The anguished call of a great apostle

Among the first people Cardijn met were Chilean Bishop Manuel Larrain and Brazilians Dom Helder Camara and Dom Jose Vicente Tavora, a former JOC national chaplain.

Helder Camara recorded the meeting in one of his letters to his colleagues in Brazil:

Msgr Cardijn has just left. He cried with joy at everything that Dom Larrain, Dom Tavora and I told him. If God wishes, we will succeed in having him appointed as an expert on lay apostolate issues (and who surpasses him in this area?).

Tomorrow he will come to celebrate his 80th birthday with us. What a life, fully and well lived in the light of grace!

In the same letter, Camara recalled Cardijn’s 1951 speech on ‘The lay apostolate and the world today’ at the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate, which had made such an impression on him – ‘one of the greatest of my life.’

‘Just about everything that we are trying to achieve, with the grace of God, is in response to the anguished call of this great apostle,’ Camara added.


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

Jocism inspires and dominates the Council

Astounded by what Bishops José Tavora, Helder Camara and Manuel Larrain at the Domus Mariae Hotel during Cardijn’s meeting with them on 18 November 1962, Cardijn commented in a handwritten note:

‘[They’re] crazy! Jocism inspires and dominates the Council. Pressing call to stay and return,’ an astounded Cardijn scribbled in his notebook following his meeting with .


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

Archives Cardijn 1300.

Abandon the shocking luxury of temples

On 12 November, another ex-JOC chaplain, Cardinal Feltin called for Easter to be fixed on the same date each year to facilitate the participation of the faithful, particularly those on a schedule such as students.

According to the journalist Henri Fesquet, “the interventions that produced the greatest impression on the Fathers were those which sought the simplification of liturgical vestments.”

Chilean Bishop Manuel Larrain, who called for the Church to take into account “the poverty of the under-developed countries, as well as the social concerns expressed by the encyclicals” and abandon the “shocking luxury of its temples and its liturgical vestments.”

He was backed up by yet another Jocist bishop, Paul Gouyon, who appealed for “greater simplicity,” including the abandonment of the ostentatious cappa magna.


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

Cardijn seeks Larrain’s views

On 15 January 1963, Cardijn wrote to Chilean Bishop Manuel Larrain, vice-president of the Latin American Bishops Council (CELAM), as well as a member of the Conciliar Commission on Lay Apostolate, seeking his views on his book manuscript.


15 January 1963


Several bishops who have visited me in recent weeks have told me a great deal about the importance of the forthcoming work of the Commission on the Apostolate of the Laity, which is to prepare the second session of the Council, and of which you are an authorised member.

That’s why, at their suggestion, I’m taking the liberty of sending you, under separate cover, the manuscript of a work I intend to publish shortly, which sets out my ideas on the lay apostolate, based on the experience I’ve gained in the course of my fifty years as a priest. Many of the points dealt with in this forthcoming work are obviously in line with the issues being addressed by the Conciliar Commission.

The book will go to press around Easter and will be given to a number of Council Fathers, but all those I have seen have assured me that it is highly desirable to communicate its contents to you without further delay.

You know how much importance I attach to the place of the apostolate in the Church, and I am more and more convinced that at this decisive hour, the future of the Church depends on this same apostolate of the laity, for a large part at least.

Please accept, Your Excellency, with my thanks in advance for the welcome you will give to my letter, the expression of my deepest respect.

Joe. Cardijn,

Chaplain general of the YCW

To His Excellency Bishop Manuel LARRAIN,

Most Reverend Bishop of and to

TALCA (Chile)


Archives Cardijn 1608

Members and consultors of the PCLA

L’Osservatore Romano published the full list of members and consultors for the new Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate in its editions of 1 and 16 September 1960.

In this initial round of appointments, Pope John named twenty-nine members and nineteen consultors to the PCLA, including many who had previous involvement in the 1951 and 1957 World Congresses on Lay Apostolate and/or one or other of the Specialised Catholic Action movements.

This is the list:

Archbishop Evasio Colli of Parma;

Archbishop Ismael-Marie Castellano, titular archbishop of Colossae;

Archbishop Gabriel Garrone of Toulouse;

Bishop Allen-Jacques Babcock of Grand Rapids;

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, auxiliary of New York;

Bishop Gabriel Bukatko, eparch of Krizevci;

Bishop Primo Gasbarri of Velletri;

Bishop Franz Hengsbach of Essen;

Bishop Ferdinand Baldelli, titular bishop of Aperle;

Mgr Aurèle Sabbatini;

Mgr (Bishop) Luigi Civardi;

Mgr (Bishop) Emile Guano;

Mgr Pietro Pavan;

Mgr Augustin Ferrari Toniolo;

Mgr Joseph Cardijn;

Joseph Géraud;

Mgr Santo Quadri;

Mgr Ferdinand Klostermann;

Mgr Jean Rodhain;

Mgr Antoine Ramselaar;

Fr Albert Bonet Marrugat;

Fr Antoine Cortbawi;

Fr Henri Donze;

Fr Cyrille-Bernard Papali, O.C.D.;

Fr Jena Hirschmann, S.J.;

Fr Paul Lopez de Lara, S. J.;

Fr Robert Tucci, S. J.;

Fr Georges Jarlot, S. J.;

Fr Jean Ponsioen, S.C.J.


Archbishop Emmanuel Trindade Salgueiro of Evora;

Archbishop Owen McCann of Cape Town;

Archbishop Ambroise Rayappan of Pondicherry and Cuddalore;

Archbishop Bernardin Gantin of Cotonou;

Bishop Emmanuel Larrain Errâzuriz of Talca;

Bishop Joseph Blomjous of Mwanza;

Bishop Boleslas Kominek, titular bishop of Vaga;

Bishop Bryan Gallagher of Port Pirie;

Bishop Benedict Tomizawa of Sapporo and Apostolic Administrator of the Prefecture of Karafuto;

Bishop Joseph Armand Gutierrez Granier, auxiliary of La Paz;

Bishop Reginald-John Delargey, auxiliary of Auckland;

Mgr Ferdinand Lambruschini ;

Fr Henri Caffarel;

Fr Victor Portier;

Fr Raymond Spiazzi, O.P.;

Fr Salvatore Lener, S.J.;

Fr Peter Pillai, O.M.I.;

Fr Wiliam Ferrée, C.M. ;

Fr Vincent de Vogelaere, O.P.

Among the members of the Commission with jocist links – apart from Cardijn himself – we can identify Gabriel Garrone, Jean Rodhain, Henri Donze, chaplain to the French Action Catholique Indépendent, Henri Caffarel, a former JOC national-secretariat chaplain who founded the Teams of Our Lady from France, Franz Hengsbach from Germany, Albert Bonet, founder of the JOC affiliate in Catalonia, and Antoine Cortbawi from Lebanon.

The consultors also included several with close ties to Cardijn, the JOC and the Specialised Catholic Action movements, notably Larrain but also McCann, Gantin, Blomjous, Gallagher, Gutierrez Granier, Delargey and Pillai.


J. Bouvy, “Composition des Commissions préparatoires du II Concile oecuménique du Vatican,” in Nouvelle Revue Théologique 82 N° 8 (1960): 861-869.

Stefan Gigacz, Vatican II bishops with links to Cardijn, the JOC and other SCA mvts