The plight of young domestic workers

On 7 July 1961, Cardijn made an intervention at the PCLA meeting on the plight of domestic workers.

A report based on statistical studies Italian and foreign women was then drawn up by Ferdinando Prosperini who highlighted the moral dangers of domestic work for young girls, including the high number of single mothers in their midst and the corresponding risk of falling into the hands of pimps.

Critical of the evolution of morals, Prosperini viewed the young girl not only a victim, but also a potential “seductress” of the honest father of a Catholic family.

The resulting very conservative text was revised by Santo Quadri, assisted by Fr Erminio Crippa, Dehonian, his closest collaborator at ACLI (Associazoni Cristiani Lavoratori Italiani) and an expert on female domestic work. The emphasis was no longer placed primarily on the moral dangers inherent in their professional activity, but on the need for it to be carried out in accordance with the principles of social justice – fair salary compensation, social contributions, access to training etc. – and on the particular responsibility that Christian families have in this regard.

SOURCE

Agnès Desmazières, Généalogie d’un « silence » conciliaire, Archives de sciences sociales des religions

REFERENCE

Associazoni Cristiani Lavoratori Italiani

https://www.academia.edu/48542618/G%C3%A9n%C3%A9ealogy_d_un_silence_conciliaire

Généalogie d’un « silence » conciliaire

Agnès Desmazières
Archives de sciences sociales des religions

PHOTO

National Museum of American History (Smithsonian)

Christian animation of the temporal order

Note 9 - Reflections on documents

In his April 1961 Note 9 prosaically entitled “Reflections on documents Pr. 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 (SC II),” Cardijn once again diplomatically calls into question the whole approach of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate.

“Isn’t it necessary,” he asked, “to try to define more precisely:

“Christian animation of the temporal order?

“Social Action and Catholic Action in the temporal order, life and the environment (milieu)?

“The relationship between this animation with the Hierarchy?

“The supernatural raising up of temporal activities?”

In effect, Cardijn was challenging the assumed spiritual-temporal framework that the Commission appeared to be adopting.

Offering the JOC as an example, he insisted that a more holistic approach was required.

“Since its foundation, the YCW has specialised in the training of young workers with a view to the Christian animation and supernatural raising up of social action,” Cardijn continued, noting that the YCW had “formed social leaders for all the various milieux and all the problems of temporal life.”

It had “always affirmed itself as Catholic Action” and had been “praised and recommended as such by Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII.”

Moreover, “the YCW works closely with private and public, national and international, Christian and non-Christian organisations and institutions in all areas of the temporal and social order.”

And he concluded with the pointed question as to whether “the 2nd Sub-Commission, which is devoted to social action” was “taking this activity of the YCW into account.”

SOURCE

French original

Joseph Cardijn, Note 9 – Reflections on documents Pr. 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 (SC II) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 9 – Reflections on documents Pr. 11 – 12 – 13 – 14 (SC II) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

Back in Rome

Retreat House Rome 24-30 April 1961

Cardijn’s back in Rome again for yet another meeting from 24-30 April 1961 as this receipt for his lodgings at a retreat house illustrates.

SOURCE

Archives Cardijn 1301

Animation of the apostolate

Note 8

In Note 8, also dated April 1961 and entitled simply “Reflections on the Notes of the Commission,” Cardijn emphasises the task of “animation” in developing the apostolate of the laity.

The very fact that he needs to emphasise is a sure indication that many members of the Commission had little or no understanding of this concept, no doubt being more accustomed to the role of the priest as director.

For Cardijn, therefore, “the question of the spiritual animation of the apostolate in the temporal sphere is the essential problem to be solved with respect to this apostolate, whether individual or collective.”

“Without this spiritual animation, temporal action cannot be apostolic,” he insisted.

“That’s why this animation – including prayer through suffering or sacrifice – cannot be alongside or at any distance from apostolic action and life themselves,” he insisted.

“In order to be the soul as well as the engine and lever of the apostolate, prayer, suffering, sacrifice need to be identified with the apostolate itself, which must in turn become prayer and sacrifice. ‘It is not I who live, suffer, work; it is Christ who lives, suffers and works in me.’ Animation transforms our temporal life into spiritual and apostolic life.

Without a doubt, there is the apostolate of prayer and suffering for those who specially devote themselves to it, as well for all Christians; but I think it is better not to call this “animation” of the apostolate. Let us reserve the word “animation” for the spiritual life which wants and must transform the whole temporal action of the laity into an apostolate for, by and with Christ and the Church. Any separation in this area distorts both the life of prayer and the life of action. A soul without a body and a body without a soul are impossibilities in earthly life, whether temporal or spiritual

Regarding the spiritual animation of the lay apostolate in the temporal order, could we not make three suggestions? ?

1 ° That all catechesis and all pastoral care insist on the importance and the necessity for the apostolate of the laity in the Church and in the world; and this apostolate in the whole (secular) life of the laity, in all aspects and all settings of this life. The whole of catechesis and the whole of pastoral work must demonstrate and ensure the spiritual animation necessary for the realisation of the apostolate of the laity in the temporal world;

2 ° That the revalorisation of the sacrament of Confirmation should express and emphasise the importance of the apostolate of the baptised in  temporal daily life, and effectively introduce it into his life as an adult Christian, at the age of learning his proper and irreplaceable apostolic mission;

3 ° That the term “apostolate of the laity” and particularly the term “Catholic Action” be reserved for this proper and irreplaceable apostolate, which is the apostolate of the laity in the temporal. “The first and immediate apostles of the laity in lay life and the lay environment (milieu) will be lay people”. Certainly the laity have an apostolate of prayer, suffering, sacrifice and dedication which they share with all Christians, priests, religious and lay people; but they have their own apostolate, which is not that of religious and apostles, even if the latter exercise it in fact in a supplementary manner, either to initiate or make up for deficiencies, but in which they can never replace lay people, for the good and fruitfulness of the Church.

