Canonical mission and hierarchical mandate

Note 6 - Canonical mission and hierarchical mandate

On 5 March 1961, Cardijn composed Note 6, which he entitled “Reflection on the note “DE MISSIONE CANONICA ET MANDATO HIERARCHIAE” of Rev. Fr. Papali O.C.D.”

In this he sought to dispel some of the (many) misconceptions surrounding the meaning of “canonical mission” and “mandate” that were then in circulation and to present his own conception of how these terms applied to the JOC and other Specialised Catholic Action movements.

In relation to “canonical mission,” he asks: “Could the meaning of this term not be extended to a mission which of itself belongs to lay people in the Church, which is proper to them, but the organisation of which is mandated by the Hierarchy?”

In other words, lay people have a mission of their own without the need for any sort of superadded canonical mission. On the other hand, the term was applicable to organisations which had been mandated by the local bishop or bishops.

Secondly, he insisted that any hierarchical mandate granted to a Catholic Action organisation was limited to the “mission confided.”

“It does not give a monopoly, nor does it give an international organisation a power above the power of the local Hierarchy,” he insisted, repudiating the accusation made by then-Bishop Léon-Joseph Suenens of Brussels that the movements were seeking a monopoly.

Rather, ” it is more an order of mission, than an encouragement or an approval, in order to officialise a private mission and to guarantee it to the subordinated hierarchies, who maintain all their power of jurisdiction and to stimulate the members of the organisation,” Cardijn explained.

Nor was this a personal mandate.

“As a general rule, the mandate as the mission is given to the organisation as such; to the leaders named as such, the ordinary leaders, the leaders and members only participate in a relative manner, depending on their authority, their competency and their activity in the movement,” he continued.

“The mission or the mandate increases the responsibility of the leaders and members and is a stimulant to vigilance and the spirit of conquest and sacrifice.

“This mission or mandate officially inserts the apostolate and the organisation within that of the Church and makes it an apostolate of the Church, an apostolic institution of the Church,” he concluded.

As clear as Cardijn’s explanation was, it was not easily accepted by his opponents.

SOURCES

Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 6 – Mission canonique et mandat hiérarchique (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 6 – Canonical mission and hierarchical mandate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Suggestions for Bishop De Smedt

Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt

In March 1961, Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt of Bruges consulted Cardijn on the drafting of a proposed pastoral letter on “the priesthood of the faithful.”

And he does not fear to correct De Smedt, characterising one phrase as simply “erronée” – erroneous or incorrect.

Whereas De Smedt appears to have mentioned “les fidèles” or “the faithful”, Cardijn insists on speaking of the “lay faithful.”

In typical fashion, he is concerned that ordinary people will be able to understand the document, questioning terms such as “ministerial” as in “ministerial priesthood.”

Nor does he approve of the term “corporation” used by De Smedt to distinguish between the “corporation of priests” in the Church and the “corporation of all the baptised.”

He emphasises the “missionary apostolate.”

And he insists that priests are “animators” and “not just administrators.

Specialised Catholic Action

Also highly significant is Cardijn distinction between Specialised and General Catholic Action

Specialised Catholic Action is concerned with “the whole of life, all the problems of life,” he says.

On the other hand, he views “General Catholic Action” as a “coordination of all Specialised CA organizations.”

Moreover Catholic must be more concerned with having an “impact” than providing “services,” Cardijn argues, adding characteristically that it must be organised “at the parish, diocesan, national and international level.”

“Shouldn’t more importance be given to studying its development” he asks in conclusion.

SOURCE

French original

Joseph Cardijn, A la lecture d’un texte (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, On reading a document (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Aid for Africa and Latin America

Aide-Mémoire Samoré 07 02 1961

A day after his visit to Archbishop Dell’acqua, Cardijn had two more appointments.

Archbishop Sigismondi, Propaganda Fide

The first was with the Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi, previously a Vatican diplomat and originally from Bergamo, the home diocese of Pope John XXIII.

