A visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua

Aide-Mémoire Dell'Acqua 06 02 1961

With the PCLA plenary meeting now over, Cardijn maximises his trip to Rome with a visit on 6 February to Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, who plays the role of Substitute at the Holy See.

As always, Cardijn is extremely well prepared with a list of topics he wishes to report on, difficulties he wants to discuss as well as a series of specific, concrete requests for aid.

Africa

So he begins by presenting a report of his recent trip to Africa for the Pan-African YCW meeting in Lomé, Togo from 18 December, I960 to 2 January, 1961. He notes the absence of delegates from Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), which implies perhaps a lack of cooperation from local Church authorities that he wishes to redress.

And he reports on his earlier trip to several African countries in mid-1960, which was interrupted by events in Rwanda.

He particularly notes the arrival of “jocist missionaries” in Africa, no doubt wishing to ensure that they are welcomed by local bishops and churches.

International Council, Rio de Janeiro

Secondly, Cardijn offers information on the forthcoming Second International Council of the YCW to be held in Rio de Janeiro in October 1961. Five continental preparatory meetings will take place in the lead up to the Council with representatives from 90 countries expected to attend, truly a phenomenal achievement.

And he requests a letter of encouragement from the Holy See addressed to himself and/or the IYCW president, Romeo Maione, in order to help in the promotion and fundraising for the event.

He also requests letters to the representatives of the Holy See in each country in an endeavour to gain their cooperation.

And finally he asks for “honorary distinctions for international leaders” who are about to end their service to the YCW.

Vatican II

Nor is Vatican II absent from his thoughts. Thus he emphasises the “importance of a declaration by the Council on the need for the apostolate of the laity” and its promotion and development.

Encyclical for the 70th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum

Cardijn also returns to his request to Pope John in 1960 for an encyclical to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Rerum Novarum, and to update its teaching. He cites the teaching of Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno in 1931:

“a / on the importance of the workers’ apostolate: “The first and immediate apostles of workers will be workers”

b / on the importance of the apostolate of young workers: ‘I can already see, to the great joy of my heart, the tight ranks of young workers going to conquer their young working brothers and sisters’.

c / great progress over recent years

d / and ardent hope that this progress will continue.”

World Council of Churches

He also draws attention to the forthcoming 3rd Ecumenical Assembly of Churches scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India, from 18 November – 6 December, 1961.

Finally, he requests a private audience with John XXIII although it’s not clear if he is hoping for this immediately or on his next trip to Rome.

It’s another Cardijn masterclass of advocacy.

SOURCES

Angelo Dell’Acqua (Wikipedia)

Angelo Cardinal Dell’Acqua (Catholic Hierarchy)

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

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

Fiévez writes to Pavan about Cardijn’s suggested encyclical

Fiévez Pavan 1960 12 23

On 23 December 1960, Marguerite Fiévez, clearly acting on Cardijn’s instructions, wrote to Mgr Pietro Pavan, a professor of Catholic social doctrine at the Pontifical Lateran University, enclosing two documents drafted by Cardijn.

“This is a great opportunity to reconnect with you albeit by a completely different path!” wrote Fiévez, who was clearly familiar and on good terms with him, no doubt through her involvement with the COPECIAL, i.e. the Permanent Committee for Congresses of the Apostolate of the Laity..

“Before his departure for Africa a few days ago, Monsignor Cardijn asked me to send you the attached note, on ‘Priests and the social doctrine of the Church.’ Following the line of the Pontifical Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity in preparation for the coming Council, Monsignor Cardijn is concerned with many fundamental issues that you find expressed in the various notes he drafted for the Commission in question. If he had your views on it, I think he would then be in a position to judge whether after a few modifications he would be able to present the note to the Commission at one of the coming sessions.

“If you would like extra copies, I would be happy to send them to you. You will see that the note was written in particular circumstances (on the occasion of his last trip to Latin America) but we could correct a few passages to make it more generally applicable.

