Cardijn and Congar at Vatican II


“I was ordained a priest on 25 July 1930. From that moment, the Young Christian Workers (movement) was a heartfelt cause for me,” wrote Yves Congar in a 1975 letter to Marguerite Fiévez, archivist of the movement’s founder Joseph Cardijn[1].

Soon after, by now teaching and researching at the Dominican study centre, Le Saulchoir, at Kain near Tournai in Belgium, he would begin to preach retreats to leaders of the YCW.

A little later, he would meet Cardijn himself, thus beginning a working relationship and friendship that would last until the Second Vatican Council when Cardijn, now a Cardinal with a global profile, asked Congar, who had also become a theologian of world renown, to assist him in preparing his conciliar speeches.

This paper traces the story of that partnership from the “golden age” of the YCW in France and Belgium during the 1930s, through the challenging and dark days of the late 1940s and 1950s when tensions over the worker priests led to Congar’s “exile” first to Cambridge and then to Strasbourg, and finally to the years of triumph at the Council.

1. The “Golden Age” of the YCW 1925 – 1939

The Saulchoir at Kain

The Saulchoir study centre was established at Kain in an old Cistercian abbey in 1904 following the expulsions from France of Catholic religious[2]. By the time that Congar arrived there as a student in late 1926[3], it was already a well-established intellectual bridge between Belgium and France.

Moreover, it was a study centre whose “historical” approach to theology and philosophy would soon become problematic in the eyes of the Holy See and lead to its eventual transfer back to France. Probably no-one has better described this ethos of the Saulchoir than Congar’s close friend and elder, Fr MD Chenu:

“Our decisive approach is this: the theologian is he who dares to speak humanly the Word of God”[4].

As Chenu wrote in his controversial book on the Saulchoir, this implied being “present in our time”, words that would echo through to Vatican II and beyond.

“Theologically speaking,” Chenu wrote, “this means being present to the facts revealed in the present life of the Church and the current experience of Christendom.[5]

And the Dominicans of the Saulchoir were very deeply involved in both the life of the Church and the world of that period. Among the masters Congar would meet at Le Saulchoir was the philosopher AD Sertillanges[6], thomist philosopher, who had been close to the Sillon, the pioneering lay movement created by Marc Sangnier that would become the prototype for the YCW and other specialised Catholic Action movements. In 1916, Sertillanges had already published his major work La philosophie morale de Saint Thomas d’Aquin which would contribute greatly to providing a philosophical foundation to Cardijn’s see-judge-act method.

Indeed, the French Dominicans during the 1930s were a hotbed of former Sillon activists including the jurists Georges Renard and Joseph Delos, who would eventually also become a peritus at Vatican II. Another Dominican, the Belgian Ceslas Rutten, who had been Cardijn’s superior in charge of social work in the Malines archdiocese, went to work in a coal mine for three months as part of an enquiry into worker conditions and may also have been involved in an abortive  project to introduce the Sillon in Brussels.

In such a context of enthusiasm for social action, it was almost inevitable that the newly ordained Yves Congar would seek out the YCW almost as soon as he was ordained.

Preaching retreats to the YCW

In fact, as a 1936 article by MD Chenu, La JOC au Saulchoir, makes clear by 1933 the Dominican community had already committed to work closely with the YCW and the emerging “specialised Catholic Action” movements.

Chenu himself had been in contact with the YCW since 1928 when chaplains from the new YCW in the Lille region began to cross the border to reflect at the Saulchoir where Chenu was in charge of hosting them[7]. From that time, the Dominicans launched regular retreats for these movements in Paris and Lille in France as well as the Saulchoir in Belgium[8].

“It was not just a matter of receiving a few amateurs in cloistered silence and emotion but of truly enabling groups of lay people to effectively participate, through the liturgy and doctrine in the whole life of a Dominican convent. It was in this context that for the last three years individual and collective retreats were established for the benefit of the “specialised movements”, particularly the benefit of the YCW,” Chenu wrote in May 1936”[9].

Later this work expanded into the organisation of full blown retreats for the chaplains and leaders of the YCW.

Referring specifically to the Saulchoir, Chenu noted that “three fathers devoted themselves regularly” to the work with the YCW in Paris, in the North of France and “once or twice with those from the (YCW) general secretariat in Brussels”. Although he does not name them, it is likely that the three fathers are himself, Congar and Father Henri Féret. “We were a trio,” Congar later commented[10].

It is therefore clear that young Father Congar’s choice to become involved with the YCW was part of a community commitment by the Dominicans of that time. “I preached many retreats,” Congar said much later, adding that Chenu himself often took part in these meetings.

He also kept a systematic list of all the retreats that he preached as well as the correspondence and even photos relating to them. Indeed, a list of some 28 retreats from 1932-1938 given by Congar to YCW leaders from the Belgian cities of Tournai and Mouscron as well as from Lille and Tourcoing across the border in France is still to be found in his personal archives, along with the actual retreat notes on themes such as prayer, faith, the priesthood of the faithful, the Eucharist, as well as secular themes such as work, life, etc.[11]

“We received YCW groups for retreats from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening YCW groups,” Congar wrote, and the schedules were quite demanding.

After a Saturday evening orientation session, there was sometimes Night Adoration at midnight for half an hour. Wake up call the next morning was at 5.30am, followed by Mass and recollection from 6.00am to 7.15am, then breakfast and recreation, with Rosary and reflection at 8.00am, followed by High Mass at 9.00am with the program finishing on Sunday afternoon at around 4.00pm!

Not surprisingly the young YCW leaders, who were often around 15-16 years of age, were a little dubious initially.

“The first time, the young jocists from Mouscron, a small Belgian city near Tourcoing, were not very convinced,” Congar reminisced. “A convent! What are we doing here? But they found them so good that they often came back.”

“The retreats took place in a fervent atmosphere,” he added. “I spoke to the jocists about the Gospel; they questioned me. I made an effort to meet them in their concrete difficulties.”

Thus, Congar’s notes are peppered with references to “the factory”, “the street, at leisure” and “the family”, namely the various places in which apostolic action was to be developed. “Religion is life,” says Congar in one of his retreat notes.

One of these notes cites Cardijn’s own definition of prayer as a “study circle with God”, a striking quote that would probably have been lost to history if not recorded by Congar. It is also evident from Congar’s notes that some of the retreat outlines that had been prepared by the YCW chaplains, probably by Cardijn himself.

Congar’s impact on the young workers

The YCW leaders also seem to have been impressed by the intensity of these sessions. However, on one occasion a chaplain from Mouscron was moved to write to warn Congar that the following retreat group was much younger and that he needed to prepare a lighter program with half an hour’s recreation “after lunch, after Mass, and even after supper”[12]!

Despite Congar’s early fears, most YCW leaders clearly appreciated these retreats, which also give an insight into what a dynamic preacher and personality he was, long before illness confined him to a wheelchair.

“They left raring to go on Sunday evening,” Congar said. “We could hear them singing from several hundred metres away towards the Tournai station, which was three kilometres away from the Saulchoir.

Thanking Congar for one retreat and requesting a follow up meeting for his “comrades”, one Mouscron YCW leader, Raphaël Lecroart, described their own recent retreat as “a genuine treat for our young people”.

“All without exception were amazed and enthused. We can ask them any small sacrifice now. It’s enough simply to remind them occasionally of the resolutions they made during their retreat,” Lecroart wrote[13].

Nor did he hesitate to sek Congar’s help with a problem, namely “the sudden and incomprehensible disappearance of Louis (our president)”.

“I don’t know what has happened inside his head but he refuses to give us any explanation. Could I ask you a great service? Quite simply come to our aid. Pray for him, write to him,” Lecroart asked[14].

Although there is no record of Congar’s response, there is little doubt that it would have been rapid and forthcoming.

Another young soldier wrote to Congar asking him to be his spiritual director[15].

One YCW chaplain was so impressed with the impact of Congar’s retreats on his YCW leaders that he wrote to Congar asking if he could also organise a similar retreat for local priests[16].

But not everything always went to plan.

“It is truly with sadness that I learnt how few jocists took to heart this retreat that you agreed to preach to them. Please allow me to present my apologies but I must say that never has such disorder reigned in my regional federation,” wrote Léon Debruyne to Congar in August 1933[17].

Moreover he does not hesitate to take Congar to task.

“In your desire to do good for the souls of my worker comrades, you allowed them to abuse your hospitality. You asked too little for the expenses of their stay. They broke a chamber pot (and perhaps other things that I don’t know about) but you did not ask them to reimburse the cost.,[18]” Debruyne continued.

Congar clearly took the lesson to heart and in the next retreats, he very carefully, if politely, laid down the law of retreats, beginning with an exhortation based on the following notes:

“Spirit and conditions of this retreat. Deepen their Christian life by making an experience of complete Christian life. To play the game deeply and sincerely… order, silence..,” Congar wrote, recalling the objectives that the Dominicans had fixed for these retreats[19].

Cardijn, Congar and the Dominicans

It was through these retreats that Congar soon came into contact with Cardijn himself.

“Very soon I met the founder of the YCW, Canon Cardijn and his assistant, Fr Robert Kothen,” Congar told an interviewer much later[20]. But although he visited the famous Jociste Centrale[21] in  Boulevard Poincaré in central Brussels, his contact was more frequent with Kothen[22], who was responsible for international contacts of the YCW.

Nevertheless, Cardijn’s influence was critical, particularly his speech Ite Missa Est delivered at Reims on 26 July 1933 during the French Semaine Sociale[23], in which he emphasised the importance of bringing faith and sacraments to the radiating circles of the life of each person, their local environment or milieu as well as to the masses[24].

