A strategic plan for the Council

In an undated document that seems to be from just before the opening of the First Session of Vatican II, Cardijn sets out a strategic plan for influencing its work.

I. THE YCW AND THE ECUMENICAL COUNCIL

1. Before, during the first session, during the preparation for the second session: attention, intentions, prayer, sacrifices, all the YCW action

2. Expectation in the YCW and among young workers

3. Attention to the problem of young workers in the world

  • its growing importance, one might even say decisive importance for young workers and the working class
  • for the Church and for humanity
    number of young workers
    problems of young workers
    solidarity of young workers

4. Faith in the solution

a/ by young workers themselves (formation – action – representation)

b/ concrete problems: preparation – unemployment – leisure – climate

c/ necessary collaborations

5. The YCW and the problem of young workers

And is the movement of young workers

an apostolic and missionary movement

a holistic movement

6. The Church and the problem of young workers

The problem of YCW

Formation and collaboration of the clergy of all members of the Church

THE YCW in, with working youth, the world of today and tomorrow

The YCW and the apostolate of the laity, specialised and coordinated Catholic Action.

II. THE YCW IN ROME

1. Communicate our intentions

2. Prepare the participation of Bishops from all regions, continents, races

Latin, Greek, Malabar Church

JOC in Europe, North America, Australia
in Asia
in Africa
in Latin America

4. Signal discussions on JOC-MIJARC as much as possible

JOC-JEC

JOC-Christian Trade Unions

5. As the meeting cannot last more than two hours, would it not be better to begin immediately with the problem of working youth in the world?

Then, testimonies of bishops from different continents

Then, general questions for bishops to ask

6. Announce special meetings: Asia

Africa

Latin America

North America

Australia

SOURCE

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, La JOC et le Concile (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, The YCW and the Council (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Cardijn still travelling after the Rio Council

On 20 November 1961, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to PCLA secretary, Mgr Achille Glorieux, to let him know that Cardijn was still travelling in Latin America following the World Council of Rio de Janeiro.

“You may be aware that Mgr Cardijn will not return from Rio before the end of this month,” Fiévez wrote.

“In his absence, I opened the latest batch of documents from the Commission. I don’t know if Monsignor will have something to send you regarding the two  documents, TC 1 and TC 2.

“But even if he had any amendments or suggestions to propose, he obviously could not send them to you before the 1st December as you request. Moreover, following the YCW World Council, Mgr Cardijn needs to visit several countries before returning to Brussels.

“It is obviously practically impossible for me to reach him to send him the relevant documents. Nevertheless, in practice, I very much doubt that he would have anything to send you.”

SOURCE

ORIGINAL FRENCH

Marguerite Fiévez – Achille Glorieux 20 11 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Marguerite Fiévez – Achille Glorieux 20 11 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The apostolic nature of the YCW

The Rio de Janeiro YCW International Council concluded on 11 November 1961.

Replacing outgoing international president, Romeo Maione, was Brazilian, Bartolo Perez.

Other key decisions of the Council included the adoption of an orientation document, “The Apostolic Nature of the YCW.”

Structured as a Three Truths dialectic, the document’s aim was to “try to take the basic fundamentals as outlined by Monsignor Cardijn, and apply them to our advancing YCW.”

“The YCW started, starts and restarts,” the document continued, “with the exercise of the YCW dialectic.

“It started with Monsignor Cardijn when he discovered that the reality of working life clashed viciously with the ideal of working life as taught by the Church. It starts in the heart of a young worker when he discovers through his YCW enquiries that the truth of reality often clashes with the truth of faith. It is from this clash that the YCW was born, and continues to be born, in our world of today. The YCW – wherever it starts, is faithful to its dialectic – a dialectic which takes the form of regular see-judge-act enquiries in life. Because of this, the YCW can be an international movement whilst still retaining its Asian, African, or American characteristics each YCW remaining faithful to the fundamentals, yet distinct in its handling of the problems which arise due to the clash between the reality and the ideal in every country.”

Truth of Faith

“The basic truth of faith is that which is contained in the revealed truth of the Church,” the document says. “By Baptism, we are admitted into the family of God, creator of the world, maker of all – of atomic energy, of modern science and technology and of the delicate beauty of a rose in bloom; we become a brother of Christ, the God-man, who came into the world to live with us and finally delivered himself on a Cross out of His infinite love for us. Why? In order to give us another chance to do the will of His Father – to go out and complete the creation started by God.”