Encyclical for the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum

“Monsignor Cardijn also asked me to attach a document that he prepared for HH. John XXIII a few months ago proposing an Encyclical for the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum. He would like to have your views on this document,” Fiévez adds.

Reading between the lines, it is clear that Fiévez – and of course Cardijn – know full well that Mgr Pavan is already working on John XXIII’s draft encyclical, even though this is not public information.

“I hope I will see you again in February, following the meeting of the Pontifical Commission, on the occasion of the meeting of the Governing Council of the Standing Committee,” Fiévez concludes, referring to a forthcoming meeting of the COPECIAL. “I will be very happy to be able to exchange some impressions with you once again.”

SOURCES

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)

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)

Pietro Pavan (Wikipedia.it)

Pietro Cardinal Pavan (Catholic Hierarchy)

The Church and the world of work

Five weeks after returning from Rome, Cardijn sent a 5000 word document entitled “L’Eglise face au monde du travail” (The Church facing the world of work) to Archbishop Dell’Acqua to assist in the drafting of an encyclical to mark the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum.

“The note, which I wrote in a single session, focuses particularly on the international aspect of the world of work and the problems it raises. I certainly have not presented the Church’s whole doctrine on justice as would have been necessary. The text in fact is merely a series of reflections drafted by hand without any pretensions.

“I have just opened the book by Fathers Calves (sic, should be Calvez) and Perrin SJ: “Eglise et société économique : l’enseignement social des Papes, de Léon XIII à Pie XII (1878-1953)“. Collection « Théologie » publiée sous la direction de la Faculté de théologie S.J. de Lyon-Fourvière – Editions Montaigne, Paris 1959 (“Church and economic society: the social teaching of the Popes, from Leo XIII to Pius XII (1878-1953)”. “Theology” collection published under the direction of the SJ Faculty of Theology of Lyon- Fourvière – Editions Montaigne, Paris 1959.) It includes a very broad selection of pontifical texts.

“As I suggested to Your Excellency in my previous letter, a study committee could prepare a draft, as was done for Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno.

“I beg Your Excellency’s pardon for the simplicity of my suggestions but I believe that the time is truly ripe for a psychological shock in the world. Perhaps we could announce the new encyclical a little later and thus prepare great publicity for it and a great impact in every continent,” Cardijn wrote.

The Church faces the world of work

He takes up these themes in greater detail in his actual note, which is organised around his iconic Three Truths of Reality (See), Faith (Judge) and Method (Act) dialectic.

I. Truth of Reality: The universal dimension of the problem

“Never has the worker problem experienced the dimension, significance or gravity that it has today,” Cardijn begins in his usual apocalyptic style. “All the more so since its present dimensions do not signify the ultimate end point; on the contrary this is merely the beginning of a vertiginous transformation, both concerning work itself and all the actors who are engaged in it, and concerning the unheard of repercussions of this transformation on all aspects of the life of the whole of humanity.

“Not only the manner and life of work have been and are continuing to be transformed from day to day, but labour is in the process of turning the whole world on its head, creating an increasingly technological world, changing the very regime of work as well as the various aspects of human life – personal, family, social, cultural and recreational, political, national and international,” he insisted.

He continued noting that while both Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum) and Pius XI (Quadragesimo Anno) had dealt with the issue of work and labour in their encyclicals, Pius XII had not done so even if he had taken up various aspects in many of his speeches.

Now, however, the issues of work and labour had taken on a “universal dimension.”

“Today, the future of work has become a global problem, the No. 1 problem, one might say. It is increasingly becoming so: through the perfecting of new labour processes, which have spread rapidly in every country and among all races; through the growing number of wage workers, both young and adult – and particularly women and young girls – in all sectors of professional life (production, trade, finance, administration, teaching, transport, publicity); through the power of new technologies which overcome all obstacles and thus transform the face of continents as well as the life of peoples; through scientific, social and ultimately philosophical problems that have led to this evolution, through which man increasingly masters matter at the risk of allowing himself to become dominated by it,” Cardijn wrote.