It is very likely also that Congar accompanied Chenu to Cardijn’s extraordinary mass to mark the 10th anniversary of the YCW held before a crowd of 100,000 people at Heysel Stadium on 25 August 1935. Chenu later recounted the story of the Dominicans who attended the event[25]. A Belgian parish priest looked accusingly at their white soutanes and said: “Oh, you intellectuals… you are so distant from the YCW!” But the YCW leaders defended the Dominicans against their “bourgeois” critic!

Thus, Cardijn clearly made a huge impact on young Congar. In Vraies et fausses réformes de l’Eglise, the theologian was moved to compare Cardijn’s historic first meeting with Pope Pius XI in 1925, which led to the approval of the YCW despite the lingering doubts of Malines Cardinal Désiré Mercier, with the way in which medieval popes had taken the emerging movements of St Francis and St Dominic under their pontifical wing.

“The creation of the YCW is one of the most emblematic events of our time, in which we find a prophetic initiative from the periphery, whereby a curate from suburban Brussels arrives in Rome with a letter from his archbishop and receives the consecration from the pope,  himself also animated with a prophetic spirit, by which the young movement becomes a movement of the Church itself, the prototype of the reforming creations of Catholic Action.”[26]

Indeed, Congar went so far as to credit the YCW and its sister movement of specialised Catholic Action as having played a decisive role in reforming the Church of that period.

“In France, everything arose from a realisation, ultimately completely realistic, of the true apostolic situation… From 1925 to 1940, within the Catholic Action framework, there was the practice of the enquiry method. With their “guys” and “girls”, priests became aware of the questions raised within the “milieu”; they also learnt to better appreciate the objections, the problems, the understandings, the distractions, the real state of the milieu from which their formation, their dignity, their priestly functions had cut them off. This unleashed a new impulse. I well remember the jocist study circles and the workshops of that time.”[27]

This also led to a progressive deepening of the relationship of the Dominicans with Cardijn and the YCW going far beyond the holding of retreats.

In 1936, the French Dominican provincial Fr Padé made an agreement with Cardijn to release two priests, Fathers Albert Bouché and Bernard Rouzet, to work with the French YCW. In fact, Fr Bouché had already spent several weeks in 1933 working in a coal mine in Charleroi, Belgium. And both Bouché and Rouzet had worked in factories during their summer holidays while students.

Both priests rapidly became regional YCW chaplains as they sought to find their way as “missionnaires de travail”  missionaries of the workplace, an experience that would soon blossom into the worker priest movement[28].

The impact of Cardijn and the YCW on Congar’s theology

As he acknowledged many times, Congar learnt much from these encounters with Cardijn and the YCW. “I owe a lot to those young guys. They taught me what it means to implant the Gospel in humanity,” he explained.[29]

“At the Saulchoir, we were a little preserved from the danger (of being intellectually isolated from the lives and struggles of ordinary people) thanks to men like Fr Chenu, who was so gifted for contact with his contemporaries and more courageous than I am. Thanks equally to our relations with the YCW (Young Christian Workers). These links were decisive for me. I have always believed in dialogue between the theological and the pastoral,” Congar explained later, particularly in orienting his future work as a theologian.[30]

All this evidently had a great impact on Congar’s own theological approach.

“The (YCW) consciousness,” Congar explained[31], entered into symbiosis with the theology of the mystical body that we find simplified, for example, in the books of P. Glorieux, and which led to a spirituality of ‘incarnation’.

“The young workers continued the life of Christ the Worker. Their life at work was like a “continuing incarnation”, a theme that could lead to ambiguity but which Fr Chenu helped us to interpret in terms of realism and the grace of the Word.”

Moreover, it was at that time,” Congar wrote, “that I took up the habit of linking the doxology which ends the Canon of the Mass – ‘by Him, with Him and in Him” – to this incarnation of Christ in the human dough. A vision that I enlarged in a Teilhardian, if you like – I have been a Teilhardian in the technical sense of the word, but I totally agree with his cosmological and Christological vision, which seems to me to be authentically Paulinian.

“Thus, I owe to the YCW and to our meetings with the worker chaplains in Lille – among whom I knew Fr (Henri) Godin, one of the authors of La France, pays de mission? – the notion (which would certainly require nuancing) of the Mystical Body of Christ in the workshop,” Congar wrote[32].

“Fr Chenu developed this theme in many articles: the Word of God, and grace are incarnated in humanity, humanity taken in its historical dimension, its becoming, its dynamism; in its social dimension, insists Fr Chenu, in its conditions of class struggle, in the movements of liberation.”

Meanwhile, Congar the theologian continued to work on the 1937 book that would become his landmark work on ecumenical relations, Chrétiens désunis. In this book, he cites the YCW as part of the movement of reform that he saw already under way within the Church encompassing liturgy, lay apostolate, missionary and ecumenical activity – all themes that would be specifically addressed by Vatican II:

“Let us be clear,” Congar wrote. “The movement that began under Pius X, concerning which the war changed a few points of implementation but did not break the continuity, and which has found its own formula, namely Instaurare omnia in Christo, is a movement of reform. A movement of reform in liturgy, a movement of reform in the missionary effort launched by Benedict XV and developed under the leadership of Pius XI; a movement of reform movement in Catholic Action, participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy; and in Catholic Action, even more particularly in the magnificent achievement of the YCW.”[33]

This effectively sums up Congar’s attitude to the “golden age” of the YCW in Belgium and Francd as “an enthusiastic youth, conscious of carrying the cause of evangelical witness in the worker milieu”[34].

2. The “dark years”: 1940 – 1958

Rays of hope amid the fog of war

Nevertheless, clouds were also gathering – war clouds as well as theological clouds.

Trouble was already brewing at the Saulchoir over Chenu’s 1937 book Le Saulchoir, Une école de théologie, which explained the centre’s then-controversial “historical” approach to theology. In a sense, the Saulchoir method was little more than an adaptation of the empirical fact-based method used by the YCW to the field of theology. Indeed, Chenu referred approvingly to the YCW in the book[35]. But this did not satisfy the Holy See which placed the book on the Index librorum prohibitorum in 1942.

Meanwhile, as Congar recounts, the Saulchoir moved back to France arriving on 2 September 1939, the very eve of the outbreak of World War II. He therefore spent only one week at the new convent at Etiolles near Paris, before being mobilised as a lieutenant in the French Army. Two days of combat in 1940 led to his capture by the advancing Germans and his internment at Colditz as a prisoner of war for the duration of the war[36].

On the other hand, the German occupation of France failed to shake a rising concern over the failure of the Church to reach out to the industrial working class. Thus, the Dominican Jacques Loew, started working on the docks at Marseilles in 1941. By 1944, Loew and his colleagues had obtained the support of local Archbishop Jean Delay to establish a community of life oriented to working with the Catholic Action movements in the working class suburbs of the port city[37].

The Dominican-published 1943 book La France, pays de mission?[38] by Godin and Yvan Daniel (with a preface by French YCW founding chaplain, Georges Guérin) caused a huge stir. Its very title raised the question as to whether France – still the eldest daughter of the Church in the minds of many Catholics – had become a “mission” country.

Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard of Paris, who had already motivated the French bishops to launch a seminary for worker priests in 1942 which eventually led to the creation of the “Mission de France”, was deeply shaken by the book’s findings, which were presented as the results of an empirical YCW-style enquiry. Godin and Daniel had recommended two major thrusts of action to deal with the problem, namely the development of “communities” that would go beyond the traditional parishes, and the development of the “worker priest” approach.

Tragically, Godin, a Paris diocesan priest, did not live to see the creation of his “Mission de Paris”, dying in an electrical accident on the very eve of its foundation in January 1943. But his life and even his death deeply impressed Congar who later wrote that “once more, by simply endeavouring to be true, a man pronounced the words that so many others needed to hear”[39].

“It was not just his death that sealed the work of Fr Godin with the very seal of the cross, a divine cachet of authenticity. The man and his work were truly providential,” Congar wrote[40].

By the time that Congar returned from the war in 1945, the Dominicans had thrown themselves even more deeply into the development of the worker priest network. For Congar, the situation was full of hope.

“Towards 46-47, we experienced some quite exceptional moments in an ecclesial climate of rediscovered freedom and liberation, and marvellous creativity on the pastoral level,” Congar said later concerning these new initiatives[41].

But, as the fate of Chenu’s book illustrated, Rome was already raising its eyebrows over “the application of sociology to the Christian religion”.

“We can situate the first manifestations of concern by Rome towards the end of summer 1947,” Congar said.  “We began to receive a series of warnings, then threats concerning the worker priests.  I began to be refused permission from my superiors and I could not take part in the 1948 Amsterdam ecumenical meeting.”

Congar and the rise of the international lay apostolate movements

Congar turned forty in 1945 as the war ended. By this time there was also a new post-war generation of YCW leaders emerging. So it was quite natural that Congar’s personal contacts with the YCW would become more sporadic.

On the other hand, the involvement of the Dominicans with the worker priests brought them into closer contact with other movements such as the Action Catholique Ouvrière (ACO), the adult equivalent of the YCW, in which many former YCW leaders were also involved.

Congar thus soon began to receive a growing number of invitations to address a variety of events, particularly chaplains meetings, including those of the YCW, YCS, Rural YCW as well as the ACO, the Catholic Intellectuals and other lay movements[42].

He also began to write more systematically on the theology of the laity including in Masses ouvrières, a magazine of the ACO as well as in theological journals[43].

However, with growing suspicion in Rome of the worker priest movement, it was natural also that doubts would also emerge concerning the work of the YCW. By this time, the YCW had spread to more than 50 countries and was facing new challenges of its own. As soon as the war was ended, Cardijn had recommenced his habit of annual visits to the Vatican to meet with the Pope.