The focus of this visit was the work of the JOC in Africa. As well as reporting on his trips to Africa, Cardijn thus sought Vatican assistance in placing the JOC “missionaries,” later called “extension workers,” whose task was to assist the development of the movement in the host countries.

Cardijn also insisted on the importance of the African JOC movements participating in the forthcoming Rio de Janeiro international council and he sought a grant for this purpose.

Archbishop Antonio Samoré, Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs

Cardijn’s second visit was to Archbishop Antonio Samoré, secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, effectively the Vatican’s foreign affairs office responsible for relations with other countries.

With the international council in Rio now less than a year away, Cardijn’s focus here was on Latin America. He requested a letter of support to be addressed to the Latin American bishops conference, CELAM, as well as further letters to Holy See representative offices all over Latin America.

He noted that Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara had committed to funding all hosting expenses for the international council but that a special fund had been created to finance the travel of other Latin American delegates to Brazil.

And a handwritten addition in Cardijn’s handwriting calls for a “word to HE Sigismondi.” Presumably, Cardijn wanted Samoré to add his support to Cardijn’s requests for aid to Africa as well.

All in all, another advocacy masterclass from Cardijn, in effect seeking to make Samoré and Sigismondi (and hence the Holy See) stakeholders in the development of the JOC in Africa and Latin America.

SOURCES

Pietro Sigismondi (Wikipedia)

Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi (Catholic Hierarchy)

Antonio Samoré (Wikipedia)

Antonio Cardinal Samoré (Catholic Hierarchy)

French original

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Sigismondi 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Samoré 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Sigismondi 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, Aide-Mémoire – Mgr Samoré 07 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Talking to students at the Gregorian

06 02 1961 Gregorian

As well as his visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua on 6 February, Cardijn also addressed students and professors at the Pontifical Gregorian University – as he had done on so many previous visits to Rome since at least the early 1930s.

On this occasion, Australian seminarian, Richard (Dick) Buchhorn, appears to have assisted and collaborated with Cardijn, by typing up his notes for the talk in English as well as adding a few comments of his own about the audience, who would include “….Africans, Scotchmen, Irish” and no doubt others (unfortunately illegible on the copy of the document).

They may have had “contact with the Y.C.W.” but still have “superficial knowledge” or even “know practically nothing” about the movement.

“Most think about Y.C.W. as an optional Parish organisation (one among many), an extra, less important than student, family, professional, adult organisations,” Buchhorn warns, highlighting a growing trend to regard the YCW as just one of a range of options.

“They will think about Y.C.W. as a technique, recipe, blueprint, method which may or may not ‘work’ successfully in parish life.”

“Hence little or no idea of formation, of apostolate starting from concrete facts,” Buchhorn notes. “Most will not sense the need for the priest to know his people, to share their life, their culture. (This particularly for Asian and African priests, who, during their studies here in Europe, become very “western” in their thought, habits, etc.)”

He therefore suggests that the “predominant THEME should be THE PASTORAL CONCERN OF THE PRIEST for young workers” who feel “generally abandoned, ignored” and at a “crucial period of their life” yet are “full of latent generosity.”

Hence they “must be formed to live a fully Christian life.”

“This formation depends on the priest, who must

– know them “Cognosco oves meas” (Translation: “I know my sheep”)

– seek them “Oves perditas” (Translation: “Lost sheep”)

– form them “Pasce…” (Translation: “Feed”)

in and through their daily life, through action, doctrine, sacraments

through a true elite in and for the true masses

“This task falls to every priest, even if there were no Y.C.W.

It is of vital importance for – the priest

– working youth

– their milieu

– family

– factory

– places of leisure

– the Church

– the world.”

“In this way the challenge, the responsibility, is thrown on to the listeners in an immediate way,” Buchhorn concludes.