He paints a dramatic picture of the effects of all this:

“It is technology with its applications in every aspect of life – which enables the most primitive peoples to move without any transition to the most modern conditions of life; it is also technology which multiplies the tentacles of urban and industrial agglomerations, which are also the source of deep-seated uprootedness; it is also technology which responds with irresistible advertising for the most unhealthy products, the most upsetting processes and aspirations, the most sensational news.

“In the frenzied race to conquer the world and the insatiable search for immediate profit, work, expenses and the labour regime, the growing number of workers are all dragged into a world that is divided into two economic groups: the under-developed and the over-developed, and into two ideological groups: the communist world and the capitalist world. This economic, social, cultural and ideological transformation is unfolding under our very eyes at a time when so many new peoples, and especially in Africa, which are achieving independence and are seeking capital, technicians, political alliances which will assist them to achieve their destiny.”

II. Truth of Faith: The truth about work and the world of the worker

Cardijn continues with one of the most developed outlines of his theology of work.

“In the present conditions of the world transformed by work, the anniversary of Rerum Novarum presses the Church to proclaim more solemnly still the TRUTHS which must be the base of a world regime for truly human and Christian labour. It has received a divine mandate to spread the knowledge of it,” he wrote.

1. The end of work is the transformation of the wealth of nature for the service of people and for the glory of God.

Work is not a punishment for sin, a kind of condemnation. Nor is it the supreme end for those who work; one cannot turn it into an absolute, a god.

Human work is a privilege, an honour, because it demands the collaboration of man in the divine work of Creation and Redemption in order to satisfy in an increasingly adequate way the needs of the community. Without work, there is no genuine humanity, no genuine civilisation. The fatigues and abuses that accompany work are the consequences of sin.

Therefore workers are not “the wretched of the earth”, machines or slaves; they are not objects, instruments of toys; they are the sons and daughters of God; they are the very end of work.

2. This is why the Church, as divine Providence itself, desires, encourages and recognises the value and the legitimacy of all progress in science and technology. It wants them, not for the benefit of a tiny minority, but so that they will enable the needs, both spiritual and material, of the whole of humanity to be satisfied.

3. Technological and economic progress demands an increasingly sophisticated organisation of labour, within which various interests must be reconciled for the good of all.

4. The more the world of labour becomes an international complex, either in the sourcing and use of new products, or in the search for new manufacturing processes, or in the distribution of products manufactured on a market that has become global, the more the sense of responsibility and international justice must inspire a collaboration and a solidarity, that ensures the access of all in justice – not the privileged few but the innumerable mass of the most humble – in all the material and spiritual progress of civilisation.

5. However no form of economic, social or cultural organisation – as perfect as one could conceive of it and implement it – will be able alone to transform man (individual human life, family life and social life), neither to satisfy all the needs, whether secular or religious.

One can only arrive there by spreading, inculcating a new conception of the world, a unified and solidary world; and in changing the mentalities on the basis of mutual understanding and assistance; and to say it all by changing people in line with the teaching of the Gospel.

This transformation of man from the inside must be the object of an ongoing education: that of the child, that of the young man and of the young girl, that of the adult. And it will be all the more necessary in the future, since personal and social life will be more influenced by technology and by the complexity of human problems to resolve.

An integral human education supposes and demands a climate of freedom and unconditional support which alone can guarantee its effectiveness. Religion must play a fundamental role in the whole effort of social and international education. Also the Church has the right to respect and consideration all the more necessary since its task in this field will be increasingly urgent and more difficult. In such a manner that its action powerfully helps to give a real value to technological progress: far from enslaving or downgrading man, it must serve to raise and save him, in order to finally result in a totally solidary humanity.

III. Truth of Method: The specific role of the Church

“The Church’s mission is not to realise itself the transformations which have just been mentioned, nor to create scientific, technological, economic, social and political institutions responsible for the world of labour. The means for achieving these objectives forms part of the immediate responsibility and initiative of people themselves, both governments and private associations,” Cardijn writes.