Now it was no longer Pius XI who had given his approval to the movement in 1925 but Pius XII. In his first meeting with Cardijn in May 1946, the Pius XII added his approval.

“Our desire is that the YCW be set up everywhere,” he told Cardijn[44].

“But we want a YCW like your own,” the Pope continued in a significant gloss on his approval, implying that perhaps not all YCWs were like Cardijn’s YCW. Was this a reference to the situation in France and the worker priests?

Cardijn himself apparently harboured early doubts about the French worker priest experience even though he greatly appreciated the book of Godin and Daniel.

“Cardijn appreciated the values of this experience and the new possibilities it opened up, as a contribution to solving the problem which, forty years earlier, he had been one of the first to see,” Marguerite Fiévez and Jacques Meert wrote. “But he had serious reservations because he saw immediately a danger here of minimising and even substituting for the proper mission of the laity.”

Nevertheless, unlike French YCW chaplain, Georges Guérin, he did encourage the experience[45].

Moreover, “from 1944, the French YCW made enough changes in method and approach to cause some real tension with the Belgian YCW and within the international YCW. Cardijn was worried and preoccupied,” Fiévez and Meert say.

These reservations were also shared within the developing International YCW. An English member of the YCW International Bureau, Kevin Muir, recalled that “there was some anxiety about the direction that the French Church was taking”[46]. Thus, it is not a surprise that there would also be questions from the Holy See.

As usual, Cardijn decided to tackle these problems head on. In October 1949, he organised a four day meeting of YCW chaplains from France, England and Belgium with a a group of theologians and specialists, including from France the Dominicans Chenu and Congar, the sociologist Henri Desroches as well as the Belgians Albert Dondeyne, Gustave Thils and Roger Aubert.

“Discussions ranged over the whole field of the spiritual and the temporal in the light of new theological insights and pastoral experiences but for Cardijn the point at issue was the future orientation of the YCW,” Fiévez and Meert report. “The session helped to clear the air but more time and experience would be needed to resolve the differences.”[47]

There is no indication of the positions taken by Congar at this meeting but it would remain the only occasion that Congar worked closely with Cardijn until Vatican II[48].

Exile and international prominence

Two years later the first International Congress of the Lay Apostolate took place in Rome from 7-14 October 1951. Initially Cardijn feared that the congress would be dominated by Italian style Catholic Action. After meeting the organising committee, however, he changed his views and gave his strong backing to the congress, eventually delivering a powerful keynote speech that confirmed Cardijn’s pre-eminence as an international authority on lay apostolate issues[49].

This congress took place only a few weeks before Congar completed his Jalons pour une théologie du laïcat which was published the following year[50]. Congar took part in the congress after initially declining an invitation from the chief organiser Vittorino Veronese [51].

A major outcome of the lay apostolate congress was the establishment by Pope Pius XII on 23 January 1952 of the COPECIAL, being the Comité Permanent des Congrès Internationaux pour l’Apostolat des Laïcs. Veronese, who became the secretary of this new organisation, was greatly impressed by Congar’s book and wanted to invite him to an expert meeting in 1953.

But by this time, the worker priest affair in France was coming to the climax that resulted in their being ordered to withdraw from the workplaces. Congar also was now increasingly suspect in the eyes of the Roman authorities both for his ecumenical work as well as for his newly published writings on the laity. Although his books were not condemned, from February 1952, he was forbidden to re-print or publish new editions of his Vraie et fausse réforme dans l’Eglise[52].

Thus, paradoxically, at the very moment his Jalons was making an impact among lay apostolate leaders worldwide, Congar found himself excluded from formally meeting with international lay apostolate leaders, even before the Holy See moved to have him relocated from Paris resulting in his appointment to Jerusalem in 1954! A year later, he was “exiled” to Cambridge and at the end of 1956 he was moved again to Strasbourg.

Nevertheless, even in the darkest hours, he continued to give talks to various lay groups. The English YCW, for example, took advantage of his exile at Cambridge to invite Congar to address them on 25 June 1956[53]. And as soon as he arrived in Strasbourg, the invitations began to roll in to address lay apostolate groups. But these were smaller lower profile meetings that evidently raised fewer concerns in Rome.

Meanwhile, Australian-born publisher Geoffrey Chapman was preparing the publication of an English translation of Jalons under the title of Lay People in the Church[54], the first edition of which appeared in 1957 just in time for the Second International Congress of the Lay Apostolate held in Rome from 5-13 October.

Once again Cardijn and the lay leaders of the YCW played a prominent role at the congress. In fact, only a few weeks earlier, the International YCW had organised an international pilgrimage to Rome for 32,000 young workers, who gathered with Pope Pius XII in St Peter’s Square on 25 August 1957. This was followed by the first IYCW International Council.

But Congar was still blacklisted by the Holy See and thus unable to participate at the lay apostolate congress despite his growing international prominence on theology of the laity issues.

Moreover, it is somewhat paradoxical that after Congar’s earlier references to Cardijn and the YCW in Chrétiens Désunis and Vraie et fausse réforme, the only direct reference to the movement in Jalons, which is devoted to laity issues, is a relatively minor example of a YCW enquiry on a local French issue[55]. In addition, the English edition of Jalons eliminates the reference to the YCW which in fact makes no sense outside the French context without further explanation.

It is also striking that in a 13 page list of some 1200 authors cited in Jalons Congar fails to make even a single reference to Cardijn. This no doubt says a lot about how Congar viewed Cardijn, e.g. as a prophetic figure but not as a theologian. In any event, the book certainly addresses many themes that were inspired by the experience of Cardijn and the YCW.

At the same time, it may also help explain why later generations of YCW chaplains and leaders failed to identify with Congar’s landmark work.

In spite of all this, Congar continued his always punishing schedule of speaking and preaching to church groups and lay movements mostly in France. In 1959, he again addressed a group of YCW and ACO chaplains at Puxe, near Metz. This is certainly one of the last talks specifically given to a group linked to the YCW[56]. More than twenty five years of direct service and involvement with the movement had come to their conclusion.

3. Cardijn and Congar at Vatican II

Cardijn and the Lay Apostolate Commission

It was Pope John XXIII himself who expressed the wish for the establishment of a Lay Apostolate Commission to prepare Vatican II after Council organisers apparently failed to include such a commission in their early proposals[57].

Cardijn, who was still the chaplain of the International YCW, was appointed as an expert on this commission which was chaired by Cardinal Fernando Cento[58], who had previously been nuncio in Brussels, with Mgr Achille Glorieux[59], from Lille, as secretary. But the theologians “who had done the most to advance the theology of the laity: Congar, Philips, Rahner, Schillebeeckx, von Balthasar, Chenu were conspicuously absent from the commission[60].

Nevertheless, Cardijn worked extremely hard during the Council attending each meeting of the commission as well as each session of the Council. Despite a still heavy schedule and the fact that he celebrated his eightieth birthday a month after the Council opened, his papers show the meticulous way that he read each draft of the planned decree on lay apostolate and the various critiques and notes that he prepared in a bid to improve the various drafts[61].

It is clear that Cardijn was far from satisfied with the early drafts of the decree. This is hardly surprising given that most of the drafting was done in small sub-commission groups dominated by Italian drafters. Thus the difference between Italian-style Catholic Action dependent on the hierarchy and the Belgian-French concept defended and developed by Cardijn loomed large in the discussions[62].

Meanwhile, he also worked hard to involve the International YCW in the preparation of the Council. This included a highly organised plan to lobby Council Fathers in as many countries as possible of the countries where the YCW was present.

In 1963, Cardijn published his only full length book, Laïcs en premières lignes, a compilation and updating of his major articles on the lay apostolate of the previous thirty years, which was also translated into English, Spanish and German[63].

Congar on the other hand had been appointed to the Theological Preparatory Commission. The result, as Congar later noted, was that he and Cardijn had little contact during the preparation and early sessions of the Council.

“I only saw him in the Mixed Commission (Theology and Laity) preparing Schema XVII which became Schema XIII (Gaudium et Spes),” Congar wrote to Marguerite Fiévez[64]. “But I hardly saw him and I don’t remember any notable intervention.”

Cardijn a cardinal

However, Congar was delighted when Pope Paul VI appointed him a cardinal in the consistory of February 1965 meaning that Cardijn would be a Council Father for the Fourth Session later that year. Evidently he hoped for big things from Cardijn.

“But then he became a cardinal. I hoped that his prestige, that I believed to be immense, would enable him to play an important role in the 4th period of the Council (1965),” Congar noted in his Council Journal.[65]

The fact that Cardijn had chosen a worker parish as his titular parish also impressed Congar.

“This means that the issue of simplifying the vestments of a cardinal is now on the table. For sure, silk will be abandoned. Phew!” he noted.

But he was not impressed by the ceremony at which Cardijn received his biglietto.

“Arrived at Propaganda at 9.30,” Congar wrote. “The tickets only arrived at 10.40. Reading of the double announcement to Archbishop Cooray, Martin, Villot, Zoungrana, Duval, Cardijn. I came mostly for Cardijn, Journet and Duval. Each double announcement was read six times, followed by Cooray’s speech, then Martin’s (three times longer than it should be)… We returned at 1.20pm. Five hours wasted… I came out morally crushed.”

The saving grace was that he was able to meet Cardijn.

“I greeted the cardinals but Cardijn most of all,” Congar’s notes continued. “He embraced everyone and tapped them on the back, a bit like Father Chenu. He is the most authentic (with Seper) of all the ones I saw. He said: ‘They have given me the opportunity to speak. I hope to use it as well as possible!’

“His ordination yesterday was magnificent, it seems, with 800 jocists from Belgium singing and praying. He said to me: ‘Help me! Keep helping me! I will need it. We must continue to move forward!’”

