The plight of young domestic workers

On 7 July 1961, Cardijn made an intervention at the PCLA meeting on the plight of domestic workers.

A report based on statistical studies Italian and foreign women was then drawn up by Ferdinando Prosperini who highlighted the moral dangers of domestic work for young girls, including the high number of single mothers in their midst and the corresponding risk of falling into the hands of pimps.

Critical of the evolution of morals, Prosperini viewed the young girl not only a victim, but also a potential “seductress” of the honest father of a Catholic family.

The resulting very conservative text was revised by Santo Quadri, assisted by Fr Erminio Crippa, Dehonian, his closest collaborator at ACLI (Associazoni Cristiani Lavoratori Italiani) and an expert on female domestic work. The emphasis was no longer placed primarily on the moral dangers inherent in their professional activity, but on the need for it to be carried out in accordance with the principles of social justice – fair salary compensation, social contributions, access to training etc. – and on the particular responsibility that Christian families have in this regard.

SOURCE

Agnès Desmazières, Généalogie d’un « silence » conciliaire, Archives de sciences sociales des religions

REFERENCE

Associazoni Cristiani Lavoratori Italiani

https://www.academia.edu/48542618/G%C3%A9n%C3%A9ealogy_d_un_silence_conciliaire

Généalogie d’un « silence » conciliaire

Agnès Desmazières
Archives de sciences sociales des religions

PHOTO

National Museum of American History (Smithsonian)

Requests to Cardinal Dell’Acqua

As usual, Cardijn maximised his trips to Rome, taking the opportunity to visit various Vatican officials.

On 3 July, he met with Pope John XXIII’s Substitute, Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua to make a number of requests that he summarised in an aide-mémoire he prepared:

First, he requested a “”essage from the Holy Father for Rio de Janeiro” i.e. the International YCW World Council scheduled for the end of 1961.

Secondly, he requested “honorary distinctions for the former leaders of the YCW International Bureau (1957 to 1961).”

Thirdly, he sought an honour for “the former National President of the KAJ (JOC Flemish) on the occasion of the 50th pilgrimage to Lourdes that he was organising for the sick.”

Fourthly, he raised the problem of how to contact the JOC in post-revolutionary Cuba.

“The regime and situation of certain States, such as Cuba, for example, makes it very difficult for the International Secretariat of the YCW to transmit its advice and the apostolic directives intended for them to the YCWs of these countries,” he explained.

“Would it be possible for the International Secretariat of the YCW to submit these communications in an open envelope to the Belgian Nunciature with a request to forward them to the Secretariat of State which would determine the possibility of sending them through diplomatic channels to the Representatives of the Holy See in these countries?”

Finally, in a handwritten addition, he requested financial assistance for the travel of World Council delegates from “Africa, Asia, certain European countries (illegible) …. Central America.”

It seems he had received assurances of this from Archbishops Samorè (Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs) and Sigismondi (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) on this matter.

SOURCES

French

Visite à Mgr Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Requête à Mgr Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English

Visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Request to Archbishop Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Preparing for another trip to Rome

Cardijn - Dell'Acqua 1961 06 20

On 20 June 1961, Cardijn wrote to Pope John XXIII’s Substitute, Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, to inform him that he would soon be in Rome again and to seek another meeting with him. As always he was concerned with the future of the International YCW.

“I am sorry for disturbing Your Excellency,” Cardijn began. “I am coming to Rome from 3rd to 13th July. I need to attend the meetings of the Pontifical Commission for the Lay Apostolate until Saturday evening 8 July. The following three days I will be free to make a few visits.

“I would be very grateful if Your Excellency could receive me for a few moments, so that I could tell Him about our very important World Council in Rio de Janeiro in November, which will certainly decide the future of the international YCW.”

Never one to miss an opportunity, he also wrote similar letters to Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi, who had been secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith since 1954, and Archbishop Antonio Samorè, who was secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, which was in effect the Vatican Foreign Affairs ministry.

