6. Church, world, lay apostolate

A conciliar dialectic

A trial of patience

Having accepted Cardijn’s proposal for an encyclical to commemorate Rerum Novarum, it was natural that Pope John would call upon him as a member of the Pontifical Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate (PCLA) for Vatican II.

Still travelling extensively despite his seventy-eight years, Cardijn responded by drafting a series of seventeen papers for this Commission advocating his conception of the lay apostolate and insisting on the need for formation based on the Jocist method.

These ‘Notes,’ numbered by hand in red pencil, form part of a series of thirty-four conciliar papers preserved in his personal archives.1 Together with the accounts of the Commission’s work compiled by its secretary, Msgr Achille Glorieux,2 and by the Austrian Catholic Action chaplain and theologian, Ferdinand Klostermann,3 the notes enable us to trace Cardijn’s efforts in the PCLA (and the corresponding conciliar commission).

As Fiévez and Meert recalled, the work of the PCLA was ‘a trial of patience for [Cardijn] and doubtless, too, for those with whom he discussed it.’ He opposed the post-war trend to ‘identify and limit the lay apostolate to exclusively religious witness,’ which he regarded as ‘a disincarnate conception’ that ‘lacked all realism.’4

Against this, Cardijn’s notes stressed that the ‘authentic lay apostolate’ was ‘centred within secular life and in the midst of secular realities,’ which was ‘the proper field of baptismal consecration’ for the layperson: ‘the layperson’s specific lay apostolate,’ ‘distinct from the Priestly Ministry and capable of transforming the daily life of the world.’

As this chapter will show, Cardijn faced a Sisyphean task, which nevertheless paved the way for later success.

A new appointment

With the antepreparatory period wrapped up by May 1960, Pope John launched the preparatory phase on Pentecost Sunday 6 June 1960 with the motu proprio, Superno Dei Nutu.5 Whereas Tardini’s Antepreparatory Commission had proposed six preparatory commissions, the number was finally fixed at ten, including a commission on lay apostolate that the pope had decided upon himself, describing it as a ‘real innovation.’6

Indeed, it was the first time that an Ecumenical Council had specifically addressed the apostolate of the laity. According to Glorieux, this decision exercised ‘a great influence on the whole Council, contributing to highlight the place of lay people in the Church and the importance of their role in the apostolic mission of the Church.’7

The president of this ‘Preparatory Commission on the apostolate of the laity, for all matters relating to Catholic, religious and social action’ was Cardinal Fernando Cento, then acting as the Major Penitentiary, but who had acted as nuncio to Belgium from 1946-53, where he had known Cardijn and the JOC very well.

Writing to congratulate Cento on 9 June 1960, Cardijn underlined the need to ‘study what seems to me to be one of the most serious problems for the future of the Church,’ i.e. the lay apostolate, and offering to place himself at the latter’s disposition ‘for the work of the Commission.’8 Three months later, on 7 September, Cardijn received his official nomination as a member of the Commission from Cardinal Tardini.9

The Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate

Initially, Pope John appointed twenty-nine members and nineteen consultors to the PCLA, with more added in the following months bringing the final total to thirty-nine members and twenty-nine consultors, including many with previous involvement in the Lay Apostolate Congresses.10 Glorieux, himself a former JOC chaplain in Lille, noted that it was the most international of all the commissions with members from twenty-six nations.11

Nonetheless, Italians dominated with eleven members, including John XXIII’s Mater et Magistra drafting team of Pavan, Ferrari-Toniolo, Civardi and Quadri.12 Moreover, they benefited from a strong home ground advantage, being able to participate to a much greater extent in the drafting process. By contrast, the Commission included only three non-Europeans among its members.

Among those with Jocist links – apart from Cardijn – we can identify Garrone, Rodhain, Henri Donze, chaplain to the ACI, Henri Caffarel, a former JOC national-secretariat chaplain who founded the Teams of Our Lady13 from France, Franz Hengsbach from Germany, Albert Bonet, founder of the JOC affiliate in Catalonia, and Antoine Cortbawi from Lebanon.14

Although the consultors were much more geographically representative with three Africans, two Latin Americans, three Asians and even two from Oceania among the original nineteen, they were less directly involved in the drafting process.15 Once again, many had close ties to the JOC and the Specialised Catholic Action movements, notably Larrain but also McCann, Gantin, Blomjous, Gallagher, Gutierrez Granier, Delargey and Pillai.16

In a sign that the French bishops, particularly Garrone, were not happy with Italian dominance, the latter additions also included several members and consultors from the French Specialised Catholic Action movements. These included former ACO national chaplain, Jacques Bonnet,17 and Albert Lanquetin, a founder of the Mouvement Familial Rural (MFR),18 who had also participated in the foundation of the JOC in France.

Other Preparatory Commissions

Bishops with close links to the Specialised Catholic Action movements were also well represented in several other commissions, including the Central Preparatory Commission (CPC), where Cardijn would have been pleased to find Cardinals Van Roey (Belgium), Liénart and Richaud (France), Frings (Germany), Léger (Canada), Montini (Italy), Gonçalves Cerejeira (Portugal), Caggiano (Argentina), Barros Camara (Brazil), Godfrey (United Kingdom), Alfrink (Netherlands), Meyer (USA) and Gracias (Bombay, India) as well as Archbishops Thomas Cooray (Sri Lanka) and Denis Hurley (South Africa).

In addition, Cardijn remained on good terms with several Vatican cardinals in the CPC, including Tisserant, who was president, Alfredo Ottaviani, and Micara. Later, however, Suenens, who had not failed to make known his views on Catholic Action when submitting his vota in response to the preparatory enquiry, would replace Van Roey.19

Secondly, the Theological Commission, whose work also embraced the theological aspects of the lay apostolate, included a significant number of Jocist-friendly bishops and theologians such as Joseph Schröffer (Germany), Marcel Dubois (France), Vicente Scherer (Brazil), Maurice Roy and Lionel Audet (Canada) as well as Gerard Philips, the Louvain biblical scholar, Lucien Cerfaux, Pavan, Ferrari-Toniolo and Congar, now rehabilitated under the reign of Pope John.

The case was similar with the Commission for Bishops and Diocesan Government, which included Emile Guerry, Pierre Veuillot, Jean Villot (France), Georges Pelletier (Canada), Vicente Enrique y Tarancon (Spain) as well as the French sociologist Msgr Fernand Boulard, Justin Simonds (Australia) and Helder Camara (Brazil).

Most commissions, in fact, counted at least one or two bishops with close SCA links, e.g. Charles de Provenchères (France) (Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and the Faithful), Gaston Courtois, a Son of Charity father, who had helped found the Coeurs vaillants, an SCA movement for children (Commission for Religious), Argentinian former JOC chaplain Enrique Rau (Commission for the Discipline of the Sacraments), Henri Jenny (France) (Commission for Sacred Liturgy), and François Marty (France), (Commission on Studies and Seminaries).

Finally, the Secretariat for Christian Unity included Cardinal Bea, Archbishop John Heenan (UK), Bishops François Charrière (Switzerland) and Emile De Smedt (Belgium), as well as Gustave Thils (Louvain) and the Dominican Jerome Hamer.

Although a minority, these bishops and theologians offered a compelling voice to the orientations and concerns of the Specialised Catholic Action movements.

The work of the PCLA

Problems of method

According to Glorieux, the PCLA’s method of work was inspired by a ‘double concern.’ The first was for effectiveness. This translated into the creation by each sub-commission of Rome-based ‘working groups,’ which met regularly to work on draft texts that were circulated to those who were absent. These groups ‘included various nationalities,’ Glorieux added, somewhat defensively acknowledging the disadvantage of the system for the non-Romans. The second preoccupation was to involve all the members and consultors in the work ‘without great distinction between the two categories’ in order to receive opinions from the broadest number of countries.20

For Cardijn, who still followed a punishing schedule, it was a huge extra workload that he did not shirk. Meanwhile, at the first meeting of the commission in October 1960, Cardinal Cento immediately announced his intention to create three sub-commissions as follows:

Sub-Commission I: General notions and aspects more directly concerning evangelisation

President: Castellano, the Italian Catholic Action national chaplain

Members: Colli, Garrone, Bukatko, Sabattini, Civardi, Guano, Cardijn, Bonnet, Donze, Lanquetin, Caffarel, Cortbawi, Papali, Tucci

Sub-Commission II: Social action

President: Hengsbach

Vice-president: Pavan

Members: Fulton Sheen, Géraud, Quadri, Ferrari Toniolo, Portier, Jarlot, Ponsioen, Hirschmann

Sub-Commission III: Charitable action

President: Bishop Baldelli, Pontifical Mission Assistance

Members: Babcock, Gasbarri, Rodhain, Klostermann, Bonet, Lopez de Lara.21

This was evidently based on a Suenens-style direct-indirect evangelisation framework, combined with a traditional ‘works’-based understanding of the apostolate plus the addition of a newer category of social action. A far cry from Cardijn’s espousal of the lay apostolate of lay people transforming life, milieu and world, it was a huge setback which effectively pre-determined the framework of the Commission’s deliberations.

Compounding the difficulties, the Evangelisation Sub-Commission under the presidency of Archbishop Mario Castellano, included seven Italians out of fifteen members. The French participants, who eventually numbered five (Garrone, Donze, Caffarel, plus Bonnet and Lanquetin added later), plus Cortbawi and Cardijn effectively deadlocked the Sub-Commission.

Disappointing terms of reference

Meanwhile, the PCLA received its terms of reference. Trapped in the mentality of pious works and obsessively focused on hierarchical control, these inevitably disappointed Cardijn:

I. The apostolate of the laity: Determine the domain and the goals of this apostolate and its relations with the hierarchy. What are the best means for the apostolate of the laity to respond to current necessities?

II. Catholic Action: 1. To determine the notion, the domain and its subordination to the hierarchy; 2. Review its constitution in order that it be better adapted to our times; 3. Determine the relations between Catholic Action and the other associations (Marian congregations, pious unions, professional unions, etc.)

III. Associations: To study how the activity of existing associations could better respond during our time to the ends that they propose (charitable and social action).22

Compared with the reality-based approach that Cardijn had introduced to the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate, this was back to square one – or worse. Unlike the preparation for the Congresses, which were relatively open-ended and democratic, the PCLA agenda was severely crimped by its terms of reference. Glorieux himself agreed that ‘the formulation of the questions’ the Commission were to consider was rather ‘imprecise.’23 Moreover, there was little time to react, Cardijn having received his nomination only a month before the first PCLA meeting.

