A bundle of documents

Bundle of documents

On 30 November, the PCLA sent out a bundle of documents – all in Latin of course – relating to the work of the Commission and the Subcommission in which Cardijn was involved.

It also included the reference codes that were to be used for the various kinds of documents that were being produced:

CV = Various kinds of circular letters

Pr = Proposals for Council documents

Ri = studies and research

Corr = Correspondence of our Commission

Ra = Session reports.

Italian domination of the Sub-Commissions

Cardijn faced yet another problem when the members appointed to the three sub-commissions of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate were announced.

Sub-Commission I: General notions and aspects more directly concerning evangelisation

Thirteen members were appointed to Sub-Commission I on Evangelisation (SCE), including Cardijn.

There were six Italians:

Bishop Ismaele Mario Castellano, the national president of the Italian Catholic Action movement, who was appointed as president of the SCE;

Mgr Luigi Civardi, the author of a well-known Manual of (Italian) Catholic Action;

Mgr Emilio Guano, who also had long experience with Italian Catholic Action but who was also deeply involved with the Pax Romana movements for students and intellectuals;

Archbishop Evasio Colli, who had been director-general of the Italian Catholic Action movement from 1939-43;

Roberto Tucci SJ, a Jesuit who specialised in communications;

Fr Aurelio Sabbatani, a canon lawyer and auditor at the Sacred Roman Rota.

There were three from France, all of whom had experience with the Specialised Catholic Action movements:

Archbishop Gabriel Garrone of Toulouse, who had been a promoter of the SCA movements since at least the early 1930s and who had recently published a book on the subject;

Fr Henri Donze, who had been national chaplain of the Action Catholique Indépendent (ACI), a movement for middle-class and business people;

Fr Henri Caffarel, a former chaplain with the French JOC national secretariat, who later founded the Equipes Notre Dame (Teams of Our Lady).

In addition, the Lebanese priest, Fr Antoine Cortbawi, had been a JOC chaplain, although he had difficulties with the movement and with Cardijn himself, who wanted him replaced.

Finally, there were Bishop Gabriel Bukatko from Croatia and Fr Cyril Papali OCD, an Indian expert on Hinduism and missiology teaching at the Urbanium in Rome.

Thus, Sub-Commission I on Evangelisation was numerically by the Italian participants, most of whom were from the Italian Catholic Action movement.

Once again, this was a huge step backwards from the 1951 and 1957 World Congresses on Lay Apostolate, which were organised by committees that were far more globally representative.

Sub-Commission II: Social action

From Cardijn’s point of view, the situation was somewhat better in Sub-Commission II on Social Action.

Here the president was German Bishop Franz Hengsbach of Essen, where the headquarters of the German JOC (CAJ) movement was located, and a strong supporter and ally of Cardijn.

Vice-president was Mgr Pietro Pavan, an expert on Catholic social teaching and a close friend of Cardijn, albeit lacking in direct experience of Specialised Catholic Action.

The other members were the American TV evangelist, Bishop Fulton Sheen, Fr Joseph Géraud, a professor of moral theology from the Specialised Catholic Action stronghold of Lyon , the Italians Mgr Santo Quadri and Agostino Ferrari Toniolo, French Fr Georges Jarlot, all experts on Catholic social teaching, plus Frs Portier, Ponsioen and the German Jesuit Johannes Hirschmann.

Sub-Commission III: Charitable action

The president of Sub-Commission III on Charitable Action was the Italian Bishop Ferdinando Baldelli of the Pontifical Mission Assistance.

Members were American Bishop Allen Babcock of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Fr Gasbarri, the French former JOC chaplain and founder of the aid organisation, Secours catholique, Jean Rodhain, the Austrian Catholic Action chaplain, Ferdinand Klostermann, the Catalan priest and Fr Albert Bonet y Marrugat, who had founded the FJCC, a precursor movement to the JOC, and finally the Spaniard, Fr Lopez de Lara.

Thus, while Cardijn certainly had allies in each sub-commission, it had been a tough few days in Rome. Not only did the Italians dominate numerically, there was only one non-European member of the whole commission.

It was clear that the road ahead would be difficult.

SOURCES

Achille Glorieux, Histoire du Décret ‘Apostolicam Actuositatem’ sur l’Apostolat des laïcs” in A. Glorieux, R. Goldie, Y. Congar, H.-R. Weber, G. Hasenhüttl, J. Grootaers, M-J. Beccaria, P. Toulat et H. Küng, L’Apostolat des Laïcs, Décret “Apostolicam actuositatem” (Sous la direction de Y. Congar), Séries Unam Sanctam 75, Cerf, Paris, 1970, 91-140.

Three sub-commissions: More bad news

There was more bad news for Cardijn on 17 October 1960.

The Rome-based members of the PCLA had already met in October to discuss and decide upon the organisation of the work of the commission.

