Cardijn Research

  • The roots of the Suenens-Cardijn conflict

    The roots of the Suenens-Cardijn conflict

    We have seen previously that Suenens-Cardijn tensions date back at least to 1953 when Suenens wrote to Legion of Mary founder Frank Duff reacting to what he interpreted as Cardijn’s criticism of the Legion of Mary.

  • God’s lieutenants: The French bishops at Vatican II

    God’s lieutenants: The French bishops at Vatican II

    The role of the YCW and the specialised Catholic Action movements in changing the Church in France has long been recognised, in France at least.

  • Suenens clears the decks

    Suenens clears the decks

    Suenens, who had become archbishop of Malines-Brussels in November 1961 just eleven months before the opening of the Council, worked hard to clear the decks among the personnel of the diocese..

  • René Rémond and the influence of the JEC-YCS

    René Rémond and the influence of the JEC-YCS

    In this interview, the late French political analyst and historian, René Rémond, offers some insight into the way the French JEC (YCS – Young Christian Students) transformed his own outlook.

  • Never trust a reference.. but be grateful it’s there

    Never trust a reference.. but be grateful it’s there

    According to Marguerite Fiévez and Jacques Meert, it was Cardijn who suggested to Pope John XXIII that he write an encyclical to mark the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, which eventually became Mater et Magistra.

  • The dynamic role of jocist chaplains in Argentina

    The dynamic role of jocist chaplains in Argentina

    Theologian Oscar Campana notes the key role in Vatican II reforms played by Catholic Action chaplains in Argentina, many of whom were YCW chaplains.

  • And the Dominicans…

    And the Dominicans…

    Dominican priests also played a major role in the development of the early YCW, including some very big names such as Yves Congar and MD Chenu.

  • Lamennais, Cardijn and the two Cardinal Micara’s

    Lamennais, Cardijn and the two Cardinal Micara’s

    When the emerging YCW was under attack in 1925, with Mechelen-Brussels Cardinal Mercier threatening to close it down, Cardijn launched an appeal to Rome, to the pope with the aid of nuncio, Clemente Micara.

  • The Jesuit connection

    The Jesuit connection

    In studying Cardijn’s life and the emergence of the YCW, it is hard to overlook the role played by Jesuits, particularly in the early stages of the movement’s development.

  • Why did Cardijn’s writings go out of print?

    Why did Cardijn’s writings go out of print?

    Continuing on the theme of the literary eclipse of Cardijn, here is a list of the most recent published editions of Cardijn’s writings that I have been able to locate.

  • The literary eclipse of Cardijn

    The literary eclipse of Cardijn

    Here are several more Ngraph Viewer comparisons of references in the literature (Google Books) to Cardijn and to several of his Vatican II contemporaries, including Helder Camara, Cardinal Suenens, Congar, Chenu.

  • Cardijn’s influence as tracked in Google Books

    Cardijn’s influence as tracked in Google Books

    Let’s track Cardijn’s influence over the years as measured by the frequency with which his name appears in published literature during his lifetime and up to the present.

  • More than all the gold in the world

    What’s the origin of Cardijn’s famous phrase that “every young worker is worth more than all the gold in the world”? According to former IYCW treasurer Jo Weber, Cardijn first made the statement in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais where he was outraged by the conditions endured by young workers at a local goldmine.…

  • The first YCW martyr?

    This is the story of the young Mexican Jesuit Fr Miguel Pro, who along with his brothers, was executed on trumped up charges of attempting to assassinate the anti-clerical President Plutarco Elias Calles. Son of a mining engineer, Miguel Pro was studying with the Jesuits in Belgium where he became involved in worker issues, including…

  • The emergence of the “jocist method”

    We have seen in these pages that Cardijn’s See Judge Act method had many historical antecedents. As I also have mentioned previously, the earliest specific reference to the See Judge Act that I have been able to trace is in the 1930 pamphlet La JOC et la détresse intellectuelle et morale de jeunes travailleurs. The same…

  • Facts, principles, solutions: Victoire Cappe 1911

    Even before she met Cardijn, Victoire Cappe had started to make a name for herself as an emerging trade union leader. Born in 1886, four years after Cardijn, she was only twenty when she founded Le Syndicat de l’Aiguille at Liege in 1907 under the influence of a local priest, Abbé Paisse. See my article here.…