The movements begin to mobilise

Proposal for a sub-commission of lay leaders and militants

Although bound by the secrecy applicable to all Commission members and consultors, Cardijn strove as far as possible to involve JOC leaders. On 26 September 1960, he and the JOCI Secretariat organised a meeting with the International Federation of Christian Worker Movements (FIMOC) and the French ACO to discuss plans for the Council.

According to Romeo Maione, these plans included establishing a working commission ‘to prepare a list of bishops convinced of the worker apostolate,’ ‘to study each commission in order to prepare points for our friends,’ ‘to study how to pass on the preoccupation for the worker apostolate in the decisions of the Council’ and even to establish a secretariat in Rome for these purposes.24

The next day, Cardijn wrote to Glorieux expressing the movement’s concerns and views.25 Knowing that he had more support from other continents, Cardijn immediately proposed to internationalise the work of the Rome Sub-Commissions by diversifying ‘into continental sub-commissions which would examine the problem from an even more realistic perspective by continent.’

Glorieux responded cautiously on 3 October emphasising his and Cento’s agreement in principle with involving lay people in the work as ‘they alone understand certain aspects of these problems and have experience of them in the milieux of their lives.’26 Nevertheless, he questioned whether it was ‘opportune’ to raise the issue before the Commission had begun meeting. This was hardly surprising since Frings and Döpfner had raised the issue of lay participation as early as 25 May 1961 only for Pope John to respond that the Council ‘was an act of the teaching not the learning Church.’ The only exception was one layman, F. Vito, who participated in the Commission on Studies and Seminaries.27

The anguish and hopes of the young workers

Meanwhile, on 28 October 1960, in preparation for its November Executive Committee meeting, the JOCI organised a study day on Vatican II with the objective of preparing a note for the PCLA addressing two themes, namely ‘the mass of young workers to be saved’ and ‘the role of lay people in the Church as we conceive it.’28

Participants included Cardijn, members of the JOCI leadership team, i.e. Maione, Betty Villa (Philippines), René Salanne (France), plus Marguerite Fiévez and several chaplains from Latin America, Africa and Europe. Maione feared that the Council would seek ‘to divinise parish work’ while Villa pointed out that in Asia there was ‘no link between the Gospel preached on Sunday and daily life.’ Oscar Melanson CSC, a Canadian priest working in Brazil, wished ‘to induce an anguish for the working masses at the Council.’

A statement drafted by the meeting entitled ‘Ecumenical Council’ was adopted by the Executive Committee on 12 November 1960. Eschewing mention of any desire for lay involvement in the work of the PCLA, the leaders lamented the ‘disastrous’ conditions experienced by millions of young workers and called on the PCLA to ‘clearly define the proper role of lay people in the Church and in the world.’

Cardijn undoubtedly had a large hand in the drafting of this statement which began in terms that uncannily prefigure the opening phrases of Gaudium et Spes:

The anguish [anxiety] felt over the consequences that may be disastrous for millions of human persons and for the future of human society, in spite of the hopes that humanity should reasonably be able to place in technological progress, vigorously inspires the leaders mandated by the Church for the apostolate of young workers, to humbly but urgently call upon those in charge of preparing the Council and the Council itself, so that a doctrinal teaching and a pastoral orientation be traced that will enlighten and guide the action of Catholics around the world in union with all people of good will…29

Hence, the statement argued, the need for an apostolic formation for leaders whose Christian task would be to tackle these issues. It concluded with a call to the ninety JOC national movements to join in Council preparations, including lobbying their bishops. In effect, the statement called for a new orientation for the preparation. Also striking is the extent to which the JOC statement anticipated the line eventually adopted by Vatican II, rather than the original terms of reference of the Commission. Three days later, armed with this declaration, Cardijn joined the first full meeting of the Commission.

Note 1: The ‘proper and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people’

Nor was this the only document Cardijn took to Rome on 15 November 1960. On 31 October he sent to Cento the first of his numbered notes, Note 1, on ‘The apostolate of lay people.’ This document elegantly recapped the vision Cardijn had fought for at the Lay Apostolate Congresses and in the COPECIAL and can be considered as a template for his advocacy throughout Vatican II.

Its purpose, Cardijn explained, was to ‘consider the proper and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people,’ whom he defined negatively ‘as all those men and women who are not living in the priestly or religious state.’ The first two chapters followed a see-judge-act format answering the Commission’s first questions on lay apostolate, while Chapters III and IV answered a series of questions about Catholic Action and other forms of association.

Characteristically, in Chapter V he answered a question that the Commission had not yet asked, setting out his vision of the ministerial priesthood in relation to the foregoing. Finally, he included two annexes on ‘the creation of working groups including the participation of lay people,’ and ‘the creation of a Roman Congregation or a Roman Secretariat for the lay apostolate.’

Chapter I – The essential problems of lay life

Chapter II opened noting that ‘all lay people face the same essential and primordial problems, which were inherent in their personhood and in their lay life.’ These problems (like their corresponding solutions) were ‘nearly always united and inseparable’ in the ‘reality of our existence.’30

Here he offered a model questionnaire that offered a far more existential basis for the work of the whole Commission, as these extracts illustrate:

  • Personal level: What is the goal of my life? Who is man and where does he come from? Who am I? What is my situation? How is it that I find myself among other people? What is my vocation, my mission? What are my needs, my aspirations, my personal responsibilities, etc.?
  • Physical level (health and hygiene): Am I in good or ill health? Why? What are my nutritional needs and how to meet these? How can I provide for my children?
  • Family level: Who is my family? What relations do I have with my parents or with my children? And with my relatives? What are my duties and my needs?
  • Immediate community and social level: Does my housing meet my desires and the needs of my family? My neighbourhood, my street, what about these?31

He also added similar questions relating to culture, professional life, civic and political life, and even international issues such as the population explosion, ideological conflict. Not a word about evangelisation, spirituality or prayer, while the only mention of religion came in the last paragraph, where he asked, ‘why are there so many religions and aren’t they all good?’!

To PCLA members who operated from a direct/indirect evangelisation framework, this must have seemed completely irrelevant at best. No doubt anticipating this, Cardijn endeavoured to explain. ‘All these personal and collective problems form the very tissue of day to day lay life, in which lay people are immersed by the very nature of their vocation,’ Cardijn added.

In response, ‘lay people must become conscious of both the problems and the solutions in which they are involved as a matter of course to be able to commit themselves as Christians, freely and with love, as a response to their mission and earthly responsibility,’ Cardijn continued, echoing the Sillon definition of democracy.

Lay people ‘must desire the accomplishment of this mission’ within an increasingly vast ‘worldwide, inter-racial, ecumenical, cosmic’ perspective, by means of an ‘increasingly precise knowledge of the problems of under-developed countries and continents’ and ‘inspired by an acute sense of mutual respect, justice, solidarity and collaboration between all.’

Chapter II – 1: The apostolic and missionary dimension of these problems

In Chapter II – 1, Cardijn set out to show how responding to these issues formed the basis of his vision of the ‘apostolic mission of the lay person’ within ‘the whole of lay life.’ In this conception, ‘the problems evoked and the solutions that respond to them [had] an essential, fundamental, primordial significance’ since they were ‘inserted…

in God’s plan of love, in his work of creation and redemption,’ which Cardijn characterised as the ‘truth of faith.’

These factors also implied a relationship both ‘with Christ, God made man to save people, on earth as in heaven, in time and in eternity’ and ‘with the Church, its mission, its doctrine, its Hierarchy, its worship.’ The theological and pastoral implications of this relationship therefore needed to be ‘explained and explored to enlighten lay people on the significance of their own mission in all lay fields and the way to realise it.’

This was ‘because the consciousness of this essential relationship between all the problems of human life and their final goal which is the Kingdom of God inspires responsibility, mission and the apostolic sense of lay people,’ Cardijn continued, drawing on the consciousness-responsibility couplet. Hence, ‘all people are on earth to establish and extend the reign of God, to continue the redemption of Christ and the work of the Church.’

In such a context, religion and the Church, including ‘worship, sacraments, liturgy, interior life and morals’ were linked inseparably to ‘the apostolic mission of the whole Church, and of all its members and all people.’

Chapter II – 2: The importance of formation

Such a vision necessitated a corresponding program of ‘human, divine and Christian’ formation that developed a ‘consciousness of the apostolic and missionary significance of the whole of life.’ For Cardijn, ‘the whole of religious formation’ was ‘essentially apostolic.’ Thus, while it commenced in parish catechism and at school, it reached ‘its culminating and decisive point at the age that determines the orientation of personal life – between 14 and 25 years – when the young man or young woman become adults…’

To be effective, this apostolic formation needed to be ‘an apprenticeship in the discovery of human problems based on observation of lay life itself and on a conception of life in the light of human destiny’ leading to a search for and ‘implementation of solutions that are needed for these problems,’ judgement ‘in the light of a few principles’ and ‘action beginning with one’s immediate milieu.’ Beginning from the personal, such an approach, for Cardijn, also required a collective dimension, building from action initially in one’s own milieu and eventually reaching a world scale.

Moreover, the eventual development of a consciousness of ‘the global dimension of human problems’ should lead to ‘an understanding of the Church in which the whole apostolic, personal and collective mission will be profoundly embedded.’ Thus, the lay person’s relationship with the Church, Cardijn argued, needed to be based on the ‘two essential poles’ of consciousness and responsibility (again), namely:

a) the proper responsibility of the lay person in his or her terrestrial mission, in the solution to human problems; [and]

b) the lay person’s filial, free and conscious, dependency on the authority of the Church as a Christian and as an apostolic chargé de mission.32

Here, Cardijn endeavoured to reconcile ‘responsibility and dependency’ as two sides of the lay person’s relationship with the Church, which was, in effect divided into areas of lay competency in the fields of ‘scientific, technological, financial, economic, social (and) cultural’ problems on one hand, and areas of Church competency with respect to ‘doctrinal, spiritual (and) moral’ problems. But such a relationship could only be founded on ‘an openness and a positive action on the part of the [hierarchy] based on confidence in the mission of lay people themselves.’

