Thanks but no thanks

On 15 March 1962, Mgr Glorieux wrote to Cardijn acknowledging receipt of Cardijn’s notes containing his reflections on the latest draft documents from the Prep Com.

Although Glorieux thanks Cardijn, his answer cannot have given much encouragement to the founder of the JOC.

HE Cardinal Cento immediately passed me your latest letter, requesting me to thank you for it. I myself received the same documents in the following mail delivery, and I want to express our gratitude to you without delay.

We are in the process of revising the texts, first each SC separately, with two Members from each SC working together next week. Your suggestions were already mentioned while we were gathering comments; they take on even more force in your recent Note. As there will be very few of us to carry out the work, it is not necessary to send us other documents (which would moreover risk arriving too late). – Thank you also for the detailed remarks on the various documents

On behalf of His Eminence and the small Secretariat group, I also take this opportunity to send you our fervent and cordial good wishes for the feast of Saint Joseph. We will pray for you.

Be assured, dear Monseigneur, of my respectful attachment in Xo.

SOURCE

Original French

Achille Glorieux – Joseph Cardijn 15 03 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English Translation

Achille Glorieux – Joseph Cardijn 15 03 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Detailed remarks

Along with his Note 15 on the Materially and Formally Lay Apostolate of Lay People, Cardijn prepared two additional notes (13 and 14) offering his particular and general remarks on the three draft documents prepared by the PCLA on lay apostolate, social action and charitable action.

Lay apostolate

With respect to the draft document on lay apostolate, as always he insisted on the need to emphasise the specifically lay vocation of lay people.

“Isn’t there a way to begin with what is proper to lay people: ‘negotia mundi christiane gerendo, ordinem temporalem Christo lucrifacere et in Deum ordinare…’,” he asked.

He lamented that “the lack of an apostolic sense and apostolic spirit” among lay people was “certainly the consequence of lack in religious formation.”

But he added that this was because “priests and religious responsible for this religious formation do not believe in the apostolic mission of lay people in the Church.”

” Isn’t it necessary to make an appeal” to these priests and religious, he asked. “Isn’t it necessary to insist on the unity of life under every aspect? It is the separation between temporal life and religious life that is the greatest evil of our time.”

He called for “parents to involve their sons and daughters in joining apostolic movements appropriate to their age and situation, most of on leaving school and starting work?”

Cardijn also insisted on the importance of ecumenical collaboration in this context.

“Should nothing be said about collaboration and coordination with non-Catholics and non-Christians, for certain moral, social, cultural, economic, etc.,” he asked.

Social action

Here Cardijn’s concern was on prevention rather than palliating social problems.

“In a true economic and social order should we not prevent evils, rather than organising insurance that covers certain consequences of these evils? For example, regarding unemployment, shouldn’t everything be done to prevent or eliminate it, rather than guaranteeing a subsidy, even if it is adequate, for the unemployed?

“It is the same thing for all these evils, including accidents, illnesses, robots, etc.”

As always, he insisted on the need for a focus on young people, particularly young working people.

“Above all, there is the problem of young people, including their preparation for working life, their recruitment for businesses, apprenticeship, security, etc.,” he wrote. “Lack of jobs, lack of interest and stability are among the greatest scourges affecting young people in certain countries and continents.”

He was particularly critical of the draft chapter on global issues.

“This chapter seems too weak to me,” Cardijn wrote:

“I would prefer a solemn and pressing appeal to all Christians and to people – and above all to the ruling authorities – for a deep search based on loyal understanding and effective collaboration, with a view to ending

– underdevelopment in all its forms;

– the increasingly disastrous arms race, which increases mistrust between peoples;

– public immorality, bargaining and espionage between nations and inhuman situations within nations.

AN IMPRESSIVE DECLARATION affirming that the Church is ready for unanimous participation in the efforts necessary to bring about justice, charity and peace among all people, of all races and every opinion, would provide a witness for the whole world.”

Charitable action

Here Cardijn was concerned with what he felt was a limited understanding of charitable action.

“I note that the definition includes all acts and all works inspired by charity, whether they are individual or collective acts or works, of national or international scope, relating to the social or cultural order, assistance or exchange, public or private initiative.

“It seems to me that this document confuses acts of charity performed by Christians (acts performed by virtue of the love of God and neighbour) and the action of assistance which needs to respond, at the individual and collective level, to the needs of our most disadvantaged brothers and sisters, in the temporal, social, moral, etc. fields. The purpose of this document is to deal with this assistance action in its various forms and in the various fields,” he warned.

