A second volume proposed!

On 10 June, Delarge wrote to Cardijn expressing his own satisfaction and happiness with the project and thanking him for his cooperation.

The book is already attracting great interest, which they hope to amplify.

He also indicates his readiness to publication a second volume written by Cardijn.


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Complimentary copies of the book

On 22 May, Delarge sent to Marguerite Fiévez a list of persons and organisations to whom a complimentary copy of the book would be sent as well as a list of publications to which copies would be sent for review purposes.


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Negotiations with Malines

Having just returned from Germany, Cardijn wrote to Delarge on 3 April, confirming that he will make himself available for a recorded interview in Paris.

He also notes that the book text is not yet finalised while negotiations over its content continue with “Malines,” i.e. with Cardinal Suenens and the archdiocesan censors.

Brussels, 3 April 1963

Monsieur J.P. Delarge,

Directeur des Editions Universitaires,

72, boulevard Saint-Germain,

Paris, 5ème


Dear Sir,

On my return from Germany, I found your two letters of 27 March, for which I thank you very much.

I think I can confirm the commitment I made for the TV broadcast on the 23rd. And I’m delighted to be able to give you an affirmative answer, in principle, regarding the recording of a record. On both counts, I would like..:

1 – that you wait a little more (perhaps a week or so) to specify definitively the content of the texts to be prepared, given that slight modifications may have to be made to the text of the book, following suggestions from Mechelen, which I am currently negotiating;

2 – that the people responsible for both the broadcast and the recording on disk provide me now with the minimum indications I need for initial preparation; I would then only have to make more detailed adjustments.

Mademoiselle Fiévez has received some of the proofs from the printing works and passed them on to me. She’ll let you know herself what initial reactions we’ve had to them. If necessary, she could go to Paris to reach a more precise agreement with you.

Yours sincerely

Jos. Cardijn,

Chaplain general of the YCW


Cardijn’s explains his position to Suenens

Along with his letter to Cardinal Suenens, Cardijn enclosed a note explaining his position.


Les laïcs en première ligne!

1. This text is first and foremost the story of a journey. It includes a large number of articles published several years ago – sometimes twenty-five years ago – and censored at the time. Most of them have been translated and published in various languages, and are already well known in many countries.

2. I submitted the text of the forthcoming book to archbishops and bishops, and a number of theologians and friends, when I personally handed over a copy to Your Eminence in Rome last November. They all urged me to publish it.

3. I am bound by a contract signed on 12 February with Editions Universitaires, Paris, which includes stipulations concerning ownership of the text and the financial consequences of its publication and translation.

4. Since signing the contract, Mr Delarge, manager of the publishing house, has insisted on interviewing me on French television and on producing a record about the book.

5. Won’t major changes have an impact on these commitments? Above all, won’t they provoke regrettable comments that will do more harm than good, and out of all proportion to the nuances of the proposed corrections?

6. The publisher’s requests regarding the publication date and the TV interview are becoming very pressing, making the need for clarification all the more urgent.

Jos. Cardijn

2 April 1963


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TV interview planned

On 27 March 1963, Delarge wrote to Cardijn outlining a proposal for him to visit Paris on 27 April to record a television interview to promote the forthcoming book.


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A new title: “Laïcs en premières lignes”

On 14 February 1963, Jean-Pierre Delarge responded to Marguerite Fiévez explaining that it would not be easy to obtain the imprimatur in Paris because the office responsible was overworked.

He also proposed a new title for the book: “Laïcs en premières lignes” or “Lay people in the front lines.”


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Trouble to obtain the imprimatur

On 13 February 1963, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Jean-Pierre Delarge expressing her concern that they had been over-optimistic regarding the grant of imprimatur by the Archdiocese of Malines- Brussels for Cardijn’s book.

Rue Royale Ste Marie,
Brussels 3

Brussels, 13 February, 1963

Mr J.P. Delarge,
Director of Editions Eniversi- taires,
72, boulevard St Germain,
PARIS, Ve France

Dear Mr. Delarge,

I think I’ve been too optimistic about getting the Imprimatur.

Monseigneur Cardijn thinks that it’s better, if it’s not too much trouble for you, to apply for the Imprimatur from the Archbishopric of Paris, and not to deviate from the usual rules, which require the application to be made in the diocese where the work is published.

He therefore relies on your good will, but is convinced that there will be no difficulty.

Many thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully, Mr. Delarge.

Marguerite Fiévez


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Publishing contract nearly finalised

On 25 January 1963, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Jean-Pierre Delarge indicating to him that agreement had virtually been reached regarding the contract to publish the book.

