36 Belgians in the Prep Coms

La Libre Belgique 19 01 1961

The Belgian paper, La Libre Belgique reported on 19 January 1961 that 36 Belgians, including of course Cardijn, had been appointed to the various preparatory commissions for the coming Second Vatican Council.

Others who were close to Cardijn, the JOC and/or other Specialised Catholic Action movements included:

Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey of Malines-Brussels, Cardijn’s own archbishop and a long-standing supporter, but now aged 87;

Bishop Emiel-Jozef De Smedt of Bruges, a dynamic young bishop (aged 52) who had worked with the VKAJ, the Flemish female JOC, and whose sister Livine, had been a fulltime worker for the VKAJ who had also helped launch the JOC in Germany;

Fr Bernard Botte osb, a Benedictine liturgist, who was prominent in the liturgical reform movement;

Fr Lucien Cerfaux, a Louvain theologian, New Testament scholar and expert in Paulinian theology, who had been advisor to Cardijn and the JOC during the late 1940s.

But others less sympathetic to Cardijn included the ambitious young auxiliary bishop of Malines-Brussels, Leon-Joseph Suenens.

A notable omission from the preparatory commissions was Mgr Gerard Philips, the Louvain theologian and author of an influential book Le rôle du laïcat dans l’Eglise, published in French in 1954, and in English as The Role of the Laity in the Church in 1955.

SOURCES

Archives JOCI

Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey (Catholic Hierarchy)

Bishop Emiel-Jozef De Smedt (Catholic Hierarchy)

Bernard Botte osb (Liturgical Leaders)

Stefan Gigacz, The liturgical movement and Catholic Action (Cardijn Research)

Lucien Cerfaux (Encyclopedia.com)

Lucien Cerfaux (Wikipedia.fr)

Members of secular institutes are the only genuine lay people!

Another interesting comment from Congar, who had been talking to Mgr André Baron, the rector of the French church in Rome, Saint Louis des Français:

“He spoke to me a bit about the atmosphere. He is no longer on the commission for the laity but on the one for Religious.

“He told me that Opus Dei, which is spreading fantastically, is also spreading its own view according to which members of secular institutes are the only genuine laity!” Congar wrote, astonished.

Indeed, it was a view that Cardijn too would have completely rejected.

Congar adds, however, that Mgr Baron was full of praise for Cardinal Paolo Marella, who had just completed his term as nuncio in France (after also serving in Australia and New Zealand), and who therefore “had a good understanding and supported the French approach.”

Another potential ally at the Vatican!

SOURCE

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, ATF Press, 2012, 25-35.

Yves Congar, Mon Journal du Concile, T. I, Cerf, Paris, 2002, 43.

What a performance!

Cardijn’s friend and colleague, the French Dominican theologian, Yves Congar, who had just launched his own conciliar diary, has left us a colourful if not positively disdainful description of the launch ceremony for the newly constituted preparatory commissions:

“What a performance!” Congar wrote. “Papal gendarmes or Swiss guards in full uniform everywhere. The actual arrangements were impeccable. But what ceremonial, what a display of pomp! We were shown into a tribune, where I went and sat beside Fr de Lubac. The whole length of St Peter’s has been fitted out with tribunes, armchairs. A fantastic equipage of fellows in crimson uniforms, Swiss guards in helmets, holding their halberds with proud bearing. All the colleges in Rome have been mobilised and there were certainly a good ten thousand people present. Why? What a waste of time!

“At about ten minutes past eleven, the Credo was intoned and the Pope came in on foot. It was a good moment. But then the Sistine choir sang a theatrical “Tu es Petrus’: mediocre opera. The 10,000 people, the forty cardinals, the 250 or 300 bishops, said nothing. One only will have the right to speak. As for the Christian people, they are there neither by right nor in fact. I sensed the blind door of the underlying ecclesiology. It is the ostentatious ceremonial of a monarchical power.

“The Pope read a text in Italian which I did not fully understand, but which seemed to me very banal…

“Alas! After giving his blessing (alone, always alone, to the 10,000, the 300, the 40…), the Pope got up and departed, enthroned on the sedia;- stupid applause. The Pope made a gesture as if to say: alas, I can do nothing about it,” Congar concluded.

We have no record of Cardijn’s own feelings about the ceremony but Congar’s comments probably offer a good proxy – except that the JOC founder would, as always, have sought to focus on the positives of the event.

Moreover, Cardijn would have quickly latched onto the fact that among the large number of bishops and priests who were present, he did have allies, beginning with Congar.