Instead, he proposed the following emphases:

1. Acts and works of assistance, mutual aid, etc. should be animated by supernatural charity. We create them or we suggest them, we make them act or we participate in them, through supernatural charity; and it is this supernatural charity that the lay apostle diffuses there, even when the people or authorities who create or manage these institutions are animated by a spirit of philanthropy or merely human social assistance.

2. There are acts and works of a charitable nature which respond to personal, particular or hidden needs, and Christians need to be educated to seek them out and devote themselves to them. But in the modern world, it is necessary that all Christians understand the collective needs that affect large sectors of humanity and endanger its future: material, physical, social and cultural needs economic, technical and scientific needs… It is also necessary for Christians be the first to seek an answer to these problems through effective and unanimous mutual aid. Thus hunger, disease, the inadequacy of technical and scientific equipment are not scourges which relate uniquely to charitable activity, but rather activities of human solidarity and collaboration. For Christians, these activities will be prompted and animated by supernatural charity.

Nevertheless, Cardijn equally emphasised the importance of the Christian obligation to charitable action, which he said “should be genuinely proposed as the fundamental sign of a Christian: the love of God, which manifests itself in and through love and assistance given to the other.”

But while insisting on respect and protection of the freedom to take social and charitable action, he also emphasised “the need for a loyal and objective collaboration of Christians in the socialisation of this order. “

“We should recommend to Christians not to distance themselves from institutions, works and organisations, whether private and public, national and international, created or directed by unbelievers, on a non-confessional or multi-confessional basis,” he emphasised.

And in this field, it was even more necessary than elsewhere for formation “to become formative action” which also needed to be “apostolic at the same time.”

Catholic Action

Unsurprisingly, Cardijn was particularly preoccupied with the draft chapter on Catholic Action. Here he called for a total revision, particularly in relation to:

The apostolate of organised lay people.

The apostolate proper to organised lay people..

The responsibility of lay leaders of Catholic Action with respect to method, action and organisation.

The links and relationship with the hierarchy.

Specialisation and coordination.

Young people and adults.

Young people

Finally, he called for attention to young people from various milieux and for attention to the method of their education.

“This document should address the following issues,” he said:

1. Notion of apostolate by young people.

2. Its necessity and importance.

3. Specialisation and coordination.

4. Young workers.

5. Young rural people.

6. Young students

7. The fundamental method of educating young people.

SOURCE

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 13 – Remarques particulières (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 13 – Detailed remarks (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The formally and materially lay apostolate of lay people

On 8 March 1962, Cardijn finalises a new note (Note 15) for the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate entitled “The formally and materially lay apostolate of lay people.”

He borrows this distinction between “formally and materially lay apostolate” from another unnamed member of the PCLA.

“This distinction is not of my making,” he explains. “It comes from one of the most eminent members of our Commission.

“If, despite my previous interventions and notes, I am returning to this point, it is because I believe that, at this hour which is so decisive for the Church and the world, our Commission would be failing in its mission if it did not highlight the ‘formally secular’ lay apostolate of lay people.

“Without this, the materially apostolate of lay people will not only be inadequate but it may also be harmful to lay people themselves as well as to the Church as a whole,” he warns.

He explains further:

Purpose and necessity

1. The material apostolate of lay people is that which all the faithful are called to exercise (priests, religious and lay people); it is the apostolate of prayer, suffering, liturgy, catechesis, charity, etc.

2. The formally lay apostolate of lay people is the apostolate proper to them. No one will be able to exercise it in their place and the world will not be evangelised in all its dimension if they fail to take it on themselves; it is irreplaceable. It is essential to the Church and complementary to the apostolate of the priesthood.

3. The formally lay apostolate of lay people is increasingly important for the future of humanity. Because it is their apostolate embedded and lived out in their secular life (family, social, cultural, political), in the milieux of their lives, and in the problems and structures of temporal life (technical, scientific, economic, etc.) As Pius XII said,

“the Church today more than ever needs young workers (lay people) to valiantly build, in joy and in difficulty, in successes and trials, the world as God wants it, a fraternal society in which the suffering of the most humble will be shared and alleviated. May your apostolate therefore be exercised in a perspective of universality and always, as appropriate, in filial submission to the ecclesiastical hierarchy; may it find there the source of its effectiveness and of its fidelity to the intentions of Christ.”

And he continued:

“This is in order for lay people to become Catholics in the full sense of the term, that is to say… members of the Christian community, fulfilling a task of their own that is indispensable to the community, its life and balance.1

4. The necessity and importance of this formally lay apostolate, as well as formation for this apostolate of their own cannot be emphasised and insisted on enough. The experience developed over the past 50 years, the results of which can be seen, proves the value and effectiveness of this apostolate.