Chapter III – A vision of Catholic Action

Since John XXIII and/or the PCLA had renewed focus on Catholic Action, Cardijn moved to explain his own vision in terms of ‘two essential characteristics.’

The first of these, based on the definition of Pius XI, was ‘official participation’ in ‘the proper function of the Hierarchy, namely forming the faithful to share the apostolic mission of the Church in their own life and in the lay world.’ Education was, thus, the essential component of Catholic Action, which by its nature belonged to the hierarchical dimension of the Church.

However, there was a second ‘essential characteristic,’ namely ‘the responsibility of lay people both in the direction and in the action and organisation of the apostolic movements that have received a mandate.’ Thus, for Cardijn, participation in the work of the hierarchy also involved major responsibility on the part of lay people, even though this level of responsibility varied in practice.

Achieving this double collaboration therefore necessitated internal collaboration within the Catholic Action movement ‘between the chaplain and the lay leaders and at every level of the organisation’, and externally ‘between the lay leaders and the Hierarchy as well as with the whole clergy.’ In other words, Cardijn’s understanding of Specialised Catholic Action was based on a partnership between the episcopal hierarchy and the organised lay hierarchy of the movements, each of which had priority in its own area of responsibility.

In relation to the controversial question of the ‘mandate,’ Cardijn repeated that it applied not to individuals but only to the ‘the range of lay organisations that comprise Catholic Action.’ The reason for requiring a mandate was because such organisations were charged with ‘forming the apostolic conscience of Christians, of training them in apostolic action in daily life and in groups of the apostolate,’ which implied ‘a very close union between the Bishop and the whole Hierarchy and the movements of Catholic Action.’

On the other hand, this implied that no mandate was necessary where lay groups acted independently on their own initiative, such as prayer groups, charitable groups and the like. This, in effect, constituted Cardijn’s reply to the Suenens critique of favouritism.

With respect to specialisation, Cardijn regarded this as a result of the need to organise around ‘the great problems of life, action, milieu’ by which he meant specialisation based largely on economic class. But he also pointed to the need for new forms of specialisation based on the ‘social milieux that dominate the present world,’ which implied the need to consider all factors that determined the nature of a milieu, including ethnic and religious factors, and not simply class (as it had developed in Europe).

Consequently, Cardijn’s vision of Catholic Action involved organisation at every level from local to global (‘international’) and, by implication, could not function effectively if limited to diocesan level. There was also a need for coordination between movements but not by ‘a superstructure that places itself above the specialised movements.’ Rather this coordination needed to be based on ‘mutual understanding, union, entente, solidarity and collaboration.’

Chapter IV – The place of other lay organisations

Chapter IV shed further light on his conception of Catholic Action by his explanation of the place of other kinds of movements:

  • Formation in piety: e.g. third orders, fraternities
  • Assistance to the clergy or the parish: e.g. Legion of Mary…
  • Formation and support of a missionary laity: Propagation of the Faith…
  • Charitable action: Caritas, Conferences of St Vincent de Paul…
  • Educational, cultural or leisure action: scouting, youth clubs, sport, music…
  • Professional and social action: trade unions, cooperatives, Pax Christi…
  • Civic and political action: civic committees, international teams of Christian Democracy, groups of parliamentarians involved in European structures, etc…33

Each of these groups had its own value, Cardijn recognised, adding that even charitable groups needed to collaborate with other professional, civic and political groups with a view to ‘social uplifting.’

While he conceded the right of the hierarchy to grant its mandate ‘to whichever association, as it sees fit,’ he nevertheless insisted on the ‘utility’ and ‘apostolic value’ of these initiatives ‘independently’ of any mandate, which was unnecessary in these fields. Here he added a warning on the need to avoid the spirit of competition and exclusivity.

‘No association,’ Cardijn insisted, agreeing for once with Suenens, ‘whether it be Catholic Action or not has a monopoly that could exclude others.’

Chapter V – The formation of priests, religious men and women

Based on the foregoing, in Chapter V, Cardijn presented his corresponding vision of the role of priests and religious. There would ‘never be an authentic, effective and influential lay apostolate,’ he argued, if the latter were not convinced that they must ‘collaborate with lay people in view of [their] apostolate.’34

To achieve such collaboration, it was essential for seminaries and novitiates to prioritise the lay apostolate and the need for appropriate formation. This in turn implied the need for tools and resources as well as organising priests into local or regional teams.

In a corollary to his insistence on the ‘specifically lay apostolate of lay people,’ Cardijn continued throughout the Council to emphasise the role of the priest. Indeed, as Glorieux later remarked, Cardijn ‘spoke of priests with respect to nearly every theme taken up in the schema…’35


Cardijn concluded by proposing a Council resolution calling for ‘a systematic effort… throughout the whole Church to promote understanding of the necessity and importance of the apostolate of lay people in view of a Christian solution to the increasingly urgent [world] problems.’ He also proposed the addition of a preparatory sub-commission including lay people, and the (post-conciliar) establishment of a ‘Roman congregation’ for the apostolate of lay people.

It was a compelling outline of the Jocist vision and methodology. The problem was that, as far as the work of the PCLA was concerned, the die was already cast.

The Council: A unique opportunity

The difficulties for Cardijn emerged as soon as Glorieux presented his nine-point plan for the Commission’s work at its first meeting in mid-November 1960, which was as follows:

1. Notions and definitions of the lay apostolate

2. Forms and methods

3. Formation for the lay apostolate

4. Submission to the hierarchy

5. Priests and lay people

6. Catholic Action

7. Relations between the various forms of lay apostolate

8. Charitable actio

9. Drafting of texts to be presented to the Central [Preparatory] Commission.36

According to Glorieux, this plan was based on the replies received in the 1959 consultation. Justifying it in see-judge-act terms, he later wrote that it was based on the ‘concrete situation of the apostolate of the laity in our time enlightened by the teaching of the popes and bishops from which to derive the general principles and to propose orientations in view of its development and a better organisation.’

‘Thus, the work consisted primarily of a reflection on the reality experienced by them (the commissioners) over a long period,’ Glorieux explained somewhat doubtfully. In any event, ‘rather pragmatic’ choices had to be made because of the ‘very novelty of the task confided to the Commission.’37

But this was far from Cardijn’s own conception of a see-judge-act, which would have started from the concrete situation experienced by lay people in everyday life. As always, Cardijn deferred to the Commission. Yet he was extremely concerned as illustrated by his 14 December 1960 letter to Msgr Désiré Joos, vicar-general of Bishop Himmer’s diocese of Tournai. Referring to ‘the problems to be resolved by lay people and the lay apostolate in our modern world,’ Cardijn noted that these were ‘often forgotten, if not ignored.’

‘Is there any way to remedy this? The problem genuinely haunts me. The Council is a unique opportunity which will not happen again for a very long time. One way or another, these problems will be resolved: either by us or against us,’ he warned.38

Fully conscious of the import of the coming Council, Cardijn prepared himself for what he anticipated would be the last great battle of his career.

Notes 2 and 3: Church, world and lay apostolate

A new Cardijn dialectic

With the benefit of Joos’s advice, Cardijn drafted two more papers, Note 2, ‘The lay apostolate’ (dated 16 December 1960), and Note 3, ‘Reflection and suggestions’ (dated 15 December 1960), responding point by point to the issues raised by Glorieux.

These notes presented what amounted to a new version of his Three Truths dialectic, which he reformulated in terms of Church (truth of faith), world (truth of reality) and lay apostolate (truth of method). Thus, in relation to the first point of Glorieux’s program, i.e. the notion and definition of the lay apostolate, Cardijn argued that the lay apostolate depended on ‘two initial realities,’ namely:

1. The Church, its mission, and its composition, starting from the hierarchy and moving down to the ‘members of the People of God that comprises the Church and that in the ecclesial sense one calls lay people – hence the apostolate of lay people in the Church.’

2. The life and needs of people, created by God with a mission and a vocation ‘to make use of the whole of creation in view of their divine destiny.’ Hence, the need to enable all people ‘to discover and realise the mission of man and the world.’39

‘Isn’t it this mission of man in the world and before the problems of the world that St Paul is referring to when he says ‘Instaurare omnis in Christo’?’ Cardijn asked, citing Pius XII’s 1957 discourse to the JOC pilgrims.40

He detailed this further in Note 2, dated 16 December 1960, again entitled ‘The lay apostolate,’ explaining that this involved ‘two essential, primordial and inseparable aspects,’ namely:

1. Its relationship with God, Christ and the Church; with the plan of God in the work of Creation and Redemption.

2. Its relationship with the fundamental problems of man and the world, with their influences and their depth, in their total dimension.41

Church and world as the focus

In a particularly significant passage in Note 3, Cardijn explicitly proposed that the Council organise its texts around those two dimensions of Church and world: ‘In the texts of the Ecumenical Council on the apostolate of lay people, can one not bring out these two aspects: the divine, Christian, ecclesial, and at the same time the fundamental link with the problems of the world and their solution?’42

Here he anticipated the route that the Council would choose at its First Session when it adopted a Suenens proposal to organise its work around two poles of Church (ad intra) and world (ad extra), an approach backed by John XXIII. According to Suenens, the idea came from his discussions with the pope in September 1962. Yet, here we find Cardijn openly promoting the notion of a council organised around these twin themes at least two years earlier. Moreover, he again visited Rome in late November 1960 and April 1961, undoubtedly continuing to promote the same ideas.

Cento himself regarded Notes 2 and 3 as particularly important. ‘This very morning, (His Excellency) Cardinal Cento, who greatly appreciated it, re-read certain passages to us, asking us to take them well into account,’ Glorieux wrote to Marguerite Fiévez on 28 December 1960 while Cardijn was in Africa.43

At a minimum, then, it is clear Cardijn’s proposal initiated a conversation on these issues within the PCLA, which in its conciliar form would have co-responsibility with the Theological Commission for the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes. Although similar ideas were in the air, it may well be the earliest formal suggestion that the Council should divide its work along these lines.

