Bishop Enrique Angelelli, auxiliary of Cordoba, Argentina

Bishop Enrique Angelelli

On 12 December 1960, Pope John XXIII appointed Enrique Angelelli Carletti, a founder of the JOC and the JUC in the Diocese of Córdoba, Argentina, as auxiliary bishop of that diocese.

The son of Italian immigrants, Bishop Angelelli was born in Córdoba and entered the seminary of Our Lady of Loreto at 15 years of age. He was then sent to Rome to finish his studies. He was ordained priest on 9 October 1949 and returned to Córdoba.

He started working in a parish, where he founded the JOC for the Diocese of Córdoba and worked in its slums. He was also a chaplain to the University YCS movement (JUC).

Later he became bishop of La Rioja before he was eventually assassinated on 4 August 1976 as a result of his work with the poor of the diocese.

He also worked closely in Córdoba with the lay leader and IYCW international collaborator, Jose Serapio Palacio, who was also killed (‘disappeared’) by the Argentine military on 13 December 1975.


Bishop Bl. Enrique Ángel Angelelli Carletti (Catholic Hierarchy)

Enrique Angelelli (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Towards consecration of the world

In an eight page typed document dated 10 December 1960 and entitled “Votum de laicis eorumque loco in Ecclesia,” (Vote on the place of lay people in the Church,” Congar sought to summarise his views in response to the Theological Commission’s outline schema on the Church.

The Church’s primary mission was the salvation of all people, Congar noted.ù

However, it also possessed a secondary mission, as he explained:

“A secondary mission of the Church (deriving from the primary mission to which it was connected): tends towards ‘consecration of the world,’ thus influencing the temporal social order a) to accord with God’s justice and charity, as far as possible, and b) ordained to God,” Congar wrote.

Each person participated in this second mission in accordance with their own state in life, Congar continued. The mission of the hierarchy was to move and direct, he noted.

However, the role of the laity was to act as a “leaven the dough, because unlike priests and monks, the lay faithful live fully in the world, were engaged in issues and thus were able to act to direct human affairs towards and for God,” Congar wrote.

Monopoly of Catholic Action?

Congar also noted the controversy that had arisen from Bishop Léon-Joseph Suenens article alleging that reserving the term Catholic Action for certain organised kinds of the lay apostolate tended to create an impression that these organisations had a monopoly over the field of Catholic Action.

Congar thus sought to set out a series of criteria for Catholic Action.

“Catholic Action existed when the hierarchy, 1) Accepted that any enterprise or work of the faithful that was undertaken either voluntarily or at the instigation of the hierarchy, fulfilled at least in part some functions that had been given to the heirs of the apostles whom the Lord had sent to “teach all nations.”

2 °) Took upon themselves to cooperate with this organisation or movement and

3° ) consequently, it gave it more specific and more active guides and studies.

“In this way, the organisations or movements of Catholic Action joined with the action and directives of the hierarchy (directives that were not despotic but policy and philosophical principles) with Catholic lay people directly and immediately responsible.”


Yves Congar, Votum de laicis eorumque loco in Ecclesia (Archives Gerard Philips, 154, Leuven)

And more!

Latin documents 09 12 1960

Another packet of Latin documents, this time dated 9 December 1960.

Again Marguerite Fiévez summarises the contents in French.

The enormity of the work to be done for the Preparatory Commission is becoming ever clearer.


Archives Cardijn 1584

More Latin documents!

Latin documents 05 12 1960

On 5 December 1960, the Prep Com sent out another packet of documents.

Marguerite Fiévez has added a summary in French of the contents. It thus seems likely that these documents did not arrive until after Cardijn’s departure on his next trip to Africa.


Archives Cardijn 1584

Hunger and the Council

In an article entitled “La faim et le Concile,” French former JOC chaplain and founder of the French relief agency, Secours catholique, Mgr Jean Rodhain, reflects on the problem of hunger in light of the Council.

“What linkage between hunger and the Council?” he asks.

He responds:

The historian would reply that all the Councils (2) of the Middle Ages by condemning usury took the defense of the poor and the hungry. Above all, he would explain to him how the definitions and legislation resulting from the Councils built this Christian civilization which, after all, is the most revolutionary of all.

And, citing Cardijn, he shares his experience of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate:

As for the social and economic consequences of the future Council, only a prophet could speak about it…

Being neither a prophet nor a historian, of this next Council I know only one thing: I am returning from Rome where, as a member appointed by the Supreme Pontiff to a Preparatory Commission, I participated in the initial stages of this Vatican Council II.

This is merely preparatory work, since only the assembled bishops will decide.

It is just one Commission and there are nine others as well.

Moreover, we have taken an oath to keep the work secret.

All the same several things have already been published on the subject by Rome itself:

First the Commission in which I am working is entitled: “Apostolate of the laity”. The list of its members is printed in broad daylight and we see that there several experts in social or charitable issue who were not chosen by accident. My work neighbor is Mgr Cardijn, the founder of the YCW. Without being a prophet we can be sure that one day or another this pioneer who, visited the miserable masses of the whole world from Peru to India, will intervene with all his passion to link the problem of hunger in the world with the program of the Council.

Without being a prophet or indiscreet, how can we imagine that the bishops from regions of extreme poverty, that all the bishops of the world haunted by the misery of their sheep, gathered around the common Father, will not be obsessed with the same spectacle and the same concern as the Apostles and their Lord before the multitude gathered around the single basket with the five barley buns? “I have pity on these people, because they have no food”.

And he concludes, offering his own vision for the Council:

L’Osservatore Romano revealed that, in order to work, the members of the Commissions were given the enormous volumes hastily printed and containing the inquiries made in all the dioceses of the whole world in view of the Council.

I have to admit that, gripped by the varied documents, I read them all in two days and two night. Although I cannot say anything about the content of these volumes, I must admit that I remain dazzled in the face of this “slice of life of this Church always rejuvenated by the Charity of Christ”.

If some do not yet see the connection between a Council and Hunger in the World, let us dare to look attentively at the time which is coming: I seem to see the primitive Church reviving the first Council in Jerusalem (Act. Apost. XV 4-35) ) but working at the same time to collect and deliver relief for the hunger of this same Jerusalem (Act. Apost. XI 28-30). The history of the Councils in fact already began with hunger and a sharing by Christians.

The bread we share in this time of the Council is Charity.


Jean Rodhain, La faim et le Concile, Messages du Secours Catholique, décembre 1960 (Archives Cardijn 1529/Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Jean Rodhain (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)