Now Cardinal Cento announced that three sub-commissions were to be created to study three themes: evangelisation, social action and charitable action, with Cardijn appointed to the first of these commissions.

But from Cardijn’s point of view, how could such a division of tasks be reconciled with his vision of lay apostolate transforming the whole of lay life? It was a compartmentalisation that risked reducing evangelisation to its spiritual dimension and confining social and charitable action to their temporal dimensions.

Moreover, it completely contradicted the “incarnational” approach that Cardijn had defended and presented to Pope John just nine months earlier:

“The formation of the disciples of Christ, from whatever social rank, includes this authentic lay apostolate, which will become increasingly urgent and must reach the whole of humanity,” Cardijn had argued.

“And the more we invite the faithful to seek the means to incarnate and realise this spirit, the more the Church will raise up the militants and the apostles that the new world needs in order to be truly animated by the spirit of Christ,” he wrote.

How could lay people be formed to grasp such a mission if the task of evangelisation was to be separated from social and charitable action?

Moreover, at a practical level in terms of the work of the PCLA, Cardijn now found himself sidelined if not excluded from the important work of the social and charitable action sub-commissions.

Nor was Cardijn alone in his concerns. In his history of the drafting process, Ferdinand Klostermann would later write somewhat cryptically of the creation of three sub-commissions: “This division was later to prove a source of difficulty for the commission.”

SOURCES

Achille Glorieux, Histoire du Décret ‘Apostolicam Actuositatem’ sur l’Apostolat des laïcs” in A. Glorieux, R. Goldie, Y. Congar, H.-R. Weber, G. Hasenhüttl, J. Grootaers, M-J. Beccaria, P. Toulat et H. Küng, L’Apostolat des Laïcs, Décret “Apostolicam actuositatem” (Sous la direction de Y. Congar), Séries Unam Sanctam 75, Cerf, Paris, 1970, 91-140.

Ferdinand Klostermann, “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, History of the text,” in Herbert Vorgrimler (editor), Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Volume III, Herder and Herder, 1969, 273.

Joseph Cardijn, Priests and the social doctrine of the Church (Archives Cardijn 1299) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The PCLA starts work

After the pomp and ceremony of the previous day, finally the first plenary meeting of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate (PCLA) began on 15 November 1960.

No doubt Cardijn and his colleagues must have felt a sense of anticipation if not excitement to learn more about the task that they had been given.

They did not have long to wait because, after analysing the vota, i.e. the responses received from bishops conferences around the world, the Central Commission had decided upon the three major subjects the PCLA would tackle.

These were:

I. The apostolate of the laity:

Determine the domain and the goals of this apostolate and its relations with the hierarchy. What are the best means for the apostolate of the laity to respond to current necessities?

II. Catholic Action:

1. To determine the notion, the domain and its subordination to the hierarchy;

2. Review its constitution in order that it be better adapted to our times;

3. Determine the relations between Catholic Action and the other associations (Marian congregations, pious unions, professional unions, etc.)

III. Associations:

To study how the activity of existing associations could better respond during our time to the ends that they propose (charitable and social action).”

Whatever sense of elation Cardijn felt at the opening of the session must have quickly evaporated upon reading these terms of reference.

A stark contrast

Just nine years earlier in October 1951, he had opened the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate with his landmark keynote speech “The world today and the apostolate of the laity.”

Drawing on his Three Truths dialectic and See Judge Act method, he had laid out the problems and issues facing the world, which ranged from demographic challenges to industrialisation, changes in the workforce, racism and colonialism as well as to cultural transformations and the arms race.

He had contrasted this reality with the Christian vision for humanity based on the “Creator’s plan of love.” And finally Cardijn had set out his own conception of a transformative, organised Christian lay apostolate:

“· Christians who intensively live their Christianity, their belonging to Jesus Christ ; who consciously live His message, His Gospel, in all their personal life, in all its worldly demands . . .

· Christians who are conscious of an explicit mission, who know that they are called to work for the extension of the reign of God . . .

· Christians who penetrate all the sectors, all the aspects, all the institutions of the modem world, as witnesses of Christ, carrying the doctrine of the Church with them . . .

· Christians who understand the whole importance of forming apostolic communities, of having an organised apostolate …”

And Cardijn’s 18-page 30 October note on “The apostolate of lay people” prepared specifically for the Prep Com further expanded and developed this vision.

Yet how little of Cardijn’s vision was reflected in the tasks given to the Commission.

At best, a faint echo of his concerns can perhaps be detected in the first question submitted to the commission: “What are the best means for the apostolate of the laity to respond to current necessities?”

Clearly, however, there was much greater concern over relations between laity and hierarchy and ensuring the “subordination” of Catholic Action movements as well as to pacify tensions between Catholic Action groups and others with a more “pious” orientation.