In addition, the PCLA included several members who played a key role in these later events, notably Garrone, Hengsbach and Larrain, all of whom were aware of Cardijn’s proposals. Indeed, it was Hengsbach and another Cardijn collaborator, Dutch Bishop Gerardus de Vet of Breda, who eventually developed the proposal for a mixed commission including members from the doctrinal and lay apostolate commissions to prepare a schema on the Church and the world.44

An indissoluble link

Here, however, we should not overlook the third aspect, the synthesising element of Cardijn’s Church-world dialectic, namely the lay apostolate. If in the JOC founder’s conception, Church and world were an ‘inseparable reality,’ it was the lay apostolate above all that bridged them, forming an ‘indissoluble link’ between the two dimensions of Church and world.

According to Cardijn, this link had the following consequences:

a) On one hand:

  • the necessity and the importance of the apostolate of lay people for the accomplishment of the divine plan and for the positive and human solution of the most decisive problems of the present time;
  • the respect, dignity, responsibility that flow from it, for the humblest as well as for the greatest of men, of whatever race and whatever colour they may be;
  • the necessity of a consciousness of all the indispensable conditions for this apostolate, conditions that must be adequately safeguarded (linkage to God, Christ and the Church, recourse to sacramental sources, etc.)

b) On the other hand:

  • the necessity of formation for the apostolate with competence from a double point of view (a) knowledge of God and his plan (b) knowledge of man and the world today.45

For Cardijn, this also affected the way in which the lay apostolate needed to be organised, namely, as a movement from local to international level, with an ‘indissoluble link between formation, action and organisation,’ based on specialisation and taking up ‘the battle against the great human scourges: hunger, sickness, social insecurity, illiteracy.’46

‘It would be a bitter disappointment,’ Cardijn observed, if the Council failed to tackle these issues, particularly those concerning the apostolate of lay people. On the other hand, grasping this ‘opportunity’ could produce ‘a truly salutary shock on world opinion,’ he suggested.

A universal lay apostolate

Although the Council eventually recognised the need to address both Church and world dimensions, Cardijn’s battle to achieve acceptance of the lay apostolate proved much more difficult. This was already evident from the definition of lay apostolate proposed by the Commission, which, as Cardijn commented in Note 3, was ‘very clear for Catholics’ but had ‘the inconvenience of not being appropriate for non-Catholics.’47

‘Doesn’t the situation of the present world, with its various milieux… and all the problems of life that these raise, demand a definition that incites all lay people, in the ecclesial sense, towards a missionary apostolate among all people and in all milieux and institutions to help the world to rediscover its divine origin and mission and bring it back to Christ?’ Cardijn asked.

In this sense, the role of the ecclesial lay apostolate was to serve all people without distinction of religion. Here he cited the JOC experience, which had achieved the ‘most fruitful results’ by using this method, resulting in ‘many conversions, sacerdotal, religious and missionary vocations; influence in national and international institutions; transformation of the conception of life, work, marriage, leisure, interracial and international relations, etc.’48

Not only was this a matter of serving all people but of awakening them to ‘the rediscovery and realisation of the divine value and mission of all men.’ In turn, ‘as they transform their own life, [people] also little by little transform the life of all people.’ This mission ‘raises them up’ and ‘finally enables them to discover the true God, Christ, the Church.’

In this way, people came to identify themselves as ‘collaborators of God, redeemers of the world with Christ’ as well as ‘missionaries of the Church,’ ready even to leave home and ‘carry this Good News to their brothers of different races and religions.’ This ‘specific mission of lay people,’ he repeated once again, was ‘irreplaceable.’

The implication was that, for Cardijn, the term ‘lay people’ had both a narrow ecclesial sense applicable to baptised Catholics plus a broader sense referring to the whole of humankind, who comprised the λαός or People of God. The aim of the Church’s lay apostolate, then, was to awaken people to the development of their own mission in transforming the concentric circles of their own life, their milieu, and ultimately their world.

See-judge-act as the basis of formation

If every person had a divine mission, the corollary was that everyone needed to be formed in this mission of rendering glory to God by collaborating in ‘the installation of his Reign ‘on earth as in heaven’.’ Such formation integrating prayer and sacramental life evidently needed to start from childhood. The key problem, Cardijn lamented, was the complete lack of such formation ‘from the age of vocation (14 – 25) and as an adult.’ Most people were not formed for ‘the apostolate and the apostolate in their life as lay people.’

‘May I be allowed to make a proposal?’ Cardijn therefore asked, introducing his see-judge-act method, with its ‘very formal approvals from Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII,’ which he summarised for the benefit of the Commission:

a. The YCW helps young workers above all to SEE themselves, the problems of their own life and the life of all others: personal, family, professional, civic life; local, regional, national and international life. It teaches them to see with the eyes of faith; to discover the divine and human, temporal and eternal value; to discover and penetrate the social teaching of the Church, in all its sources and all its expressions, in a manner to have a just conception, a synthesis and a mystique based on the deep meaning of the mission and the responsibility of each and everyone.

b. Next the Jocist method helps to JUDGE real situations and acts, including their deficiencies, the causes of their deficiencies, by confronting them with the doctrine of the Church and with the divine value and mission of every man; it helps to judge how it is necessary and possible to redress these situations and acts, how one can influence them through personal and collective interventions, private and public, in the doctrinal field as on the practical level.

c. Finally, the Jocist method teaches to ACT as a man, as a Christian and an apostle, personally and collectively; the person formed in this way will be active, acting, in his own life (which will be transformed) and in his own milieu; he becomes a militant, with the dimensions of the problems of the present world that he meets, its needs, its mistakes and possibilities. And he acts thus, whether in and through his own organisations, or in and as part of other organisations – existing or to be created.49

‘Could the Council therefore recommend a concrete and practical method of apostolic learning… that formed young people ‘conscious of their responsibilities ready to fearlessly confront the heaviest tasks?’ Cardijn asked.

Significantly, Cardijn made these suggestions precisely while Pavan, Toniolo-Ferrari, Quadri and Civardi were in the final throes of drafting Mater et Magistra. Thus, on 23 December 1960, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to Pavan on the pretext of seeking his opinion on several of Cardijn’s notes.

‘Msgr Cardijn also asked me to add a text he prepared for His Holiness John XXIII presenting his suggestions for an Encyclical on the seventieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum. He would also like your opinion on this,’ Fiévez wrote in a sure sign that Cardijn was aware of Pavan’s role in the forthcoming encyclical as well as of its decisive importance as a means of influencing the direction of the Council.50

Glorieux confirmed the impact of this on the working method of the Commission.

Lay people not executors of Hierarchy’s orders

‘Submission to the Hierarchy’ was evidently not a heading that Cardijn would have chosen, although it is indisputable that he regarded genuine submission concerning ‘doctrine, participation in sacramental, liturgical, parish and catechetical life’ as extremely important. In temporal matters, however, this authority of the bishop depended very much on ‘the extent of the competence of the latter.’ Moreover, Catholics could ‘never appear as simple executors of the orders of the Hierarchy,’ he insisted.

On the other hand, the heading ‘Priests and laity’ provided Cardijn with an opportunity to present the relationship in a more positive light, particularly in the fields of ‘formation of lay people’ and in the ‘permanent collaboration’ between the two in the exercise of the apostolate.

For Cardijn, this was a matter of art as well as doctrine. Thus, the priest, with his sacerdotal graces and powers, had ‘a role as educator, animator, counsellor and guide’ and therefore needed to understand ‘the problems of life and the apostolate of lay people, since it was lay people who must ‘consecrate’ the world of today, with the assistance of lay organisations.’51

Catholic Action and lay apostolate

Turning to the question of whether the term ‘Catholic Action’ should be broadened or abolished, Cardijn argued that both approaches would ‘produce the same result.’ Rather, it would be ‘highly desirable’ for the Hierarchy ‘to clarify (its position) on the apostolate and the organisations of the lay apostolate, which are indispensable to the solution of the problems of life that are emerging and will emerge with even greater acuity in the future,’ he argued. In other words, the priority was to promote a genuinely lay apostolate.

As for the ‘mandate,’ it involved more than a recognition or blessing. Rather it was ‘a mission order given by the religious authority in view of the apostolic care of a social milieu or a determined objective.’ It in no way created a monopoly. In principle, more than one organisation might be mandated in the same field – not that many others were lining up to launch programs for young workers.

The corollary was an increasing need to foster collaboration between the various apostolic organisations. ‘The ideal,’ Cardijn suggested, reviving his earlier proposal, would be to create a Dicastery that would act as ‘a coordinating organisation, broad enough to interest all the various associations, and supple and disinterested enough not to impose programs, methods, measures or authoritarian or majority interventions.’52

Charitable and social action

While Cardijn distinguished between ‘lay apostolate’ and charitable and/or social action, he also insisted on the importance of the latter. Indeed, he pushed for a greater role of ‘Christian charity’ against the ‘great danger’ of ‘nationalisation’ of aid while strongly advocating greater collaboration with public institutions.

Similarly, the growing complexity of society implied a corresponding need for more social action in every field. This was necessary to ‘guarantee the liberty of the weakest person against the grip and pressure of private or public anonymity’ both in developing and developed countries, as well as in the arena of international relations. Christian social organisations therefore needed to ‘collaborate as intimately as possible with organisations of the lay apostolate … responsible for the necessary formation of leaders.’

To facilitate this, Cardijn proposed ‘the creation of a Commission with the task of updating the social doctrine of the Church and its concrete application, through social action to the new problems of the world of work.’ Although he was far from the only one to make such a suggestion, his advocacy added to the momentum for the foundation of the post-conciliar Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.53

A Declaration by the Council

Cardijn concluded with another proposal for a ‘solemn Declaration by the Council emphasising the current importance of the lay apostolate’ and ‘its growing need in the face of the present problems of the world to which the Church must provide a response.’ Such a Declaration would constitute ‘a vibrant call to all the faithful to engage in the apostolate which is the very life of the Christian community.’54

As we will see, this was partly answered by the Council’s opening Message to the World inviting ‘all men and all nations… to collaborate with us to establish a more ordered way of living and greater brotherhood in the world’ by working for peace and social justice.55 Moreover, the principal drafters of this message – Chenu, Congar, Garrone, Guerry, Ancel – had all worked with Cardijn for more than thirty years.

