Collaborate with all, including non-Christians

Ernest Michel - Cardijn 25 03 1961

On 25 March 1961, Fr Ernest Michel, national chaplain to the French-speaking (Walloon) Belgian JOC, wrote to Cardijn, who had sought his views on the pastoral letter then being drafted by Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt of Bruges.

“Here are the few suggestions that I think you could make to Bishop De Smedt regarding his letter,” Michel wrote.

“In the chapter: Living in union with Christ, Reigning in his people, from page 10.

“Stress the possibility and the need for Christians to collaborate with all people of good will – even those who are non-Christian – in the construction of the world.

“Similarly, underline with a little more force the need for Christians to get involved in organisations to carry out their temporal mission (organisations which, in fact, do not always need to be confessional).

“This is what is now often describes as ‘temporal engagement,’ a term that does not appear as such in the letter.

In relation to Catholic Action, Michel suggested that the letter should indicate “that very often specialised Catholic action, especially when it works in dechristianised environments, is that impactful Catholic action of which he speaks.”

SOURCE

Original French

Ernest Michel – Cardijn 25 03 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Ernest Michel – Cardijn 25 03 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

St Joseph patron of Vatican II

Le Voci

On 19 March 1961, the Feast of St Joseph, Pope John XXIII, whose baptismal name was Giuseppe (Joseph) Angelo Roncalli, proclaimed him as the patron saint of the Second Vatican Council, as Cardijn himself noted (image above).

“Besides a few glimpses of his recurring figure here and there in the writings of the Fathers, he has remains for centuries and centuries in his characteristic hiding, almost as a figure of ornament in the picture of the life of the Savior,” Pope John wrote.

“And it took some time before his cult penetrated from the eyes into the hearts of the faithful, and drew from it special elevations of prayer and trusting abandonment.

“These were the fervent joys reserved for the effusions of the modern age: oh! how copious and impressive; and of these we are particularly pleased to immediately grasp a very characteristic and significant relief,” he added.

It was only with the advent of the modern popes, from Pope Pius IX till Pius XII, who raised his profile in the Church and among the faithful.

Pope Pius XII, in fact, had proclaimed St Joseph as patron saint of workers, John noted.

In a similar spirit, he now proclaimed his patron of the Second Vatican Council.

“The Council is made for all the Christian people who are interested in it for that more perfect circulation of grace, of Christian vitality, which makes the purchase of the truly precious goods of the present life easier and quicker, and ensures the riches of eternal centuries,” Pope John explaining why he had chosen Joseph, a lay man, as patron of the Council.

SOURCES

Pope John XIII, Apostolic Letter Le Voci, 19 March 1961 (Vatican.va)

PHOTO

Stained glass window from the Catholic chapel of Dartmouth College.

Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY NC ND 2.0

The International YCW

La JOC Internationale

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.”

The solution

“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.”

The method

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.”

Catholic Action

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.

SOURCE

French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 5 – La JOC Internationale (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English

Joseph Cardijn, Note 5 – The International YCW (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Enrique Angelelli ordained bishop

Bishop Enrique Angelelli

On 12 March 1961, Fr Enrique Angelelli, JOC chaplain in the Argentine Diocese of Cordoba, was ordained as an auxiliary bishop for that diocese.

Over a decade earlier, he had founded the JOC in the diocese alongside Jose ‘Pepe’ Palacio

Fifteen years later he would die a martyr during Argentina’s Dirty War.

SOURCES

Bishop Bl. Enrique Ángel Angelelli Carletti (Catholic Hierarchy)

Enrique Angelelli (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

José Serapio Palacio (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

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)