On 25 September 1960, JOC Internationale leaders, Romeo Maione and Maria Meersman, met for “Conversations” with leaders of the French Action Catholique Ouvrière (ACO) and the Fédération Internationale de Mouvements Ouvriers Chrétiens (FIMOC).
The three movements had been in contact and “conversation” since 1958. Discussions were under way about the possibility and the desirability of uniting the ACO, the member movements of the FIMOC and other JOC-inspired Christian Worker movements around the world in a broader international movement that would take the place of the FIMOC.
History of the FIMOC
In 1920, Dutch and Italian Christian democrats proposed to the Belgian Federation of Worker Leagues (Fédération des Ligues Ouvrières) the creation of an international structure.
Conferences in Cologne in 1929 and in Utrecht in 1931 and 1934 led to the creation of an “Association internationale sociale chrétienne” which brought together employers, workers groups, farmers groups and middle class (professional) groups.
According to Jacques Meert, eventually, only the worker wing remained. After World War II, a Swiss initiative sought to revive this leading to a first European meeting in 1948.
This led in 1952 to the foundation of the Fédération internationale des mouvements ouvriers catholiques.
Since then the ACO in France had also emerged as a Specialised Catholic Action movement but which was not part of the FIMOC.
This led eventually to discussion of the creation of a new international movement bringing together the various strands of the Christian worker movement.
Celebration of the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum
In the short term, however, the meeting looked into a proposal to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum, which was due in May 1961, with an event that would take place in Rome coinciding with the anniversary.
Fédération des cercles ouvriers catholiques belges (Wikipedia.fr)
Jacques Meert, Note introductive sur l’évolution de l’action sociale chrétienne au niveau international (Archives Cardijn 1304)