Nor did the reference to “charitable and social action” come anywhere near Cardijn’s vision of Christians living the Gospel in their “personal life,” working to “extend the reign of God” or penetrating and transforming the various sectors and institutions of the modern world.

From Cardijn’s point of view, the mission given to the PCLA was not back to the future but back to the past.

After the earlier misunderstanding (and disappointment) over a sub-commission involving lay people, it was not a promising start.

SOURCES

Ferdinand Klostermannn, “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity,” in Herbert Vorgrimler (ed.), Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Herder and Herder, New York, 1969,273-404.

Joseph Cardijn, The Three Truths (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, “The world today and the apostolate of the laity,” World Congress on Lay Apostolate, October 1951 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

John launches the Preparatory Commissions

On 14 November 1960, Pope John delivered a major speech to the cardinals, bishops, prelates, priests and religious who had been called to take part in the ten Preparatory Commissions for the Council.

He began by noting that “the Ecumenical Councils of the past responded mainly to concerns of doctrinal accuracy, various and important about the lex credendi, to the extent that heresies and errors tried to penetrate the ancient Church in the East and the West.”

He highlighted the contributions of five previous major Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Trent and Vatican I. He added that “the occasion for the gathering of the other fifteen Ecumenical Councils… was offered by various circumstances, and by the concern to safeguard, yes, the purity of the Church’s teaching on various points of doctrine, but also to the affirmation and direction of consciences disturbed in the face of events of a religious and political nature, in different nations or contingencies, referring however almost always to the supreme tasks of the ecclesiastical magisterium, at the service of order, balance, and social peace.”

Now, he continued, Vatican II needed to face the challenges of the modern world:

“In the modern age of a world with a profoundly changed physiognomy, and struggling to sustain itself amid the charms and dangers of the almost exclusive search for material goods, in the oblivion or in the languishing of the principles of the spiritual and supernatural order, which characterized the penetration and ‘to expand over the centuries of Christian civilization, in the modern age, therefore, rather than to one point or another of doctrine or discipline that should be referred to the pure sources of Revelation and tradition, it is a question of restoring value and splendor , the substance of human and Christian thinking and living of which the Church has been the custodian and teacher over the centuries.

“On the other hand, the deploration of the deviations of the human spirit tempted and pushed towards the sole enjoyment of the goods of the earth, which the modernity of scientific research now places easily within the reach of the children of our time, is certainly serious and even necessary. God guard us, however, not to exaggerate its proportions, to the point of making us believe that God’s skies are now definitively closed above our heads, that truly tenebrae factae sint super universam terram , and that there is nothing left to do but sprinkle our tiring journey of tears.

“Instead, we must take courage,” he said.

Great things were expected in fact, he continued:

“Great things indeed – we love to repeat – We expect from this Council, which wants to be able to reinvigorate faith, doctrine, ecclesiastical discipline, religious and spiritual life, and also a great contribution to the reaffirmation of those principles of the Christian order, on which the developments of civil, economic, political and social life also inspire and govern. The law of the Gospel must reach there and envelop and penetrate everything, everything, even what comes to us de rore caeli et de pinguedine terrae(11). Yes: to go there, which involves a conscious, elevated, sincere participation of all the components of the social order – priesthood and laity; established authorities; intellectual activities: work – social order completely occupied by the concern for the perfect union of the relations between heaven and earth: between uncertain and dangerous present life, and future eternal and very happy life in the proportion of our correspondence as men and Christians to the gifts of mercy of the Lord.’

SOURCE

Address of the Holy Father John XXIII to the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, prelates, priests and religious, called to be part of the preparatory commissions and secretariats of the II Vatican Council, Vatican Basilica, Monday 14 November 1960 (Vatican website)

Cardijn sends Note 1 to Cardinal Cento

Cardijn to Cento 31 10 1960

On 31 October 1960, Cardijn sent his Note 1 to the president of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate, Cardinal Fernando Cento.

“I am honoured to send Your Eminence a note which was inspired by the program proposed for study by the Pontifical Commission for the Apostolate of the Laity,” Cardijn wrote.

“Your Eminence will judge whether it is advisable to communicate this note to the members of the Commission.

“I have no need to repeat to Your Eminence how happy I am to be able to participate under His presidency in the study of this problem to which I have devoted the whole of my priestly life,” he concluded.

SOURCE

French original

Cardijn à Cardinal Cento (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Cardijn to Cardinal Cento (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Note 1 – The lay apostolate

Note 1 - L'apostolat des laïcs

With the first plenary meeting of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate just over two weeks away, Cardijn has finalised an 18-page typed and roneoed note entitled “L’apostolat des laïcs” (The Apostolate of Lay People).

While there is no indication of the number of copies printed, no doubt he prepared enough for distribution to the members and consultants of the PCLA as well as for his other contacts in Rome and elsewhere.

