Belgian bishops pay homage to Cardijn

Bishop Honoré Van Waeyenbergh represented the Belgian bishops at the rally celebrating Cardijn’s 80th birthday.

He read the following message of the Belgian bishops.

The Belgian Bishops1

It is from distant Rome, from the city of the popes, that the Belgian episcopate sends you, through the voice of its representative, its congratulations on the occasion of your jubilee.

At a time when your collaborators, your friends, as well as countless former Jocists and current Jocists are celebrating you, the bishops had hoped to be able to be present and speak themselves as Pastors ofthe church to pay homage to the father and animator of the Christian Worker Youth.

They would have liked to surround you at the altar of the Lord, and thank God — to whom all honour and glory belongs — for your fruitful priestly career and for your fifty years devoted to the service of the Church’s apostolate.

Providence has arranged otherwise. Detained in Rome by the activities of the Second Vatican Council, but united with you in mind and heart, the Bishops send you, from the Eternal City, their warm congratulations as well as the testimony of their deep gratitude.

In Rome, Monsignor, they feel united to you in a very special way.

Here, several glorious popes have followed with great esteem and supported your life’s work with their paternal encouragement, while honoring you with their trust.

On several occasions, Rome, the heart of the Catholic Church, was the moving witness of your splendid Jocist pilgrimages and of the attachment of a new working youth.

Gathered in Rome around the supreme Pastor, the episcopate of the whole world rethinks the task and the mission of the Church in the world today.

Of these 2,500 bishops, how many have you encountered during your travels around the world!

How many of them have been won over to your ideal by the attractiveness of your personality and the conviction of your words. How have they not become your friends!

How many also accompanied their Jocists during the gathering, in St. Peter’s Square, of young workers from 91 countries of the world when they brought to the Holy Father the enthusiastic testimony of their filial fidelity and their fervent apostolic spirit.

They appeared in Rome as the announcement of a new springtime in the Church, as missionaries of the new times spread throughout all countries, as the seed of a new and more beautiful world, as the rich promise of a working class conscious of its human and Christian dignity.

Fifty years have passed since the time when young and ardent curate, you arrived at the parish of Notre-Dame de Laeken. There, in the humble parish ministry, in daily contact with young people, the immense distress of this young worker entering the workplace was revealed to you.

If your heart was painfully wounded by it, the acute perception of this total abandonment, joined to a deep knowledge of the vital resources of this same youth, made mature in you this double conviction: the working youth would find its liberation on the one hand in its own resources, on the other hand in the resources of grace that Christ entrusted to his Church.

Everywhere, in the world, in front of the most varied audiences, by your vibrant words, you have proclaimed it: working-class youth needsthe church, asthe church needs working youth.

You have put your gifts, so rich in intelligence and heart, at the service of this cause. Thus, over the years, you have developed new methods of formation for the apostolate which transform young workers into lay apostles in the heart of the working masses.

The Church, dear Monsignor, is infinitely grateful to you for having had faith, without any wavering, in the possibilities of working-class youth. She is grateful to you for having, for fifty years, tirelessly revealed to them the dignity of their person, the nobility of their heart, the value of their work, their deep desire for a more beautiful and better life; in a word, to have initiated them into their vocation as young Christian workers and to have shown them the immense possibilities of their apostolate.

On the evening of such a full and fruitful life, in the face of such human slowness and the inevitable partial failures, you can say like Saint Paul: Fidem servavi. Yes, despite the trials, I have kept my faith intact in this merciful love, which the Eternal Father has revealed to us in his Son Jesus Christ and which through the Church is addressed as good news to the poor, the humble and to the most neglected of men.

During a press conference, a few days ago, you would have declared with the vitality that characterises you: “I am eighty years old, but my heart is only twenty”.

Monsignor, by your life completely given to the apostolate of the Church, you participate in the youth which is the privilege of our Mother to all. In her, the Lord is always present to enliven her with his Spirit. She too, at the Council, rediscovers her youth and the ardent heart of the first Pentecost.

May the Lord, by his spirit of love, make rise and ripen in hearts what you have so generously sown there. May, everywhere in the world, as the Osservatore Romano said, shine this light of hope which constitutes for the Church, the presence of young Christian workers.

Ad multos annos, Monsignor, may God keep you. As for your work, it is not finished. On a global scale, it has only just begun.

Léon-Joseph Cardinal SUENENS, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels

André-Marie CHARUE, Bishop from Namur

Charles-Justin CALLEWAERT, Bishop of Ghent

Charles-Marie HIMMER, Bishop from Tournai

Emile-Joseph DE SMEDT, Bishop de Bruges

Guillaume-Marie VAN ZUYLEN, Bishop from Liege

Jules-Victor DAEM, Bishop from Antwerp

Rome, 1 December, 1962.

SOURCE

L’épiscopat belge, p. 17-20, in Collective, Un message libérateur, Hommage à Cardijn, Editions Ouvrières, Brussels, 1962, 251p.