Those priests who, with perseverance and humility, have loyally tried it out, are unanimous in saying that becoming aware of and remaining faithful to this apostolate develops an unparalleled dynamism, conviction, fervour, and spirit of sacrifice in the religious life of lay people; it gives them a sense of pride in their Christianity and a desire to commit themselves which gives rise to the greatest efforts and hopes.

Finally, in my opinion, the formally lay apostolate of lay people remains the only positive response to materialism, liberalism and secularism, the separation of religion from real life, and from the problems most deeply felt and experienced by lay people.

Lay people themselves are deeply aware of the need for this apostolate and there is an increasing number who desire to commit themselves to this even at the cost of great sacrifices. They are also aware of the need for formation training and support inherent in this mission which is unique to them and they are concerned that they usually fail to get any response to this from the clergy responsible.

The documents

This is why I would like the documents on this subject to be revised. Instead of a formulation which seems to minimise the mission of lay people in the Church and which is merely negative – “neither priests nor religious”… “ordinary, common members” (1.0.3, p.4, paragraph 3) – on the contrary, words should be used that value the active presence and task of lay people in the Church.

For example, we could say: “Lay people are those members of the Church who are called to build the world of tomorrow as God wishes it and as Christ merited it; who, by their very lives, need to transform the world with the spirit of Christ; and who are invited to become witnesses and collaborators of Christ in this world through their life and their action.”

All this is said in the document, but scattered in various places and as if in passing, in the midst of many other considerations on “the material apostolate of lay people.” I would like this to be strongly emphasised, to have an impact both on lay people as well as all those – priests, men and women religious – who are responsible for educating lay people for their proper and irreplaceable apostolate.

Requests

1. It is here that I would like a request to be made that a Dicastery be appointed for the implementation of this apostolic conception of the mission of lay people in the Church, at all levels and in all “formally lay” aspects, i.e. family, professional, political and social, etc. This body should also be responsible for encouraging the formation for lay people, which is essential for this apostolate, both in method and organisation.

The conception and functioning of this institution needs be studied with the greatest care in order to always safeguard and develop – both in formation and apostolic action – the dynamism that ceaselessly begins from the grassroots of the Church and rises to the top under the irresistible inspiration and impulse of the Holy Spirit, who enabled Christ to say: “I thank you, Father, because you have revealed these marvels to the little and the humble, while you hide them to the wise and the skilful…” (Lk. 10, 21).

2. Finally, I would like the Commission to respond to the expectations of many lay people involved in the apostolate of the Church and are requesting the Council to solemnly confirm the value that the Church recognises in their formally lay apostolate and its desire to see them become more and more involved in this apostolate.

SOURCE

Joseph Cardijn, Note 15 – The formally and materially lay apostolate of lay people (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

READ MORE

Formal and material principles of theology (Wikipedia)

A proposed new chapter on lay apostolate

On 15 January 1962, Cardijn again wrote to Archbishop Garrone of Toulouse thanking him for his letter of 10 January and following up with further proposals.

“In an earlier note to His Eminence Cardinal Cento, I expressed the wish that the importance of the apostolate specific to the laity should be highlighted in the documents of the Commission with a special chapter, either before or after the chapter on the family apostolate,” Cardijn noted.

“I took the liberty of sending you a copy of that previous note.

“I have now attempted to draft the contents of this chapter in the note that I am now sending you – a copy is attached,” Cardijn continued, referring it seems to his Note 12 “The essential and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people.”

“I don’t know if such a chapter could find a place among the documents already proposed by the three Sub-Commissions.

“I am sending it to you, Excellency, in order to let you know how much the question haunts me. Please excuse me for daring to be so forthright.”

SOURCE

ORIGINAL FRENCH

Joseph Cardijn – Gabriel-Marie Garrone 15 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Joseph Cardijn – Gabriel-Marie Garrone 15 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Copy to Mgr Glorieux

On 11 January 1962, Cardijn copied his letter to Cardinal Cento to Commission secretary, Mgr Achille Glorieux.

“I am enclosing  here with a copy of the letter and the note that I sent yesterday to H. Em. Cardinal Cento on “The essential, proper and irreplaceable apostolate of the Laity”. 

“If you think it is not too late, I will bring copies of the note for all the members of the Commission. Just let me know the number.

“See you soon, dear Monsignor. I will stay at the same address, with the Sisters of the Retreat of the Sacred Heart, 2, Via Ulisse Seni.”

