Cardijn seeks audience with Suenens

On 2 April 1963, Cardijn, who had just returned from a two week trip to Germany, wrote to Suenens asking for an audience, which eventually took place on 8 April.

In his letter, Cardijn insists on his submission to authority but also very politely expresses his frustration at the “misunderstanding” that had arisen over his book.

Brussels, 2 April 1963

His Eminence Cardinal Suenens,

Reverend Archbishop of


Audience: 8 April (Handwritten note by Marguerite Fiévez)

Your Eminence,

Just as I was about to leave for a fortnight’s tour of Germany, I was made aware of Your Eminence’s observations on the manuscript of my book, which were passed on to me by my assistant, Father Uylenbroeck.

I am suffering greatly from the misunderstanding caused by this text to be published, and I would have liked to come to an agreement with Your Eminence before leaving for Germany. I was therefore extremely concerned about the matter throughout my trip. I had hoped for an Imprimatur signed by Your Eminence “ex toto corde”, marking our complete agreement on the substance and passing over the reconcilable nuances.

The principle that has guided my whole life is and will remain to the end: faithful and complete submission to Authority. This is why I dare to write to Your Eminence today to ask for the opportunity to discuss this matter. In the attached short document, I have tried to summarise the situation as it stands, to help clear up the misunderstanding and avoid any unfortunate consequences.

In the meantime, Fr Uylenbroeck has been asked by the Censor to revise and correct his text messages. This work will be submitted to the Censor as soon as possible, as the proofs of the book will be leaving the printing works in the next few days.

I would be most grateful if Your Eminence could fix a time to see me regarding this issue.

Once again assuring you of my most complete submission, I beg Your Eminence to accept the homage of the deepest respect with which I am Your most humble servant.

Your most humble servant.

Jos. Cardijn,

Chaplain General.

+ Appendix (Handwritten note by Marguerite Fiévez)


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