A weekend in Switzerland with Congar

Soon after his cardinalate, however, Cardijn was on the road again on a four month voyage to Asia and Australia and unable to do much preparation for the Council.

By the time he returned to Brussels, time was running short. In July, he wrote to Council secretary-general Cardinal Pericle Felici requesting copies of the draft documents to be discussed in the final session, none of which had evidently been sent to him previously but Felici replied that they were still being printed[66].

Meanwhile, Congar, took the initiative to write to Cardijn on 11 July 1965[67].

“You said to me at the time of your cardinalate: ‘They have given me the word, I will use it’,” Congar wrote.

“The 4th session will begin soon, and those who wish to speak on religious freedom must send their summary before 9 September. We can expect that there will be many critiques, perhaps quite ferocious. Moreover, there will also need to be a ‘Laus Declarationis[68]‘ – without, evidently, hiding whatever may be considered to be inadequate and thus capable of being improved. I said to myself, in my candour, that you would be very closely listened to if, in the name of your worldwide experience, you said what positive outcomes we can expect from the Declaration, if necessary by responding to the critiques which will certainly be made and which, in effect, come to mind, such as favouring the propagation of error.

“Certainly, you will also speak on Schema XIII. I therefore ask if, in the presentation of the meaning of the world with respect to Christ and to eschatology, and also in the chapter on culture, enough place has been given to workers and to the immense enterprise of Production by the hands and mind of man.

“I therefore suggest these things in the spirit in which you wrote and said at your cardinalate: ‘I am counting on you.’”[69]

Cardijn wrote back immediately seeking a meeting.

“I have not yet had time to study the Council Schemas!” he wrote back to Congar. “I am running more than ever. I still need to prepare the World Council of the YCW in Bangkok in November – December. I am overwhelmed.

“I will read the Schema on Religious Freedom and send you my reactions. It is my practice to look at problems from the point of view of people whereas theoreticians look at them from the point of view of principles. The doctors say: ‘Man is free’ whereas I say ‘Three quarters of men are not free; we need to liberate them.’ This is the problem of young people and adults in the world today, both in developed and underdeveloped countries. What a problem! If we could only come to an agreement on how to tackle the problem, what unity, what collaboration, what peace we could build!”[70]

And so Cardijn proposed to meet with Congar either at Strasbourg “unless you can meet me half way in Luxembourg”.

Eight days later, Congar replied saying that “the problem of the necessity of liberating men is of a very real and urgency and density but that this will be an issue for Schema XIII”.

“The Declaration on Religious Freedom is limited to the juridical level. That is its limit but also its strength, and that is why in my opinion it will get support from 95% of the Council Fathers.”[71]

But Congar was going to Geneva for a meeting at Bossey with the World Council of Churches. This did not deter Cardijn and after a flurry of phone calls, aged 82, he took a plane to Geneva to meet Congar and his old colleague Fr Henri Féret.

Congar relates the story in his Council Journal:

“The great moment from the point of view of the Council was the arrival of Cardinal Cardijn… He arrived on 4 August at 12.40pm at the Geneva airport. We began to talk immediately in the car. It was an extraordinary Feast of St Dominic for us, two grace-filled half days. I think it was not in vain that this (opportunity) was given to me.

“Concerning Rome, the pope’s projects, the reform of the Curia, the progress of the Council, Cardijn says he knows nothing, and in fact I believe that he knows little or nothing. He told me that since his cardinalate he had not received a single paper even once telling him what is expected of him. Since he was named to the Congregation for Studies and Seminaries, he went to see Pizzardo. He left completely bewildered. Pizzardo is a nothing,” he said.

“He told me about his cardinalate, how the Pope told him to ‘remain Cardijn’!. Cardijn is very free!”[72]

“We talked about religious freedom, Schema XIII, the apostolate of the laity, the missions, priests. Cardijn had prepared reactions on these texts. He counted on me, on us, to test them and put them in the form of Council interventions.

“Ultimately Cardijn has only one idea but it is consubstantial with him. He is absolutely faithful to it as he is faithful to himself. It throws light on everything. His great idea is to start from the real, the concrete. It is necessary to take people as they are.

“He criticised the new schema on the apostolate of the laity for beginning by distinguishing kinds of apostolate, for proposing a ‘spirituality of lay people’. If I had started like that, he said, I would never have done anything. I have never met anyone to whom such schemes apply. It is always necessary to begin by taking people as they are, without trying to place them into our frameworks, our ideas, our requirements. It is necessary that it comes from them, it has to be authentic for them. When one starts from a system, one easily forms the idea that nothing can be done with these or those people. So one does nothing,” Congar quoted Cardijn as saying.

Cardijn told Congar of his own experience in the parish of Laeken.

“There was a whole neighbourhood of poor people where neither the parish or curate had ever visited. ‘Nothing can be done!’ And Cardijn expressed his intention to go. ‘They will not welcome you.’ So the next day Cardijn began to visit. They opened their doors, he drank their coffee. A year later he had a group of a thousand women in that neighbourhood! And he made analogous criticisms of Schema XIII, the Schema on the Missions.”[73]

“Little by little we determined a certain number of interventions to make based on his notes and our conversation,” Congar noted.

Preparing the speeches

The real work for Congar and Féret began after the weekend with Cardijn.

“Following his departure the next day, Fr Féret and I shared out the work. On the 10th, I sent him a draft of an intervention on religious freedom,” Congar’s notes record[74].

“It is a transcription in poor Latin of your draft, shortened by the two pages that referred more to freedom from the interior and moral point of view. We might have been able to make a short point where we ask that the last few lines in the conclusion of the Schema speak of the pastoral duty to educate people in true liberty be somewhat amplified,” he wrote in his letter enclosing the draft[75].

“It’s only a draft. I worked on it without a dictionary,” Congar continued. “Fr Féret will send you draft tomorrow of the text on Schema XIII. It’s very hard hitting.”

“Your visit was a great grace for me, for both of us… I will send more drafts on the Missions and the Priesthood from Strasbourg. They are not so urgent,” Congar concluded[76].

Cardijn’s Archives in Brussels contain the copies of these texts, which ultimately morphed into the three speeches that Cardijn delivered in aula at the Council, one on religious liberty and two on Schema XIII. Also in the archives are two more speeches on the lay apostolate and on the ministry of the priest, neither of which were delivered orally but which were presumably submitted to the Council secretariat. However, there is no record of any speech on Missions.

By 20 August, the various draft speeches were all ready and sent to the Council secretariat.

On 14 September, Cardijn sought a meeting in Rome with Congar and Féret to put the final touches to his preparations.

Again Congar noted that Cardijn was out of the loop.

“He knows nothing, sees no-one, is not involved in anything. But his interventions are ready and he is ready to give a few good fist blows,” Congar wrote in his notes[77].

Indeed, the five speeches are classic Cardijn speeches combining deceptively simple and homely references based on his own experiences with his own theological insights and encapsulating the core of Cardijn’s message.

The specific and irreplaceable lay apostolate of lay people

It is a pity that Cardijn did not have the opportunity to deliver his speeches on lay apostolate and priestly ministry because taken together they offer an elegant summary of his vision of the  partnership that should exist between the priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood. It is equally clear that Congar has fully grasped Cardijn’s vision and formulated it beautifully in the draft speeches.

“During the sixty years I have lived with young workers,” Cardijn stated in his never delivered speech on lay apostolate, “I never met any who are immediately concerned with spirituality and moved by supernatural ends.

“But from the beginning I took an interest in their work and their lives. I asked what they were thinking, what they thought about their work, their housing, their recreation and all the various aspects of their lives. We started to become friends. We searched together how to improve, to help others. We met together as militants to do this review of life. Together we made recollections and retreats…  Little by little they began to understand the need for the sacraments, the mass and communion to unite themselves with Christ, to live with Him, by Him.

“We cannot transform the world without them. THEY are the Church in the world of today, together with their families, as well as their influence in all the key posts of national and international life but most of all at the grassroots, in ordinary and daily life,” Cardijn says.

This implied the “absolute necessity and irreplaceable importance of the apostolate of lay people”.

But in order to form such lay apostles, Cardijn insisted, “we must first of all be convinced of this fundamental truth, namely that  the apostolate of lay people is the lay life of lay people” from local to international level, as well the “divine value” of that life and the “transformation that must take place with, by and in Christ and the Church, with the resources of the Church (prayer, sacraments, etc.) but which are incarnated in the affairs of the world.”

Vatican II did accept this vision of the lay apostolate, although undoubtedly in less elegant and less forceful terms than Cardijn’s own. Lumen Gentium recognised the “special” role of lay people in making the Church “present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth”[78] while Apostolicam Actuositatem opens with a reference to the “proper and indispensable role” of lay people[79].

Priests serving the lay apostolate

Cardijn’s undelivered speech on priestly ministry provides the corollary to his emphasis on lay apostolate. Again he insists on the need for priests to reach out to lay people.

“The starting point is listening to people and striving to understand, to love them and and accept them as they are,” Cardijn says.

And the way in which this is done is vital.

“When they come to us asking for the sacraments or other things of that nature, they will be open to us or not depending on the sincerity of our humanity. If ultimately they come! Many of them would have never even come in contact with the church or a man of the church!”

Therefore, the Church “must leave its confines and meet the people wherever they really are”.

“This was also the conclusion of Cardinal Suhard of happy memory”, Cardijn continued in reference to the Paris archbishop who had been so moved by Godin and Daniel’s book.

But priests will not succeed in engaging with people if they are lacking in faith and fidelity, Cardijn warns. “We must insist on this,” he says. It is the only way to overcome the isolation of people and eventually form a community, a missionary community.

