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)

St Joseph patron of Vatican II

Le Voci

On 19 March 1961, the Feast of St Joseph, Pope John XXIII, whose baptismal name was Giuseppe (Joseph) Angelo Roncalli, proclaimed him as the patron saint of the Second Vatican Council, as Cardijn himself noted (image above).

“Besides a few glimpses of his recurring figure here and there in the writings of the Fathers, he has remains for centuries and centuries in his characteristic hiding, almost as a figure of ornament in the picture of the life of the Savior,” Pope John wrote.

“And it took some time before his cult penetrated from the eyes into the hearts of the faithful, and drew from it special elevations of prayer and trusting abandonment.

“These were the fervent joys reserved for the effusions of the modern age: oh! how copious and impressive; and of these we are particularly pleased to immediately grasp a very characteristic and significant relief,” he added.

It was only with the advent of the modern popes, from Pope Pius IX till Pius XII, who raised his profile in the Church and among the faithful.

Pope Pius XII, in fact, had proclaimed St Joseph as patron saint of workers, John noted.

In a similar spirit, he now proclaimed his patron of the Second Vatican Council.

“The Council is made for all the Christian people who are interested in it for that more perfect circulation of grace, of Christian vitality, which makes the purchase of the truly precious goods of the present life easier and quicker, and ensures the riches of eternal centuries,” Pope John explaining why he had chosen Joseph, a lay man, as patron of the Council.

SOURCES

Pope John XIII, Apostolic Letter Le Voci, 19 March 1961 (Vatican.va)

PHOTO

Stained glass window from the Catholic chapel of Dartmouth College.

Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY NC ND 2.0

The International YCW

La JOC Internationale

At the request of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate, Cardijn compiled a document – Note 5 – presenting the International YCW and its work which he sent to the Commission on 17 March 1961.

In Chapter I entitled, The Fundamental Content of the YCW, he presents its work under five headings:

  • a problem of pastoral work and lay apostolate;
  • an apostolic solution to this problem by lay people interested, formed and supported by the Hierarchy and mandated chaplains;
  • a method of formation, action, organisation and representation;
  • participation in a whole apostolate;
  • official relations with the Hierarchy.

In each instance, he backs up his presentation with citations from the speeches and writings of Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, often specifically addressed to the JOC and/or Cardijn himself. It is a perfect illustration of the success of Cardijn’s 35 years of advocacy with the Holy See.

The pastoral problem

“In each parish, in each diocese, in the whole Church, in the whole world, hundreds, thousands of young people each year enter into the life and milieu of work,” Cardijn begins. “They find themselves faced with the problems, dangers, influences, institutions to which it is impossible to face up to with a Christian and apostolic attitude if they are abandoned to themselves. This de facto abandonment is a disaster for themselves and the Church.

“They must be strongly united, to seek and find together a personal and collective solution to this grave problem: to be able to help and save the millions of their brothers and sisters at work. Thus, they bring a decisive cooperation for the future of the world of work.”

The solution

“All these young people who work are at the most decisive moment of their lives,” Cardijn continues. “They have an average age between 14 and 25 years, between school and marriage. This is why:

1. They must be formed themselves to discover the problems of their life, their human, religious and apostolic value; to themselves seek the solutions to all these problems.

2. They must learn to act as Christians and as apostles; to transform their specific life and that of their comrades, milieux and institutions of life; to create and develop an apostolic movement born from their life and their needs, thanks to which they acquire a sense of their responsibility both human and apostolic; to uphold on one hand solidarity with all young workers and on the other hand the indispensable collaboration with all institutions and organisations that must help them to resolve their problem.

3. They must learn to discover the supernatural, sacramental and liturgical sources which nourish the life of the apostolate, to discover the sense of the Church and the Hierarchy; to appreciate their terrestrial and eternal vocation in God’s plan of love, in Creation and Redemption.

This formation, a fundamental solution to the problem of working youth, it is the YCW which gives it to them.”

The method

He continues to outline the jocist method, beginning with the see-judge-act:

“The YCW teaches young workers to SEE the problems of their daily life and that of their comrades; it teaches them to JUDGE humanly and Christianly, and finally to ACT to provide a solution themselves — and first of all in their own life — to train their comrades in this transformation and to draw out the collaborations necessary for this.”

A life based method

“The jocist method of formation always starts from life, from its problems, needs and meaning; and it always come back (to life) in order to find and give a Christian response in all dimensions: personal, local, regional, national and international,” Cardijn emphasises.