1This letter was read by Monsignor Van Waeyenbergh, Rector Magnificent of the University of Louvain who represented the Belgian episcopate at the 2 December 1962 rally.

SOURCE

L’épiscopat belge (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

De Smedt hits out at hierarchism, clericalism, episcopolatry and papolatry

In one of the first speeches on the De Ecclesia schema, Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt hit out at what he characterised as the dangers of “hierarchism, clericalism, episcopolatry and papolatry.”

In the first chapters of the Draft the traditional picture of the Church predominates. You know the pyramid: the pope, the bishops, the priests, who preside and, when they receive the powers, who teach, sanctify, and govern; then, at the bottom, the Christian people who instead receive and somehow seem to occupy second place in the Church.

We should note that hierarchical power is only something transitory. It belongs to our status on the way. In the next life, in the final state, it will no longer have a purpose, because the elect will have reached perfection, perfect unity in Christ. What remains is the People of God; what passes is the ministry of the hierarchy.

In the People of God we are all joined to others and have the same basic rights and duties. We all share in the royal priesthood of the People of God. The pope is one of the faithful; bishops, priests, lay people, religious: we are all the faithful. We go to the same sacraments; we all need the forgiveness of sins, the eucharistic bread, and the Word of God; we are all heading towards the same homeland, by God’s mercy and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But as long as the People of God is on the way, Christ brings it to perfection by means of the sacred ministry of the hierarchy. All power in the Church is for ministering, for serving: a ministry of the Word, a ministry of grace, a ministry of governance. We did not come to be served but to serve.

We must be careful lest in speaking about the Church we fall into a kind of hierarchism, clericalism, episcopolatry, or papolatry. What is most important is the People of God; to this People of God, to this Bride of the Word, to this living Temple of the Holy Spirit, the hierarchy must supply its humble services so that it may grow and reach perfect manhood, the fullness of Christ. Of this growing life the hierarchical Church is the good mother: Mother Church.

SOURCE

Stefan Gigacz, The Leaven in the Council, Chapter 7, The Council opens without Cardijn (Australian Cardijn Institute)

A Tidbit from Vatican II: Reflecting on the “Hierarchy” (Deacons Today: Musings on Diakonia and Diaconate)

Election results announced

On 20 October 1962, the results of the elections for the conciliar commissions were announced.

In addition to the 160 elected bishops, John XXIII added nine appointed members bringing the total number in each commission to twenty-five.

Although there was no Jocist ‘ticket,’ the results revealed a significant representation of movement-linked bishops in nearly every Commission.

This was particularly so in the all-important Doctrinal Commission on Faith and Morals (Doctrinal Commission) and in the Lay Apostolate Commission (LAC), which now had the clumsy, formal title of Commission on the Apostolate of the Faithful, Press and Public Spectacles [sic], each of which each included at least eight such bishops.

Doctrinal Commission

Elected

Gabriel-Marie Garrone, longstanding proponent of the JOC
Joseph Schröffer, who participated in the IYCW Rome pilgrimage in 1957
Alfredo Scherer, a JOC supporter from Brazil
Paul Emile Léger, a Canadian proponent of the SCA movements
André-Marie Charue, who had links with the Belgian JOC back to 1924
Marcos McGrath CSC, Holy Cross father and JOC patron in Panama
Maurice Roy, pioneer JOC chaplain, cousin of Quebec JOC founder, Henri Roy

Appointed

Bishop Georges Pelletier, Canadian bishop closely linked to the SCA movements

Lay Apostolate Commission

Elected members

Manuel Larrain, pioneer of Specialised Catholic Action in Chile
Franz Hengsbach, bishop of Essen, seat of the German JOC/CAJ
Jacques Ménager, bishop responsible for Catholic Action movements in France
John E. Petit, an English bishop close to the YCW
Joseph Blomjous, of Dutch origin, supporter of the SCA movements in Tanzania
Paul Yu Pin, JOC pioneer in China before coming to Formosa (Taiwan)
Gerardus De Vet, director of (Specialised) Catholic Action, Breda, Netherlands

Appointed

René Stourm, an early JOC chaplain in France

This gave the Jocist bishops close to a third of the numbers in each of these commissions, with the former responsible for the future Lumen Gentium, and both responsible for the eventual Gaudium et Spes.

Other members of the LAC also supported the JOC and Specialised Catholic Action to varying extents, including Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, the Salesian archbishop of Santiago, who admired Cardijn, Emilio Guano, a former International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-Pax Romana) chaplain from Italy, as well as Castellano and Luigi Civardi
from Italian Catholic Action.

The Doctrinal Commission also included Vienna Cardinal Franz König, who had known Cardijn for decades particularly through the Pax Romana network.