Religious freedom

Cardijn did succeed in delivering his speech on religious freedom to the Council Fathers on 23 September 1965.

It is significant to note that Cardijn, meticulous as always, also submitted his draft paper to his long-standing colleague, the philosopher Fr Albert Dondeyne, as well as to his friend Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt[80], who chaired the commission responsible for the declaration on religious freedom.

As Congar had proposed, Cardijn the talk begins by emphasising the need to proclaim the juridical dimension of religious freedom[81]. In support of this, he cites what we would perhaps today refer to as the increasing globalisation of the world.

“As John XXIII stated so admirably in Pacem in Terris, our great task is to unite ourselves with all men of good will to build a more human world together based on ‘truth, justice, liberty and love’. And the fundamental condition for people to live together peacefully and to collaborate fruitfully is sincere respect for religious freedom,” Cardijn argues.

Indeed, failing to respect the convictions of others “makes mutual confidence impossible” and “without this there can be no true community life” or collaboration, he warns. Hence, “the presence of the Church among the people must necessarily take a new form, which could be compared to the dispersion of the people of Israel after the captivity of Babylon”.

“In most parts of the world,” Cardijn notes, “’Christians are a small minority.” It is not possible (or desirable, Cardijn implied) for the Church “to base itself on temporal, political, economic or cultural power as it did in the Middle Ages or under colonial regimes.”

On the contrary, the Church “can rely only on the power of the word of God, evangelical poverty, the purity of its witness, manifested in the authentically Christian life of lay people, and also on the esteem of the peoples among whom the Church wishes to live and witness to its faith”.

But the ultimate reason for proclaiming religious freedom, Cardijn says, is its educational value. “It is a necessary means for education in liberty in its fullest sense, which leads to interior freedom, or freedom of the soul by which a man becomes an autonomous being, responsible before society and God.”

“This interior freedom, even if it exists in germ as a natural gift in every human creature, requires a long education which can be summarised in three words: see, judge and act,” Cardijn argues.

Instead of trying to shelter people from the dangers of life, “I showed confidence in their freedom in order to better educate that freedom,” he continues.

“I helped them to see, judge and act by themselves, by undertaking social and cultural action themselves, freely obeying authorities in order to become adult witnesses of Christ and the Gospel, conscious of being responsible for their sisters and brothers in the whole world.”

For Cardijn then, the see-judge-act method is the necessary corollary of religious freedom. The more people are free, the more they need to be educated in that freedom, the more they need to develop a consciousness of their responsibilities, he says.

It is a powerful argument and sums up Cardijn’s whole educational philosophy. However, according to Congar, the speech failed to make an impact on the audience.

“Cardinal Cardijn spoke a little like a tribune. People were sympathetic, but it did not work. It had no impact and people were gently critical concerning his style,” Congar related[82].

Nevertheless, although his speech may not have made the hoped for impact in aula, it is striking to read the final version of the Declaration on Religious Freedom adopted by the Council. The opening lines of Dignitatis Humanae could have virtually been lifted from his speech:

“A sense of the dignity of the human person has been impressing itself more and more deeply on the  consciousness of contemporary man, and the demand is increasingly made that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty”[83].

Moreover, Paragraph 8 urges those “charged with the task of educating others” to do their utmost to form men…  who will come to decisions on their own judgment and in the light of truth, govern their activities with a sense of responsibility, and strive after what is true and right, willing always to join with others in cooperative effort”.

This is a clear endorsement of Cardijn’s see-judge-act method in this context of striving for a greater sense or consciousness of people’s responsibilities. In fact, the method had already gained recognition in Pope John’s encyclical Mater et Magistra[84]. And Apostolicam Actuositatem again canonised the method[85] and indeed the method which was also followed in the drafting and organisation of Gaudium et Spes itself[86].

Cardijn’s hard-hitting speeches on Schema XIII

As noted by Congar, Fr Féret drafted Cardijn’s “hard-hitting” second and third speeches on Schema XIII, which was to become Gaudium et Spes. In effect, it is one speech divided into two parts to fit in to the time limits imposed by the procedural rules of the Council.

Cardijn delivered the speeches on 23 September and 5 October. Cardinal Suenens of Brussels was chairing but Cardijn failed to hear the warning bell and went overtime, evidently alienating many in his audience[87].

Content-wise, however, they are classic Cardijn speeches. He begins by emphasising the significant demographic position of young people.

“This is why, by this constitution, the Council must address a special message to young people today in which it will express its confidence and encourage them in their respective milieux to become conscious of their responsibilities with respect to our era and that of tomorrow.

But “rather than addressing young people with paternal exhortations, the Council must give them a virile consciousness of their responsibilities,” Cardijn insisted.

He condemns the “great international justice” of underdevelopment in the Third World nations.

“It will certainly cause a historic scandal if the present state of affairs were to continue whereby ‘Christian’ countries maintain the possession and use of the greater part of the riches of the world,” Cardijn warns.

He amplifies this in the second speech on 5 October, condemning “the sub-human situation of the majority of the working world.”

“The majority of or even the great majority of workers presently experience deplorable and gravely unjust working conditions, including derisory wages, unemployment, inadequate housing, etc.

“Whatever is contrary to Catholic Social Teaching must be considered as gravely sinful,” Cardijn told the Council Fathers.

Work must “no longer serve to produce arms which destroy houses and kill children but to build houses, to provide food for children and to better instruct and train young people”.

But most of all, “the Church which loves the workers as Our Lord Jesus Christ loved them must be convinced that workers are and must be their own liberators,” Cardijn said.

Cardijn also made a number of specific proposals.

“This is why I greatly desire,” he said on 23 September, “that the introduction to the first part of the document should be entitled “the human condition in the world today”. Indeed this is precisely the title found in the Latin version “De hominis condicione in mundo hodierno”.

He also requested “that there be added three sections, or alternatively one section with three paragraphs, to be devoted respectively to young people, to workers and to the peoples of the Third World.”

“These sections or paragraphs would give a concrete and dynamic character to the whole introduction,” he said. But he was not successful in this request.

Similarly, the Council did not retain Cardijn’s request for “a solemn invitation to all world authorities, religious or political, private or public, national or international to renounce their present conflicts and to effectively and without delay set out to coordinate all the immense opportunities present in the world created by God as well as by the efforts of people for the liberation of young people, workers and the Third World.”

Nevertheless, much of the content of Cardijn’s request is contained in Gaudium et Spes. Moreover, the closing messages of the Council did invite world rulers to be “the promoters of order and peace among men”[88].  

Congar’s evaluation

Immediately following Cardijn’s talks, Congar was somewhat disappointed with his impact.

“A very boring discussion on Schema XIII,” he wrote on 5 October 1965. “Cardijn spoke, but less like a tribune than the first time. Contrary to what I had thought, people attach little credit to him… The cardinal’s “orator of the masses” style did not have the impact that I had hoped for. It was not his role and his charism was quite different,” Congar concluded[89].

Here it is important to remember that the adoption of Schema XIII was still far from certain at that point. Congar evidently hoped that Cardijn would win over the remaining doubters among the bishops with a speech like his memorable 1933 Ite Missa Est speech or his earlier “baptism of the YCW” speech also at Reims in 1927 which moved the archbishop of Paris to tears[90]. This is no doubt a fair evaluation of the immediate impact of Cardijn’s speeches. And yet, the evidence is clear of Cardijn’s impact on the Council as a whole.

As Fiévez and Meert concluded, “the Church owes it in large measure to the YCW and so to Cardijn that her theology has been enriched by a new understanding of the laity, ratified and adopted by the Council” in Lumen Gentium[91]. The particular contribution  of Cardijn and the YCW, they conclude “was to bring to light the theological import of certain neglected human values, such as the theology of work.. and also what has been called the theology of secular realities. It was from this kind of ferment that there came the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes.”

Moreover, writing to Marguerite Fiévez in 1975 ten years after the Council, Congar upheld his earlier view of Cardijn’s achievement as the “perfect example of the assumption at the summit (of the Church) of an initiative coming from the base of the Church”[92].


However, perhaps it was South African Archbishop Denis Hurley OMI who best appreciated Cardijn’s role at the Council, including his impact on Congar and Chenu.

“See, judge and act. That simple formula was a discovery of genius, one of the greatest geniuses who ever pushed along Christian education: Joseph Cardijn. So he founded his Young Christian Workers for the young industrial workers but his method was taken up in all forms of Catholic Action…

“But the amazing thing is the effect it had on theologians and first of all the French theologians,” Hurley continued, “especially two very prominent men: Yves Congar and Marie-Dominique Chenu.”

“These theologians, struck by the experiences of the YCW… began to revise all their theology and that caused enormous disturbance, upset and unrest in the Catholic Church in France just before, during and just after the Second World War.

“It is amazing the effect the Young Christian Workers had on these theologians and how through their work the whole Catholic Church was revolutionised,” Hurley concluded[93]. In essence, this sums up the thirty year partnership that united Joseph Cardijn and Yves Congar.

Indeed, it is a paradigm example of the influence and impact of Joseph Cardijn on a whole generation of theologians who knew and worked with him, including Fr Chenu, Albert Dondeyne, Gerard Philips, Gustave Thils and others who came to prominence at Vatican II.

[1]        «  J’ai été ordonné prêtre le 25 juillet 1930. Dès ce moment, la JOC a été pour moi une cause chère.  » Letter to Cardijn’s archivist and former secretary, Marguerite Fiévez, 22 October 1975. Translation of this and other unpublished texts into English by myself.

[2]        MD Chenu, Une école de théologie, Le Saulchoir, 1937: 32.

[3]        Puyo – Congar 1975: 30.