“In short, our faith gives us a whole new insight into the condition of man, his wonderful calling to be a Son of God, his mission, his work, his talents. The YCW teaches us to “stand in awe of our fellow-man,” so important and irreplaceable in the Plan of God.”

Truth of Reality

“Although the YCW starts with the truth of faith, it is the ‘see’ part of the enquiries that gives us the anvil, so that the iron of life can be shaped by the blacksmiths hammer. Because of the act of faith inherent in the YCW, our eyes begin to see the reality. Through our local and national enquiries, we begin to see and to note this truth of reality. We become conscious of what is really happening around-us. In and through our daily lives – through a spirit of enquiry — we probe even deeper into reality.

“Before going on to the main part of this report, we must pause for a moment to put the truth of reality – as discovered by the young worker – within the context of a larger truth of reality – the speeding development of our modern world. The YCW whose basic mission is to young workers, must be awake to the large-scale problems that have such repercussions on the lives of young workers. We must be prepared to understand the larger forces at work in our world so as to better serve the young workers.

The problems of working youth – the mission of the YCW – must be discovered and solved in a world, in deep social crisis, in a world that is moving from the simple to the complex, from the small village to the big city, from the artisan to the large factory, in a world which is dominated by the twin forces of science and technology.”

Major issues identified included: demographic forces, colonialist structures, migration and atomic power.

“Add all these forces together and the result is the demolishing of the old traditional order concurrent with the construction of a social order based on new international political and economic realities.”

It identifies the problem of exploitation as “a major factor of the modern world.”

“The worker is something akin to a machine – to be used for production and then thrown aside. This fact is very evident in the areas which are just coming in contact with the modern world. The person is alone, unprotected, and at the tender mercy of those who put production before the person.”

The result is that people ask themselves many questions: “Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? What is life all about? And finally, is life worth living?”

“These are the tearing, searching and penetrating questions asked by modern youth. These are the questions that the YCW must answer.”

The apostolic nature of the YCW

The document warns that “the tendency to consider the YCW only as a social action movement persists.”

“This confusion should not surprise us too much – after all the YCW does not limit itself to speaking about Christ, but lives Christ – in our factories, offices, mines, plantations, etc. How can Christ, living in the militant Christian, stand aloof from his fellow man busily and urgently building a family, a neighbourhood, and a more just world. Charity demands that the YCW leader do something about the real problems of young workers and at the same time bring the young workers to Christ.”

“It would be, of course, much simpler to say that the YCW should just spread the good news of the gospels and leave material problems to others,” the document continues. “If so, what must the YCW leader do in face of the glaring problems of social injustice which he discovers in his enquiries? When he finds, for example, that the regulations covering a certain apprenticeship program are not being respected – is it enough for him just, to pray, and ask God to change things? Or must he feel responsible for bringing about the necessary changes?”

SOURCE

The apostolic nature of the YCW (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

REFERENCES

Joseph Cardijn, The Three Truths (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Extend the YCW to other Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims

Cardijn delivered a stirring closing address to the Rio International Council on 6 November 1961.

Excellencies, Most Reverend Archbishop, Bishops, Your Excellency the Minister of Labour, Distinguished Ambassadors,

Representatives of the various countries which have their embassies here in Brazil, representatives of major international Catholic action, charitable action, social action organisations and major international institutions and

My dear delegates from all countries of the whole world,

A closing session is a little melancholic because we are sad to be leaving each other. It’s like the end of a stay of with friends, a fraternal stay. Yet, in the International YCW, closing sessions are now and always joyful sessions in which we have an overflowing feeling of gratitude and thanksgiving for all the good things we have shared during the national and international meetings and I am not going to repeat the words of thanks of our president.

Oh, what a truly Brazilian welcome we received here in Petropolis from the whole population of Brazil, the government, the hierarchy, all the churches of Brazil, including a sermon and a special collection last Sunday that united them with our international gathering.

Truly the Brazilian people are fully one with the INTERNATIONAL YCW and now that we have a Brazilian international president this link will continue to deepen and become stronger so that the young workers of the world will know that Brazil and the whole of Latin America is united with the needs and aspirations of the young workers of the world.