SOURCES

French original

Joseph Cardijn – Mgr Angelo Dell’Acqua 20 06 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn – Mgr Angelo Dell’Acqua 20 06 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Angelo Cardinal Dell’Acqua (Catholic Hierarchy)

Antonio Cardinal Samorè (Catholic Hierarchy)

Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi (Catholic Hierarchy)

Mater et Magistra adopts the see-judge-act

On 15 May 1961, Pope John XXIII published his encyclical Mater et Magistra commemorating the 70th anniversary of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum.

Belgian priest, Fr Basil Maes, the future national director of the Belgian Catholic development agency, Broederlijk Delen, and chaplain to Caritas Catholica Belgica, later recalled Cardijn’s joy on hearing of its publication.

“I still see him joyfully entering my room, enthusiastically shouting: ‘Basil, it’s happened! See, judge, act!’.”

Indeed, §236-237 of the new encyclical had explicitly endorsed the jocist see-judge-act method:

236. There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice. First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgment on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what in the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: look, judge, act.

237. It is important for our young people to grasp this method and to practice it. Knowledge acquired in this way does not remain merely abstract, but is seen as something that must be translated into action.

As we have seen, this was the culmination of much effort and advocacy, beginning with his proposal to Pope John XXIII, his and Marguerite Fiévez’s advocacy with others including Mgr Pietro Pavan and no doubt many others.

Less explicitly, the encyclical also adopted much of Cardijn’s positive theology of work, not as a punishment or merely a means of earning a livelihood but as a sharing in God’s work of creation.

REFERENCES

A new encyclical to update Rerum Novarum (Cardijn @ Vatican II)

French original

Joseph Cardijn, L’Eglise face au monde du travail (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, The Church and the world of labour (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

French original

Joseph Cardijn, Les prêtres et la doctrine sociale de l’Eglise (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Priests and the social doctrine of the Church (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The Church and the world of work (Cardijn @ Vatican II)

Fiévez writes to Pavan about Cardijn’s suggested encyclical (Cardijn @ Vatican II)

French original

Marguerite Fiévez à Pietro Pavan 1960 12 23 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Marguerite Fiévéz to Pietro Pavan 1960 12 23 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua (Cardijn @ Vatican II)

Original French

Aide-Mémoire Mgr Dell’Acqua 06 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Aide-Memoire Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua 06 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn’s proposal to John XXIII (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn, work and the worker (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, Mater et Magistra endorses the See Judge Act (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn and the theology of work in Mater et Magistra (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, See Judge Act at Vatican II (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, John XXIII’s New Pentecost (The Leaven in the Council)

Stefan Gigacz, The Three Truths in Gaudium et Spes (The Leaven in the Council)

Christian animation of the temporal order

Note 9 - Reflections on documents

In his April 1961 Note 9 prosaically entitled “Reflections on documents Pr. 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 (SC II),” Cardijn once again diplomatically calls into question the whole approach of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate.

“Isn’t it necessary,” he asked, “to try to define more precisely:

“Christian animation of the temporal order?

“Social Action and Catholic Action in the temporal order, life and the environment (milieu)?

“The relationship between this animation with the Hierarchy?

“The supernatural raising up of temporal activities?”

In effect, Cardijn was challenging the assumed spiritual-temporal framework that the Commission appeared to be adopting.

Offering the JOC as an example, he insisted that a more holistic approach was required.

“Since its foundation, the YCW has specialised in the training of young workers with a view to the Christian animation and supernatural raising up of social action,” Cardijn continued, noting that the YCW had “formed social leaders for all the various milieux and all the problems of temporal life.”

It had “always affirmed itself as Catholic Action” and had been “praised and recommended as such by Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII.”

Moreover, “the YCW works closely with private and public, national and international, Christian and non-Christian organisations and institutions in all areas of the temporal and social order.”