Note 4: Collaboration between priests and lay people

Out of Africa

While working on these documents, Cardijn received a letter from Glorieux dated 13 December 1960 informing him that Castellano and ‘the Roman Members’ of the Sub-Commission on Evangelisation had requested a presentation on the theme ‘Priests and lay people in the apostolate,’ as well as on the role of religious brothers and sisters.56

This was a positive sign but Cardijn was about to leave for Lomé, Togo for a JOCI training program. There, in the equatorial heat, he drafted Note 4, ‘Priests and lay people in the apostolate,’ setting out the collaborative relationship he envisaged between priest and lay person.

Again, he insisted on ‘the primordial role’ of the individual and organised lay apostolate and the need for appropriate ‘formation and animation [to] transform the life and mission of lay people into an apostolic life and mission, inseparable from the priestly apostolate.’ Hence, the imperative need for ‘collaboration with priests ordained and consecrated to this end.’

A partnership model

No doubt anticipating criticism, Cardijn insisted on the unicity of this apostolate ‘whose source and goal are common to all those who are called and who exercise it.’ But the exercise and application of this apostolate was ‘diverse – and yet inseparable’ – depending on whether they were acting based on ‘the sacrament of orders’ or whether they were ‘baptised and confirmed.’57

The latter exercised ‘a specific and irreplaceable apostolate in the Church and the world, in their whole life.’ Moreover, ‘non-members of the Church, whether Christian or non-Christian’ also shared in this role. Here, the role of Christians was to collaborate in order ‘to assist them to rediscover and realise the human and divine mission for which they have been created by God and redeemed by Christ.’

This universal lay apostolate was ‘not limited to the transformation of spirits and hearts,’ but also tended towards ‘the transformation of milieux and secular institutions, from local to international scale’ by enabling people, families and societies ‘to create a human social order which promotes the flourishing of the human race and the universal restoration of the Reign of God.’

In this task, the priestly and lay apostolates were mutually dependent. ‘Without the priestly apostolate, there is no apostolate of lay people, no apostolic transformation of the life of lay people,’ Cardijn noted. But ‘without the apostolate of lay people, the apostolate is impotent for the human and Christian transformation of the world.’ Hence, ‘the union and collaboration of priests and lay people’ was ‘essential for the unity of the Church and its mission, for the flourishing of the whole apostolate and particularly the apostolate of lay people.’58

For Cardijn, this collaboration was essential for ‘ecclesial objectives,’ including catechesis, liturgy, sacraments etc. and ‘temporal, secular objective(s),’ involving ‘the specific life of lay people, in all its aspects,’ namely ‘family, work, leisure, economic security, collaboration in the city, national and international relations, etc.’

Priests and religious: Animators not directors

With respect to the ecclesial objectives, lay people were ‘collaborators of the priestly apostolate.’ However, where temporal or secular objectives were involved, priests were ‘the priestly collaborators of the apostolate of lay people.’ In this conception, lay people comprised the front line of the Church.

The decisive role of the priest, then, was not directive but ‘formative, since it was the priest ‘who must enable lay people to discover the apostolic scope of their daily life and their task in the organisation of the world.’59 In turn, this required a new kind of formation ‘for all priests in their role of educators, animators and counsellors of lay apostles,’ Cardijn stated. Thus, a ‘serious study of the problems that lay people have to resolve in the modern world’ needed to be included in seminary and scholastic formation.

Men and women religious had a similar – and increasingly important – role as collaborators in the lay apostolate, particularly in parishes, schools, etc., e.g. in preparing students ‘for an apostolic conception of their whole life and an authentic apostolic commitment after their studies.’

On the other hand, religious should never replace the chaplain-priest, always remaining ‘auxiliaries and collaborators’ of the latter. A fortiori, nor should they replace ‘the leader or militant in the role which is their own.’ Their role was always to assist the (lay) members of apostolic organisations ‘to discover their apostolic mission, both in ordinary life and the organisation itself.’

‘The anguishing problem of youth will only be solved in this manner,’ Cardijn argued. Summarising the above in a ‘Text for insertion into the Acts of the Council,’ he insisted once again on a collaboration model in place of the historical model based on hierarchical submission.

Promoting a genuine lay apostolate would only be possible on the basis of ‘a positive collaboration between priests and lay people, each respecting the mission of each other, conscious of an indispensable complementarity and with a vision of a final goal: the establishment of the Kingdom of God,’ Cardijn concluded.60

Note 5 – The Jocist dialectic again

At Castellano’s request, Cardijn (and the JOCI) also prepared another paper, Note 5, entitled ‘La JOC internationale,’ outlining the ‘fundamentals’ of the JOC and its methods, accompanied by a list of relevant pontifical texts. The aim was evidently to characterise the key elements of the JOC’s ‘authentic’ model of Catholic Action.61

Once again this took the form of a reworked Jocist dialectic. Thus, the document began by highlighting the Church’s ‘de facto abandonment’ of young workers and the ‘pastoral problem’ that ensued. This contrasted with the Jocist ideal of young workers being formed themselves to discover and find solutions to the problems of their own lives.

The ‘solution’ lay in the Jocist method of ‘formation, action, organisation and representation’ based on the see-judge-act leading to the transformation of life, milieu and mass by militants ‘acting as a leaven or yeast’ among young workers and in the whole of working life. Here, Cardijn clearly wished to emphasise the holistic nature of the work of the JOC, which maintained ‘its specific characters’ at each level of the movement from local to global as ‘an organism, an institution of the Church, with the dimensions of the problem of working youth in the world.’62

First series of draft texts

If Cardijn’s first three documents failed to achieve the conceptual breakthroughs he desired, Note 4 at least received a highly positive reception from the Commission, with Glorieux requesting forty-five copies, and Cento and others acknowledging its interest on 20 March 1961.

The following months witnessed a series of new notes by Cardijn on a variety of themes that emerged progressively in the draft texts from the various Sub-Commissions. These continued to hammer his fundamental themes of the lay apostolate of lay people, the animating role of the priest, the imperative need for formation, etc. But they also addressed other points raised by the relevant texts.

Note 6: De missione canonica et mandata hierarchiae: ‘Could the meaning of this term not be extended,’ Cardijn asked, ‘to a mission which of itself belongs to lay people in the Church, which is proper to them, but the organisation of which is mandated by the Hierarchy?’ Rejecting the ‘monopolisation’ accusation again, he argued that the mandate or canonical mission ‘officially inserts the apostolate and the organisation within that of the Church and makes it an apostolate of the Church, an apostolic institution of the Church.’63

Note 7: Religious formation and support for leadership: Cardijn here insisted on the ‘apostolic responsibilities’ of the lay leaders for directing their own movement and spiritual formation. Again, he saw a positive role for religious in assisting lay movements while emphasising that the movements were responsible for their own formation. Thus, religious should not impose their own spirituality on the movement.64

Note 8: Reflections on a note from the Commission: Here, Cardijn was evidently unhappy with the Commission’s reflections on what he regarded as a disembodied form of ‘spiritual animation.’ ‘Let us reserve the word ‘animation’ to the spiritual life which wishes to and must transform the whole of temporal action of lay people into apostolate for, by and with Christ and the Church,’ he proposed. ‘The whole of catechesis and the whole of pastoral work’ should be oriented to the promotion of the lay apostolate, he argued.65

Secondly, he called for a renewal of the sacrament of confirmation to ‘express and emphasise the importance of the apostolate of the baptised in temporal daily life’ and particularly their ‘own proper and irreplaceable apostolic mission.’

Thirdly, on a terminological level, Cardijn now finally positioned himself in the Catholic Action debate, requesting that the terms ‘apostolate of lay people’ and particularly ‘Catholic Action’ should ‘be reserved to that proper and irreplaceable apostolate that is the apostolate of lay people in the temporal.’

Why the apparent shift? Cardijn did not explain. However, the fact was that the Commission’s terms of reference had shifted Catholic Action to the centre of its focus. Moreover, as we have seen Catholic Action had become so interwoven with the identity of the JOC, it was virtually impossible to extricate it from that framework.

Cardijn thus aligned himself with the French position on restricting the use of the term Catholic Action as proposed by Garrone in his book L’Action catholique two years before. Yet, even Garrone still understood Catholic Action simply as the action of lay Catholics organised in movements, working for ‘the coming of the Kingdom of God,’ rather than in terms of Cardijn’s conception of lay apostolate.66

‘The first and immediate apostles of lay people in life and in lay milieux will be lay people,’ Cardijn insisted yet again. Although they shared in the apostolate of prayer, suffering, sacrifice, and devotion with all Christians, they also had a specific apostolate, which was ‘not that of religious and priests, even though the latter exercise it in a residual manner, either to initiate or to repair its deficiencies, but in which they can never replace lay people, for the good and fruitfulness of the Church.’

Clearly, the battle was still far from won, even among his closest allies.

Note 9: Reflections on several documents: This short note was the first to openly express Cardijn’s growing frustration with the division of work among the three sub-commissions. ‘Has the Second Sub-Commission consecrated to social action considered this activity of the JOC?’ he asked, referring to the movement’s achievements in forming ‘social leaders’ for all milieux and temporal issues. The JOC had ‘always affirmed itself as Catholic Action,’ he insisted, and was not simply a movement of social action.67

Note 10: De relatione cum hierarchia: Here Cardijn’s fully revealed his frustrations. ‘The drafting of this chapter preoccupies me,’ he wrote. ‘Is there not in this draft a lack of clarity, precision, distinction, logical sequence, openness? Does it not give the impression that the thing that preoccupies the Hierarchy the most is its sovereign power and the submission of lay apostles to this sovereign power? Doesn’t this impression do wrong both to the Hierarchy and to the apostolate of lay people?’ he exploded.

What was required was a pastoral, biblical conception of these relations, as embodied in various Gospel passages comparing the pastor the ‘good shepherd.’ ‘Could this [section] not commence with the notion of service,’ he asked. ‘I did not come to be served but to serve.’

The only solution was to distinguish the various domains in which the authority of the hierarchical apostolate and lay apostolate prevailed: the former in the field of catechesis, sacraments, liturgy, etc. and the latter ‘in their life, their state of life, their milieux, the problems and institutions of the lay world.’ Hence the need for ‘collaboration, dialogue, respect and mutual confidence between the lay person and the Hierarchy,’ Cardijn concluded, again underlining the complementarity of roles.68

New battlefronts

Suenens: Archbishop of Malines

Despite the publication of Mater et Magistra in May 1961, a long road lay ahead in the Commission and at the Council. Unfortunately, as the Rome sub-commissions worked to draft a second series of texts, events conspired to add to Cardijn’s woes.