Cardijn opens by summarising the document, which is organised into five chapters that follow the form of his see-judge-act method.

See: Chapter I (naturally!) thus opens with an overview of “the essential problems of lay life,” ranging from personal, physical, family, community and social level to cultural, professional, civic and political at national and international levels.

As illustrations of the issues, Cardijn highlights population growth, rapid technological change, the break down of traditional lifestyles as well as the growing power of government, non-government and international institutions.

Judge: He divides Chapter II into three parts, setting out his own vision of the required response by the Church:

a) The apostolic and missionary dimensions of these problems and their solution;

b) the indispensable formation required to solve them;

c) the role of the Church in providing that formation and working towards solutions.

Act: Cardijn final three chapters set out Cardijn’s conception of the action required by the Church:

a) Catholic Action (Chapter III), which Cardijn characterises as both a “participation” in the formational aspect of the Hierarchy’s role “forming the faithful to share the apostolic mission of the Church in their own life and in the lay world” but also involving “the responsibility of lay people both in the direction and in the action and organisation of the apostolic movements that have received a mandate” from the Church.

b) Pious, charitable and social organisations in the Church (Chapter IV), which Cardijn views as working alongside and complementing the work of the Catholic Action movements with their focus on formation.

c) Formation of priests and religious men and women (Chapter V) to take on the task of “the formation of lay people for the apostolate.”

Finally, Cardijn adds two annexes that call for

a) the creation of a sub-commission and working groups comprising lay people and

b) proposing a post-conciliar “Roman Congregation or Dicastery for the Apostolate of Lay People,” which would continue and develop the work begun by the conciliar commission.

It was a masterful document that synthesised the essence of the Jocist-inspired “Specialised Catholic Action” model that Cardijn had developed over the previous forty years. Without a single mention of the “Italian” model of clerically-controlled, politically-oriented and Church-defending Catholic Action, Cardijn offered a completely different vision of Catholic Action led by lay people, focused on formation and reaching out to the world.

Such was the vision that would guide and inform all his work – and that of his jocist colleagues – over the course of work of the Preparatory Commission.

SOURCE

Joseph Cardijn, Note 1, L’apostolat des laïcs (Archives Cardijn 1576) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 1, The apostolate of lay people (Archives Cardijn 1576) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A first draft of a note for the Prep Com

Now that he has been appointed to the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate, as usual, Cardijn prepares meticulously, drafting an extraordinarily wide-ranging and detailed note of the way in which he would like the commission to work.

In his note, he begins by outlining the issue:

“The problem of the apostolate of lay people and of the formation of lay people for their apostolate can be exposed and solved starting from different points of departure, but which all lead to the same conclusions:

1. The Church, its mission, lay people in the Church.

2. God, the plan of God, in the Incarnation and the Redemption, participation of lay people in this plan of God.

3. The Christian’s mission in the world.

4. Man, his life, his problems, his worth and the mission of each person.”

He then drafts an extensive enquiry questionnaire for himself, which he also divides into several sections

First, he tackles “Secular and human problems” which he subdivides further into several categories:

  1. Ontological and personal, beginning with “Who am I? Why do I exist? How do I relate to others?”
  2. Family and emotional issues, beginning with “Who are my family? Who are my siblings? What about marriage?” etc.
  3. Free time: “How do I spend it? With whom? etc.
  4. Teaching and education: “How many years at school? What have I learned? Why did I leave school?
  5. Work: “What is my profession? Who do I work with? How long? Am I in a union?”
  6. Society, organisations and social institutions: “Do I exist alone? With whom? Should I be interested in various organisations?” etc.
  7. Human differences: “What are the differences between peoples?”

Cardijn then moves on to “Religious issues” beginning with the question of a person’s relationship with God, the meaning of the Incarnation of God, the existence of other religions, relationships with other Christians and non-believers, whether priests and pastors receive the kind of doctrinal and pastoral formation they need, etc.

Clearly conscious of the fact that his questions are likely to be fairly distant from the concerns of the PCLA, he explains their significance:

“In themselves for the understanding of their personal life in all its aspects: personal, family, professional, social, cultural, political, national and international;

for the understanding and realisation of their own mission in their own life in its aspects;

for the mutual promotion of this life in their immediate environment and in the world and for the union, understanding, progress, peace of all humanity;

for the eternal destiny of each and everyone;

for the glory of God and the realisation of his plan in the work of Creation and Redemption;

for collaboration in the work of the Church, in the ecumenical mission of the Church in the world of today and tomorrow.”

In a short Part II entitled “The apostolic formation of lay people” he explains that:

“1. The faithful in the Church must be formed

a) to discover these problems of their own life and that of all men

b) to discover the apostolic value of these problems

c) to learning and exercising their apostolic mission in their life, i.e. of the apostolic transformation of their own life in view of their apostolic mission immediate.