“However, as has been said, the Church has the duty to spread the eternal truths that must guide both individuals and collectivities in the search and use of technologies and institutions, which all must be at the service of man, his temporal vocation and his eternal destiny. Teaching these truths, integrating them into the whole of human and Christian life, forms an integral part of its evangelising mission, in which the hierarchy, the priesthood and the laity have their distinct but essential roles in the expansion of the Reign of God on earth.

“And while it wants to achieve the full dimensions of this task, the Church cannot allow itself to be enclosed in the community of the faithful which constitute it; it must open out to all people of good will. This is why it wishes to collaborate with all the human institutions, both private and public, national and international, which seek in the respect of their reciprocal mission, the means to ensure the happiness of peoples and the Reign of God,” Cardijn explained.

The Church had several specific roles in this, Cardijn proposed:

a) Teaching the social doctrine of the Church

b) Formation of the laity

c) Formation of young people in particular for the world of work

d) Promoting collaboration and fraternal union.

A manifesto for Vatican II

Although he made no mention at all of the coming Council, it is difficult to interpret this magisterial document as anything other than his own personal manifesto and proposed agenda for the Council.

SOURCES

Original French

Cardijn à Archbishop Dell’Acqua (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, L’Eglise et le monde du travail (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English Translations

Cardijn to Archbishop Dell’Acqua (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

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

A new encyclical to update Rerum Novarum

Cardijn arrived in Rome in late February 1960 with IYCW president, Romeo Maione.

According to his notes of the trip, he was filled with “pessimism” after the first two days of meetings with several priests and with the ACLI, the Italian Catholic labour movement.

All this was transformed, however, when he met with Archbishop Dell’Acqua who informed him that he had been able to arrange a private audience with John XXIII.

This took place on 2 March 1960.

And as he had foreshadowed in his preparatory notes, Cardijn did indeed propose an encyclical to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, which was due in May 1961.

Here are his notes of the meeting in the original French although it is not always easy to distinguish what Cardijn himself had said from what John had told him:

“Mercredi des Cendres 2 mars I960 (11.45 heures à 12.15 heures) – Audience privée.

1. Voilà la Jeunesse et voilà la vigueur !

2. Remerciements pour messages à Lima, à Kuala-Lumpur, à Léopoldville. Des chefs, des responsables. Importance des trois continents.

3. Il faut être ouvert à tous: orthodoxes, protestants et tous les autres. Ne pas être contre, mais pour ; les comprendre. Les catholiques ont aussi leurs défauts et leurs fautes. (A clarifier ! : Note manuscrite de Marguerite Fiévez)

Ne pas s’arrêter à des points accessoires. Les 12 articles du Credo suffisent.

4. Les catholiques s’opposent parfois à la réunion ; par ex. en Angleterre. Ils ont souffert pendant trois siècles.

5. Le problème du travail en 1960 n’est plus celui de Léon XIII, ni même de Pie XI. Personne n’aurait pu prévoir ses dimensions, son unité, son universalité, sa technicité. Les grandes Institutions internationales : le BIT, l’UNESCO, l’ECOSOC, etc…toutes ces influences sur toutes les races, sur toute la jeunesse. Une encyclique sur le monde du travail d’aujourd’hui ferait plus de sensation que Rerum Novarum et Quadragesimo Anno. Mais positive, ouverte aux collaborations nécessaires.

Il faut faire une note là-dessus et l’envoyer.

J’ai vécu longtemps avec Deploige, Pottier, Mgr Vanneufville, Tiberghien. Le Cardinal Mercier est venu à Bergamo.

—————

Prêtres ouvriers reçus par le Saint Père

—————

Le Synode de Rome : Il y a cinquante ans, 100.000 habitants à Rome – maintenant, 2 Millions.

