Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/107

This page needs to be proofread.

MtloroM 91 fi£LaiUM

and the consequent fact that it is so easy to lose Economic Ck>NDiTiON8. — Of all the warring coun* track of people. Special care is devoted and very tries in Europe, none have returned to their pre-war successfully to young girls by the Belgian Sisters of activities in a measure comparable with Belgium. St. John Berchmans Convent. Outside of New When the armistice was signed, the country found York, the Bureau can do follow-up work only as itself with one-third of its factoriej ruined; in far as it is able to enlist the co-operation of priests transportation essentials, 1,250 miles of railroads, or laymen, for it lacks the necessary means to set 1,800 bridges, and 400 miles of canals had been de- up an adequate organization. stroyed, 60,000 railroad cars and 2,500 locomotives

Besides the Immigration Department, the Bel- taken by the Germans, and the telegraph and tele- gian Bureau operates an Employment Bureau and phone litems ruined. Progress toward reeonstruc- an Information Office, the last named constituting tion has been phenomenal in the past two years, a very important activity. Thousands of Belgians, for all the pre-war industries, with the exception in America as well as in Belgium, avail themselves of the steel plants, have practically attainea the of this means to obtain correct and safe information production of former years. Practically all the and guidance. The Charity Department of the trains in th^ country are now nmnins on pre-war Belgian Bureau relieves the sick and destitute and schedule and the bridges and roadbeds have been is made especially effective, thanks through the re-constructed. The total length of railways in 1910 untiring zeal of the Belgian Sisters of St. John was: State lines, 2,759 miles, private lines, 184 Berchmans Convent. The Belgian Bureau is further- miles; light .railways, 1,706 miles; total, 4,649 miles, more a center of social work comprising conferences. It is now proposed to electrify the railway system lectures, social gatherings, classes and other means of the country. The length of navieable waterways of education, Americanization and general welfare, in 1919 was 1,231 miles; the length of the roads,

During the war the Belgian Bureau rendered great state roads, 5,187 miles; provincial roads, 964 miles; services as headquarters of the Belgian Relief Fund concreted roads, 26 miles; total length, 6,177 miles, and numerous other committees, and also took care Agricultural activity commenced immediately of the Belgian Refugees who came to America, after the armistice was signed, with the result that The resources of the Belgian Bureau consist of the crops produced in 1919 fully equalled those in 1913, subsidy granted by the Belgialh Government and the best sugar crop showing an excess of 4,000,000 the one allowed by the Belgian Bishops, besides pounds. As evidence of the intensity with which donations by private persons or societies. No fees the Belgians applied themselves to work, it is in- or compensations of any kind, not even for board or teresting to note that on the termination of the lodging, are accepted from the immigrants. war there were upward of 800,000 persons receiving

J. F. Stillbmanb. chotnage (unemployment wage) while at present,

the number has been reduced to less than 200,000.

Balslnm (cf. C. E. n-395b).— The area of the Much of this remarkable progress is due to the kingdom is 11,373 square miles, excluding the dis- activity of the Recuperation Committee, which has tricts of Eupen and Malmedy, which come under succeeded in recovering most of the machinery Belgian sovereignty as a result of the Treaty of taken away by the Germans. In each province Versailles (1919). The population, estimated on there is an official Agricultural Commission, dele- 31 December, 1919, was 7^577,027, or 652 persons to gates from which, together with specialists, form a the square mile. The excess of females over males supreme council of agriculture, was 77,787. Of the population in 1910, 2,833,334 spoke Of the total area in 1920, 2,945,104 hectares, French only, 3,220,662 Flemish only, 31,415 German 1,340,415 are under cultivation, 519,781 imder forest, only, and 52,457 spoke all three languages. In 107,977 fallow or yncultivated, the rest, roads, 1919 there were 57,758 emigrants and 50,043 immi- marshes, rivers. Figures for 1919 show 298,508 farms, grants. The largest cities, with the population in of which approximately 28 per cent were cultivated 1919, are : Brussels and suburbs, 658,268 ; Antwerp, by their owners. The devastated region, amounting 322357; li^e, 166,697; Ghent, 165,655; Malines, to but 250,000 acres, lies mainly in west Flanders; 59,869; Bruges, 53,489; Ostend, 45,973; Verviers, and of this 25,000 acres were cultivated in 1920. 44,118; Louvain, 40,069. The chief crops for 1919 were wheat, oats, rye.

Religion^— In 1921 Belgium raised its Ministry potatoes, barley, beets, and tobacco. In 1919 there to the Holy See to the rank of embassy and ap- were 755 quarries, with 14,909 workmen, turning out pointed as ambassador one of its most distinguished products worth 58,504,450 francs; the number of diplomats. Baron Beyens, dean of the Belgian Dip- coal mines in the same year was 121, number of lomatic Corps. The retiring Minister, Comte workers, 139,674; the coal production in 1920 was DIJrsel, received the Grand Cross of the Order of 22,413,530 tons of coal, 2,922,000 tons of briquettes, St. Gregory the Great from Pope Benedict XV. 1^00,000 tons of coke. In 1919, 250,570 metric tons Belgium has a Catholic premier (1921) in the per- of pig iron were produced in 13 furnaces, as against son of Baron Carton de Wiart, the acknowledged 2,484,690 tons in 19 furnaces in 1913. An offi- leader of the Younser Right Catholic Democrats, cial investigation revealed that Belgian industry former Minister of Justice, and for years a promi- was then employing 76 per cent of its 1913 work- nent figure in Catholic campaigns in Belgium. The ers, labor in coal mining and transportation showing language question, involving the predominance of an excess. The principal foreign commerce of the French or Flemish language nas long been a Belgium is with Aigentina, Belgian Congo, France, disturbing element both from a religious and a Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, and the political standpoint. A letter of Pope Benedict XV. United States. Imports from Great Britain in 1919 (1921) wamea the clergy of the possible loss of showed a value of $155,933,000; from the United their priestly dignity and the fruit of their ministry. States, $122,017,444; France, $103,207,222; Argentina, by indulging in acrimonious controversies, verbal $23,319,333. Exports to Germany, customs imion, or written, on the subject. Religious statistics re- $70,520,222; France, $62,018,778; Netherlands, $49,- veal 21 Protestant pastors and 15 Jewish rabbis or 551,889. The public debt in 1914 amounted to ministers. For Catholic statistics see Maunbs, 4,890,000,000 francs; in 1919 to 19,533,434,900 francs. AscHDiOGBBB OF; BRUGES, DiocBSB OF; Ghent, Dio- EDUCATION. — Many have been the dissensions in CB8B of; Li&gb, Diocese of; Namxtr, Diocebb of; recent years regarding education in Belgium. In TouBNAi, DiocBSB OF. 1914 school education was made compulsory for