[4]        «  Nous voici à la démarche décisive : le théologien est celui qui ose parler humainement la Parole de Dieu.  »MD Chenu, op. cit. 69-70.

[5]        «  Être présent à son temps, disions-nous. Nous y voici. Théologiquement parlant, c’est être présent au donné révélé dans la vie présente de l’Église et l’expérience actuelle de la Chrétienté.  » Chenu, op. cit. 67.

[6]        AD Sertillanges, La philosophie morale de Saint Thomas d’Aquin, Felix Alcan, Paris, 1916, 592p.

[7]        Jacque Duquesne – MD Chenu, Un théologien en liberté; Jacques Duquesne interroge le Père Chenu, Collection Les interviews, Centurion, Paris, 1975, 203p. at p. 57.

[8]        «  Il ne s’agissait pas seulement, en effet, de recevoir quelques amateurs de silence et d’émotion claustrale, mais bien de faire participer effectivement, par la liturgie et par la doctrine, des groupes de laïcs à la vie spirituelle — à la vie tout court — d’un couvent dominicain. C’est dans ce contexte que, depuis trois ans, se sont établies des retraites, individuelles ou collectives, à l’usage des « mouvements spécialisés », très particulièrement à l’usage de la J.O.C. dans ses divers éléments, dirigeants, militants, propagandistes, aumôniers surtout. Rencontre trop naturelle pour qu’on n’y voie pas une garantie réciproque de bon travail.  » MD Chenu, La JOC au Saulchoir, in La Parole de Dieu IIL’Evangile dans le temps. In fact, Congar’s first retreats for the YCW were held in November 1932. See below.

[9]        «  Dans les six derniers mois, ont eu lieu, pour les aumôniers, la retraite annuelle d’une douzaine d’aumôniers de Paris, puis six récollections mensuelles des aumôniers du Nord, auxquels se joignent une fois ou l’autre ceux du secrétariat général de Bruxelles. Trois Pères se consacrent régulièrement au groupe (organisation générale, conférences spirituelles avec discussions, entretiens personnels).  » MD Chenu, La JOC au Saulchoir, in La Parole de Dieu IIL’Evangile dans le temps, Collection Cogitatio Fidei, Cerf, Paris, 1964, 704p. À 271-274. Originally published in L’année dominicaine, May 1936, p. 190-193.

[10]        Puyo – Congar, 1975: 45.

[11]        The first retreats for the JOC are dated 6 November 1932, 20 November 1932 (location illegible), 27 November 1932 (JOC d’Antoing) and then Christmas 1932. In 1933, retreats took place on 5 March (JOC Tournai), 12 March (JOC Mouscron), 12-14 August (JOC Mouscron, militants), 7-8 October (JOC Mouscron, dirigeants et militants), 15-16 October (dirigeants et militants), 4 November (pré-jocistes Mouscron), 31 December (Sermon à Mouscron aux jocistes).

[12]        Letter from Jos. Vereecke to Congar, 19 October 1933. Archives Congar.

[13]        «  La dernière recollection pour les jeunes fut une véritable régal. Tous indistinctement, furent emerveillés, enthousiasmés. Et on peut demander n’importe quel petit sacrifice. Il suffit pour cela de leur rappeler de temps à autre les résolutions prises en récollection.  » Letter from Raphaël Lecroart to Congar, undated. Archives Congar.

[14]        «  Mais un fait plus saillant à vous signaler: La défaillance soudaine et incompréhensible de Louis (notre président). Je ne sais ce qui lui passe par la tête mais il nous refuse ??? le moindre explication. Je me permets de vous demander un grand service. Tout simplement de venir à notre secours. Priez pour lui, écrivez lui.  » Ibid.

[15]        Noël Callens, Undated letter to Congar, probably late 1933. Archives Congar.

[16]        Letter from Jos Vereecke to Congar, 9 October 1933.Archives Congar.

[17]        «  C’est vraiment avec tristesse que j’ai appris combien peu de jocistes ont pris à coeur cette retraite que vous avez voulu bien leur prêcher. Aussi, permettez-moi de vous présenter mes excuses, mais je dois vous dire que jamais pareille désordre n’a régné dans ma fédé.  » Letter from Léon Debruyne to Congar, 21 August 1933. Archives Congar.

[18]        «  Dans votre désir de faire le bien aux âmes de mes camarades ouvriers, vous avez laissé abuser de votre bonté. Vous leurs avez demandés trop peu pour les frais de séjour. Ils ont cassé un vase de nuit et vous n’avez reclamé aucune indemnité et peut-être autre chose que j’ignore.  » Ibid.

[19]        «  Esprit et conditions de cette retraite. Approfondir leur vie chrétienne en faisant une expérience de vie chrétienne complète. Pour jouer ??? à fond et sincèrement le jeu… ordre, silence, etc.  » Undated notes of another retreat. Archives Congar.

[20]        Puyo – Congar 1975: 52.

[21]         The multi-story former textile factory that Cardijn had asked for and received free of charge from a leading industrial family. Fiévez – Meert, Cardijn, Chap. 7, First International Congress—first-international-congress

[22]        Jacques Leclerq, L’abbé Robert Kothen, 1958: 45 et s.

[23]        «  De Cardijn j’ai particulièrement aimé sa conférence de la Semaine sociale de Reims, «  Ita Missa est  ».  » Congar, Letter to Marguerite Fiévez, 22 October 1975. 

[24]        «  Il faut considérer la vie réelle voulue par Dieu dans laquelle il n’y a rien d’artificiel et chercher comment cette vie-là glorifiera Dieu. C’est cette vie-là dont il faut faire la vraie Messe, prolongement de la messe du prêtre, offrande unie à celle du Rédempteur à travers le temps et l’espace, de façon que les jeunes travailleurs deviennent les membres conscients et volontaires de ce grand corps mystique que doit devenir l’humanité tout entière pour rendre ainsi gloire à Dieu son Créateur et Rédempteur… Pour un nombre immense de chrétiens, la religion est une affaire privée, séparée de leur vie journalière, alors qu’elle doit être l’âme, le moteur, le transformateur, le surnaturalisateur de toute cette vie. La religion a cela comme but. C’est toute la vie qui doit être religieuse, qui doit chanter «  Gloria in excelsis Deo  »  » Cardijn, Ite Missa Est—ite-missa-est

[25]        «  Au récent congrès mondial de la J.O.C. (Bruxelles, juin 1935), un brave homme de curé, rencontrant quatre ou cinq robes blanches au milieu d’un groupe de jeunesse ouvrière, laissa échapper naïvement ce propos : « Ah! vous, les intellectuels…, vous êtes bien loin de la J.O.C.! » Ce furent les jocistes qui se chargèrent de riposter à ce bon « bourgeois ».  » Chenu, La JOC au Saulchoir, 1936 in Chenu 1964: 273.

[26]        «  La création de la J.O.C. en constituerait, de nos jours, l’un des plus symptomatiques : où nous aurions l’initiative, périphérique et prophétique s’il en est, d’ un vicaire de la banlieue de Bruxelles, qui se rend à Rome muni d’une lettre de son archevêque et là rencontre, de la part d’un pape qu’animait, lui aussi, l’esprit prophétique, une consécration par laquelle le jeune mouvement devient un mouvement de l’Eglise elle-même, le prototype des créations réformatrices de l’Action catholique. Magnifique création, ouverture pleine de promesses du développement : œuvre prophétique née du double prophétisme conjugué de la périphérie et du centre.  » Yves Congar, Vrai et fausse réforme dans l’Eglise, 282-285.

[27]        «  Causes spécifiques. Elles seules ont été vraiment décisives. Tout est venu, en France, d’une prise de conscience enfin pleinement réaliste de la véritable situation apostolique. Celle-ci s’est opérée en deux temps. De 1925 à 1940, il y a eu, dans le cadre de l’Action catholique dont ces quinze années furent le beau printemps, la pratique de la méthode d’enquête. Avec leurs « gars » et leurs « filles », les prêtres ont reçu les questions posées par le « milieu » ; ils ont mieux connu les objections, les problèmes, les lectures, les distractions, l’état réel du milieu dont leur formation, leur dignité, leurs fonctions cultuelles les tenaient coupés. Cela a suscité un bel élan. Je me rappelle les cercles d’études jocistes, les chapitres routiers de cette période.  » Yves Congar, Vrai et fausse réforme dans l’Eglise, 46-49.

[28]        François Leprieur, Quand Rome condamne, Plon/Cerf, Paris, 1989, 785p. at p. 23.

[29]        Puyo – Congar, op. cit., 52

[30]        Ibid, 41

[31]        «  Cette conscience entrait en symbiose avec la théologie du Corps mystique telle qu’on la trouve vulgarisée, par exemple, dans les livres de P. Glorieux, ce qui aboutissait à une spiritualité d’« incarnation » Les jeunes travailleurs continuaient la vie du Christ-ouvrier. Leur vie de travail constituait’ comme une « incarnation continuée » : un thème qui pouvait prêter à l’ambiguïté mais que le P. Chenu nous aidait à interpréter en termes de réalisme de la grâce et de la Parole.  » Congar 1971: 11-13.

[32]        Congar ???

[33]        «  Il ne faut pas s’y tromper : le mouvement commencé sous Pie X, dont la guerre a pu changer quelques points d’application, mais non briser la continuité, et qui a trouvé sa formule dans l’Instaurare omnia in Christo, est un mouvement de réforme. Mouvement de réforme que le mouvement liturgique; mouvement de réforme que l’effort missionnaire inauguré par Benoît XV et développé sous l’impulsion de Pie XI ; mouvement de réforme que l’Action catholique, participation du laïcat à l’apostolat hiérarchique, et, dans l’Action catholique, plus spécialement encore, la réalisation magnifique de la JOC ; mouvement de réforme que ce renouvellement intérieur de la théologie catholique actuelle dans le sens d’un contact plus sérieux avec les sources, d’une moins complète ignorance de la tradition orientale …  que cette valeur nouvelle d’interprétation ou de réponse, cette reprise de l’initiative intellectuelle et cette liberté de la pensée dont les catholiques font preuve en histoire, en philosophie, en sociologie, en culture, en art.  » Congar 1937: 339-340.

