At the request of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate, Cardijn compiled a document – Note 5 – presenting the International YCW and its work which he sent to the Commission on 17 March 1961.
In Chapter I entitled, The Fundamental Content of the YCW, he presents its work under five headings:
- a problem of pastoral work and lay apostolate;
- an apostolic solution to this problem by lay people interested, formed and supported by the Hierarchy and mandated chaplains;
- a method of formation, action, organisation and representation;
- participation in a whole apostolate;
- official relations with the Hierarchy.
In each instance, he backs up his presentation with citations from the speeches and writings of Popes Pius XI and Pius XII, often specifically addressed to the JOC and/or Cardijn himself. It is a perfect illustration of the success of Cardijn’s 35 years of advocacy with the Holy See.
The pastoral problem
“In each parish, in each diocese, in the whole Church, in the whole world, hundreds, thousands of young people each year enter into the life and milieu of work,” Cardijn begins. “They find themselves faced with the problems, dangers, influences, institutions to which it is impossible to face up to with a Christian and apostolic attitude if they are abandoned to themselves. This de facto abandonment is a disaster for themselves and the Church.
“They must be strongly united, to seek and find together a personal and collective solution to this grave problem: to be able to help and save the millions of their brothers and sisters at work. Thus, they bring a decisive cooperation for the future of the world of work.”
“All these young people who work are at the most decisive moment of their lives,” Cardijn continues. “They have an average age between 14 and 25 years, between school and marriage. This is why:
1. They must be formed themselves to discover the problems of their life, their human, religious and apostolic value; to themselves seek the solutions to all these problems.
2. They must learn to act as Christians and as apostles; to transform their specific life and that of their comrades, milieux and institutions of life; to create and develop an apostolic movement born from their life and their needs, thanks to which they acquire a sense of their responsibility both human and apostolic; to uphold on one hand solidarity with all young workers and on the other hand the indispensable collaboration with all institutions and organisations that must help them to resolve their problem.
3. They must learn to discover the supernatural, sacramental and liturgical sources which nourish the life of the apostolate, to discover the sense of the Church and the Hierarchy; to appreciate their terrestrial and eternal vocation in God’s plan of love, in Creation and Redemption.
This formation, a fundamental solution to the problem of working youth, it is the YCW which gives it to them.”
He continues to outline the jocist method, beginning with the see-judge-act:
“The YCW teaches young workers to SEE the problems of their daily life and that of their comrades; it teaches them to JUDGE humanly and Christianly, and finally to ACT to provide a solution themselves — and first of all in their own life — to train their comrades in this transformation and to draw out the collaborations necessary for this.”
A life based method
“The jocist method of formation always starts from life, from its problems, needs and meaning; and it always come back (to life) in order to find and give a Christian response in all dimensions: personal, local, regional, national and international,” Cardijn emphasises.
“This formation is both active and doctrinal: it takes place through action in life, through responsibilities, based on enquiries, review of life, Gospel commentaries, talks which summarise, coordinate and enlighten these discoveries and realisations in life.
“The YCW does this formation first in the core groups of militants who are the leaven and the yeast among young workers and in the whole of working life; it also does this among and with the mass itself in order to drive it and change it. The YCW pursues this formation in view of a transformation, outside its daily action through multiple means:
- meetings of militants; study circles, committees, recollections, retreats, etc;
- mass meetings: assemblies and forums, team meetingsand events, evenings of life preparation, camps and workshops, clubs for games, etc;
- Intensive formation sessions, study weeks, publications and campaigns;
- educational services for the preparation of work, professional orientation, support during military service, preparation for marriage, holidays, leisure activities, etc;
- collaboration with and activities with all interested institutions: public authorities, employers, trades unions, teaching bodies, etc.
Thus, the YCW is both and inseparably:
- a SCHOOL OF FORMATION for working, Christian, apostolic and missionary life;
- a SERVICE or an ensemble of services to help young people in their daily problems, in their formation and their action:
- an ORGANISATION or a stable and institutional union, open to all young people who work, and which coordinates all the activities and services mentioned above;
The YCW maintains its specific characters at the various levels of its development; on the local and parish level, on the regional or diocesan level, at the country level and at world level. All levels are united by a living and permanent link and make the International YCW an organism, an institution of the Church, with the dimensions of the problem of working youth in the world.”
After a section presenting the history of the movement and its achievements, Cardijn concludes by seeking to outline the more general application of the jocist methods:
1. It is an organisation (a movement) of lay apostolate, with a missionary character, directed and spread by lay people themselves, for the Christian solution of the problems of ordinary life. This organisation is ordinarily a school, a service, a representative body of the lay apostolate in life, in the milieux of life, in the institutions of lay life, and it transforms both this life, these milieux and these institutions of life. It takes root on the parish level and develops progressively to other levels, to the point where it becomes an international organism.
2. It is a lay organisation officially recognised by the Hierarchy, which gives it an official mission for the solution of a determined problem of the lay apostolate. The Hierarchy unndertakes with it (and vice versa) official relations which must aid it and support it in the accomplishment of the apostolic mission which is confided to it (statutes, nomination of chaplains, reports and consulations, etc.)
3. Catholic Action is both specialised and coordinated. Specialised for the solution of problems that affect the person, belonging to a determined milieu, as a whole, with its whole life, its problems of life and their Christian solution. Coordinated for the collaboration between specialised organisations, and this, in view of the solution of the problems of the ensemble of the lay world, at every level: local or parish, diocesan, regional, national and international.
WISHES FOR THE FUTURE
And finally he sets out a series of desires that he would like the Council to take up:
- May all priests, secular and religious, be better formed on all issues relating to the necessity and the importance of the apostolate of the lay person in the world today and in the collaboration to bring to the lay apostolage, at every level and at the dimension of the problems of the present world: The Church, light of the world!
- May devoted and competent chaplains be liberated in each diocese and in each country for the organisations of the lay apostolate and more particularly in the most urgent and most strategic sectors of the present world.
- May the official recognition of the apostolate of lay people (Catholic Action) and the mandate that is confided to it be more explicit and more formal and may one thus avoid incertainties, misunderstandings and competitive discussions.
- May lay people be increasingly consulted by religious authorities and may their apostolate be more appreciated, in our concrete circumstances by the whole Church.
- May a dicastery in Rome be charged with the study and assistance to bring to the apostolate of international organisations — both in the ICO and outside of it — and that international lay leaders take an effective part in this new institution.
Joseph Cardijn, Note 5 – La JOC Internationale (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Joseph Cardijn, Note 5 – The International YCW (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)