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

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.