The PCLA launches an enquiry

Aide-Mémoire Dell'Acqua 06 02 1961

As the Rome meeting progresses, the Prep Com announces on 4 February that it wishes to launch an enquiry into the history and work of the lay movements and organisations around the world.

As Mgr Glorieux explains in a separate note, the Commission is looking to develop a better understanding of how “Catholic Action” movements operate in various countries.

In effect, it appears to be aiming to develop a typology of the various movements.

As usual, Cardijn sees this as a great opportunity to present the JOC and its methods.

SOURCE

French original

Commission pontificale préparatoire sur l’apostolat des laïcs 04 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate 04 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Please send more copies!

Glorieux - Fiévez 01 02 1961

Cardijn is now in Rome and the latest meeting of the PCLA is already under way.

It appears that at least one of Cardijn’s preparatory notes has hit the mark with a request for more copies of Note 4, “Priests and lay people in the apostolate” to be sent to Rome.

Thus, on 1 February, PCLA secretary, Mgr Achille Glorieux writes on Cardijn’s behalf to Marguerite Fiévez.

“Mgr Cardijn, whom we are happy to have with us, has asked me to write to you,” Glorieux begins, “a few days ago we received the double document (I mean, with the part also translated into Latin) from Monsignor,”

“It would be useful for us to receive 45 (forty-five) copies, in order to give them to our Members and Consultors,” he asked.

Fiévez responded quickly, sending back the documents by express post on 6 February.

SOURCE

French original

Mgr Glorieux – Marguerite Fiévez 01 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Prêtres et laïcs dans l’apostolat (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Mgr Glorieux – Marguerite Fiévez 01 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Priests and lay people in the apostolate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Back to Rome

On 29 January, Cardijn left for Rome for the second plenary meeting of the PCLA.

As usual, he sought to maximise the trip, staying on for several extra days until 12 February in order to meet other Vatican officials and contacts.

Interestingly, Marguerite Fiévez records Cardijn’s visit as being from 30 January until 10 February. Presumably the extra days recorded on the invoice from the retreat centre where he stayed were arrival, rest and departure days.

And who would begrudge Cardijn a day’s rest after his packed recent travel and work schedule?

SOURCE

Invoice (Archives Cardijn 1301)

Note by Marguerite Fiévez (Archives Cardijn 1300)

More papers to read

1961 01 017 - PCLA Cv8

Cardijn’s now back in Brussels after his long, exhausting trip to Africa. No time to rest, however, as on 27 January 1961 the PCLA sent out a new packet of documents – mostly in Latin – in preparation for the forthcoming meeting of the Commission.

This meeting is slated to commence on 31 January.

SOURCE

Archives Cardijn 1584

Joos ready to meet Cardijn in Brussels

Joos - Cardijn 27 01 1961

And on 27 January 1961, Mgr Joos wrote to Cardijn himself, responding to Cardijn’s request for assistance on 14 December 1960.

“A very big thank you for your letter,” Mgr Joos wrote.

The translation and re-reading that Cardijn had requested was “no bother at all.”

“What I fear most is betraying your thought when you entrust me with documents to check,” Joos wrote. “Let me tell you how much I once again admired your deep sense of the Church.”

Clearly, however, Cardijn wanted further discussion or collaboration.

“I would be happy to come and see you in BRUSSELS whenever possible,” Joos offered.

French original

Mgr Désiré Joos – Cardijn 27 01 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Mgr Désiré Joos – Cardijn 27 01 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The work continues

Joos - Fiévez 19 01 1961

Even during Cardijn’s absence in Africa, work continues back in Belgium to prepare his submissions for the PCLA.

On 19 January 1961, Tournai vicar-general, Mgr Désiré Joos, writes to Marguerite Fiévez in response to Cardijn’s earlier request to assist him with the drafting and translation into Latin of his documents.

“I tried to send you a few suggestions for correction and translation as quickly as possible,” he wrote.

“It’s always awkward to put on someone else’s boots! I hope I have not betrayed anything,” he added apologetically.

“My apologies that the Latin is not typed up; we just didn’t have time.”

SOURCE

Original French

Mgr Désiré Joos – Fiévez 19 01 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Mgr Désiré Joos – Fiévez 1901 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Note 4 from Lomé, Togo

Note 4

It may be Christmas but Cardijn has not stopped working. In Lomé, Togo for a Pan-African Leaders Training session organised by the JOC Internationale, he completes Note 4 written at the specific request of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate on the theme “Priests and lay people in the apostolate.”

It totals 3500 words. Together with Note 1, 3800 words, Note 2, 845, Note 3, 5200, it means Cardijn has written over 13,000 words for the Commission in just under two months – all the while maintaining his already punishing travel and workload – and at the age of 78.