2. This apostolic formation begins at birth in the family, intensifies in school, becomes more precise and adapts to the moment of choosing and learning about their state of life.

3. This apostolic formation, doctrinal and practical, is not individualistic, but takes place in an adapted apostolic movement, where young lay people unite on the spot and on the scale of the current world, to collaborate in the action and representation of the apostolic conception of life and of the world at all stages and in all aspects of their life.

–    lives, living environment, daily, concrete and practical problems;

– private and public authorities at all levels
– national and international private and public organisations and institutions, confessional and interfaith, interracial.”

Finally, in a short Part C dealing with the work of the PCLA, he again makes an important list of points to be dealt with:

Its composition

Its purpose

Its method of work:

1) definition of the lay apostolate

2) organisation of the lay apostolate

3) formation of lay people in the apostolate

4) training of priests, men and women religious for their mission in the formation of the laity for the apostolate

5) extension and deepening of the lay apostolate

in the world of work

in intellectual circles and leaders

in education

in the different continents, races,

in national and international institutions, governmental and non-governmental

with non-Catholics and non-Christians

with organisations, movements, institutions,

achievements of non-Catholics and non-Christians.

6) Should there be sub-committees or working groups with lay people for resolutions, and fruitful practical conclusions?”

It is an extraordinary document with obvious roots in the Cardijn method of beginning from the everyday life of the people rather than from the Church’s doctrine.

SOURCE

Original French:

Joseph Cardijn, Note 1: Première ébauche d’un avant projet (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation:

Joseph Cardijn, Outline for Note 1 on the Lay Apostolate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A misunderstanding already?

René Salanne to Paul Adam

Mgr Glorieux’s reply to Cardijn on 3 October was clearly not the one that was expected.

On 15 October 1960, International YCW secretary-general, René Salanne, wrote to Paul Adam in Switzerland addressing this point.

“I am enclosing a copy of the letter that Mgr Cardijn sent to Mgr Glorieux on the issue of a ‘sub-commision’ of lay people as well as a copy of the response from Mgr Glorieux.

“However, it seems to me that there was a misunderstanding. Didn’t Mgr Glorieux understand that Mgr Cardijn was proposing the creation of a sub-commission by the organisations.

“When he responds ‘if while they are going to start only in Rome, they learn that “sub-commissions” are being created left and right’, then he seems to have such an interpretation of Mgr Cardijn’s project in his head.

“Mgr Cardijn will now write to him to say that he actually envisaged the creation of a sub-commission by the pontifical Commission itself, which could in fact call on other organisations,” he wrote. However, at this stage, I have found no record in either the IYCW or the Cardijn Archives of any response by him to Mgr Glorieux.

“The first meeting of the Commission will take place in Rome on 14 November,” René Salanne noted. It promised to be an interesting meeting!

SOURCE

René Salanne to Paul Adam 1960 10 15 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A change of date?

Cardijn to Glorieux 07 10 1960

On 7 October 1960, Cardijn wrote to Mgr Glorieux to ask if it would be possible to delay the first plenary meeting of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate for a few days.

He wrote:

“You indicated that there may be a meeting of the Pontifical Commission around 15 November. We have our International Executive Committee in Amsterdam from November 1 to 15, and I have accepted to speak in Luxembourg on 17 November.

“As I would like to attend the first meeting of the Commission in Rome, is there no way to fix a date beginning on the 18 or the 19?

“I would really appreciate it if this is still possible. If the date is already fixed I will cancel some of the engagements that I have already made here in order to be with you in Rome.”

SOURCE

French original

Cardijn à Glorieux 1960 10 07 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Cardijn to Glorieux 1960 10 07 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

An invitation from Cardinal Cento

Cento to PCLA

On 4 October 1960, Preparatory Commission President, Cardinal Fernando Cento, wrote Cardijn and other commission members informing them of their first meeting including a special audience with Pope John XXIII on Sunday 14 November.

He also invited them to take the oath of secrecy before the Apostolic Delegate or Nuncio.

A second letter also invited him to send his “observations and suggestions, not necessarily in Latin.”

Subjects

Also enclosed were other documents listing the subjects to be dealt with along with the other members of the Commission and the Sub-Commissions to which they had been allocated.

This was evidently sent out in Latin but Cardijn had had it translated into French.

Issues for the PCLA

Members of the Sub-Commissions

Cardijn thus found himself appointed to Sub-Commission I, which was to deal with Notions relating to Catholic Associations and Catholic Action.

SOURCES

Original Latin plus rough English translation

Cardinal Cento to PCLA Members 1960 10 04 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Cardinal Cento to Cardijn 1960 10 04 – 02 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Other Documents

Archives Cardijn 1584

Patience!