“This formation is both active and doctrinal: it takes place through action in life, through responsibilities, based on enquiries, review of life, Gospel commentaries, talks which summarise, coordinate and enlighten these discoveries and realisations in life.

“The YCW does this formation first in the core groups of militants who are the leaven and the yeast among young workers and in the whole of working life; it also does this among and with the mass itself in order to drive it and change it. The YCW pursues this formation in view of a transformation, outside its daily action through multiple means:

  • meetings of militants; study circles, committees, recollections, retreats, etc;
  • mass meetings: assemblies and forums, team meetingsand events, evenings of life preparation, camps and workshops, clubs for games, etc;
  • Intensive formation sessions, study weeks, publications and campaigns;
  • educational services for the preparation of work, professional orientation, support during military service, preparation for marriage, holidays, leisure activities, etc;
  • collaboration with and activities with all interested institutions: public authorities, employers, trades unions, teaching bodies, etc.

Thus, the YCW is both and inseparably:

  • a SCHOOL OF FORMATION for working, Christian, apostolic and missionary life; 
  • a SERVICE or an ensemble of services to help young people in their daily problems, in their formation and their action:
  • an ORGANISATION or a stable and institutional union, open to all young people who work, and which coordinates all the activities and services mentioned above;

The YCW maintains its specific characters at the various levels of its development; on the local and parish level, on the regional or diocesan level, at the country level and at world level. All levels are united by a living and permanent link and make the International YCW  an organism, an institution of the Church, with the dimensions of the problem of working youth in the world.”

Catholic Action

After a section presenting the history of the movement and its achievements, Cardijn concludes by seeking to outline the more general application of the jocist methods:

1. It is an organisation (a movement) of lay apostolate, with a missionary character, directed and spread by lay people themselves, for the Christian solution of the problems of ordinary life. This organisation is ordinarily a school, a service, a representative body of the lay apostolate in life, in the milieux of life, in the institutions of lay life, and it transforms both this life, these milieux and these institutions of life. It takes root on the parish level and develops progressively to other levels, to the point where it becomes an international organism.

2. It is a lay organisation officially recognised by the Hierarchy, which gives it an official mission for the solution of a determined problem of the lay apostolate. The Hierarchy unndertakes with it (and vice versa) official relations which must aid it and support it in the accomplishment of the apostolic mission which is confided to it (statutes, nomination of chaplains, reports and consulations, etc.)

3.  Catholic Action is both specialised and coordinated. Specialised for the solution of problems that affect the person, belonging to a determined milieu, as a whole, with its whole life, its problems of life and their Christian solution. Coordinated for the collaboration between specialised organisations, and this, in view of the solution of the problems of the ensemble of the lay world, at every level: local or parish, diocesan, regional, national and international.

WISHES FOR THE FUTURE

And finally he sets out a series of desires that he would like the Council to take up:

  • May all priests, secular and religious, be better formed on all issues relating to the necessity and the importance of the apostolate of the lay person in the world today and in the collaboration to bring to the lay apostolage, at every level and at the dimension of the problems of the present world: The Church, light of the world!
  • May devoted and competent chaplains be liberated in each diocese and in each country for the organisations of the lay apostolate and more particularly in the most urgent and most strategic sectors of the present world.
  • May the official recognition of the apostolate of lay people (Catholic Action) and the mandate that is confided to it be more explicit and more formal and may one thus avoid incertainties, misunderstandings and competitive discussions.
  • May lay people be increasingly consulted by religious authorities and may their apostolate be more appreciated, in our concrete circumstances by the whole Church.
  • May a dicastery in Rome be charged with the study and assistance to bring to the apostolate of international organisations — both in the ICO and outside of it — and that international lay leaders take an effective part in this new institution.

SOURCE

French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 5 – La JOC Internationale (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English

Joseph Cardijn, Note 5 – The International YCW (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Enrique Angelelli ordained bishop

Bishop Enrique Angelelli

On 12 March 1961, Fr Enrique Angelelli, JOC chaplain in the Argentine Diocese of Cordoba, was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for that diocese.

Over a decade earlier, he had founded the JOC in the diocese alongside Jose ‘Pepe’ Palacio

Fifteen years later he would die a martyr during Argentina’s Dirty War.

SOURCES

Bishop Bl. Enrique Ángel Angelelli Carletti (Catholic Hierarchy)

Enrique Angelelli (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

José Serapio Palacio (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)