Note 4 begins with a preamble in which Cardijn again insists on placing the apostolate of priests and lay people in the context of the situation of the world and the need to build the “Kingdom or Reign of God.”

“The apostolate is the essential mission of the Church and of all the faithful in the Church; and through the Church, the whole of humanity,” he began. “This fact demands more and more study, attention and vigilance, because of all the problems that the apostolate needs to helps solve both humanly and in a Christian manner, and the solution of which will largely determine the salvation of humanity, the restoration of the Kingdom of God and its Son of Love.”

“These problems have now reached a previously unknown depth, extent, and rate of increase.

“Demographic, scientific, technical, economic, social, cultural, political, international problems: All these issues involve multiple aspects and provoke a variety of human, moral and religious responses; all these issues underlie all the various tensions between developed peoples and underdeveloped peoples, between races, between colonising countries and colonised countries, between social classes; all these issues are subject to the pressure of opposing ideological aspirations and propaganda, in a world that is increasingly unified and inseparable.

“All of these problems have an essential human, moral and religious aspect that determines the value of their solution. Depending on whether these essential aspects are respected or not, solutions will be effective or ineffective for the authentic progress of humanity and therefore for the establishment of the Reign of God and of Christ in the world which is being built.

“All these problems of life and organisation of the world are the domain of the laity; they fall into the areas of lay institutions and responsibility. It is lay people who need to provide human and Christian solutions which alone will be able to establish the Reign of God and peace among men.

“This is why lay people who are responsible for seeking and implementing this solution need to have an apostolic and missionary conception of their life and their mission in the world. This is the primordial role of the lay apostolate, whether it is organised or carried out on an individual basis.

“As a result of this, the apostolate of the laity is becoming increasingly important. This is now impossible unless lay people receive training and animation that is adequate for this purpose. This training and animation can only result from collaboration with priests who are ordained and consecrated for this purpose: this formation and this animation needs to transform the life and mission of the laity into an apostolic life and mission, which is inseparable from the priestly apostolate. The whole of the apostolate is an indissoluble whole.

“It is this vision of the importance and the worldwide necessity of the apostolate, in particular of the lay apostolate, which inspires:

  • the following reflections on “Priests and lay people in the apostolate”;
  • the proposal of formulas to be inserted into the Acts of the Council,” Cardijn argues.

Unity and collaboration between priests and lay people

Moving on to characterise this apostolate, he insists from the outset that there is only “one single apostolate” shared between priests and lay people.

“1. There is only one apostolate, the source and purpose of which are common to all who are called to it and who exercise it. But the exercise and applications of this apostolate are diverse – albeit inseparable – depending on the roles of those who are called and consecrated with a view to the common goal.

“2. There is only one divine Apostle, sent by the Father: Christ, Jesus, God-Man, who calls and sends all the other apostles as his Father sent him:

a) to restore the Kingdom of God, on earth as in heaven, in time as in eternity;

b) to call and consecrate all his collaborators, at all times and among all peoples, for the roles and services required for the restoration of this Kingdom (the Church: mystical body of Christ).

“3. The establishment and restoration of God needs to reach people first, each person in particular and all people together as well as all of their religious needs; these also need to reach and modify temporal structures themselves so that they are not an obstacle but on the contrary a support for the life of this Kingdom,” Cardijn explains.

Based on baptism and confirmation, the apostolate of lay people “does not remain confined within the Church.” Indeed, it extends not only to other Christians but non-Christians as well, Cardijn argues.

“It becomes increasingly missionary, extending to non-members of the Church, whether Christians or non-Christians; by collaborating with them, Christians will assist them to rediscover and realise the human and divine mission for which they were created by God and redeemed by Christ.

Nor does he accept a division of labour that would see priests as exclusively responsible for the spiritual domain while lay people retain responsiblity for the secular world.

“The apostolate of lay people is not limited to the transformation of minds and hearts,” Crdijn writes, “but tends to the transformation of secular environments and institutions which, from the local level to the international level, need to enable people, families and societies to create a social human order which which will promote the development of the human race and the universal restoration of the Reign of God: ‘Instaurare omnia in Christo’.”

Distinct but inseparable roles

While priests and lay people have distinct roles, he argues, these roles are nevertheless inseparable.

“Without the priestly apostolate there is no lay apostolate, no apostolic transformation of the life of lay people,” Cardijn says. “Without the apostolate of the laity, the apostolate is powerless for the human and Christian transformation of the world.

“Union and collaboration between priests and lay people is therefore essential to the unity of the Church and of her mission, to the development of the whole apostolate and in particular of the lay apostolate.