  • Santamaria’s Salesman

    Former Australian YCW leader Kevin Peoples has written an excellent historical memoir, Santamaria’s Salesman, detailing his own youthful experiences working with the National Catholic Rural Movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Originally from Terang in the Western District of the state of Victoria, in 1956 Kevin joined a local YCW team in his…

  • Betty Villa remembers Cardijn at Vatican II

    Betty Villa from the Philippines was vice-president of the IYCW from 1961-65, i.e. throughout the period of Vatican II. She worked closely with other IYCW leaders and with Cardijn on many aspects of the Council. In this video that she made herself with her colleagues in Naga City, she recalls that powerful experience. The video…

  • No pomp and privilege for Cardijn

    St Michael Archangel Church at Pietralata, Rome: Cardijn’s titular church as cardinal Here’s a great little Cardijn anecdote told by Francois Houtart of how Cardijn had a visceral reaction to pomp and circumstance. “Just before the war (World War II),” Houtart writes, “Monsignor Cardijn was hosted by a Yugoslav bishop and the experience horrified him.…

  • Yves de Montcheuil and the YCW

    A nice article here by David Grumett on the theology of Yves de Montcheuil, the French Jesuit theologian who was a friend of Henri de Lubac, another Jesuit who would play a significant role at Vatican II. Unfortunately, Grumett does not mention the fact that de Montcheuil was also a YCW chaplain, which is also…

  • Found! Cardijn’s “lost” See Judge Act article of 1914

    According to Lucie Bragard, Marguerite Fiévez and Jacques Meert, Cardijn claimed to have written a first draft of his famous See Judge Act method in a “now lost” 1914 article in Dutch entitled “Hoe kan een studiekring werken naar buiten?”, which means roughly “How does a study circle function or work?” Here is what they…

  • Who locked Cardijn out?

    Pope John XXIII appointed Cardijn as a member of the Vatican II preparatory “Pontifical Commission on Lay Apostolate” and he played a very active role there. Then in February 1963, he was appointed as an expert for the conciliar “Commission on the Apostolate of the Faithful, the Press and the Moderation of Shows”, which was…

  • See, judge, act at Vatican II

    See, judge, act at Vatican II

    It has often been noted that the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes follows what is sometimes called “the inductive method”, starting from the bottom and moving up from the specific to the general. Here’s how that came about.

  • French prudence during World War I

    French prudence during World War I

    AD Sertillanges’ analysis of the virtue of prudence does indeed pre-date his 1916 book on the moral philosophy of St Thomas.

  • Seek, Judge, Act – the Sertillanges side of the story

    Seek, Judge, Act – the Sertillanges side of the story

    The story of Dominican priest, AD Sertillanges’ contribution to the see-judge-act method.

  • Deja vu of the doctrinal-inductive clash at Vatican II

    Deja vu of the doctrinal-inductive clash at Vatican II

    Here is a nice bit of context for the doctrinal vs inductive, Suenens vs Cardijn clash in the drafting of Gaudium et Spes document of Vatican II.

  • The missing movements mystery

    The missing movements mystery

    Today, I published a short review of Alberigo and Komonchak’s History of Vatican II which tries to explain Cardijn’s absence from this history.

  • Cardijn’s contribution to the Council

    Cardijn’s contribution to the Council

    Our CCI Vatican 2+50: A Cardijn Perspective conference in Manila, Philippines from 11-14 October 2012 has now successfully concluded.

  • Cardijn vs Mother Teresa on Amazon.com

    Cardijn vs Mother Teresa on Amazon.com

    Here’s a new measure of how Cardijn has fallen out of favour, namely how many Cardijn books there are for sale on Amazon.com.

  • No man is a prophet… in his own movement

    No man is a prophet… in his own movement

    Yesterday I was pleased to discover that all articles published in the Nouvelle Revue Théologique from 1958 to 2000 by the Belgian Jesuits are now online.