Instead of 20% royalties, Cardijn was asking only 10% but 500 extra copies to distribute, evidently to Council Fathers, theologians, etc.


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A new draft of Cardijn’s manuscript

On 14 January 1963, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Jean-Pierre Delarge informing him that Cardijn’s collaborators had met in Brussels and wished to modify the proposed publishing contract on several points.

As a result, they drafted a new proposed contract, which Fiévez forwarded to Delarge.


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“The lay apostolate on a global scale”

On 4 January 1963, Jean-Pierre Delarge sent to Marguerite Fiévez a draft contract for the publication of Cardijn’s book under the title of “L’apostolat des laïcs à la dimension du monde” or “The lay apostolate on a global scale.”


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Overwhelmed with work

On 18 December 1962, Marguerite Fiévez responded to Jean-Pierre Delarge explaining the delay in moving forward with the publication of Cardijn’s book.

As usual, they were all overwhelmed with work.

Secondly, there had been discussion over the involvement of the jocist publishing house, Editions Ouvrières.

In the end, it was proposed that Editions Universitaires would publish in France while Editions Ouvrières would publish in Belgium.


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Stefan Gigacz, The Leaven in the Council, Chapter 8, Suenens vs Cardijn, Lay people in the frontlines (Australian Cardijn Institute)

1962 12 18 – Fiévez – Delarge

20% royalties offered

On 3 December 1962, Jean-Pierre Delarge wrote to Marguerite Fiévez expressing his keen desire to publish Cardijn’s manuscript, which he had just read in one sitting, he said.

He proposes that Editions Universitaires will co-publish with the JOC in Belgium and offers 20% royalties plus an advance of 50,000 Belgian Francs.


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A reminder from the publisher

On 13 November 1962, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Delarge informing him that his name was already on the list of invitees for the celebration of Cardijn’s 80th birthday.

She also responded to his gentle reminder that he needed an answer as to whether Cardijn wished to go publish his book with Editions Universitaires, noting that Cardijn was in Switzerland and Rome until the end of the month.

13 November, 1962

Dear Mr Delarge,

You will be pleased to know that your name was already on the invitation list when your letter of the 6th reached me. No doubt you are now in possession of the little card.

I understand your “reminder” gesture. This time, you’ve given us a bit of time to think and get organized! I can’t give you any further details yet, as the Monsignor is in Switzerland and Rome until the last days of this month. But it’s not impossible that I’ll be in touch with you at that time to discuss new pro-positions. Which is not to say that everything will be very simple, but in any case, business has been taking shape recently.

I look forward to seeing you on December 2 and, I’m sure, Monsignor Cardijn too.

All the best,

Marguerite Fiévez, secretary

Personal address:

7, rue Royale Ste Marie, Brussels 3


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Comblin’s book on the setback to or failure of Catholic Action

On 2 November 1962, Delarge wrote to Fiévez asking if he could attend the celebration of Cardijn’s 80th birthday on 2 December.

He also addresses the problem raised by the fact that Editions Universitaires had published Joseph Combin’s book, Echec de l’Action Catholique?, and asks for details of Cardijn’s views of the book.


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1962 11 02 – Delarge – Fiévez

Publisher wants to meet Cardijn

On 1 March 1962, Jean-Pierre Delarge, manager of Editions Universitaires, wrote to Marguerite Fiévez, regretting that he had been unable to contact her and meet Cardijn during his recent visit to Brussels.

He signalled that he would be in Brussels on 27 March, asking if it would be possible to meet Cardijn in order to discuss his proposed book.


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Cardijn seeks advice on publisher

On 3 January 1962, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Jean-Pierre Delarge informing him that before making a decision about the publisher of his book Cardijn wished to speak to several of his advisors.

She offers to do her best to advance the project.


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A proposed publisher

On 31 December 1961, French industrialist, Jean Lannoye, known as the “patron social” – the “social boss” – wrote to Cardijn informing him that his son-in-law, Jean-Pierre Delarge, of Editions Universitaires, would be very happy to publish Cardijn’s proposed book, which he predicted would be very influential.


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Jean Lannoye, un ‘patron social’ (Retro Rixensart)

Jean Lannoye (Retro Rixensart)

Cardijn off to Africa for five months

On 10 June 1960, Marguerite Fiévez responds to Jean-Pierre Delarge telling him that Cardijn has just left for a five-month tour of Africa.

She also indicates that Cardijn had received a letter from “social employer”, Jean Lannoye, who had proposed a book on the JOC and on Cardijn.


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