And he concluded with the pointed question as to whether “the 2nd Sub-Commission, which is devoted to social action” was “taking this activity of the YCW into account.”

SOURCE

French original

Joseph Cardijn, Note 9 – Reflections on documents Pr. 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 (SC II) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 9 – Reflections on documents Pr. 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 (SC II) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

Back in Rome

Retreat House Rome 24-30 April 1961

Cardijn’s back in Rome again for yet another meeting from 24-30 April 1961 as this receipt for his lodgings at a retreat house illustrates.

SOURCE

Archives Cardijn 1301

Animation of the apostolate

Note 8

In Note 8, also dated April 1961 and entitled simply “Reflections on the Notes of the Commission,” Cardijn emphasises the task of “animation” in developing the apostolate of the laity.

The very fact that he needs to emphasise is a sure indication that many members of the Commission had little or no understanding of this concept, no doubt being more accustomed to the role of the priest as director.

For Cardijn, therefore, “the question of the spiritual animation of the apostolate in the temporal sphere is the essential problem to be solved with respect to this apostolate, whether individual or collective.”

“Without this spiritual animation, temporal action cannot be apostolic,” he insisted.

“That’s why this animation – including prayer through suffering or sacrifice – cannot be alongside or at any distance from apostolic action and life themselves,” he insisted.

“In order to be the soul as well as the engine and lever of the apostolate, prayer, suffering, sacrifice need to be identified with the apostolate itself, which must in turn become prayer and sacrifice. ‘It is not I who live, suffer, work; it is Christ who lives, suffers and works in me.’ Animation transforms our temporal life into spiritual and apostolic life.

Without a doubt, there is the apostolate of prayer and suffering for those who specially devote themselves to it, as well for all Christians; but I think it is better not to call this “animation” of the apostolate. Let us reserve the word “animation” for the spiritual life which wants and must transform the whole temporal action of the laity into an apostolate for, by and with Christ and the Church. Any separation in this area distorts both the life of prayer and the life of action. A soul without a body and a body without a soul are impossibilities in earthly life, whether temporal or spiritual

Regarding the spiritual animation of the lay apostolate in the temporal order, could we not make three suggestions? ?

1 ° That all catechesis and all pastoral care insist on the importance and the necessity for the apostolate of the laity in the Church and in the world; and this apostolate in the whole (secular) life of the laity, in all aspects and all settings of this life. The whole of catechesis and the whole of pastoral work must demonstrate and ensure the spiritual animation necessary for the realisation of the apostolate of the laity in the temporal world;

2 ° That the revalorisation of the sacrament of Confirmation should express and emphasise the importance of the apostolate of the baptised in  temporal daily life, and effectively introduce it into his life as an adult Christian, at the age of learning his proper and irreplaceable apostolic mission;

3 ° That the term “apostolate of the laity” and particularly the term “Catholic Action” be reserved for this proper and irreplaceable apostolate, which is the apostolate of the laity in the temporal. “The first and immediate apostles of the laity in lay life and the lay environment (milieu) will be lay people”. Certainly the laity have an apostolate of prayer, suffering, sacrifice and dedication which they share with all Christians, priests, religious and lay people; but they have their own apostolate, which is not that of religious and apostles, even if the latter exercise it in fact in a supplementary manner, either to initiate or make up for deficiencies, but in which they can never replace lay people, for the good and fruitfulness of the Church.

SOURCES

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 8 – Refléxions sur les Notes de la Commission (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 8 – Reflections on the Notes of the Commission (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The need for apostolic formation

Note 7 - Formation religieuse

By April 1961, the reflections and contributions of other members of the PCLA as well as other relevant organisations were coming in.

Attentive as always, Cardijn responded carefully to the issues raised, as Note 7 on “Religious formation and support for Catholic Action leaders” illustrates.