Yes, the joy of the work that was achieved during this meeting, the friendships that were made, the exchanges that took place. Ah! what supernatural, apostolic friendship we are witnessing for the first time. We come from Japan, India, South Africa and we immediately become a family, a team, an inseparable group of young people united by the same ideal, united by the same desire.

And this what makes the joy of our hearts overflow. It’s not just us who feel this joy. It is also shared by the cardinals, bishops and all the international organisations who sent us messages, including the Holy Father himself. And I have the honour and power here before you to express my thanks to the Holy Father, a thanks that is expressed by the honours he has bestowed today during this international council on those who have led the immense organisation of the YCW during the last few years. I am authorised to give the decoration of Commander of the Order of St Gregory to Romeo Maione.

This joy of the present and the past overflows in our hearts, but today yet another joy exceeds this joy of the past and the present. It is the joy of hope for the future that we are going to build in this world to which we want to give a new working youth, a working youth animated by an ideal of fraternity, justice, respect among all the peoples of the earth. This hope is expressed first in the choice of the new international committee and the new president. This is the value of the YCW!

Not only has the YCW given worker leaders to the working class of the world, not only has it given hundreds of thousands of new working families who love this education of their children and who are able to give to the various peoples of the world children who in the future will no longer be second class citizens nor underdeveloped children nor children condemned to hunger and the misery of the lack of genuine human conditions; but thousands and thousands of working families prepared for their holy mission here below to be collaborators with God, procreators of a new youth, a new working class.

And this is why together, yes, we will not only found a new committee, like all the committees which for 50 years have been formed by the YCW and which have succeeded one another with value, with an increasingly larger mission in the world. But now having voted our program of action, we must go back to the essential characteristics of the YCW.

Here, we are here simply the representatives of the young workers of the world, the YCW, who are first of all the young workers of the land of Africa, Asia, all continents and all countries. And the essential character of the YCW is to teach them by themselves, among themselves, by themselves, to understand their value, to understand their mission. And that is why the great program will only be genuinely YCW if we develop the YCW in all the municipalities, in all the cities, in all the centres where young workers live. Whether they are Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims, we want to give all the young workers of the earth the knowledge and not simply the knowledge but a realisation of their dignity as a Son of God, a collaborator of God.

The YCW is not for an elite, the YCW is not for a minority, the YCW is not for a privileged few, not the elite. In the YCW, the militants of the YCW, the leaders of the JOC must go to the masses, know the masses, love the masses, become friends of the poorest and most humble young workers who understand their dedication, their ideals and thus slowly win over this ideal of international brotherhood.

Young workers from one continent need to understand the needs of young workers from other continents. There must soon be a real new working youth in the world, one not represented by a few young workers who have understood the mission of the YCW in the world, but who can speak both to governments and to the Church, in international institutions on behalf of all the young workers of the earth.

Yes! Now, we are beginning a decisive step, we need to extend the YCW, we need to deepen the YCW. It is the only solution to the problems of the immense class, the immense working population. It will not be bombs, nor violence and hatred that will succeed in saving not only the youth, but all peoples and all humanity, it will be the knowledge of the divine dignity of the poorest and most humble workers of the earth.

Yes ! the mission is great and it is God and it is Christ who sends us to the hundreds of millions, to the billions of workers of the earth. And that is why our hope is not a utopia, our hope is not a deception, our hope will not disappoint the young workers of the world, because in our heart lives the love of Christ who sends us, who sustains us and it is He who, through us, wants to save the young workers of all races and all continents.

Forward with the grace of Christ, under the leadership of the Church, we will save all the working youth of the whole world.

SOURCE

FRENCH ORIGINAL

Discours de clôture – Conseil Mondial JOC – Rio de Janeiro (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Joseph Cardijn, Closing address to the YCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Danger of new paternalism

PETROPOLIS, Brazil, Nov. 9 (NC)—Unless aid programs for underdeveloped regions are carried out in close cooperation with local people who know the needs of their areas, the result can be ’a new kind of paternalism propelled by pity,” the International Young Christian Workers’ representative to the United Nations said here.

Caroline Pezzulo of Brooklyn, N.Y., told the YCW world congress here that there has been a general awakening in North America to the responsibility of the economically developed lands to help alleviate the miseries of their brothers throughout the world. This has resulted, she said, in “a barrage of programs’ designed to aid the peoples of other lands in various ways.