  • Cardijn’s Vatican II vision of lay apostolate

    Cardijn’s Vatican II vision of lay apostolate

    An excellent weekend in St Paul Minnesota for the University of St Thomas  (UST) conference on Teaching and Understanding the Council after 50 years

  • See, Judge and Conclude with Léon Ollé-Laprune

    See, Judge and Conclude with Léon Ollé-Laprune

    I initially stumbled across the role of Léon Ollé-Laprune in the development of the See Judge Act method while following Cardijn’s list of his reading.

  • Paolo Freire, the YCW and Cardijn

    Paolo Freire, the YCW and Cardijn

    I first read Paolo Freire’s famous book Pedagogy of the Oppressed in about 1973 while studying law at Melbourne University. It was fantastic to read about his reflection/action praxis method of education and conscientisation.

  • 25th August – a day of meaning

    25th August – a day of meaning

    It was only when I went to work for the International YCW that I learnt that 25 August was celebrated as the “birthday” of the movement.

  • Cardijn and the altar as workbench

    Cardijn and the altar as workbench

    Cardijn used the Eucharist to develop a theology of work, argues Patricia Kelly, a Ph.D. candidate at Durham University, in a paper presented at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June.

  • Was Cardijn a ‘Christian socialist’?

    Was Cardijn a ‘Christian socialist’?

    More than fifteen years ago when I first began researching Cardijn’s life and work, I decided to look up Ben Tillett, the British trade unionist whom Cardijn had held up as a model worker leader.

  • Cardijn and the ‘Co-operative Commonwealth’

    Cardijn and the ‘Co-operative Commonwealth’

    Yesterday was a great day at the Melbourne Trades Hall where the Cardijn Community Australia organised its ‘Economics for the 99%: Co-operatives in Victoria’ conference.

  • Liberation and the New Evangelisation

    Liberation and the New Evangelisation

    It’s always good to go to conferences because you meet people and find out things you would never have otherwise learned. So it was at the Vatican II and the New Evangelisation conference at Leeds Trinity University College in Leeds in June.

  • Brazil’s “red bishop” has died

    Brazil’s “red bishop” has died

    Retired archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales died last month at the age of 91.

  • Promoting saints

    Promoting saints

    Back in January 1938, Cardijn sent a signed petition to Pope Pius XI backing the beatification causes of Margaret Sinclair, a Scottish young worker who became a nun, and Pier-Giorgio Frassati, a young Italian student and social activist.

  • Lamennais, Le Sillon and serendipity

    Lamennais, Le Sillon and serendipity

    Every time that I google the French movement, Le Sillon, inevitably and sometimes annoyingly, I come across references to another Sillon, namely the wave battered beachfront at St Malo, in Brittany, France.

  • Cardijn and the baptism of Reims

    Cardijn and the baptism of Reims

    “It was at Reims that the YCW of France received its baptism from the successor of St Remi,” Cardijn once said with reference to a 1927 conference at which he had spoken.

  • Two Vatican II conferences

    Two Vatican II conferences

    Finally published the slideshows of my recent presentations at two recent Vatican II commemorative conferences in the UK and the US.

  • Suenens vs Cardijn at Vatican II

    Suenens vs Cardijn at Vatican II

    I can’t remember when I first heard that there had been tension between Cardijn and the former archbishop of Malines-Brussels, the famous Cardinal Leon-Joseph Suenens.

  • The Church in the world today or the modern world?

    The Church in the world today or the modern world?

    The long title in English for the Vatican II document often known simply as Gaudium et Spes is “Pastoral  Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” – at least that’s what it says on the Vatican website.

  • Influences on John Courtney Murray

    Influences on John Courtney Murray

    Did Cardijn have any influence on the American Jesuit Fr John Courtney Murray, who was perhaps most well-known for his role in the drafting of the Vatican II document, Dignitatis Humanae

  • Cardijn “revolutionised” theology: Archbishop Denis Hurley

    Cardijn “revolutionised” theology: Archbishop Denis Hurley

    Joseph Cardijn “revolutionised all our catechetics and most of our theology” said the late South African Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban in a 1986 interview.

  • Congar and Cardijn: A long collaboration

    Congar and Cardijn: A long collaboration

    As he noted in his Vatican II Journal, the late French theologian Yves Congar worked closely with Cardijn to assist the latter in the drafting of his speeches to Vatican II.