Three months later, on 6 August 1961, Cardinal Van Roey died aged eighty-seven, ending a thirty-five-year episcopate. Although respected for his openness to ecumenical dialogue, his passing inevitably raised hopes of a renewal in the Belgian Church. Since Van Roey had been Flemish, the tradition was that his successor would be francophone, which was probably the raison d’état that prevailed in the appointment of Léon-Joseph Suenens as new archbishop on 24 November 1961. Four months later, on 19 March 1962, John XXIII raised him to the cardinalate and on 6 April 1962 made him a member of the Central Preparatory Commission for the Council, a stunning rise.69

For Cardijn, this placed him under the authority of virtually the only Belgian diocesan bishop who was not an ally. Whatever his feelings, Cardijn put them aside. An editorial in the next edition of Notes de Pastorale Ouvrière welcomed Suenens’ promotion to the cardinalate with ‘completely filial submission’ while the leaders of the ‘mandated movements’ declared their ‘disposition to work with a renewed ardour to ensure the radiation of Christ in the whole of working life.’70 Beyond the gracious words, they were effectively gently staking their claim to maintain the status quo regarding the position of the Specialised Catholic Action movements.

Nevertheless, tensions continued to mount as Suenens began to clear the decks of those identified with the Van Roey reign.

A setback for Catholic Action?

Amid all this, a young Belgian missionary to Brazil and future liberation theologian, Joseph Comblin, published his first book with the shock title Echec de l’Action catholique? (Setback for Catholic Action?). Ordained in 1947, Comblin had missed the Golden Age of the Belgian JOC, which never regained its pre-war glory, particularly in Brussels, although it stayed strong in Flanders and the Walloon industrial and mining belts. Comblin’s arrival in Brazil where conservative Catholicism still held sway despite the dynamism of the JOC and other specialised youth movements may also have added to his impression that Catholic Action was facing a setback.

Even so, Comblin affirmed that he was ‘one of those who firmly believe that Catholic Action is the grace of God and the instrument of Jesus Christ, par excellence, that corresponds to this historical moment.’ In Comblin’s mind, then, his book was intended as a Teilhardian-inspired search for the basis of a new way of ‘concretely representing the Church in the ordinary life of Christians.’71

Nevertheless, it drew a furious reaction in France. ‘I did not like the book,’ Garrone wrote in a review for the Mission ouvrière. ‘Concerning the beginnings of Catholic Action as they are described here, I doubt that anyone of those involved would recognise the JOC.’ ‘Catholic Action exists,’ he concluded. ‘[It] remains the hope of the Church of tomorrow… [and] bears within the great truth of a Laity filled with apostolic virtue by Baptism and the mission of the Church…’72 It was a powerful piece that cemented Garrone’s role as the most outspoken defender of Cardijn, the JOC and Specialised Catholic Action.

In Belgium, reaction was more mitigated, with the JOC chaplains’ magazine, Notes de Pastorale Ouvrière, in an unsigned review, welcoming the salutary ‘shock’ the book had aroused and endorsing the need to study the ‘gap’ between the reality of Catholic Action and the hopes of the Church.73

Although Cardijn declined to publicly respond, he did address the issue two years later in the Epilogue to Laïcs en premières lignes in terms close to Garrone’s:

People have been wondering whether to talk or not about a failure of Catholic Action. My reply to them is that the question is wrongly placed. My whole experience has shown me that we should rather be asking ourselves: ‘Have we wanted and prepared, in every possible way, an authentic lay apostolate?’74

Yet the appearance of the book indicated the extent to which a new generation of younger Belgian clergy, influenced by Suenens, were moving away from Cardijn.

The JOCI mobilises

An international survey

Meanwhile, the JOCI continued to mobilise. Thus, Cardijn wrote in February 1961 promoting a participative survey, the results of which were to be forwarded to the PCLA. The results were published in July 1961.75 Once again, the leaders insisted on the urgency of the worker apostolate and the need for workers to take responsibility for their own struggle. They also emphasised the need for priests to work with the movement, calling for the establishment of ‘an institution in the government of the Church’ to study the issue of lay apostolate in the world and ‘the promotion of an authentic lay apostolate incarnating the Gospel message in the life of the world today.’76

The final document was sent to Felici and to each Preparatory Commission. Several replied encouragingly, including Cardinal Bea and Msgr Willebrands of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, who rejoiced at the JOC’s concern for ecumenism. Interestingly, Ottaviani and Pizzardo responded warmly unlike Sebastian Tromp, the conservative Jesuit secretary of the Theological Commission, who coolly answered that most of the ‘reflections’ of the JOC did not concern his Commission, but that it would nevertheless take into account those that fell within its remit.

The apostolic nature of the JOC

From 2-11 November 1961, ninety national movements attended the JOCI Second International Council in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ironically just weeks after the publication of Comblin’s book. If the 1930s were the Golden Age of the Belgian JOC, the 1950s were those of Specialised Catholic Action in Brazil, which flourished under the leadership of Helder Camara and an extraordinary cohort of dynamic chaplains and lay leaders. Accompanied by a mass rally at the Maracanã Stadium, the JOCI Council emerged as a major event in the life of the Brazilian Church.

The Council was clearly organised with an eye on Vatican II, as evidenced by a major study prepared for it entitled ‘The apostolic nature of the JOC.’ Drafted by the lay leaders of the JOC International Secretariat, led by outgoing president, Maione, it was again structured around the Three Truths.

This opened with a presentation of ‘the high calling’ of each young worker as ‘a Son of God’ called to share in the ‘co-creation of God’ and ‘co-redemption with Christ.’ But it insisted that ‘although the JOC start[ed] with the truth of faith,’ ‘the ‘see’ part of the enquiries’ provided ‘the anvil’ enabling ‘the iron of life [to] be shaped by the blacksmith’s hammer.’

The document lamented that ‘the tendency to consider the JOC only as a social action movement persists.’ It criticised the ‘categorising and classifying [of] the various lay apostolate movements’ in terms of (Maritain’s) distinction between Catholic Action and Action of Catholics, (Suenens’) direct and indirect apostolate, etc. On the contrary, for the individual JOC leader, there could be ‘no distinction between the direct or indirect apostolate, where unity and indissolubility (sic) of the apostolate are so important.’ In addition, the conflict between whether ‘to humanise first’ or ‘to Christianise first’ was a ‘false problem.’

‘What our critics – having lived for years in an atmosphere of traditional Christianity – fail to realise,’ the study concluded, ‘is that the methods used to spread the good news in traditionally Christian areas might not be effective in regions that have never been Christian or in areas of neo-paganism.’

Adopted a month after Suenens’ appointment as archbishop, the document evidently sought to prepare the incoming JOCI leadership under Brazilian president, Bartolo Perez for the battles ahead.

Communion fast campaign

Next, the newly elected International Secretariat launched an enquiry campaign among its member movements ‘to study how the problem of the Eucharistic fast impacts young workers in your country, particularly on those who, through Catholic Action, discover the meaning of the Eucharist and desire to participate regularly.’

‘If you consider that a reduction in the length of the Eucharistic fact [sic] would be advantageous, we request you to urgently take it up with the Hierarchy in your country and to write a letter to the Preparatory Commission for the Discipline of the Sacraments.’ This globalised a long campaign by local JOC movements which evidently required a Vatican-level response. Thus, Cardijn himself wrote to Cardinal Masella of the Pontifical Commission on the Discipline of the Sacraments seeking the reduction of the fast to one hour.77

Meanwhile, Perez and the new team began to systematically compile a list of bishops ‘friendly’ to the JOC.

The second series of texts

Activity intensifies

While these events occupied Cardijn for the latter part of 1961, the PCLA continued its work on a second series of draft texts that aroused Cardijn’s concern. Thus, on 29 December 1961, he wrote to Garrone, communicating ‘the anguish that I feel’ upon receiving the latest texts from the three Sub-Commissions.

‘The further I go, the more frightened I am by the ignorance and the almost carelessness of the clergy regarding the apostolate of lay people, and the secular issues… that they must face as Christians,’ Cardijn complained, in what seemed like another shot at Suenens.78

Garrone replied reassuringly on 10 January 1962 that ‘you could see during our last meeting how much I share your preoccupations.’ Moreover, he indicated that Glorieux was in the process of forming a ‘small team’ that would work ‘somewhat privately’ to improve the texts.79

Slowly, reaction was brewing.

Cardijn’s anguish

Note 11 – Reflections on three texts

But Cardijn’s anxiety continued to grow as he responded to the successive PCLA drafts. The three texts that preoccupied him in his letter to Garrone concerned lay apostolate, social action and charitable action.80

The document on lay apostolate was ‘confused.’81 Instead of the lay apostolate, it was ‘in fact consecrated for the most part to the apostolate of the faithful.’ Even the draft chapter on the family failed to win Cardijn’s approval because it failed to address the context in which people lived.82

Nor was the document on social action any better. ‘Doesn’t it cause concern and misunderstanding to separate the presentation on social action from that on lay apostolate?’ Cardijn asked again. As for charitable action, this section failed to tackle the justice dimension of the problem. ‘Isn’t it necessary… to organise the assistance necessary to ensure to men of all races and all continents a more human and dignified life?’

The only solution, Cardijn insisted, was to preface all of this with a ‘text setting out what is the specific role of lay people in the apostolate of the Church.’ Thus, he proposed that ‘the text include a solemn appeal by the Council which would commit the whole Church to promote the apostolate of the laity and the personal and collective formation of all those who must become involved by all possible means.’ A small team should be formed with this objective, he suggested, offering direction to Glorieux’s efforts.