On va canoniser bientôt un Cardinal. Se promenant un jour près de Padoue au milieu des enfants, il disait aux mères : « Courage, le bon Dieu donnera de plus grandes marmites ». (A Romeo) Vous êtes marié ? et vous avez deux enfants – quel âge ont-ils ? on attend un troisième.

L’indépendance du Congo. Autorité du Roi Baudhuin. La nature ne fait pas de saints. Il faut des périodes de transition.

Photo – bénédiction pour tous – accolades.”

And here is an English translation:

“Ash Wednesday 2 March, I960 (11.45 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.) – Private audience.

1. Look at these Young People and look at the vigour!

2. Thanks for messages for Lima, Kuala-Lumpur, Leopoldville. Heads, leaders. Importance of the three continents.

3. We need to be open to everyone: Orthodox, Protestants and everyone else. Not to be against, but for; understand them. Catholics also have their faults and errors. (To be clarified!: Handwritten note from Marguerite Fiévez)

Don’t waste time on incidental points. The 12 articles of the Creed are sufficient.

4. Catholics sometimes oppose reunion; eg. in England. They suffered for three centuries.

5. The problem of work in 1960 is no longer that of Leo XIII, nor even of Pius XI. No one could have foreseen its dimensions, its unity, universality, technicality. The major international institutions: the ILO, UNESCO, ECOSOC, etc … all these influences on every race, on all young people. An encyclical on today’s world of work would create a greater sensation than Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno. But positive, open to necessary collaborations.

A note about it needs to be drafted and sent.

I lived for a long time with Deploige, Pottier, Mgr Vanneufville, Tiberghien. Cardinal Mercier came to Bergamo.

—————

Worker priests received by the Holy Father

—————

The Rome Synod Rome: Fifty years ago, 100,000 inhabitants in Rome – now 2 million.

We will soon canonise a Cardinal. Walking one day near Padua among the children, he said to the mothers: “Courage, the good Lord will give larger pots”. (To Romeo) Are you married? and you have two children – how old are they? we are waiting for a third.

The independence of the Congo. Authority of King Baudouin. Nature does not make saints. Transition periods are necessary.

Photo – blessing for all – braces.”

In any event, it is clear that the three men had a wide-ranging discussion. John was obviously concerned with interfaith issues but Cardijn managed to get his point across about the need for an encyclical.

Later, Cardijn spelt out further details of his conversation with the pope as follows:

“The [social] question is not the same in 1960 as it was in the time of Leo XIII or even in the days of Pius XI,” he told the pope.

“An encyclical on the world of work of today would have even more influence than Rerum Novarum or Quadragesimo Anno, but an encyclical that is positive and open to all the collaboration required!” he suggested, no doubt also with an eye to the forthcoming Council.

John responded positively asking Cardijn to detail his proposal in a written note that Cardijn would waste no time in drafting.

Worker priests

Significant too is the reference to worker priests visiting John XXIII, who had been nuncio in France when they first began to have problems with the Holy See under Pius XII.

Moreover, the clampdown had continued under his pontificate with a new directive nine months earlier prohibiting priests from working fulltime outside the Church.

But what did Cardijn say or ask? What was John’s response?

Personal links

John’s comments that he had lived with Deploige, Pottier, Vanneufville and Tiberghien are also illuminating.

A lawyer who later became a priest, Simon Deploige had been Cardijn’s sociology and social economy professor at Louvain in 1906. Fr Antoine Pottier was a Belgian priest, who promoted a just wage, cooperatives and trade unions who was eventually transferred to Rome after opposition from local conservative politicians.

Gaston Vanneufville and Jules Tiberghien were two French priests from Lille, who had strong links with the Catholic social movement there and who had assisted the Sillon during their period of difficulties. Later Fr Vanneufville also helped Cardijn navigate the Roman bureaucracy.

If Cardijn and John had felt a bond after their first meeting in 1959, the discovery of these close personal links must have drawn them even closer.

SOURCE

French

Joseph Cardijn, Visite à Rome, février – mars 1960 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English

Joseph Cardijn, Visit to Rome, February – March 1960 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)