SOURCE

Richard Buchhorn, Note for Cardijn 06 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua

Aide-Mémoire Dell'Acqua 06 02 1961

With the PCLA plenary meeting now over, Cardijn maximises his trip to Rome with a visit on 6 February to Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, who plays the role of Substitute at the Holy See.

As always, Cardijn is extremely well prepared with a list of topics he wishes to report on, difficulties he wants to discuss as well as a series of specific, concrete requests for aid.

Africa

So he begins by presenting a report of his recent trip to Africa for the Pan-African YCW meeting in Lomé, Togo from 18 December, I960 to 2 January, 1961. He notes the absence of delegates from Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), which implies perhaps a lack of cooperation from local Church authorities that he wishes to redress.

And he reports on his earlier trip to several African countries in mid-1960, which was interrupted by events in Rwanda.

He particularly notes the arrival of “jocist missionaries” in Africa, no doubt wishing to ensure that they are welcomed by local bishops and churches.

International Council, Rio de Janeiro

Secondly, Cardijn offers information on the forthcoming Second International Council of the YCW to be held in Rio de Janeiro in October 1961. Five continental preparatory meetings will take place in the lead up to the Council with representatives from 90 countries expected to attend, truly a phenomenal achievement.

And he requests a letter of encouragement from the Holy See addressed to himself and/or the IYCW president, Romeo Maione, in order to help in the promotion and fundraising for the event.

He also requests letters to the representatives of the Holy See in each country in an endeavour to gain their cooperation.

And finally he asks for “honorary distinctions for international leaders” who are about to end their service to the YCW.

Vatican II

Nor is Vatican II absent from his thoughts. Thus he emphasises the “importance of a declaration by the Council on the need for the apostolate of the laity” and its promotion and development.

Encyclical for the 70th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum

Cardijn also returns to his request to Pope John in 1960 for an encyclical to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Rerum Novarum, and to update its teaching. He cites the teaching of Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno in 1931:

“a / on the importance of the workers’ apostolate: “The first and immediate apostles of workers will be workers”

b / on the importance of the apostolate of young workers: ‘I can already see, to the great joy of my heart, the tight ranks of young workers going to conquer their young working brothers and sisters’.

c / great progress over recent years

d / and ardent hope that this progress will continue.”

World Council of Churches

He also draws attention to the forthcoming 3rd Ecumenical Assembly of Churches scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India, from 18 November – 6 December, 1961.

Finally, he requests a private audience with John XXIII although it’s not clear if he is hoping for this immediately or on his next trip to Rome.

It’s another Cardijn masterclass of advocacy.

SOURCES

Angelo Dell’Acqua (Wikipedia)

Angelo Cardinal Dell’Acqua (Catholic Hierarchy)

Aide-Mémoire Mgr Dell’Acqua 06 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Aide-Memoire Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua 06 02 1961 (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)

More papers to read

1961 01 017 - PCLA Cv8

Cardijn’s now back in Brussels after his long, exhausting trip to Africa. No time to rest, however, as on 27 January 1961 the PCLA sent out a new packet of documents – mostly in Latin – in preparation for the forthcoming meeting of the Commission.

This meeting is slated to commence on 31 January.

SOURCE

Archives Cardijn 1584

Joos ready to meet Cardijn in Brussels

Joos - Cardijn 27 01 1961

And on 27 January 1961, Mgr Joos wrote to Cardijn himself, responding to Cardijn’s request for assistance on 14 December 1960.

“A very big thank you for your letter,” Mgr Joos wrote.

The translation and re-reading that Cardijn had requested was “no bother at all.”

“What I fear most is betraying your thought when you entrust me with documents to check,” Joos wrote. “Let me tell you how much I once again admired your deep sense of the Church.”

Clearly, however, Cardijn wanted further discussion or collaboration.

“I would be happy to come and see you in BRUSSELS whenever possible,” Joos offered.

French original

Mgr Désiré Joos – Cardijn 27 01 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Mgr Désiré Joos – Cardijn 27 01 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)