Notes 12-15 – The essential, specific and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people

Cardijn’s concern over the following months only grew stronger, as Notes 12-15 demonstrated. Note 12 repeated Cardijn’s overwhelming concern for recognition of the specifically lay apostolate, linking it the biblical mission set out in Genesis I, 26-31.83

‘This primordial mission of man and humanity was vitiated by original sin and by actual sins that led to ignorance, error, corruption, injustice and under-development,’ Cardijn wrote. Thus, the specific mission of the lay person consisted ‘in rediscovering the divine and proper mission of humanity and rejoining it to the mystery of the Creation and the Redemption.’ This was the ‘consecratio mundi’ of which Pius XII spoke so often.84

‘I continue to regret that there is no chapter devoted to the specific (proper) apostolate of lay people, to its necessity and its importance in the world, for the construction of a world ‘as God wills it’ and for the realisation of a truly fraternal society at the measure of the present world,’ he added in Note 15.85

He called again for the Council to make ‘AN IMPRESSIVE DECLARATION’ that affirmed that the Church was ‘ready for a unanimous participation in the efforts necessary to make justice, charity and peace reign among all people, of all races and all opinions, would be a testimony for the whole world.’

Nor did a new effort to distinguish between the ‘formally lay apostolate of lay people’ and the ‘materially lay apostolate of lay people’ allay his concerns. What mattered was not theoretical distinctions, but that lay people must ‘become Catholics in the full sense of the word.’

Hence the Commission should request the Council to ‘solemnly confirm the value that the Church gives to their formally lay apostolate and its desire to see them become more and more involved.’86 Moreover, a Vatican dicastery should be established to pursue this end.

Note 16 – De Apostolatu Laicorum in Communitate Ecclesia

In Note 16 criticising the draft document ‘De Apostolatu Laicorum in Communitate Ecclesia,’ Cardijn revealed once again how different was his perspective.87

For a parish to ‘become increasingly a mission community,’ it needed to reach ‘the various milieux.’ This was because, in the modern world, workers left the parish milieu daily ‘to work in a professional milieu outside and far from the parish, which is usually unknown to parish clergy.’ Many parishes had become ‘dormitory parishes’ and ‘weekend parishes,’ the number of which continued to multiply with the development of industry and major urban centres. The organisation of the lay apostolate needed to take this into account.88

This need for specialisation also applied to young people, who ‘have their own problems and must resolve them themselves and be the apostles of their companions,’ Cardijn argued, citing François Houtart.89 Moreover, this applied to every professional milieu, Cardijn concluded.

The flawed ‘Constitutio de apostolatu laicorum’

Cardijn’s critique

The final draft ‘Constitution on the lay apostolate’ was completed in April 1962, less than eighteen months after the first full Commission meeting.90 Later it would be regarded as one of the best of the pre-conciliar schemas but Cardijn was not happy. As Glorieux recognised, ‘it was Msgr Cardijn who insisted that we determined the specific role of lay people in accomplishing the mission of the Church.’ Several texts ‘attempted to define it, but in vain,’ he noted, verifying Cardijn’s major critique.91

The truth was that, from Cardijn’s perspective, the whole enterprise was compromised from the outset by the structuring of the three Sub-Commissions, which led to a very clerical, inward-looking schema, organised as follows:

a) General Introduction

b) Part I: General Notions, divided into ten chapters including ‘Relations of the laity with the Hierarchy,’ ‘Lay people serving the Church in special positions’ and ‘The family as a subject of the apostolate,’ titles which clearly illuminated the thinking that still dominated the Commission.

c) Part II: The apostolate of the laity in the service of the direct promotion of the reign of Christ, drafted by the Sub-Commission in which Cardijn had participated, was divided into two ‘Titles’ dealing with ‘The forms of organised apostolate’ with a generally, strong ‘ecclesial’ focus and ‘The different forms and domains,’ including chapters on ‘The apostolate of the word’ and ‘The apostolate of the family.’ Nevertheless, some Jocist influence was evident in references to ‘the apostolate of youth,’ ‘the apostolate in one’s own professional and social milieu.’

d) Part III: The apostolate of the laity in charitable works presented in 36 articles ‘the nature and field of charitable works’ without neglecting to include a chapter on ‘justice and charitable works.’

e) Part IV: The apostolate of the laity in social action was divided into two ‘Titles’ opening with chapters on ‘lay action to direct and perfect the natural order’ alongside the inevitable chapter on ‘relations of the laity with the hierarchy.’ A chapter on ‘formation of the laity’ no doubt pleased Cardijn while Title II added chapters on contemporary issues concerning the family, education, women at work and in society, economic and social life, science and art, civic life, state affairs and the international order.

Even though, according to Glorieux, the Commission had formally abandoned the distinction between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ forms of apostolate, it persisted in the structure of the document.92 Similarly, although Glorieux credited Cardijn’s insistence on the specifically lay apostolate as having inspired the schema’s ‘descriptive’ approach to the characterisation of the lay role,93 this too remained trapped within the structure of a ‘works’-dominated conception of lay action.

New wine but old wineskins

Despite its flaws, the draft Constitution was not a total loss. The ‘General Introduction,’ for example, immediately began to characterise the Church as ‘the People of God,’ ‘a holy people’ and ‘royal priesthood’; only in second instance did it deal with ‘the Sacred Hierarchy’ (§2). There was a ‘greater awareness of the fact that the laity are the Church’ (§3). Moreover, the fields that ‘await the apostolate of the laity’ had been ‘immensely extended by scientific and technical progress’ and the Church’s mission here was ‘increasingly urgent.’

Paragraph 37 extolled the ‘Christian dignity of work’ and encouraged workers to ‘daily take Christ with them into their factories, fields, workshops and offices’ in words closely reflecting the traditional JOC prayer. Thus, ‘economic and social structures’ needed to be established to ‘ensure that the modes and forms of labour are compatible with the dignity of the sons of God,’ another passage echoing Cardijn’s concerns. Similarly, §41 called for the faithful ‘to take an active part in public life,’ adding in §42 that laity ‘cooperate in the formation of a world community’ and penetrate it ‘with the healthful leaven of the Gospel.’

This in turn implied the need for Christian formation (§44) (based on the see-judge-act) in which:

[l]ay people should be made aware of the circumstances of the environment in which they are living and working, that they should learn to bring a Christian judgement to bear on these circumstances and to adopt in them a worthy behaviour.94

Glorieux, too, recognised the significance of this section drafted by Cardijn’s Sub-Commission, which contained ‘very clear affirmations with respect to the duty of the apostolate.’ It exhorted lay people not to be ‘solely concerned with their own salvation’ but to ‘understand the duty of the apostolate.’ Moreover, it linked these perspectives to ‘the whole question of formation.’

From the beginning the PCLA also sought to clarify the meaning of the word ‘lay,’ Glorieux wrote. Seeking to go beyond a ‘wholly negative definition,’ it looked at the dignity of the baptised person within the people of God, the rights and duties of each person in the Church, the work of edification of the Mystical Body of Christ, in the ordinary conditions of family and social life.’ Thus, it edged towards clarifying ‘the role that pertains more specifically to lay people in the one apostolic mission of the Church,’ Glorieux noted.95 In the development of these points – baptismal basis of mission, formation, dignity of the person, people of God, specific role of lay people – Cardijn certainly played a key role.

Regarding the hot potato issue of Catholic Action, §53 listed four ‘marks’ by which it could be identified, which, as Glorieux noted with a sense of satisfaction, survived to be included largely unchanged in the final conciliar decree.

Perhaps the best section of the draft Constitution, however, was Part IV on social action, drafted under the leadership of Hengsbach and Pavan. This acknowledged that lay people have ‘a greater role in building up, for Christ’s glory, the temporal order (§84),’ even referring to this as ‘a specific task of lay people.’ Here again it referred to the need for formation ‘through action.’ Much of the content of Part IV would later be included in the future Gaudium et Spes.96

In all, there were many excellent elements in the draft Constitution. Perhaps the real problem lay in the fact that, constrained by its terms of reference, the Commission struggled to contain new wine in old wineskins.

The Central Preparatory Commission

On 18-19 June 1962, the ‘1962 Schema’ was finalised after review by the Central Preparatory Commission. Criticisms included ‘unclear’ principles, an ‘overly negative concept of the laity,’ ‘insufficient stress on the dependence of the (lay) apostolate on the hierarchy,’ as well as the schema’s ‘concept of priesthood’ and the ‘unsuitability’ of mentioning charisms of the laity.97

The most significant proposed change was for the term ‘the apostolate of the laity’ to become the ‘genus proximum’ for all lay apostolic organisations, while Catholic Action, as well as other religious, charitable and social organisations, would be regarded as the various ‘species of the apostolatus officialis laicorum. Naturally, this did not please Cardijn, who continued to fight for recognition of a ‘specifically lay apostolate for lay people.’

From within the CPC, the most critical comments came, unsurprisingly, from the now-Cardinal Suenens,98 who expressed ‘regret that the schema had not adopted a renewed understanding of Catholic Action.’99 According to Klostermann, however, Suenens’ suggestions were ‘unambiguously rejected’ by the PCLA, which held firm.100

Unimpressed, Suenens later complained in an unofficial note to the conciliar Lay Apostolate Commission that his suggestions had been approved by the CPC but not implemented.101 Although there is no evidence that Cardijn was responsible for this rejection, it won him no favour with his new archbishop.

Final steps

We are the Church

In public, Cardijn maintained a positive outlook. The Council will be ‘like a new Pentecost,’ he wrote in the JOCI Bulletin, appealing to movement leaders to become even ‘more conscious of our own responsibility in the Church and in the world’ because ‘we are this Church.’102 The JOCI too called on leaders to offer prayers, sacrifices and ‘the whole of Jocist action’ for the success of the Council.103 Elsewhere, Cardijn’s Belgian episcopal allies, Bishop Himmer of Tournai and Bishop Emile-Joseph De Smedt of Bruges launched participatory JOC-style enquiries regarding expectations for the Council in their own dioceses.

After consulting with Cardijn, De Smedt issued his remarkable pastoral letter dated 25 April 1961 entitled The Priesthood of the Faithful, noting that while the role of the Christian people had been ‘seriously re-evaluated’ in recent times, ‘not everything had been cleared up’ in relation to the principles of the lay apostolate.104 A year later it was published in English.105

This was just the latest in a series of books, papers and articles by Jocist-linked priests. Palémon Glorieux, soon to become Cardinal Liénart’s conciliar adviser, was preparing his Nature et mission de l’Eglise, published in early 1963. This was likely conceived at least partly in response to Suenens’ Eglise en état de mission with Glorieux emphasising the ‘privileged’ role of the lay person acting effectively ‘in daily life’ to transform the milieux and conditions of life, which only he or she was ‘capable of implementing,’ acting – unlike the priest – on his or her ‘proper terrain.’106

In Spain, the Catalan JOC founder, Alberto Bonet, also a member of the PCLA, in 1959 published his ‘Apostología laical. I. Los principios del apostolado seglar’ followed in 1962 by the second edition of his Manuel de Accion Catolica, promoting Specialised Catholic Action.