A notable absentee in the LAC, however, was Cardijn’s Belgian ally, Charles-Marie Himmer, whose nomination had been opposed by Suenens, who confirmed this in a 16 October 1962 letter to Veronica O’Brien of the Legion of Mary:In any event, the 65 Belgian missionary bishops are behind me – which is not the case for the seven here (i.e. the seven diocesan bishops)… I felt this in De Smedt’s manoeuvres which aimed to place Himmer on the list of candidates for the Catholic Action Commission (i.e. Lay Apostolate Commission). I told him privately that I did not agree with the idea but he publicly returned to the charge for him to be included on our list.

Indeed, Suenens was ‘very isolated among the Belgian bishops on account of his ideas of the lay apostolate,’ as Congar noted, although he remained undeterred in his campaign against the alleged ‘monopolisation’ of Catholic Action.

Other Commissions

Promisingly, every other commission also included a Jocist presence.

Bishops and Government of Dioceses

Emile Guerry, another French JOC pioneer
Pierre Veuillot, previously in the Holy See, connected to France’s Mission ouvrière

Discipline and Sacraments

Alexandre Renard, Liénart protégé, involved in the Ecole Missionaire du Travail in Lille

Discipline of the Clergy and the Christian People

Guillaume Van Zuylen, bishop of Liège, Belgium
Agnelo Rossi, JUC/JIC chaplain from Brazil
François Marty, JOC/JAC chaplain in France
Thomas Cooray omi, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Religious

Gerard Huyghe, bishop of Arras, another Liénart protégé and promoter of SCA
Jean Janssens SJ, the Jesuit Superior General and close friend of Cardijn

Missions

Guy Riobé, bishop of Orleans, JAC chaplain and promoter of JOC and ACO
Jean Zoa, bishop of Yaoundé, Cameroon, former JOC chaplain
Cardinal Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, a Cardijn disciple since the 1930s

Liturgy

Henri Jenny, Sillon sympathiser from Lille, and auxiliary bishop to Guerry at Cambrai
Joseph Malula, JOC chaplain from Congo Kinshasa
Enrique Rau, former national chaplain of JOC Argentina
Bernardo Fey Schneider, former national chaplain of JOC Bolivia
Seminaries, Studies and Catholic Education
Ramon Bogarin, JOC founder in Paraguay
Denis Hurley omi, Cardijn disciple from South Africa
Emile Blanchet, participated in 1950 JOC Internationale congress, Brussels
Justin Simonds, Melbourne co-adjutor and long-time JOC supporter

Christian Unity

Christian Unity
Emile-Joseph De Smedt, former JOCF chaplain and close to Cardijn

, former JOCF chaplain and close to Cardijn

Oriental Churches

Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh

SOURCE

Stefan Gigacz, The Leaven in the Council, Chapter 7, The Council opens without Cardijn (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Mgr Glorieux welcomes De Smedt pastoral letter

On 30 May 1961, Mgr Achille Glorieux, Secretary of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate, wrote to Bishop Emile-Jozef De Smedt, welcoming the publication of the latter’s pastoral letter on the Royal Priesthood of the People of God.

SOURCE

Bishop De Smedt Archives, Bruges Diocesan Archives

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)

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)

36 Belgians in the Prep Coms

La Libre Belgique 19 01 1961

The Belgian paper, La Libre Belgique reported on 19 January 1961 that 36 Belgians, including of course Cardijn, had been appointed to the various preparatory commissions for the coming Second Vatican Council.

Others who were close to Cardijn, the JOC and/or other Specialised Catholic Action movements included:

Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey of Malines-Brussels, Cardijn’s own archbishop and a long-standing supporter, but now aged 87;

Bishop Emiel-Jozef De Smedt of Bruges, a dynamic young bishop (aged 52) who had worked with the VKAJ, the Flemish female JOC, and whose sister Livine, had been a fulltime worker for the VKAJ who had also helped launch the JOC in Germany;

Fr Bernard Botte osb, a Benedictine liturgist, who was prominent in the liturgical reform movement;

Fr Lucien Cerfaux, a Louvain theologian, New Testament scholar and expert in Paulinian theology, who had been advisor to Cardijn and the JOC during the late 1940s.

But others less sympathetic to Cardijn included the ambitious young auxiliary bishop of Malines-Brussels, Leon-Joseph Suenens.

A notable omission from the preparatory commissions was Mgr Gerard Philips, the Louvain theologian and author of an influential book Le rôle du laïcat dans l’Eglise, published in French in 1954, and in English as The Role of the Laity in the Church in 1955.

SOURCES

Archives JOCI

Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey (Catholic Hierarchy)

Bishop Emiel-Jozef De Smedt (Catholic Hierarchy)

Bernard Botte osb (Liturgical Leaders)

Stefan Gigacz, The liturgical movement and Catholic Action (Cardijn Research)

Lucien Cerfaux (Encyclopedia.com)

Lucien Cerfaux (Wikipedia.fr)