These allies, whose presence is noted by Congar, also included the sociologist, Canon Fernand Boulard, the Belgian Dominican, Jérôme Hamer, Cardijn’s publisher Jean-Pierre Dubois-Dumée as well as Cardinal Liénart, Archbishop Emile Guerry and Gabriel Garrone, the latter of whom who had written a book explaining the concept of Specialised Catholic Action and defending it from critics including the Belgian, Léon-Joseph Suenens, an auxiliary bishop in Cardijn’s own diocese of Malines-Brussels.

SOURCE

Yves Congar, My Journal of the Council, ATF Press, 2012, 25.

John launches the Preparatory Commissions

On 14 November 1960, Pope John delivered a major speech to the cardinals, bishops, prelates, priests and religious who had been called to take part in the ten Preparatory Commissions for the Council.

He began by noting that “the Ecumenical Councils of the past responded mainly to concerns of doctrinal accuracy, various and important about the lex credendi, to the extent that heresies and errors tried to penetrate the ancient Church in the East and the West.”

He highlighted the contributions of five previous major Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Trent and Vatican I. He added that “the occasion for the gathering of the other fifteen Ecumenical Councils… was offered by various circumstances, and by the concern to safeguard, yes, the purity of the Church’s teaching on various points of doctrine, but also to the affirmation and direction of consciences disturbed in the face of events of a religious and political nature, in different nations or contingencies, referring however almost always to the supreme tasks of the ecclesiastical magisterium, at the service of order, balance, and social peace.”

Now, he continued, Vatican II needed to face the challenges of the modern world:

“In the modern age of a world with a profoundly changed physiognomy, and struggling to sustain itself amid the charms and dangers of the almost exclusive search for material goods, in the oblivion or in the languishing of the principles of the spiritual and supernatural order, which characterized the penetration and ‘to expand over the centuries of Christian civilization, in the modern age, therefore, rather than to one point or another of doctrine or discipline that should be referred to the pure sources of Revelation and tradition, it is a question of restoring value and splendor , the substance of human and Christian thinking and living of which the Church has been the custodian and teacher over the centuries.

“On the other hand, the deploration of the deviations of the human spirit tempted and pushed towards the sole enjoyment of the goods of the earth, which the modernity of scientific research now places easily within the reach of the children of our time, is certainly serious and even necessary. God guard us, however, not to exaggerate its proportions, to the point of making us believe that God’s skies are now definitively closed above our heads, that truly tenebrae factae sint super universam terram , and that there is nothing left to do but sprinkle our tiring journey of tears.

“Instead, we must take courage,” he said.

Great things were expected in fact, he continued:

“Great things indeed – we love to repeat – We expect from this Council, which wants to be able to reinvigorate faith, doctrine, ecclesiastical discipline, religious and spiritual life, and also a great contribution to the reaffirmation of those principles of the Christian order, on which the developments of civil, economic, political and social life also inspire and govern. The law of the Gospel must reach there and envelop and penetrate everything, everything, even what comes to us de rore caeli et de pinguedine terrae(11). Yes: to go there, which involves a conscious, elevated, sincere participation of all the components of the social order – priesthood and laity; established authorities; intellectual activities: work – social order completely occupied by the concern for the perfect union of the relations between heaven and earth: between uncertain and dangerous present life, and future eternal and very happy life in the proportion of our correspondence as men and Christians to the gifts of mercy of the Lord.’

SOURCE

Address of the Holy Father John XXIII to the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, prelates, priests and religious, called to be part of the preparatory commissions and secretariats of the II Vatican Council, Vatican Basilica, Monday 14 November 1960 (Vatican website)

Seven lay people, all Italians

Lay people

With the various preparatory commissions beginning their work, the Vatican announced the appointment of seven lay men, all Italians, as “members of the administrative secretariat” for the Council. They were to carry out “important roles in the Vatican offices,” the announcement added.

This administrative secretariat was to be managed by “Count Galeazzi.” This appears to have been Enrico Galeazzi (photo above), an architect and engineer who had been responsible for Vatican restoration works, who had also been close to Pope Pius XII. He was also the director of the Knights of Columbus in Rome.

The other laymen were Messrs Menini, Musa, Quadrani, Seganti, Spadani and Vacchini.

SOURCE

Unidentified press cutting (Archives JOCI)

New Light on Pius XII Cause? (National Catholic Register)

Count Galeazzi with Pius XII
Count Galeazzi with Pius XII

PHOTO

Pope Pius XII talks with Count Enrico Galeazzi, the director of the Knights of Columbus in Rome, in this undated photo in an exhibit at the Capitoline Museum in Rome on the activities of the Knights of Columbus in the eternal city. (photo: CNS photo/courtesy of Knights of Columbus)

Belgian Christian Worker movements send questionnaire to members

LOFC-MOC

On 7 October 1960, Emilie Arnould, a former JOCF leader, wrote to members of the Ligues des Ouvrières Féminines Chrétiennes (Christian Women Workers League) and of the Mouvement des Ouvriers Chrétiens (Christian Workers Movement) to invite them to respond to a questionnaire in preparation for Vatican II.

