Jesus Christ and the Church of the Poor group launched

On 26 October 1962, a group of bishops and priest met together at the Belgian College with the objective of ensuring that the Council addressed the problems of the poor.

They chose as the subject of their meeting “Jesus Christ and the Church of the Poor,” taken from the title of a book about to be published by Paul Gauthier, a French worker priest working with Arabic communities in Galilee, Israel.

Convoked by Himmer and Bishop George Hakim of Galilee, the meeting took place under the presidency of Cardinal Pierre-Marie Gerlier of Lyon, France, a JOC supporter from the time of its foundation in France in 1926.

Other participants with strong connections to the Specialised Catholic Action movements included Georges Béjot (JOC), Guy Riobé (JOC/JAC), both French, and the Brazilian Antonio Fragoso (JOC) while Helder Camara and Alfred Ancel excused themselves as did Patriarch Maximos IV.

The objective was to consider how to develop the theme of poverty within the Council. The working group that emerged thus adopted the title of Gauthier’s book (French title: Jésus, les pauvres et l’Eglise; English title: Christ, the Church and the Poor) becoming known as the Jesus, the Church and the Poor or the Church of the Poor group.


Stefan Gigacz, The Leaven in the Council, Chapter 7, The Council opens without Cardijn (Australian Cardijn Institute)