he considered his own.
The Department of Justice of the Generalitat, in an act that honors it, has decided to make public this catalog of properties with a feudal arbitrariness that in some cases clashes with the interests of municipalities and social entities. To resolve the disputes, Councilor Ester Capella has set up a mediation service. What is paradoxical about the case is the bonhomie, indulgence and understanding with which the right in general and much of the left has accepted this exercise of ecclesial appropriation in which the bishop seems to have regained functions proper to the Middle Ages, the good times of the gentlemen of gallows and knife. The fact is that both the PP and Citizens once refused to make known this catalog of properties that as a flagship – for those who lose memory – includes the very Catholic mosque of Córdoba. Well, if the right understands so little clerical obscurantism, it is much more incomprehensible that the PSOE, in its previous incarnation as a brief government alone, resorted to the courts to prevent the public from knowing the catalog of new registered properties by the Catholic Church.
Coincidence, or perhaps Divine Providence, has meant that this exercise in ecclesial arbitrariness — blessed by civil power — has coincided in time with another much more prosaic, secular history — in the sense of a lack of clerical orders. daily: that of those who have been deprived of the most basic by the crisis and little accompanied by democratic power.
On July 23, the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages (PAH), the Alliance against Energy Poverty (APE), the Observatory of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (DESC) and the Public Health Agency of the Barcelona City Council, among others, released a study that between 2017 and 2020 tries to show the links between housing and basic supply insecurities and their repercussions on health. Through a survey of 415 people who in recent years approached the PAH or the APE for issues of housing emergency or cut off services such as electricity, gas or water, the report tries to photograph a situation with examples like those of Delia, Olga, Wendy, Sandra or Voski. Poverty has the face of a woman who in most cases is the head of a single-parent family, a term that is not included in the DIEC but is responsible for normalizing the stubborn reality.
Delia, with two children, is an example of what happens in times of crisis and pandemic. He already had to make a donation in payment for his home in 2015. He agreed to a rent of 250 euros with the Blackstone fund thanks to the PAH. But Covid-19 has left her without the job of caring for an elderly person, for which she earned 650 euros a month. He will now have to renew his lease and is unable to cope with even the basic supplies.
Wendy, 48, lives with her two children in the Barcelona district of Trinitat Nova. He was the victim of an express eviction despite having paid the arrears of his rent. In the end, without resources, he chose to occupy a house in Abanca. He was without light for two years and four months. “I went downstairs because I felt I was committing a crime,” he recalls. In the dark, any night noise disturbed her. “My kids and I thought they would make us off the floor.” In the end, the pressure from the PAH led the Generalitat to buy the house and set a social rent. This situation of insecurity is taking its toll: 88.2% of women surveyed and 70.9% of men have poor mental health in a society in which organizations such as the PAH or the APE work to replace democratic powers. The picture left by the crisis is such that the effort after paying the rent leaves 14.8% of those consulted with negative income, 23.9% with zero income and 30% with less than 400 euros to spend the month .
Times of crisis show the contrast between the complicit attitude of the powers that be with ecclesiastical registrations and the free will with which they approach situations of social emergency.