In a letter dated 3 October 1960, Mgr Glorieux was quick to respond to Cardijn, counselling caution and patience.

“I only received your letter of the 27 September this morning,” he wrote, “and I wanted to reply without delay but not without having read and reread it with close attention.

“Your letter contains two points on the same issue (collaboration in the preparation of the Council) that I will distinguish for the moment, namely the contribution of the various movements of the apostolate in the worker milieu and the eventual creation of a sub-commission of lay people.

“Regarding the first point, I will say without hesitation (but subject to one reserve indicated below that you will understand) that every organisation is perfectly authorised to submit any documents and contributions that it desires to the Commission. Some have already done so.

“But I would be much more reserved on the second point because as of the date at which you wrote to me, no preparatory Commission has yet begun its work in Rome… That may surprise you; but it is necessary to take into account the level of international organisation that is involved and also recall that during the First Vatican Council the preliminaries – before the preparatory Commissions – last several years.

“I therefore say, if then we are only going to start in Rome and people that there are “sub-commissions” being created left and right, the effect will be deplorable. Could you and the other movements you mention wait a little; and above do mention this project. In time, it will certainly be of interest and we will look then at how to achieve it in a genuinely effective manner.

“Have no doubt, dear Monsignor, that I am the first to desire that lay people make themselves heard; they alone understand certain aspects of the problems and have the experience of their life milieux. However, we must not skip over the steps…

“And it is here that I come back to the reserve that I mentioned earlier (but not to block any initiative by the movements; from my point of view, there is no contra-indication, simply a question of whether it is opportune); is it opportune from a perspective of a common contribution made possible in a certain period of time by an initiative such as that which you envisage, that each movement or organisation actually makes its own representations to the Commission? It is up to you to decide…

“So you see that your question is not all indiscreet and I have done my best to answer; and it is clear that this response is also addressed to all those who have discussed this project with you,” Glorieux concludes, adding that he will be happy to discuss further in mid-November when Cardijn was to come to Rome for the first meeting of the Commission.

SOURCE

Achille Glorieux à Cardijn 1960 10 03 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A sub-commission of lay leaders?

A day after meeting with the JOC, ACO and the FIMOC, Cardijn wrote on 27 September 1960 to Mgr Achille Glorieux, who had been appointed secretary to the new PCLA.

“We met in Paris yesterday with the leaders of the ACO, FIMOC and JOC Internationale to examine the possibility of international collaboration. We also considered how each movement itself and all together we could do useful work by sending to the Lay Apostolate Commission and even to other commissions one or more documents proposing a study of certain issues and experiences of solution in the field of the worker apostolate, both young and adult.

“During our discussions, we even asked if we could not propose the creation of a sub-commission comprising lay leaders and militants to submit to the Pontifical Commission their point of view, experiences as well as the wishes of the lay apostles themselves with respect to the apostolate to which they had devoted their whole lives.

“This sub-commission could work at international level or diversify into continental sub-commissions, which would examine the issue from an even more realistic perspective on a continent by continent basis.

“The issue of the worker apostolate seems to me to be so important within the ensemble of issues of the lay apostolate that I do not hesitate to ask you if it would be opportune to make such a proposal.

“If you could consult His Eminence Cardinal Cento on this subject, you could then suggest to use the right attitude to take. I am ready myself to come and speak with His Eminence if he judges it opportune.

“This collaboration of the laity themselves in the preparation of the coming Ecumenical Council seems highly opportune to me at the moment when the World Council of Churches in Geneva is preparing its own World Congress in New Delhi next year on the theme “Christ, Light of the World” and has issued an enthusiastic call to the faithful of all faiths, as well as at a time when Moral Rearmament has redoubled its activity in Africa with all African parties as well moreover will all people of colour,” Cardijn wrote.

Members and consultors of the PCLA

L’Osservatore Romano published the full list of members and consultors for the new Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate in its editions of 1 and 16 September 1960.

In this initial round of appointments, Pope John named twenty-nine members and nineteen consultors to the PCLA, including many who had previous involvement in the 1951 and 1957 World Congresses on Lay Apostolate and/or one or other of the Specialised Catholic Action movements.