Miss Pezzulo continued: “There are more and more generous people who would like r to do something l for the so-called underdeveloped lands. We feel at first glance this may seem very fine, but there is a danger that if we do not work closely with the people who know what the real needs are in the newly developing areas, we shall merely cultivate anew kind of paternalism propelled by pity. The resultant reaction on the part of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America is sure to be resentment.

“That is why we feel the YCW has a special role to play motivated by its unity in the Mystical Body and steeped in the line of the worker movement. We would like to begin a dialogue among the YCWs of the economically developed countries and those of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Through dialogue we can come to know each other better and through dialogue we shall better be able to plan actions which will respond to Pope call for the developed areas to take their responsibilities.”

In a report on conditions affecting young workers in North America, Miss Pezzulo said that one of the most difficult tasks is that of helping young people to “recognize that there are problems.”

Noting that young workers of the U.S. and Canada in general have a comparatively high standard of living, she said: “Even though he may be lonely, bored or dissatisfied with his Job, when the young workers is materially well situated, it is very difficult for him to see and then to admit that something may be wrong.”

“This attitude explains in part,” Miss Pezzulo continued, “why there does not exist a spirit of unity among workers. On the contrary, there is a strong individualism…. The largest grouping of workers in the United States is that of the office worker who, by and large, is not to be found in the trade unions.

Unions are having a difficult time attracting young people to membership and participation in meetings, nor are they training new leadership to any great degree.

Miss Pezzulo cited the following as among the major problems among young North American workers:

  • Automation, which though creating the possibility of a much richer life has created a major unemployment crisis.
  • The “thirst for excitement” which results in the squandering of leisure time, and which is one of the facets of the dating system “one of the largest contributing factors to poorly matched and poorly prepared marriages with all the consequent family problems.
  • “The problem of discriminatlon, especially toward the Negro In the United States, but also toward other minority groups such as migrant workers, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Miss Pezzulo said that “the YCW must find a way to reach more and more young workers in these modern Industrialized societies and lead them to a full Christian life.”

Canadian YCW groups have performed major service In studies on unemployment and the use of leisure time, she said, and have developed widely emulated courses to help prepare young workers for marriage.

The YCW movement In the United States has made a special drive to determine the situation of migrant workers and has also fought for remedial legislation In Congress, she said.

She also cited the fact that the YCW has organized in large cities a number of apartments for young people living away from home—some for men, some for women—where rent, food and community life is shared in a Christian atmosphere.”

SOURCE

Danger seen of ‘pity’ creating new paternalism (NCWC News Service)

Go ahead sign from John XXIII

PETROPOLIS, Brazil, Nov. 9 (NC) —The Young Christian Workers at their second international congress here received a pat on the back and a go-ahead sign sent in behalf of His Holiness Pope John XXIII.

Amleto Cardinal Cicognani, Papal Secretary of State, wrote that “the Holy Father, who is extremely pleased by the progress accomplished by the YCWs, encourages them with all his heart to go forward, strengthened by the grace of Christ Jesus.”

The letter written in behalf of Pope John noted that the congress had a double theme—preparation for family life and the international action of the YCW. It continued:

“It Is absolutely necessary that, in the upheavals of the modern world, the family should retain its character as a sacred sanctuary, in which man and woman fulfill themselves in conjugal love and the Joys of fatherhood and motherhood. The YCW has already done a great deal, but it will never be able to enough to train these young people who tomorrow will be the heads of families and the guardians of homes.

“And we must rejoice that its representatives should make their voices heard at the great international organizations in favor of legislation which will allow all young workers to enjoy living and working conditions which would promote the greater human and Christian fulfillment of their personalities.”

Cardinal Cicognani transmitted the Pope’s wish that the YCW congress would “be the starting point of anew inpulse of the Young Christian Workers, especially in the countries of Latin America, which are so dear to him.”

The letter, addressed to Canada’s Romeo Malone, retiring president of the International YCW, had a special commendation for “tireless Msgr. (Joseph) Cardijn,” the founder and chaplain general of the movement.

SOURCE

YCW gets blessing, go-ahead from Pope John; Stress laid on family, international work (NCWC News Service)

Call for worldwide survey of working conditions

PETROPOLIS, Brazil, Nov. 9 — Young Christian Workers from 85 countries unanimously called for a worldwide survey of working conditions of young workers and resolved to set up an international program for vocational training for young people entering the labor force.

Some 350 delegates gathered here for the YCW’s second international congress (Nov. 2 to 11). They had held no similar meeting since their first congress in Rome in 1957.

