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)

General remarks

In another note, later numbered Note 14 and entitled “General remarks,” Cardijn offered his overall assessment of the three draft documents of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate.

“It is not easy to locate oneself among all the Commission documents,” he began, clearly not impressed by what he regarded as a confusing presentation.

Could we not adopt the following general line, which was that of the beginning of the work of the Commission:

Part 1: DE APOSTOLATU LAICORUM – notion, relation to the apostolate of the Hierarchy, – etc. (What’s the latest official document on this topic? There are two versions of TC3 / ​​SCI.).

Part 2: DE LAICORUM APOSTOLATU IN ACTIONE SOCIALI TC1 / SC.II

DE ACTIONS SOCIALI (What is the latest official document? There are also two versions of TC1 / SCII).

Part 3: DE APOSTOLATU IN ACTIONE CARITATIVA – TC2 / SCIII

Part 4: VARIA – the complete document.

Couldn’t a sort of Table of Contents be made that clearly shows the rest of the subjects treated?

II. THE PREAMBLES.

Couldn’t the various preambles be reduced to one in order to avoid repetitions and variations. If necessary, short introductions could highlight certain subjects or aspects.

The apostolate proper to the laity

As always, his primary was concern related to the lack of understanding of and lack of attention to the genuine apostolate of the laity:

It is notable there is a mixing in the documents between the apostolate proper to the laity and the apostolate of the laity directed directly by the clergy, in congregations, third orders, works of charity, in catechesis, liturgy, etc. (see note on “The Materially and Formally Lay Apostolate”).

I continue to regret that a chapter has not been devoted to the apostolate proper to the laity, to its necessity and importance in the world, to the construction of a world “as God wills,” and to the realisation of a truly fraternal society appropriate to the world today. No doubt the document speaks of this in several places, but it is as if by the way, in the midst of other forms of secular apostolate. It does not highlight the urgency and irreplaceable necessity; on the contrary, this diluted form diminishes its primordial value and importance.

Collaboration with the hierarchy

Nor was Cardijn satisfied with the way the draft documents dealt with relations between lay people and the hierarchy:

Can we also not:

a/ Show that the Hierarchy is in the service of the whole Church, of the progress of the whole;

b/ Emphasise the need for dialogue between the Hierarchy and the laity, for joint research, for collaboration?

Apostolic action and/or social action

Here Cardijn was concerned again to overcome any kind of division between spiritual and secular spheres:

Should it not be said that almost every secular apostolic action is or must be social, and that every Christian social action is apostolic?

Shouldn’t the terms used in the two documents dealing with this issue be reviewed in this regard: TC3 / ​​SCI and TC1 / SCII?

From charitable action to social justice

Cardijn’s critique of the document on charitable was particularly strong.

“Most of the organised charity is actually directed by the clergy,” he lamented. “The laity are most often the executors or bear only half the responsibility.

“If we speak of a charitable action of the laity, should we not insist in the document that the initiative and responsibility for this action be effectively borne by them?” he asked.

Further he was concerned to emphasise that many fields of action regarded as charitable in fact should be categorised as areas involving justice issues:

“Some major global problems such as the fight against hunger, disease, inadequate and unhealthy housing, action against illiteracy or youth abandonment, campaigns to support migrants, orphans and the elderly, can they still be categorised as charitable works?” he asked.

“Are there not issues of justice and national and international solidarity, for the solution of which private initiative must claim its participation and maintain its freedom, but in which public, national and international responsibility must also be asserted, as well as the right and duty, for Catholics, to take an active and important part in this?”

The apostolic sense of the laity

Overall, however, Cardijn was concerned at the lack of understanding in the documents and emphasis on lay people’s vocation in their own lives:

Should not the inadequacy or lack of apostolic meaning among the faithful be attributed first and foremost to a lack of conviction and insistence on the part of the first leaders of Christian formation: priests, men and women religious?

Is there enough emphasis on the indispensable, irreplaceable, paramount mission of the laity in the Church?

Is there sufficient explanation of this mission in life, the milieux of life regarding the problems and institutions of life? Is it sufficiently explained how the whole life of lay people needs to become apostolic in order to build the world as God desires it to be?

Is there adequate explanation of the transformation indispensable to the present world through the transformation of life on the personal and collective level, national and international level as well as in the private and public spheres?

Everything is linked; and each is impossible without the other.

SOURCE

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 14 – Remarques générales (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 14 – General Remarks (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)

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)

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)