“The JOC Internationale and the FIMOC (Fédération Internationale des Ouvriers Chrétiens) are interested in this preparation,” she wrote.

The questions were:

1. – Quels sont les principaux obstacles à la pratique de la Foi dans le monde ouvrier ?

2. – Que souhaiteriez-vous voir s’améliorer dans la collaboration “prêtres-laics” pour ce qui concerne l’apostolat des militants ouvriers dans le monde des adultes ?

3. – Quels sont, en général, les autres voeux que vous voudriez exprimer pour le monde des travailleurs, compte tenu des différentes Commissions du Concile :

– liturgie,

– sacrements,

– enseignement de la religion ( enfants

( adultes

– accueil des convertis dans les paroisses,

– formation dans les séminaires, etc…etc…

4. – Autres réflexions.

English translation

“1. What are the principal obstacles to the practice of the faith?

2. What would you like to se improved in the collaboration between “priests and lay people” with respect to the apostolate of worker militants in the adult world?

3. In general, what are the other wishes that you would like to express regarding the world of workers, taking into consideration the various Conciliar Commissions:

  • Liturgy
  • Sacraments
  • Teaching of religion (children, adults)
  • Welcoming converts in parishes
  • Seminary formation, etc.

4. Any other reflections.

SOURCE

Archives Himmer (Diocèse de Tournai)

Theological Commission

The initial members and consultors of the Theological Commission were named in three tranches, concluding on 16 September 1960.

Members of the Commission with experience of the JOC and/or other Specialised Catholic Action movements included:

Bishop Lionel Audet, auxiliary of Quebec Archdiocese, who was also president of the Catholic Action Commission of the Canadian bishops;

Bishop Joseph Schroffer of Eichstätt, Germany, who had participated in the 1957 JOC Pilgrimage to Rome.

Archbishop Alfred-Vincent Scherer of Porto Alegre, Brazil, was also sympathetic to the movement there.

There were also two Belgian theologians in the Commission both from Louvain:

Mgr Lucien Cerfaux had been a chaplain to the JUC, the Specialised Catholic Action movement for university students;

Mgr Gerard Philips had been a chaplain to the Flemish YCS movement and had often worked with Cardijn although he did always see eye to eye with the JOC founder.

Among the consultors, the French Dominican Yves Congar had worked closely with the JOC since the early 1930s while his confrere Michel Labourdette was also close to the movement.

The French Jesuit, Henri de Lubac, had been in close contact with the French JEC (YCS).

Liturgical Commission

L’Osservatore Romano announced the appointments to the Commission on the Liturgy on 26 August 1960.

Members included Bishop Joseph Malula, a former jocist chaplain from the Belgian Congo, now auxiliary bishop of Léopoldville (now Kinshasa).

The Belgian Benedictine Bernard Botte OSB, who had also worked closely with the JOC, became a consultor.

Commission on Bishops and Diocesan Government

L’Osservatore Romano announced the members of the Commission for bishops and government of dioceses on 30 July 1960.

Three bishop members of the Commission had direct experience of the jocist movements:

Archbishop Emile-Maurice Guerry of Cambrai, who had helped found the JOC and other movements in Grenoble, his diocese of origin. He had also written widely on the theology of Catholic Action.

Bishop Georges-Léon Pelletier of Trois Rivières had been a Catholic Action in Montreal prior to his appointment as a bishop;

Bishop Pierre Veuillot of Angers had worked with Montini at the Vatican Secretariat of State before becoming a bishop.

The sociologist-priest Canon Fernand Boulard had long experience with the French JAC and carried several famous sociological enquiries on the Church.

The consultors included:

Archbishop Justin Simonds of Melbourne, a longstanding champion of the YCW, who had first learnt of the movement while studying at Louvain during the late 1920s;

Bishop Helder Pessôa Câmara, auxiliary of Rio de Janeiro, who had been an early JOC chaplain in Brazil as well as responsible for Catholic Action in the nation;

Central Commission

On 6 July 1960, L’Osservatore Romano published the names of the members of Central Commission responsible for coordinating the work to be done by the ten preparatory commissions.

Cardijn knew and had good working relationships with three of the most senior of these men, all of whom were officials of the Roman Curia:

Pietro Sigismondi, Secretary of the S.C. of the Propaganda Fidei;

Antonio Samoré, Secretary of the S.C. for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs; and

Angelo Dell’Acqua, Substitute at the Secretariat of State.

Although Cardijn may well have known or had contact with some of the other officials of the Central Commission,