Present for the meeting in this resort city was Msgr. Joseph Cardijn, 80-year-old founder of the movement. The congress began with a Mass offered by Jaime Cardinal de Barros Camara, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, during which the various delegations recited prayers in their own languages.

The congress was opened officially by Canada’s Romeo Maione, outgoing president of the International YCW, in the presence of high dignitaries of Church and State. Archbishop Armando Lombardi, Apostolic Nuncio to Brazil, read a letter sent on behalf of His Holiness Pope John XXIII.

“There is no doubt,” the letter said, “that this meeting will result in new missionary development and strengthen the union of young workers of All races and colors in the Mystical Body of Christ.”

The general program of the YCW was outlined by Malone in his keynote address.

“Basically,” he said, “our task here is to do something about the problems of working youth, but at the same time we must realize how the problems of young workers exist within the context of larger problems which are now sweeping the earth… Modern times demand heroic virtue. Man is hungry for peace, and ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.'”

Maione mentioned such current problems as population growth, the upheavals accompanying the end of the colonial era, migration, education and the breaking-up of family life.

But he indicated that the greatest problem is the decline of religious influence on society: “When religious values start to slide, so also does respect for the human person. Without God what is man? Without God humanism is a lie. What is man worth? Why respect him? This slippery trail leads us into confusion once again and the world becomes a Jungle where the strong do what they will with the weak.”

Calling for the construction of a new social order which is broad and realistic, Maione said: “There are few men, if any, who can prophesy about the future structure of the world. If we are humble, we must all admit that we are not competent to say how the present and future discoveries of science will affect our social structure.”

He insisted that out of the prevailing international anarchy of today anew social order based on the masses of mankind must emerge.

If the traditional ruling classes are in danger of decay today, he said, it is because they have refused to adapt, or have proved themselves incapable of adapting, to the task of the just organization of anew world.

The congress, besides calling for a survey of working conditions throughout the world and for an international training program also voted for permanent mutual aid programs between YCW groups.

It urged YCW action on behalf of workers at both the national level and before such organizations as the U.N. Economic and Social Council, the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.

Also approved were two appeals:

  • That men of good will “cooperate in the efforts of young workers to build a more Just and more human world, placing themselves at the service of the community and avoiding any kind of individualism”
  • That national government and international organizations “strive together” for world peace, and “carry out their mission by fulfilling the urgent aspirations of the people and bring about respect for the human person.”

SOURCE

YCWs of 85 countries call for worker survey, wider vocational work (N.C.W.C. NEWS SERVICE)

YCW birthday pageant for John XXIII

Petropolis, Brazil, Nov. 7 —Youthful workers of the world celebrated the birthday of His Holiness Pope John XXIII with a pageant portraying the problems of farm laborers.

The pageant, a feature of the second world congress of the Young Christian Workers, invoked the principles of the Pope*s recent encyclical on social Justice.

The actors engaged the audience of delegates from 85 nations in a dialogue-chorus appealing for the development of backward countries.

During the pageant a group of young Congolese sang a “Missa Luba,” which combined Gregorian melodies with African rhythms in a dialogue between the Church of the past and the Church of the future.

The pageant and the religious music were presented on November 4, fourth day of the 13-day congress. Pope John marked his birthday that day, third anniversary of his coronation, although he does not reach the age of 80 until November 25.

A dramatic moment in the Missa Luba came at the Credo, when the words of Christ’s death were accompanied by the muffled beat of drums which announce the death of a great king in the Congo. Word of the Resurrection was greeted with a Joyous beating of Jungle tomtoms.

At the close of the pageant, delegates from all 85 nations filed before the microphone to address birthday greetings to the Pope in their native languages. A series of small congresses were held in 150 Brazilian cities to prepare for the world congress here.

The Young Christian Workers have about half a million members in Brazil. Their world membership Is edging toward the three-million mark. Simultaneous with the YCW world congress in this resort town 25 miles from Rio de Janeiro, the first National Congress of Young Workers met in Rio. 

Both congresses are to close at a Joint rally in a sports stadium.

Many of the delegates helped pay the passage of delegates unable to purchase their own tickets. Brazil*s YCW contributed about $3-4,000 to pay hotel expenses for delegates.

SOURCE

Congress honors birthday of pope with farm pageant (N.C.W.C. News Service)