SOURCES

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 8 – Refléxions sur les Notes de la Commission (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 8 – Reflections on the Notes of the Commission (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The need for apostolic formation

Note 7 - Formation religieuse

By April 1961, the reflections and contributions of other members of the PCLA as well as other relevant organisations were coming in.

Attentive as always, Cardijn responded carefully to the issues raised, as Note 7 on “Religious formation and support for Catholic Action leaders” illustrates.

“The COPECIAL notes rightly emphasise the necessity of a very profound religious, apostolic, supernatural formation for all leaders who are engaged at local, regional, national or international level; and also on the necessity of sufficient aid to guarantee their perseverance,” citing approvingly a paper submitted by the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate, a semi-official body created following the first World Congress on Lay Apostolate in 1951.

“The notes also signal the importance of belonging to Secular Institutes,” Cardijn continued, before turning to his more substantive comments in which he appears to be more critical of the positions of the COPECIAL.

“It is necessary first  to insist on the duty and the possibility of the Catholic Action movements to give this formation and to ensure this aid,” Cardijn argued, emphasising the role of the movements in providing such formation.

“These movements would not be movements of Catholic Action if they neglected or under-valued the profound religious formation of their members, a fortiori of their (men and women) leaders, whether the latter are volunteers or fulltimers at whichever level of the movement,” he added.

Secondly, it was “important to note that ‘extension  workers’ are not the only international fulltime leaders,” he noted, referring to those movement workers and volunteers who left to promote and develop their movements in other countries and continents.

“The members of the International Executive Committees, Bureaux and Secretariats are the first to bear fulltime apostolic responsibilities,” highlighting the importance of their roles.

The leaven in the dough

Thirdly, this formation needed to be provided at every level:

“This formation which goes progressively from the base to the summit, is the only one which guarantees contact with life and needs of the mass and places the leaven in the dough, and not beside or above it.”

It must therefore “be one of the principal preoccupations of the Catholic Action movements, their leaders and chaplains, to continually seek to improve, to renew and to adapt this formation,” he continued.

Fourthly, he insisted on the importance of the role of lay leaders, particularly warning against the usurpation of those role by lay leaders who belonged to secular institutes whose role necessarily had to remain discreet.

“In general, the leaders do not know if a member,  militant or leader of a movement belongs  to a Secular Institute,” he said. “They must not know. They are not obliged to reveal their belonging to an Institute, either to leaders, or chaplains.

“If it is done, it more as a gesture of personal confidence with respect to a chaplain or a leader, or for practical reasons; however it is not because they are obliged juuridically or morally. Those who receive this information personally are bound by secret. They cannot use this belonging  to a Secular Institute to confide a charge or a function in a Catholic Action  movement.”

Rather, it was “the movement alone which decides the choices of its leaders and the influence that they exercise.”

“The assistance of the Secular Institute belongs on another level; it can never replace that of a Catholic Action movement and must always and everywhere be as discreet as possible,” he said.

The role of members of secular institutes was more in the nature of a counsellor, he concluded.

“The problems of counsellors belonging to Secular Institutes, as to Religious Congregations is different from that of (men and women) leaders,” he said.

SOURCES

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 7 – Formation religieuse et soutien des dirigeants d’Action catholique (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 7 – Religious formation and support for Catholic Action leaders (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The PCLA launches an enquiry

Aide-Mémoire Dell'Acqua 06 02 1961

As the Rome meeting progresses, the Prep Com announces on 4 February that it wishes to launch an enquiry into the history and work of the lay movements and organisations around the world.

As Mgr Glorieux explains in a separate note, the Commission is looking to develop a better understanding of how “Catholic Action” movements operate in various countries.

In effect, it appears to be aiming to develop a typology of the various movements.

As usual, Cardijn sees this as a great opportunity to present the JOC and its methods.

SOURCE

French original

Commission pontificale préparatoire sur l’apostolat des laïcs 04 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate 04 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Please send more copies!

Glorieux - Fiévez 01 02 1961

Cardijn is now in Rome and the latest meeting of the PCLA is already under way.

It appears that at least one of Cardijn’s preparatory notes has hit the mark with a request for more copies of Note 4, “Priests and lay people in the apostolate” to be sent to Rome.

Thus, on 1 February, PCLA secretary, Mgr Achille Glorieux writes on Cardijn’s behalf to Marguerite Fiévez.

“Mgr Cardijn, whom we are happy to have with us, has asked me to write to you,” Glorieux begins, “a few days ago we received the double document (I mean, with the part also translated into Latin) from Monsignor,”

“It would be useful for us to receive 45 (forty-five) copies, in order to give them to our Members and Consultors,” he asked.

Fiévez responded quickly, sending back the documents by express post on 6 February.

SOURCE

French original

Mgr Glorieux – Marguerite Fiévez 01 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Prêtres et laïcs dans l’apostolat (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Mgr Glorieux – Marguerite Fiévez 01 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Priests and lay people in the apostolate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Back to Rome

On 29 January, Cardijn left for Rome for the second plenary meeting of the PCLA.

As usual, he sought to maximise the trip, staying on for several extra days until 12 February in order to meet other Vatican officials and contacts.

Interestingly, Marguerite Fiévez records Cardijn’s visit as being from 30 January until 10 February. Presumably the extra days recorded on the invoice from the retreat centre where he stayed were arrival, rest and departure days.

And who would begrudge Cardijn a day’s rest after his packed recent travel and work schedule?

SOURCE

Invoice (Archives Cardijn 1301)

Note by Marguerite Fiévez (Archives Cardijn 1300)