Aid for Africa and Latin America

Aide-Mémoire Samoré 07 02 1961

A day after his visit to Archbishop Dell’acqua, Cardijn had two more appointments.

Archbishop Sigismondi, Propaganda Fide

The first was with the Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi, previously a Vatican diplomat and originally from Bergamo, the home diocese of Pope John XXIII.

The focus of this visit was the work of the JOC in Africa. As well as reporting on his trips to Africa, Cardijn thus sought Vatican assistance in placing the JOC “missionaries,” later called “extension workers,” whose task was to assist the development of the movement in the host countries.

Cardijn also insisted on the importance of the African JOC movements participating in the forthcoming Rio de Janeiro international council and he sought a grant for this purpose.

Archbishop Antonio Samoré, Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs

Cardijn’s second visit was to Archbishop Antonio Samoré, secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, effectively the Vatican’s foreign affairs office responsible for relations with other countries.

With the international council in Rio now less than a year away, Cardijn’s focus here was on Latin America. He requested a letter of support to be addressed to the Latin American bishops conference, CELAM, as well as further letters to Holy See representative offices all over Latin America.

He noted that Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara had committed to funding all hosting expenses for the international council but that a special fund had been created to finance the travel of other Latin American delegates to Brazil.

And a handwritten addition in Cardijn’s handwriting calls for a “word to HE Sigismondi.” Presumably, Cardijn wanted Samoré to add his support to Cardijn’s requests for aid to Africa as well.

All in all, another advocacy masterclass from Cardijn, in effect seeking to make Samoré and Sigismondi (and hence the Holy See) stakeholders in the development of the JOC in Africa and Latin America.

SOURCES

Pietro Sigismondi (Wikipedia)

Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi (Catholic Hierarchy)

Antonio Samoré (Wikipedia)

Antonio Cardinal Samoré (Catholic Hierarchy)

French original

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Sigismondi 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Samoré 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Sigismondi 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Samoré 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Visits to Holy See officials

While in Rome for the Prep Com meeting, Cardijn also took the opportunity to visit Holy See Secretary of State, Archbishop Dell’Acqua as well as Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi, the Secretary to the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith.

As usual, Cardijn was well prepared with a list of reports, problems to solve and requests to make.

A major announcement was the plan to hold the International Council in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the end of 1961.

He also provided an update on forthcoming training sessions in Lima, Peru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Beirut, Lebanon, Guatemala and Lomé, Togo.

SOURCE

Archives Cardijn 1299

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,

Preparing a visit to Rome

As usual, Cardijn’s preparation for his planned trip to Rome in late February 1960 was minutious.

Even the list of people he planned to visit is impressive.

Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, the Substitute at the Vatican, with whom Cardijn has been in regular contact since his appointment in 1954 to replace Mgr Montini, who had been promoted to archbishop of Milan.

Cardinal Fernando Cento had previously been nuncio to Belgium from 1946 to 1953.

A tough-minded conservative who had been Substitute for Pope Pius XI from 1929-35, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani had only recently been appointed as Secretary to the Vatican Holy Office. The son of a working-class baker, Ottaviani, was sympathetic to Cardijn and the JOC.

Now the Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi was previously the nuncio to Rwanda the Belgian colony that hosted one of the strongest JOC movements in Africa.

Lebanese-born Cardinal François Agagianian was the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

Soon to be appointed as a cardinal, Archbishop Pietro Marella became nuncio to France succeeding the then-Archbishop Roncalli in 1953 and would serve in that role until the end of 1959.

Archbishop Antonio Samorè was the secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, the foreign affairs branch of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Cardijn knew and had working relationships if not friendships with them all.

In addition to these Vatican personalities, Cardijn planned to see Fr Jean-Baptiste Janssens, the Belgian-born superior general of the Jesuits, along with the heads of other missionary orders whose priests worked closely with the JOC, including the Oblates, White Fathers and Holy Cross Fathers.

He planned to visit Archbishop Maximilien de Fürstenberg, the rector of the Belgian College in Rome. Interestingly, he also planned to visit the Opus Dei priest, Fr (now Blessed) Alvaro del Portillo, who was on the “Commission laïcs pour le Concile” (Laity Commission for the Council).

In addition, he also foreshadowed a visit to Mgr Achille Glorieux, the French-born former JOC chaplain from Lille, who was secretary to the Permanent Committee for the Apostolate of the Laity.

Most of the topics Cardijn listed for his discussions revolved around the work of the YCW on the various continents and regions.

Particularly interesting and significant, however, is Cardijn’s note of issues to raise with Archbishop Dell’Acqua:

“Peut-on suggérer une Encycllque ?

a/ à l’occasion du 70ème anniversaire de Rerum Novarum, sur ‘L’Eglise face au monde du travail’

b/ pour dissiper le désarroi et la confusion sur « L’ Apostolat des laïcs ».”

“Could we suggest an Encyclical,” Cardijn asks,

“a/ on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum on “The Church and the world of work”

“b/ to dissipate the disarray and confusion over ‘The Lay Apostolate’.”

“The Church and the World of Work” and “The Lay Apostolate”: two themes at the heart of Cardijn’s mission.

Clearly, he was also highly concerned about the “disarray” and “confusion” over the latter.

Although he makes no specific mention of the Council, surely it was not absent from Cardijn’s thoughts.

SOURCE

Voyage à Rome de Mgr Cardijn et Romeo Maione (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Trip to Rome of Mgr Cardijn and Romeo Maione (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)