Meanwhile, two German JOC (CAJ) chaplains, Norbert Greinacher and Theodor Seeger published a 1959 book entitled Die Frobotschaft Christi im Reiche der Arbeit (The Gospel of Christ in the field of labour), including a preface by Cardijn, and featuring articles by a list of Jocist-oriented writers and chaplains, including Haubtmann, Houtart, Chenu, Ancel, and Joseph Bécaud. Other books were also in the pipeline.

Cardijn’s dialectical template

Meanwhile, Cardijn continued to travel, with perhaps even more urgency than ever. He began 1962 with a tour of Germany, followed by short trips to the UK and Switzerland before a summer tour of Canada and the USA that concluded just two months before the opening of the Council.

On the eve of his eightieth birthday, he began to compile his first book, which was published in 1963 with the French title borrowed from the words of Pius XII, Laïcs en premières lignes.

Clearly, Cardijn and the Jocist network were anticipating a battle. In this struggle, the dialectical template that he had proposed – Church, world, lay apostolate – would remain the centre of his advocacy and eventually have a decisive impact.


1 AC1576-1578.

2 Achille Glorieux, “Histoire du décret,” in Vatican II, L’apostolat des laïcs, ed. Yves Congar (Paris: Cerf, 1970), 91-139.

3 Ferdinand Klostermann, “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, History of the Text,” in Vol. III of Commentary on the documents of Vatican II, ed. Herbert Vorgrimler. (New York: Herder and Herder, 1969), 273-404.

4 Fiévez-Meert, Cardijn, 222.

5 John XXIII, Superno Dei Nutu, Apostolic Letter, 05/06/1960: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/la/apost_letters/1960/documents/hf_j-xxiii_apl_19600605_superno-dei.html

6 Fouilloux, “The antepreparatory phase,” in Alberigo-Komonchak, I, 159.

7 Achille Glorieux, “Histoire,” 92.

8 Cardijn to Cento, 09/06/1960, AC1585: https://www.josephcardijn.com/fr/item/2070

9 Cardijn to Cento, 07/09/1960, AC1585: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2371

10 Achille Glorieux, “Histoire,” 96.

11 Glorieux says thirteen nations were represented among the members and another thirteen among the consultors. However, I have only been able to identify twelve countries among the members and another ten among the consultors.

12 J. Bouvy, “Composition des Commissions préparatoires du II Concile oecuménique du Vatican,” in Nouvelle Revue Théologique 82 N° 8 (1960): 861-869: http://www.nrt.be/docs/articles/1960/82-8/2037-Composition+des+commissions+pr%C3%A9paratoires+au+Concile+Vatican+II.pdf

13 “Le Père Caffarel,” Equipes Notre Dame: https://www.equipes-notre-dame.fr/article/le-p%C3%A8re-caffarel-fondateur-des-equipes-notre-dame ; “Fr Caffarel, a Man Gripped by God”: https://henri-caffarel.org/en/father-caffarel-and-his-ideas/man-seized-god

14 Gigacz, “Jocist Bishops.”

15 “Composition des Commissions préparatoire.”.

16 Gigacz, “Jocist Bishops.”

17 Joseph Debes, Naissance de l’Action catholique ouvrière (Paris: Editions ouvrières, 1982), 15: https://books.google.fr/books?id=LoAF45IQefUC&pg=PA225&lpg=PA225#v=onepage&q&f=false

18 Jean Loup Ducasse, Guy Lafon, Philippe Latour, Joël Morlet, Chrétiens dans le monde rural, LAC- MFR-CMR, 1939 -1989: 50 and d’histoire (Paris: Editions ouvrières, 1989), 100: https://books.google.fr/books?id=YPq2YevGcbcC&pg=PA100&lpg=PA100&dq=abb#v=onepage&q&f=false

19 Claude Soetens, Les vota des évêques belges en vue du Concile, in À la veille du Concile Vatican II : vota et réactions en Europe et dans le catholicisme oriental, ed. Claude Soetens et Matthias Lamberigts(Leuven: Bibliotheek van de Faculteit der Godgeleerdheid van de K.U. Leuven, 1992), 38-52.

20 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 99.

21 Gigacz, “Jocist Bishops.”

22 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 97-98.

23 Ibid.

24 Romeo Maione, “Réfléxions sur le Concile Oecuménique,” 26/09/1960, AC1627.

25 Cardijn to Glorieux, 27/09/1960, AC1585: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2373

26 Glorieux to Cardijn, 03/10/1960, AC1585: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2375

27 Joseph Komonchak, “The Struggle for the Council during the Preparation of Vatican II (1960-1962) in Alberigo-Komonchak, I, 179.

28 JOCI, “Preparation for the Ecumenical Council,” 28/10/1960, AJ 6.3.1: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2175

29 JOCI, “Ecumenical Council,” 12/10/1960, AJ 6.3.1: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2179

30 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 1, The apostolate of lay people,” 30/10/1960, AC1576: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2147

31 Cardijn, “Note 1.”

32 Cardijn, “Note 1.”

33 Cardijn, “Note 1.”

34 Cardijn, “Note 1.”

35 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 102.

36 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 3, Reflections and suggestions,” 15/12/1960, AC1576: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2171

37 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 99.

38 Cardijn to Joos, 14/121960, AC1579/2: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2167

39 Cardijn, “Note 3.”

40 Pius XII, “Discours au rassemblement mondial de la JOC,” 25/08/1957: https://www.josephcardijn.com/fr/item/1423

41 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 2: The apostolate of lay people,” 16/12/1960, AC1576: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2165

42 Cardijn, Note 3.

43 Achille Glorieux to Fiévez, 28/12/1960, AC1584.

44 Jan Grootaers, “The Drama Continues between the Acts: The “Second Preparation” and its Opponents,” in Alberigo-Komonchak, II, 413.

45 Cardijn, “Note 3.”

46 Ibid.

47 Cardijn, “Note 3.”

48 Ibid.

49 Cardijn, “Note 3.”

50 Fiévez to Pavan, 23/12/1960, AC1586: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2217

51 Cardijn, “Note 3.”

52 Ibid.

53 Cardijn, “Note 3.”

54 Ibid.

55 “Text of Council’s Message to the world,” in Council Daybook, Vatican II, Sessions 1-2 (Washington DC: National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1965), 45: https://vaticaniiat50.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/text-of-councils-message-to-world/

56 Achille Glorieux to Cardijn, 13/12/1960, AC1585: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2185

57 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 4: Priests and lay people in the apostolate,” 12/1960, AC1576: https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/2253

58 Cardijn, “Note 4.”

59 Cardijn, “Note 4.”

60 Ibid.

61 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 5: La JOC internationale,” 1961, AC1576.

62 Cardijn, “Note 5.”

63 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 6, De missione canonica et mandata hierarchiae,” AC1576.

64 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 7, Formation religieuse et soutien des dirigeants,” 01/1961, AC1576.

65 Joseph Cardijn, Note 8, Refléxions sur la note de la Commission,” 04/1961, AC1576.

66 Garrone, L’Action catholique, 11.

67 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 9, Refléxions au sujet des documents,” 04/1961, AC1576.

68 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 10, De relatione cum hierarchiae,” 04/1961.

69 Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 54 (1962): 236.

70 “Dans l’Eglise de Belgique,” Notes de Pastorale Ouvrière 27, N° 3 (February – March 1962): 97.

71 Joseph Comblin, Echec de l’Action catholique ? (Paris: Editions universitaires, 1961), 83.

72 Gabriel-Marie Garrone, Lettre, in Notes d’information, N° 6 (04/1962), Nouvelle série: Archives Himmer: https://www.josephcardijn.com/fr/item/1880

73 “Echec de l’Action catholique,” Notes de Pastorale Ouvrière, 27 N° 2 (December 1961 – January 1962), 93.

74 Joseph Cardijn, Laymen into Action (Melbourne: Geoffrey Chapman – YCW, 1964), 174.

75Thoughts of a Group of YCW Leaders and Chaplains from North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe,” 07/1961, AJ6.3.1.

76 Ibid.

77 Cardijn to Cardinal Masella, 27/02/1962, AC1626.

78 Cardijn to Garrone, 29/12/1961, AC1586.

79 Gabriel-Marie Garrone to Cardijn, 10/01/1962, AC1586.

80 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 11, Refléxions sur les trois textes,” 24/12/1961, AC1576.

81 Ibid., Chap. I, n° 10 – Chap. II, N° 16; Chap. III & IV, N° 21 to 31.

82 Ibid., Chap. V, N° 32 to 40.

83 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 12, L’apostolat essentiel des laïcs,” 09/01/1962, AC1577.

84 Cardijn, “Note 12.”

85 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 15, Apostolat formellement laïc et matériellement laïc,” 09/03/1962, AC1577. (Cardijn’s emphasis.)

86 Cardijn “Note 15.” Cardijn’s emphasis.

87 Joseph Cardijn, “Note 16, De Apostolatu Laicorum in Communitate Ecclesia,” 1962, AC1577.

88 Cardijn, “Note 16.

89 François Houtart, “Les jeunes dans un monde en devenir” in Revue nouvelle, 15/03/1962, 225-239.

90 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 104-106.

91 Ibid., 102.

92 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 103.

93 Ibid.

94 Ibid.

95 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 102.

96 Ibid.

97 Klostermann, “Decree,” 274.

98 De emendatione schematis Constitutionis de apostolatu laicorum (Vatican: Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1962), 12-17.

99 Glorieux, “Histoire,” 107.

100 Klostermann, “Decree,” 274.

101 Ibid., 282.

102 Joseph Cardijn, “The coming Council”, IYCW Bulletin (February 1962): https://www.josephcardijn.com/en/item/88


104 Emile-Joseph De Smedt, The Priesthood of the Faithful (New York: Paulist Press, 1962), 9.

105 Archives De Smedt, Bruges Diocese.

106 Palémon Glorieux, Nature et mission de l’Eglise (Tournai: Desclée, 1963), 173.