SOURCE

ORIGINAL FRENCH

Joseph Cardijn – Achille Glorieux 11 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Joseph Cardijn – Achille Glorieux 11 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Need to get together with a few people

On 11 January 1962, Cardijn responded to Canon Victor Portier from the French National Union of Social Secretariats.

“A very, very big thank you for your good wishes and your very kind note,” Cardijn wrote. “We need to make time to get together with a few people to put all this into focus… Alas! I am… consumed by errands, meetings, conferences. And all this at the age of 80!”

“I am attaching herewith a few notes that I have also sent to Rome on my own behalf.

“Given the overwhelming amount work, I am obliged to just let the pen run freely and I barely have time to revise what I’ve written. However, it does seem to me that things are starting to move on all sides! But the road ahead is still long.

“We will meet again in Rome. But there too, there is so little free time and I still need to take advantage of the opportunity to make essential visits!

“In any case, until we meet again.” he concluded.

SOURCE

ORIGINAL FRENCH

Joseph Cardijn – Victor Portier 11 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Joseph Cardijn – Victor Portier 11 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Garrone backs Cardijn

On 9 January 1962, French Archbishop Gabriel-Marie Garrone of Toulouse responded to Cardijn’s 29 December 1961 letter expressing his concerns over the draft documents of the Preparatory Commission.

“You were able to see how much I share your concerns during our last meeting,” Garrone began.

“I believe that everyone agreed on the effort to be made and the direction to go,” he continued, defending the members of the commission. “Actually, we are currently faced with the problem of implementation.”

Nevertheless, he said he agreed with Cardijn’s concerns.

“I think that all your remarks are justified, and I am also quite favourable to your conclusions, in particular on p.3, regarding social action: the opening statement concerning the apostolate of the laity obviously applies to the whole whole and this needs to be explicitly marked.

“This statement is expressed quite well theologically. However, it still needs to be given that impetus to make an impact, and also to show the application of these remarks to the whole field of work.

“In my opinion, it is here that what you are asking for at p. 4, paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 needs to be said,” he said.

More needed to be done, he agreed, however.

“I understand that Mgr GLORIEUX had sought to constitute a small team,” he noted.

“But in a somewhat private manner,” he added, in a clear indication of the delicate problems that existed in the Preparatory Commission.

“We could perhaps hope that there will be a more explicit investiture for the last phase of the work which will be final,” he concluded.

“See you soon, dear Monsignor. We must trust in Providence and speak with the total frankness that is required.”

SOURCES

FRENCH ORIGINAL

Gabriel-Marie Garrone – Joseph Cardijn 09 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Gabriel-Marie Garrone – Joseph Cardijn 09 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Another letter to Cento

Less than two weeks after his previous letter, Cardijn wrote again on 10 January 1962 to PCLA president, Cardinal Cento, to insist on the importance of the lay apostolate and enclosing his proposed chapter on the issue (Note 12).

“Please excuse me, Your Eminence, for bothering you again,” Cardijn began:

“In my previous letter of 28 December and the note that accompanied it, I expressed my fear that the proper and irreplaceable apostolate of the laity in the Church would be drowned in all the apostolate common to all the faithful and that not enough attention would be given to this aspect and its importance in the documents under preparation. I believe, moreover, that this fear is shared by a certain number of members of the Commission.

“Since then, I have tried to condense all the notions relating to this apostolate specific to the laity in a special chapter. Perhaps this short statement will not fit into the plan and the texts adopted by the Commission. Your Eminence will be the judge. Would you have any problem with the Secretariat of the Commission sending or providing this note to the other members?”

SOURCE

ORIGINAL FRENCH

Joseph Cardijn – Fernando Cento 11 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Joseph Cardijn – Fernando Cento 11 01 1962 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The apostolate in temporal life

Having provided a theological explanation of the lay apostolate proper to lay people, Cardijn naturally wished to show what that meant in practice.

This he explained in an annex to his Note 12. Naturally enough, he drew on the example of the JOC.

“The experience of the last 25 years, which, through Catholic Action formation, has oriented a great number of lay people in their specific apostolate in life, in institutions and temporal milieux, shows that this presence and action in the temporal sphere is closely linked to the christianisation and evangelisation of milieux of which the majority are not reached by the Church,” he wrote. “The religious apostolate is inserted in apostolic action at the heart of secular life.”

“The experience of the YCW is realised in this fashion and has been encouraged by the recent Sovereign Pontiffs,” he noted.