This is the list:

Archbishop Evasio Colli of Parma;

Archbishop Ismael-Marie Castellano, titular archbishop of Colossae;

Archbishop Gabriel Garrone of Toulouse;

Bishop Allen-Jacques Babcock of Grand Rapids;

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, auxiliary of New York;

Bishop Gabriel Bukatko, eparch of Krizevci;

Bishop Primo Gasbarri of Velletri;

Bishop Franz Hengsbach of Essen;

Bishop Ferdinand Baldelli, titular bishop of Aperle;

Mgr Aurèle Sabbatini;

Mgr (Bishop) Luigi Civardi;

Mgr (Bishop) Emile Guano;

Mgr Pietro Pavan;

Mgr Augustin Ferrari Toniolo;

Mgr Joseph Cardijn;

Joseph Géraud;

Mgr Santo Quadri;

Mgr Ferdinand Klostermann;

Mgr Jean Rodhain;

Mgr Antoine Ramselaar;

Fr Albert Bonet Marrugat;

Fr Antoine Cortbawi;

Fr Henri Donze;

Fr Cyrille-Bernard Papali, O.C.D.;

Fr Jena Hirschmann, S.J.;

Fr Paul Lopez de Lara, S. J.;

Fr Robert Tucci, S. J.;

Fr Georges Jarlot, S. J.;

Fr Jean Ponsioen, S.C.J.

CONSULTORS:

Archbishop Emmanuel Trindade Salgueiro of Evora;

Archbishop Owen McCann of Cape Town;

Archbishop Ambroise Rayappan of Pondicherry and Cuddalore;

Archbishop Bernardin Gantin of Cotonou;

Bishop Emmanuel Larrain Errâzuriz of Talca;

Bishop Joseph Blomjous of Mwanza;

Bishop Boleslas Kominek, titular bishop of Vaga;

Bishop Bryan Gallagher of Port Pirie;

Bishop Benedict Tomizawa of Sapporo and Apostolic Administrator of the Prefecture of Karafuto;

Bishop Joseph Armand Gutierrez Granier, auxiliary of La Paz;

Bishop Reginald-John Delargey, auxiliary of Auckland;

Mgr Ferdinand Lambruschini ;

Fr Henri Caffarel;

Fr Victor Portier;

Fr Raymond Spiazzi, O.P.;

Fr Salvatore Lener, S.J.;

Fr Peter Pillai, O.M.I.;

Fr Wiliam Ferrée, C.M. ;

Fr Vincent de Vogelaere, O.P.

Among the members of the Commission with jocist links – apart from Cardijn himself – we can identify Gabriel Garrone, Jean Rodhain, Henri Donze, chaplain to the French Action Catholique Indépendent, Henri Caffarel, a former JOC national-secretariat chaplain who founded the Teams of Our Lady from France, Franz Hengsbach from Germany, Albert Bonet, founder of the JOC affiliate in Catalonia, and Antoine Cortbawi from Lebanon.

The consultors also included several with close ties to Cardijn, the JOC and the Specialised Catholic Action movements, notably Larrain but also McCann, Gantin, Blomjous, Gallagher, Gutierrez Granier, Delargey and Pillai.

SOURCES

J. Bouvy, “Composition des Commissions préparatoires du II Concile oecuménique du Vatican,” in Nouvelle Revue Théologique 82 N° 8 (1960): 861-869.

Stefan Gigacz, Vatican II bishops with links to Cardijn, the JOC and other SCA mvts

Archbishop Gabriel-Marie Garrone

Gabriel-Marie Garrone

An undated and unidentified press clipping in the JOCI Archives, probably from the French Catholic paper, La Croix in September 1960, notes the appointment to the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate of Archbishop Gabriel-Marie Garrone of Toulouse, “one of the French prelates who had taken a very keen interest in the Action Catholique Ouvrière,” the Workers Catholic Action movement.

Press clipping (Archives JOCI)

Originally a priest from the Diocese of Chambéry in the French Alps, Garrone had been an early and ardent supporter of the JOC and other Specialised Catholic Action movements.

In 1958, he published a short book entitled “L’Action catholique,” explaining the importance of the Specialised Catholic Action movements.

SOURCE

Press clipping (Archives JOCI)

Gabriel-Marie Garrone, 50 years of Church life (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Gabriel-Marie Garrone (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Gabriel-Marie Cardinal Garrone (Catholic Hierarchy)

Gabriel-Marie Garrone (Wikipedia)

Cardijn appointed to the PCLA

Cardijn’s planned five month trip to Africa had to be cut short, probably because of the Congo Crisis that was already under way.

This meant he was back in Brussels to receive his letter of appointment to the newly constituted Pontifical Commission on Lay Apostolate (PCLA) to prepare for the Council.

“I have just received from His Eminence Cardinal Tardini the announcement of my appointment as a member of the Pontifical Commission on the Apostolate of the Laity for the preparation of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council,” he wrote immediately to Cardinal Cento.

“I will be so pleased to be able to collaborate in the work of this Commission under the presidency of Your Eminence.

“A few weeks ago, I wrote to Your Eminence to say how much the problem of the apostolate of the laity concerned me and how desirous I was to work to seek an increasingly effective solution to this important question.

“Events prevented me from continuing my trip to the Congo,” he explained. “I was unable to travel to the countries of East and Southern Africa and I had to return to Brussels via Brazzaville.

“I will shortly communicate a short report of my trip that I am drafting for the Secretariat of State and Propagande Fide,” Cardijn concluded.

