Requests to Cardinal Dell’Acqua

As usual, Cardijn maximised his trips to Rome, taking the opportunity to visit various Vatican officials.

On 3 July, he met with Pope John XXIII’s Substitute, Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua to make a number of requests that he summarised in an aide-mémoire he prepared:

First, he requested a “”essage from the Holy Father for Rio de Janeiro” i.e. the International YCW World Council scheduled for the end of 1961.

Secondly, he requested “honorary distinctions for the former leaders of the YCW International Bureau (1957 to 1961).”

Thirdly, he sought an honour for “the former National President of the KAJ (JOC Flemish) on the occasion of the 50th pilgrimage to Lourdes that he was organising for the sick.”

Fourthly, he raised the problem of how to contact the JOC in post-revolutionary Cuba.

“The regime and situation of certain States, such as Cuba, for example, makes it very difficult for the International Secretariat of the YCW to transmit its advice and the apostolic directives intended for them to the YCWs of these countries,” he explained.

“Would it be possible for the International Secretariat of the YCW to submit these communications in an open envelope to the Belgian Nunciature with a request to forward them to the Secretariat of State which would determine the possibility of sending them through diplomatic channels to the Representatives of the Holy See in these countries?”

Finally, in a handwritten addition, he requested financial assistance for the travel of World Council delegates from “Africa, Asia, certain European countries (illegible) …. Central America.”

It seems he had received assurances of this from Archbishops Samorè (Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs) and Sigismondi (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) on this matter.

SOURCES

French

Visite à Mgr Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Requête à Mgr Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English

Visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Request to Archbishop Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Preparing for another trip to Rome

Cardijn - Dell'Acqua 1961 06 20

On 20 June 1961, Cardijn wrote to Pope John XXIII’s Substitute, Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, to inform him that he would soon be in Rome again and to seek another meeting with him. As always he was concerned with the future of the International YCW.

“I am sorry for disturbing Your Excellency,” Cardijn began. “I am coming to Rome from 3rd to 13th July. I need to attend the meetings of the Pontifical Commission for the Lay Apostolate until Saturday evening 8 July. The following three days I will be free to make a few visits.

“I would be very grateful if Your Excellency could receive me for a few moments, so that I could tell Him about our very important World Council in Rio de Janeiro in November, which will certainly decide the future of the international YCW.”

Never one to miss an opportunity, he also wrote similar letters to Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi, who had been secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith since 1954, and Archbishop Antonio Samorè, who was secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, which was in effect the Vatican Foreign Affairs ministry.

SOURCES

French original

Joseph Cardijn – Mgr Angelo Dell’Acqua 20 06 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn – Mgr Angelo Dell’Acqua 20 06 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Angelo Cardinal Dell’Acqua (Catholic Hierarchy)

Antonio Cardinal Samorè (Catholic Hierarchy)

Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi (Catholic Hierarchy)

Central Commission

On 6 July 1960, L’Osservatore Romano published the names of the members of Central Commission responsible for coordinating the work to be done by the ten preparatory commissions.

Cardijn knew and had good working relationships with three of the most senior of these men, all of whom were officials of the Roman Curia:

Pietro Sigismondi, Secretary of the S.C. of the Propaganda Fidei;

Antonio Samoré, Secretary of the S.C. for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs; and

Angelo Dell’Acqua, Substitute at the Secretariat of State.

Although Cardijn may well have known or had contact with some of the other officials of the Central Commission,

Preparing a visit to Rome

As usual, Cardijn’s preparation for his planned trip to Rome in late February 1960 was minutious.

Even the list of people he planned to visit is impressive.

Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua, the Substitute at the Vatican, with whom Cardijn has been in regular contact since his appointment in 1954 to replace Mgr Montini, who had been promoted to archbishop of Milan.

Cardinal Fernando Cento had previously been nuncio to Belgium from 1946 to 1953.

A tough-minded conservative who had been Substitute for Pope Pius XI from 1929-35, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani had only recently been appointed as Secretary to the Vatican Holy Office. The son of a working-class baker, Ottaviani, was sympathetic to Cardijn and the JOC.

Now the Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, Archbishop Pietro Sigismondi was previously the nuncio to Rwanda the Belgian colony that hosted one of the strongest JOC movements in Africa.

Lebanese-born Cardinal François Agagianian was the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.

Soon to be appointed as a cardinal, Archbishop Pietro Marella became nuncio to France succeeding the then-Archbishop Roncalli in 1953 and would serve in that role until the end of 1959.

Archbishop Antonio Samorè was the secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, the foreign affairs branch of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

Cardijn knew and had working relationships if not friendships with them all.

In addition to these Vatican personalities, Cardijn planned to see Fr Jean-Baptiste Janssens, the Belgian-born superior general of the Jesuits, along with the heads of other missionary orders whose priests worked closely with the JOC, including the Oblates, White Fathers and Holy Cross Fathers.

He planned to visit Archbishop Maximilien de Fürstenberg, the rector of the Belgian College in Rome. Interestingly, he also planned to visit the Opus Dei priest, Fr (now Blessed) Alvaro del Portillo, who was on the “Commission laïcs pour le Concile” (Laity Commission for the Council).

In addition, he also foreshadowed a visit to Mgr Achille Glorieux, the French-born former JOC chaplain from Lille, who was secretary to the Permanent Committee for the Apostolate of the Laity.

Most of the topics Cardijn listed for his discussions revolved around the work of the YCW on the various continents and regions.

Particularly interesting and significant, however, is Cardijn’s note of issues to raise with Archbishop Dell’Acqua:

“Peut-on suggérer une Encycllque ?

a/ à l’occasion du 70ème anniversaire de Rerum Novarum, sur ‘L’Eglise face au monde du travail’

b/ pour dissiper le désarroi et la confusion sur « L’ Apostolat des laïcs ».”

“Could we suggest an Encyclical,” Cardijn asks,

“a/ on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum on “The Church and the world of work”

“b/ to dissipate the disarray and confusion over ‘The Lay Apostolate’.”

“The Church and the World of Work” and “The Lay Apostolate”: two themes at the heart of Cardijn’s mission.

Clearly, he was also highly concerned about the “disarray” and “confusion” over the latter.

Although he makes no specific mention of the Council, surely it was not absent from Cardijn’s thoughts.

SOURCE

Voyage à Rome de Mgr Cardijn et Romeo Maione (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Trip to Rome of Mgr Cardijn and Romeo Maione (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)