There are indigent persons who exercise the begging as a profession and unashamedly choose specific large cities to show their rags. Some of them have posters that tell touching stories: “I am a single mother with two kids, I have no home and live on the street, I ask for help to eat.” Others kneel or use children to call to the conscience, or put on the doors of the churches because their experience tells them that they will receive good tips from charitable faithful.
The charitable and social action of the Church in Spain provides a great help to the needy in social and charitable centers, homes for the elderly, the chronic ill and the disabled, daycare centers, orphanages, family consultancy, hospitals, outpatient departments, dispensaries, prisons, etc. Although all these centers, there are indigent persons who reject them, camp in their “places of request” obtaining good alms and sleep in poorly warm places.
In the entrance door of a church in Madrid there is a shed that shelter from the rain. An indigent man must have thought that this was a good place to put his refuge with cardboards and mattress which gave a grubby aspect to the religious portico and was miserable testimony that there is hunger and misery in the world. Parishioners and priests had to put up with him for a long time as if there were no charitable and social centers for indigent persons. I do not know how they managed that the beggar goes away or if he left willingly but when he did it, the responsible of the church put railings that will prevent in the future another beggar.
Another new church in a Madrid suburb was besieged by indigent people. Three or four of them were waiting for a few coins of parishioners. In one of the masses, a woman entered, sat in one of the banks and emitted sarcastic sounds that forced the cure to suspend the mass and stared at her. She took it personally and left the church. At the end of the ceremony, the priest asked the parishioners to not give her alms because previously she had been warned that or behaved with enough decorum or will not receive aid. If she wanted to continue asking for charity in that place, she had to maintain order, composure and silence. Warnings that she was not keep in mind and continued with her insolence.
Due to these indigent people are seen with insolence in strategic places in the capital, the Gran Via, the Palacio de Oriente and stations, the mayor of Madrid asked for a national law that force the homeless (there are about 30,000 of them in Spain) to leave the street because there are enough establishments to house them. However, there are always defenders of the impertinence of these people who claim their human rights, without taking into account the existing of welfare establishments, the human rights of others, and the healthiness of people. Meanwhile, we have to wait for their repeated abuses to take drastic measures. At this pace, and despite the Church is linked with the needy, they will have to put security guards to prevent these attacks in some churches.
Ricardo Gutiérrez Ballarín