SOURCE

Cardijn au Cardinal Cento 1960 09 07 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Mgr Achille Glorieux

Secretaries

On 15 July 1960, the Sunday Examiner reported on the appointment of Mgr Achille Glorieux as one of five secretaries appointed to the Preparatory Commissions.

“For several years, he served as Apostolic Delegate for missions in Africa dependent on the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and later as Apostolic Delegate to British East and West Africa,” the Examiner noted.

“Mgr. Glorieux, 50, was born in Lille, and was for a time ecclesiastical assistant of Permanent Committee for the Apostolate of the Laity. At present, he is director of the French edition of L’Osservatore Romano, and Rome correspondent for La Croix, the great Catholic daily published in Paris.”

SOURCE

Press cutting (Archives JOCI)

Mgr Achille Glorieux, secretary

On 29 June 1960, L’Osservatore Romano announced that the former JOC chaplain from Lille, Mgr Achille Glorieux, had been appointed as secretary to the Pontifical Commission on Lay Apostolate.

The French Catholic paper, La Croix also reported this appointment.

Cardinal Cento the president

On 9 June 1960, Cardijn wrote to congratulate Cardinal Fernando Cento, who had just been appointed as the president of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate.

“I cannot prevent myself from expressing to Your Eminence my very great joy at this remarkable appointment as the head of a Commission which will study what seems to me to be one of the most serious problems for the future of the Church,” Cardijn wrote. “I address my warmest and most warm congratulations to Your Eminence.

Cardijn had known Cardinal Cento since his time as nuncio in Belgium. Indeed, Cento had assisted Cardijn and the JOC when the movement faced criticism at the time of the holding of its 25th anniversary rally and international congress in Brussels in 1950.

Cento was thus also certainly very aware of Cardijn’s key role in the negotiations leading up to and including the holding of the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate in Rome in 1951.

Cento’s appointment must therefore have come as a great encouragement to Cardijn. Moreover, it meant that Cardijn’s longstanding Vatican nemesis, Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo, was not in charge.

Cardijn evidently wanted to assist as far as he was able. Yet even at the age of 77, he continued to undertake a punishing travel schedule. As he explained to Cento: “I also take this opportunity to let Your Eminence know the program of my trip to Africa. I intend to visit a large number of countries, but above all to attend the Pan-African Congress and the National and Regional Congresses of the YCW in the Belgian Congo.”

But he confirmed his later availability: “I will be back by the end of October or soon after and if I can give Your Eminence some collaboration in studying one or the other issue (e.g. the apostolate of working youth), I will be very happy to be able to place myself at His disposal for the work of the Commission.”

All things considered, it was a relatively promising beginning for the Commission.

Pope John launches the preparatory commissions

On 5 June 1960, Pope John published a Motu Proprio entitled Superno Dei creating ten specialised commissions to work on preparing for the holding of Vatican II under the supervision of a Central Commission.

The proposed commissions were:

a) Theological Commission: To deal with issues relating to the Scriptures, sacred tradition, and the faith;

b) Commission for the Bishops and diocesan Governance

c) Commission on formation of the clergy and the Christian people;

d) Commission on religious principles;

e) Commission on the Sacraments;

f)  Commission on the Liturgy;

g) Commission on studies and seminaries;

h) Commission on the Eastern Churches;

i) Commission on mission;

i) Commission on the Apostolate of the Laity.

This tenth commission on lay apostolate was to deal with all issues relating to “Catholic Action as well as religious and social action.”

The Antepreparatory Commission under Archbishop Tardini had actually proposed six preparatory commissions. Now, however, Pope John had finally fixed the number at ten, including a commission on lay apostolate that the pope had decided upon himself, describing it as a “real innovation.”

Indeed, it was the first time that an Ecumenical Council had specifically addressed the issue of the apostolate of the laity.

According to Commission secretary, Mgr Achille Glorieux, a former JOC chaplain from Lille, France, this decision exercised “a great influence on the whole Council, contributing to highlight the place of lay people in the Church and the importance of their role in the apostolic mission of the Church.”

Did Cardijn himself have any particular influence on the pope in coming to this decision?

Although we have no documentation to clarify this point, it is significant that Cardijn had raised the issue of “the confusion” over lay apostolate issues in his audience with the pope less than three months earlier.

In any event, it is clear that the issue of lay apostolate was also a personal preoccupation of John himself.

SOURCES

Pope John XXIII, Superno Dei (Vatican website)

The newest mark of the Council

In an autograph note dated 1 June 1960, Pope John XXIII stated that the proposed Pontifical Commission on Lay Apostolate was the “newest mark” of the Council and would be “entrusted with the study of “the apostolate of the laity, religious and social Catholic action.”

SOURCE

Alberigo, History of Vatican II, Vol. I, p. 196.