“This collaboration is essential, whatever the immediate objective of the lay apostolate:

a) ecclesial objective: catechesis, liturgy, sacraments – parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan life – etc.

b) temporal, secular objective: Properly lay life in all its aspects, in which they must discover and realise its divine, apostolic and missionary value (family, work, leisure, economic security, cooperation in the city, national and international relations, etc. .)

“Regarding the first objective, it can be said that lay people are collaborators in the priestly apostolate.

“Regarding the second, priests are the sacerdotal collaborators in the apostolate of lay people. They have an eminently priestly role there: not only do they represent the Hierarchy and provide official approval or mandate, but above all they form, help, support and advise the laity in taking up their own responsibility, in all aspects and dimensions of their work and apostolate.

SOURCES

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 4 – Prêtres et laïcs dans l’apostolat (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 4 – Priests and lay people in the apostolate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

A letter to Cardinal Cento “clarifying ideas”

Cardijn Cento 18 12 1960

Prior to leaving for Africa, Cardijn had also drafted a letter to the president of the Preparatory Commission, Cardinal Cento. This too was sent by Marguerite Fiévez on 18 December along with Note 2 and Note 3 that he had completing writing before his departure.

In the letter he explained that he was leaving to attend a JOC training session in Lomé, Togo, after which he would continue his punishing travel schedule to other countries.

“After the meeting, I will continue to Dahomey, Cameroon, Brazzaville, Leopoldville, Rwanda and Urundi, thus completing the African tour that I had to interrupt in July following the painful events in Congo,” Cardijn wrote.

“I am sending your Eminence two notes which attempt to clarify the one I sent to Him on October 31,” he added.

“The first contains reflections and suggestions about the work program of the Commission, proposed by Monsignor Glorieux; the second seeks to set out the two essential and parallel aspects of all lay apostolate. I apologise in advance for the repetitions they include; but it is often by repeating and confronting that we end up clarifying ideas!

“I am sending two copies to Monsignor Glorieux, hoping that they will arrive before December 22. Other copies are available to Your Eminence and the Commission, if there is a need to communicate these texts to other Members.

“I will be in Rome for the next Session of our Commission from January 30 to February 4. I can extend my stay there after that date if that would be useful for the work of the Commission.

“I also take the opportunity with this letter to offer to Your Eminence my most fervent wishes for a Holy Feast of Christmas and a Happy New Year! And may He deign to accept my deepest homage and respect,” Cardijn concluded.

SOURCE

Cardijn à Cardinal Cento 1960 12 18 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Cardijn to Cardinal Cento 1960 12 18 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

More copies available

Cardijn Glorieux 20 12 1960

Cardijn was obviously keen to ensure that the notes that he had drafted would be circulated as widely as possible.

On 20 December 1960 , he therefore also wrote to Mgr Glorieux informing him that more copies were available in Brussels.

He also took the opportunity that he was prepared to stay longer in Rome for the next meeting if required.

SOURCE

Original French

Cardijn à Mgr Glorieux 1960 12 20 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Cardijn to Mgr Glorieux 1960 12 20 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Even more documents in Latin!

Latin

Apart from his packed schedule, Cardijn faced yet another challenge in responding to the requests of the Preparatory Commission: the documents he received were all in Latin.

Although Cardijn had evidently learned Latin at school and in the seminary, Marguerite Fiévez was undoubtedly much less familiar with the language.

Thus, with Cardijn already in Africa, when she received another document from the PCLA dated 19 December, she arranged for a “quick translation” into French by an unnamed person, probably a JOC chaplain.

As well as enclosing a series of reports, the note explained that the Second Sub-Commission, which was dealing with the issue of formation of lay people would also look into the formation needs of priests.

“It also seemed necessary,” the note explained, “to consider what is required to prepare priests in light of the modern form of the apostolate. Rev. P. Jarlot and Mgr Geraud have prepared a note on this issue, based on the wishes of the bishops as well as their own experience.”

“However, since this subject does not fall directly within the competence of our Commission, we will only include their conclusions which contain several concrete proposals.

“Pending what the Commission on Seminaries prepares, we would be grateful if you would send us your observations as soon as possible,” the note requested.

Fathers Georges Jarlot SJ was a French expert on Catholic Social Teaching then working at the Gregorian University while Mgr Joseph Geraud was a French Sulpician priest stationed at the Procure Saint Sulpice. Both were well known to Cardijn.

Finally, the note added that Archbishop Pericle Felici, the secretary-general of the Council, had published a booklet including the lists of the various people making up the various conciliar preparatory commissions.

The conciliar workload was mounting quickly and the need to work in Latin only added to the growing burden!

SOURCE

Traduction Rapide (Archives Cardijn 1584)