“The COPECIAL notes rightly emphasise the necessity of a very profound religious, apostolic, supernatural formation for all leaders who are engaged at local, regional, national or international level; and also on the necessity of sufficient aid to guarantee their perseverance,” citing approvingly a paper submitted by the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate, a semi-official body created following the first World Congress on Lay Apostolate in 1951.

“The notes also signal the importance of belonging to Secular Institutes,” Cardijn continued, before turning to his more substantive comments in which he appears to be more critical of the positions of the COPECIAL.

“It is necessary first  to insist on the duty and the possibility of the Catholic Action movements to give this formation and to ensure this aid,” Cardijn argued, emphasising the role of the movements in providing such formation.

“These movements would not be movements of Catholic Action if they neglected or under-valued the profound religious formation of their members, a fortiori of their (men and women) leaders, whether the latter are volunteers or fulltimers at whichever level of the movement,” he added.

Secondly, it was “important to note that ‘extension  workers’ are not the only international fulltime leaders,” he noted, referring to those movement workers and volunteers who left to promote and develop their movements in other countries and continents.

“The members of the International Executive Committees, Bureaux and Secretariats are the first to bear fulltime apostolic responsibilities,” highlighting the importance of their roles.

The leaven in the dough

Thirdly, this formation needed to be provided at every level:

“This formation which goes progressively from the base to the summit, is the only one which guarantees contact with life and needs of the mass and places the leaven in the dough, and not beside or above it.”

It must therefore “be one of the principal preoccupations of the Catholic Action movements, their leaders and chaplains, to continually seek to improve, to renew and to adapt this formation,” he continued.

Fourthly, he insisted on the importance of the role of lay leaders, particularly warning against the usurpation of those role by lay leaders who belonged to secular institutes whose role necessarily had to remain discreet.

“In general, the leaders do not know if a member,  militant or leader of a movement belongs  to a Secular Institute,” he said. “They must not know. They are not obliged to reveal their belonging to an Institute, either to leaders, or chaplains.

“If it is done, it more as a gesture of personal confidence with respect to a chaplain or a leader, or for practical reasons; however it is not because they are obliged juuridically or morally. Those who receive this information personally are bound by secret. They cannot use this belonging  to a Secular Institute to confide a charge or a function in a Catholic Action  movement.”

Rather, it was “the movement alone which decides the choices of its leaders and the influence that they exercise.”

“The assistance of the Secular Institute belongs on another level; it can never replace that of a Catholic Action movement and must always and everywhere be as discreet as possible,” he said.

The role of members of secular institutes was more in the nature of a counsellor, he concluded.

“The problems of counsellors belonging to Secular Institutes, as to Religious Congregations is different from that of (men and women) leaders,” he said.

SOURCES

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 7 – Formation religieuse et soutien des dirigeants d’Action catholique (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 7 – Religious formation and support for Catholic Action leaders (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Collaborate with all, including non-Christians

Ernest Michel - Cardijn 25 03 1961

On 25 March 1961, Fr Ernest Michel, national chaplain to the French-speaking (Walloon) Belgian JOC, wrote to Cardijn, who had sought his views on the pastoral letter then being drafted by Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt of Bruges.

“Here are the few suggestions that I think you could make to Bishop De Smedt regarding his letter,” Michel wrote.

“In the chapter: Living in union with Christ, Reigning in his people, from page 10.

“Stress the possibility and the need for Christians to collaborate with all people of good will – even those who are non-Christian – in the construction of the world.

“Similarly, underline with a little more force the need for Christians to get involved in organisations to carry out their temporal mission (organisations which, in fact, do not always need to be confessional).

“This is what is now often describes as ‘temporal engagement,’ a term that does not appear as such in the letter.

In relation to Catholic Action, Michel suggested that the letter should indicate “that very often specialised Catholic action, especially when it works in dechristianised environments, is that impactful Catholic action of which he speaks.”

SOURCE

Original French

Ernest Michel – Cardijn 25 03 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Ernest Michel – Cardijn 25 03 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)