[34]        «  C’était une jeunesse enthousiaste, consciente de porter, dans le milieu ouvrier, la cause du témoignage évangélique.  » Congar 1971: 11-13.

[35]        «  Le Saulchoir a eu, ces années passées, la joie et la grâce de recevoir régulièrement aumôniers et militants de la J. O. C., qui font de ce couvent, tout occupé de livres et de théologie intemporelle, l’un de leurs lieux spirituels les plus aimés et les plus sûrs. C’est pour des «  théologiens  » un inappréciable critère de leur présence, que cette rencontre spontanée avec la J. O. C. et ses pareils; ils voient là un témoignage de l’authenticité chrétienne et de la vitalité surnaturelle de leur austère travail théologique.  » Chenu, Le Saulchoir, 1937: 68-69.

[36]        Puyo – Congar 1975: 85 et s.

[37]        Jacques Loew, Journal d’une Mission ouvrière, Collections Livres de Vie, Cerf, Paris, 382p. at p. 17 et s.

[38]        The book was published in 1943 by the Dominicans in Paris by “Les Editions du Cerf” and at Lyon by the wartime publishing house “Les Editions de l’ Abeille”.

[39]        «  Il n’est pas jusqu’à sa mort qui n’ait mis sur l’œuvre de l’abbé Godin, avec le sceau même de la croix, un cachet d’authenticité divine. L’homme et l’œuvre étaient vraiment providentiels, prophétique ». Yves Congar, Vrai et fausse réforme dans l’Eglise, 46-49.

[40]        «  La France, pays de mission? des abbés Godin et Daniel, paraissait en 1943. L’épisode est désormais bien connu, je ne le raconterai pas; on peut même dire qu’il appartient à l’Histoire. Une fois de plus, en s’appliquant simplement à être vrai, un homme prononçait les paroles que tant d’autres avaient besoin d’entendre. Il n’est pas jusqu’à sa mort qui n’ait mis sur l’œuvre de l’abbé Godin, avec le sceau même de la croix, un cachet d’authenticité divine. L’homme et l’œuvre étaient vraiment providentiels, prophétique ». On a beaucoup travaillé depuis ; le visage apostolique ou missionnaire de l’Eglise s’est affermi ou même transformé. Très vite, ce travail a mené à une prise de conscience nouvelle de la situation du monde et du rapport de l’Eglise à ce monde.  » Ibid.

[41]         Puyo – Congar 1975: 98 et s.

[42]        Congar’s archives list talks given to the JEC (YCS), JAC (Rural YCW), ACO, the Catholic Intellectual Movement and may other lay movements and organisations. Several of these talks are reproduced in his Sacerdoce et Laïcat published in 1962.

[43]        E.g. Congar, Pour une théologie du laïcat, Etudes, janv. et fév 1948, p. 42-54 et 194-218.Cited in Bernard Minvielle, L’apostolat des laïcs à la veille du Concile, Editions universitaires Fribourg Suisse, 2001, 498p. at p.50. See also Congar, Sacerdoce et laïcat.

[44]        Fiévez-Meert, Cardijn, 1972: Chap. 11, Towards the International YCW—towards-the-international-ycw

[45]        Emile Poulat, Naissance des prêtres ouvriers, Collection Religion et sociétes, Casterman, 1965, 538p. at p. 511.

[46]        Kevin Muir, The international character of the YCW: A cause of controversy in First Steps towards a history of the IYCW, International Cardijn Foundation, 2000, at p. 132.

[47]        Fiévez-Meert, op.cit, Chap. 11, Towards the International YCW—towards-the-international-ycw

[48]        Cardijn and Congar did meet on other occasions, however, as documented by Congar in his Journal d’un théologien. At p. 84 and 105.

[49]        Cardijn, Discours au Congrès mondial de l’apostolat des laïcs, October 1951. 

[50]        Congar, Jalons pour une théologie du laïcat, Collection Unam Sanctam 23, Cerf, Paris, 1952, 683p. Congar’s introduction to the book is dated 22 December 1951.

[51]        Minvielle 2001: 115.

[52]        François LePrieur, Quand Rome condamne, Terre Humaine, Plon/Cerf, 1989, ???p. at p. 26.

[53]        Congar, Liste de prédications. Archives Congar.

[54]        Yves Congar, Lay People in the Church, Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1957 (Revised edition 1964), 498p.

[55]        Congar, Jalons pour une théologie du laïcat, 2e edition, Collection Unam Sanctam 23, Cert, 1951, 683p. à p. 483.

[56]        There is one more talk on 1 May 1964 that may refer to the YCW (writing difficult to read). And there are other talks given to various Catholic Action groups that probably include YCW leaders and chaplains.

[57]        Joseph Komonchak, The struggle for the Council during the preparation of Vatican II (1960-1962) in Alberigo, I: 196-197.

[58]        Cardinal Fernando Cento (1883 – 1973), Nuncio in Brussels 1946 – 1953. 

[59]        Msgr later Archbishop Achille Glorieux (1910 – 1999) 

[60]        Ibid.

[61]        Cardijn’s person Council notes and papers fill 102 folders of his personal archives. Folders 1529-1630. The archives of the International YCW show the work that he did with the movement concerning the Council.

[62]        Komonchak, op.cit., 198 -99.

[63]        The English edition, Laymen into Action, was published Geoffrey Chapman, who had previously got his start in publishing with an earlier compilation of Cardijn’s articles, Challenge to Action.

[64]        «  Au Concile, Mgr Cardijn travaillait à la Commission de l’Apostolat des Laïcs dans laquelle je n’ai pas travaillé. Je ne l’ai vu que dans la Commission mixte (Théologie et Laïcs) préparant le Schema XVII devenu le Schema XIII (Gaudium et Spes). Mais je n’ai guère vu et n’ai pas le souvenir d’intervention notable.  » Congar, Letter to Marguerite Fiévez, 22 October 1975.

[65]        «  Puis il devint cardinal. J’espérais que son prestige, que je croyais immense, lui permettrai de jouer un rôle important dans le 4ème période du Concile (1965).  » Fiévez, ibid.

[66]        Cardijn, Letter to Cardinal Felici, 19 July 1965. Archives Cardijn 1575.

[67]        Cardijn had just returned from a four month trip to Asia including Australia. Fiévez-Meert, op. cit. Chap. 12, A global vision—a-global-vision

[68]        Declaration of praise.

[69]        «  Bien certainement, vous parlerez aussi sur le schéma XIII. Je me demande si, dans la présentation du sens du monde par rapport au Christ et à l’eschatologie, et aussi dans le chapitre sur la culture, on a fait une place suffisante aux ouvriers, à l’immense entreprise de la Production par les bras et l’esprit de l’homme. Je vous suggère ces choses dans l’esprit de simplicité avec lequel vous m’avez écrit et dit, lors de votre cardinalat  : «  Je compte sur vous  ».  » Congar, Letter to Cardijn, 11 July 1965. This letter thus appears to be responding to an earlier letter from Cardijn. But there is no copy of any earlier letter in the Cardijn Archives in Brussels. The original may be in the Congar Archives.

[70]        «  Je n’ai pas encore eu le temps d’étudier les Schémas du Concile  ! Je cours plus que jamais. La semaine prochaine encore à Lourdes. Il me faut encore préparer le Conseil Mondial de la JOC à Bangkok, de novembre à décembre. Je suis débordé. J’espère que le Saint Esprit m’éclairera et me soutiendra. Vous, soyez un peu mon guide dans une matière où je ne suis qu’un novice. Je vais lire le Schéma sur la Liberté Religieuse et vous enverrai nos réactions. Je suis habitué à voir les problèmes du côté des hommes et les théoriciens du côté des principes. Les docteurs disent  : «  L’homme est libre  »  ; et moi je dis  : «  Les trois quarts des hommes ne sont pas libres  ; il faut les libérer  »  . C’est le problème des jeunes comme des adultes dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, dans les pays développés comme dans les pays sous-développés. Quel problème  ! Si on pouvait s’entendre sur la façon de poser le problème, quelle unité, quelle collaboration, quelle paix on parviendrait à susciter  !  » Cardijn, Letter to Congar, 14 July 1965. Archives Cardijn 1579.

[71]        «  Le problème de la nécessité de libérer les hommes est d’une densité, d’une urgence bien réelles, mais ce serait plutôt un problème pour le Schema XIII. La Déclaration sur la liberté religieuse se tient au plan juridique. C’est sa limite, mais c’est sa force, et ce que fait qu’à mon avis, elle doit rallier 95  % des Pères Conciliaires.  » Congar, Letter to Cardijn, 22 July 1965. Archives Cardijn 1579.