The human level

The first level of this apostolate is the human level, Cardijn said:

In general the concrete apostolate starts on the human level properly speaking, i.e. young people win their comrades to attitudes which incite greater respect, more justice, more security, more dignity whether in the milieu of work, during leisure or in the field of health, preparation for the future, etc.

And that, they want it and obtain it, not just for their immediate comrades, but for all, for all those who are around them, without distinction, and for all the workers of the world and other races of different colours, other religions and ideologies.

These acts multiplied infinitely create a habitual, permanent attitude which gives birth by itself to a climate of confidence, friendship and collaboration among all; little by little, they spread a conception of life, bring out a surge in public opinion; they transform working environments, leisure and living environments; they develop new kinds of human relationships at individual, national and international level; henceforth, these are relationships based on confidence, solidarity, collaboration for the equitable and positive solution of common human problems.

Group apostolate

The next stage, according to Cardijn, develops progressively from a personal apostolate into “a group  apostolate that is more structure and organic.”

“On one hand, this gives rise to apostolic grassroots groups (in the parish, the neighbourhood, etc.) which unite people and develop into regional federations, movements and national and international movements of the apostolate,” Cardijn explained.

“On the other hand, at local as well as national and international levels, it leads to interventions in existing secular organisations and institutions, whether private, public or semi-public.”

Preparing the way for deeper action

Next Cardijn explains the linkages between these human acts and the Church’s mission:

For Christian leaders who act in secular daily life, these acts, realisations and processes are truly acts of apostolate. To achieve this, they make personal sacrifices and all kinds of renunciations which transform themselves; to achieve this, they pray and unite themselves with Christ and the Church in sacramental, liturgical and ecclesial life. In their personal life, unity is achieved between their religious life and their secular life; in their action with and on others.

Their intentions are not limited to the human and temporal level; they aim for the glory of God, the reign of Christ, the extension of the Church, the evangelisation and salvation of souls. Their presence and action, which is profoundly human, prepares the way for much deeper action: it breaks down prejudices and obstacles; it invites people to seek and recognise the truth.

Impact on others

This kind of action also has an impact on others, including non-Christians, Cardijn argues. In some cases, it even leads to the catechumenate:

For non-Christians who participate in this action or who at least witness it, it is primarily a shock and a testimony. It raises questions in them: Why are my comrades doing this? Why have they given up that? How can they do this? Why are they so much against injustice whereas we thought that religion preached resignation?

And for a certain number of non-Christians, this shock and testimony will lead to a catechumenate of which the initial discoveries are those of a religion lived out integrally in both daily and secular life. Because it is in regard to all these secular problems that friendship and confidence lead to exchanges: “Why respect, help or love others? Why work? Why found a family? What use is money? Why earn it and how to share it?” In their turn, these occasional discussions lead to making deeper and more complete contacts: visits to homes, books and magazines, collective action in the neighbourhood, participation in meetings.

Faith comes from the interior

What is important in all of the above, according to Cardijn, is a climate of openness, sympathy and friendship without any kind of pressure:

The revelation of Christ and the Church thus takes place in a climate of openness, sympathy and friendship, which is already that of lived out charity. The faith cannot be imposed through pressure, but it comes above all from the interior; it is sought, guessed at then requested, like a gift, a grace that transforms the person, family and society. It will not always and immediately result in baptism, sacramental or ecclesial life. How many examples there are of young workers who were Sauls and who have become Pauls! And this is so in every continent, every race and every form of civilisation.

The path followed, the apostolic pedagogy which are valid for non-Christians are equally valid for non-practising Christians accustomed to separating their religious practices from their daily life; or even all those who are still – alas! – so numerous and who have never received any real religious formation or only a child’s or adolescent’s formation.

The importance of the priest as a guide

All of the above depends, Cardijn insists, on the role of the priest as guide, support and counsellor.

In this apostolate – which does not separate temporal action from religious action properly speaking – the priest is always the guide, the support, indispensable counsellor for activist Christians. And little by little, it also becomes the guide of catechumens, who he leads towards their complete conversion. He is thus the soul of the transformation of individuals, and through them, of the milieux, communities, structures and the whole of society.

Thus, there will never be a lay apostolate at the level to meet the needs of the current world unless there are clergy who understand the necessity of this apostolate, who wish to make the “consecration mundi,” who understand its specific methods, its fecundity and the sacerdotal assistance which is indispensable to it.

FRENCH ORIGINAL

Joseph Cardijn, L’apostolat essentiel propre et irremplaceable de laïcs (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Joseph Cardijn, The essential, irreplaceable apostolate proper to lay people (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)