[72]        «  …Mais le grand moment, au point de vue travail conciliaire, a été la venue du cardinal Cardijn. Il m’avait écrit avec insistance qu’il voulait me voir. Le 1er août, je lui ai téléphoné à Bruxelles. Il est arrivé le 4 août à 12 h 40 à l’aérodrome de Genève. Tout de suite, puis en voiture, on a parlé. Ce fut pour nous une extraordinaire Saint-Dominique, deux demi-journées de grâce. Je crois que ce n’est pas en vain que cela m’a été donné. Sur Rome, sur les projets du pape, la Réforme de la Curie, la marche du concile, Cardijn dit ne rien savoir, et je crois qu’effectivement il ne sait à peu près rien. Il dit n’avoir pas reçu une seule fois un papier depuis son cardinalat, le renseignant sur ce qu’on attendrait de lui. Appartenant à la Congrégation des Études et Séminaires, il est allé voir Pizzardo. Il en est sorti effaré. Pizzardo est un néant, dit-il. Il nous parle de son cardinalat, comment le nonce le lui a annoncé, comment le Pape lui a dit : « Restez Cardijn ! » ; comment, depuis sa pourpre, tout le monde, à Rome, lui sourit, lui fait courbettes (« c’est dégoûtant », dit-il, « c’est ignoble. Je n’aurais jamais cru cela »). Cardijn est très libre ; il reste tout à fait lui-même. Et quel entrain, quel enthousiasme ; quelle santé chez cet homme de quatre-vingt-trois ans  !  » Congar, Journal of the Council,  ???

[73]        «  On parle de la Liberté religieuse, du schéma XIII, de l’Apostolat des laïcs, des Missions, des Prêtres. Cardijn a préparé des réactions sur ces textes ; il compte sur moi, sur nous, pour les éprouver et les mettre en forme d’interventions conciliaires. Au fond, Cardijn n’a qu’une idée, mais elle lui est consubstantielle, il lui est absolument fidèle comme il est fidèle à soi-même. Elle éclaire tout. Sa grande idée est de partir du réel, du concret. Il faut prendre les hommes tels qu’ils sont. Il reproche au nouveau schéma sur l’apostolat des laïcs de commencer par distinguer des espèces de l’apostolat, de proposer une « spiritualité des laïcs ». Si j’avais commencé ainsi, dit-il, je n’aurais rien fait. Je n’ai pas rencontré de gens à qui ces schèmes puissent s’appliquer. Il faut toujours commencer par prendre les hommes tels qu’ils sont, sans vouloir plaquer sur eux nos cadres, nos idées, nos exigences. Il faut que cela vienne d’eux, il faut que ce soit authentique pour eux. Quand on part d’un système, on se forme facilement l’idée qu’avec tels ou tels hommes il n’y a rien à faire. Et l’on ne fait rien. Cardijn enseignait dans un séminaire ou une école quand le cardinal Mercier l’a nommé vicaire à Laeken. Il fut mal accueilli par son curé-doyen qui projeta d’emblée sur lui les étiquettes : pas de santé, ne parle pas flamand, vient d’un séminaire et ne connaît rien ! Or il y avait un quartier de gens pauvres où ni le doyen ni aucun prêtre n’était jamais allé : « Il n’y a rien à faire ! » Et comme Cardijn exprimait son intention d’y aller : « Ils ne vous recevront pas. » Or Cardijn y alla dès le lendemain, on lui ouvrit, il but le café : un an après, il avait un groupe de mille femmes catholiques de ce quartier  !  » Congar, Journal of the Council,  ???

[74]        «  Il fait des critiques analogues au schéma XIII, au schéma sur les Missions. Petit à petit, nous déterminons un certain nombre d’interventions à faire, à partir de ses notes et de notre conversation. Après le départ du cardinal, que nous reconduisons le 5 à son avion de 13 h 40, nous nous distribuons le travail, le P. Féret et moi. Le 10, je lui envoie un projet d’intervention sur la Liberté religieuse.  » Congar, Journal of the Council,  ???

[75]        «  Voici une esquisse de texte d’une intervention sur la Liberté religieuse. C’est une transcription, en un mauvais latin, de votre propre projet, allégé de 2 pages qui parlaient de la liberté plutôt au point de vue intérieure et moral. On aurait pu faire un point assez bref où l’on aurait demandé que les quelques lignes qui, dans la conclusion du Schéma, parlent du devoir pastoral d’éduquer des hommes de vraie liberté, soient quelque peu amplifiées.  » Congar, Letter to Cardijn, 10 August 1965. Archives Cardijn 1579.

[76]        «  Ce n’est qu’un projet. J’ai travaillé sans aucun dictionnaire. Si vous voulez faire vos remarques, supprimer, ajouter, je pourrai le faire facilement à Strasbourg, où je rentre dans la nuit du 13 au 14. Je pars d’ici, dans un instant (aérodrome Genève) pour donner deux conférences à la Semaine missiologique de Burgos. Le P. Féret vous enverra demain un projet de texte sur le Schéma XIII, conformément à votre papier, vos instructions et notre conversation. Il me l’a lu en brouillon  : c’est vigoureux. Nous gardons un souvenir bénir de votre passage ici. Ce fut pour moi, pour nous, une grande grâce. Je vous remercie une nouvelle fois de vous être imposé ce voyage. Du reste, je vous enverrai, de Strasbourg, d’autres projets, rédigés d’après vos indications, sur les Missions et les prêtres. Mais cela presse moins puisque la discussion sur ces points ne viendra qu’en fin de sept. ou début octobre.  » Congar, Letter to Cardijn, 10 August 1965.

[77]        «  14 sept 1965  : Féret m’avait dit hier que Cardijn nous demandait devenir déjeuner après la cérémonie de ce matin. Je n’ai aucune précision [finalement, je vois rue Ulisse Seni… il y a eu mal donne … Retard du P. Féret.]. Il y a beau jeu qu’on a achevé de déjeuner et que le cardinal, fatigue, est allé faire une sieste. Quand il revient, on travaille un peu en prenant le café, dans le jardin. Il ne sait rien, ne voit personne, n’est mêlé à rien. Mais ses interventions sont prêtes, et il est disposé à donner quelques bons coups de poing…  » Congar, Council Journal  :  ??

[78]        “Now the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth.” Lumen Gentium 33.

[79]        Apostolicam Actuositatem, No. 1.

[80]        Bishop De Smedt was a friend of Cardijn of long standing. His sister, Livine De Smedt, had been a fulltime worker for the YCW in the Diocese of Bruges. Retired Bruges vicar-general Father Leo De Clerck confirmed to me the links between Cardijn and De Smedt. Bishop De Smedt’s archives also contain correspondence with Cardijn relating to the drafting of his pastoral letter on the priesthood of the faithful published in 1961 and which had a great impact at the Council. Cf. E.-J.De Smedt, Le sacerdoce des fidèles, Desclée de Brouwer, Bruges – Paris, 1961, 131p. English edition: E.-J. De Smedt, The priesthood of the faithful, Deus Books/Paulist Press, New York, 1962, 126p.

[81]        The various drafts can be found in the Cardijn Archives.

[82]        «  Le cardinal Cardijn parle, un peu en tribun. On lui garde sympathie, mais cela ne passe pas. Cela n’a aucune influence et l’on est gentiment critique sur le genre.  » Congar, Journal, 

[83]        Here the word “duty” in English translates the Latin word “officii” which elsewhere in Vatican II documents is translated as “responsibility”.

[84]        Pope John XXIII, Mater et magistra, No. 236.

[85]        Apostolicam Actuositatem

[86]        “The change in methodology was monumental: it represented a shift from a perspective that was dogmatic, deductive and top-to-bottom to one that was exploratory, inductive, and bottom-to-top.  If nothing more than this structural change had been made, a giant step would have been taken.  In fact, much more than advancement than just methodological would be achieved… Many theologians now believe that the methodology of Gaudium et Spes is every bit as important as its content. The methodology used in the document turns traditional theology on its head.  Instead of proceeding in the time-honored fashion, discussing theological or biblical principles and then applying them to a present-day situation, Gaudium et Spes reverses the process: it begins with a careful analysis of the de facto situation, then turns to sacred scripture and theology for reflection on that situation, and finally, as a third step, makes pastoral applications.  Theological reflection thus becomes the second, not the first, step.” Edward Cleary O.P. Edward L. Cleary, O.P., Crisis and Change: The Church in Latin America Today, New York: Orbis Books, 1985, Chapter 2 and 3. Cited in Stephanie Block, Liberationism and Liberationist Materials Used by Catholics in the United States, Dossier

[87]        “The day when he spoke on youth, and the developing countries, Cardinal Suenens was presiding. Cardijn was rather scared at having to give his long text in Latin but he went ahead with all the force and stress with which he was accustomed to address large gatherings. Indeed he was quite carried away by his subject and his convictions, failed to notice that his time was up and failed, too, to hear the President trying to halt him with the tap of his hammer. He went on with even more fire!” Fiévez – Meert, op. Cit., Chap. 13, Cardijn at the Council.—cardijn-at-the-council

[88]        Second Vatican Council Closing speeches and messages. 

[89]        «  Discussion fort ennuyeux sur le schéma XIII. Cardijn parle, moins en tribun que la première fois. Contrairement à ce que j’avais pensé, on lui attache peu de crédit. Je sors un peu. Le cardinal me dit qu’il ne parlera pas sur le sacerdoce… C’est un fait qu’en Concile, le genre «  orateur de masse  » du cardinal n’a pas eu l’écho que j’espérais. Ce n’était pas son métier, et son charisme était autre…  »

[90]        Joseph Cardijn, Interview with BRTN Television, 1962.

[91]        Févez – Meert, Cardijn, Chapter 13, Cardijn at the CouncilChap—cardijn-at-the-council

[92]        «  La rencontre de son inspiration et de ses premières réalisations avec l’idée de Pie XI sur l’Action Catholique m’apparaissait comme l’exemple parfait de l’assomption au sommet d’une inspiration d’en bas, la synthèse des deux.  » Congar, Letter to Marguerite Fiévez, 22 October 1975

[93]        Social Justice: Church & Politics (1986) Archbishop Denis E. Hurley, OMI, St. Joseph’s Parish, Greyville (1986)