ACI Newsletter October

Fratelli Tutti Webinar

Dear Friends,

This is a final reminder for our Fratelli Tutti webinar with Fr Bruce Duncan and Danusia Kaska tomorrow, Thursday 22 October. Over 100 people have already registered for what promises to be a very successful event. Details below. Don't miss out!

Brian Lawrence also reflects on the consequences for Australia of the coming US presidential election battle. Antony McMullen explains why cooperatives are important even if they may appear slow to start. We feature a video on a current South Korean experiment to introduce a Universal Basic Income.

We also present a classical article by British Cardinal Basil Hume, who once wrote of Cardijn that "Vatican II, the YCW and the YCS are his monument."

In a historical vein, we have two articles on the lives of the French YCS and YCW martyrs, Gilbert Dru and Francis Chirat.

Lily Nguyen from Melbourne YCW, who recently made a series of short videos on the experience of several exYCW leaders, tells us about her Patreon project to make comics about life.

We share a new and significant resource for starting new YCS groups.

And finally we say farewell to two great Australian jocist leaders, Garry Eastman and Maria George.

Stefan Gigacz
US Church loses touch with working-class Catholics
Charles Perko admits it will not stand up well as an excuse, but he does offer it up as an “explanation.” Too many Sundays he has missed Mass, he says, because he was too tired after a 12-hour shift the night before to make it to church. Workweeks loaded with overtime have not helped, of course. “After 60- or 72-hour weeks, I’m absolutely exhausted,” he says.

Despite the physical grind and the impact on his family, he, like most of his fellow steelworkers, is reluctant to turn down overtime. “You can’t live on 40 hours a week,” he explains.

Mr. Perko’s disaffection reflects an ongoing challenge for the contemporary Catholic Church in the United States. Attendance and affiliation have been eroding steadily since the 1970s for all income brackets, but the sharpest decline has been among the two bottom economic quartiles, according to data gleaned from the U.S. Census American Community Survey.


The church is losing touch with working-class Catholics (America Magazine)


Fast food workers on strike for higher minimum wage and better benefits / Fibonacci Blue
Hard choices for US Catholics
"We stand poised upon the most important national election of the past 50 years," writes Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego. "Our country is consumed by a threatening pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people, infected our highest levels of government and wreaked havoc upon our economic life.

"Racial, ethnic and cultural divisions challenge our nation to reimagine and restructure the most fundamental elements of our identity as a people. The fires raging in the West are a visible sign of the fact that we are destroying our planet. The Supreme Court is engulfed in a bitterly partisan conflict that will influence the future of abortion law, health care, voting rights and protections for workers. And for the first time since the Civil War, there are widespread fears about our ability to hold fair national elections and carry out a peaceful transition of power.

"How are we, as members of the Catholic community in the United States, called to discern our electoral choices in this turbulent year, so as to advance the common good and the dignity of the human person?"


Bishop McElroy: US Catholics, politically homeless, face hard choices (National Catholic Reporter)
Reading the signs of the times in US politics
White House
"Australian Catholics, like others Australians, should be taking a close interest in what is happening in the United States because we can see some trends that will develop in Australia and trends that we must avoid coming to Australia," writes Brian Lawrence. "For example, the politicisation of the judiciary in the very threatening to democracy and it will have some impact on public discussion regarding the two Australian High Court appointments due later this year.

"For the Church, we see in both countries that there is distancing of many Catholics from a life that would provide them with a personal understanding and appreciation of marginalisation and economic deprivation.

"But it is worse than that. Vested economic interests, with deep pockets and an ideology contrary to Catholic social doctrine, have penetrated many institutions within U.S. Catholicism. The money has not just come from wealthy Catholics, but from wealthy donors who are not Catholics. It is not just the penetration of an ideology, but the penetration of politics into the Church in a way not seen outside fascist countries with significant Catholic populations and, before them, under the Catholic monarchies of Europe.

"We thought those days were behind us. In the past many U.S. Catholics would have been comfortable with an effective takeover of the Democratic party (as did happen in some places), but now we have the threat of an effective Republican takeover of many Catholic institutions."


Brian Lawrence, Reading the Signs of the Times (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Co-operatives as the 'slow food' of the social economy
"Why are cooperatives often left out of the social enterprise conversation?" asks co-op founder and developer, Antony McMullen, noting a certain view that cooperatives are "too slow moving for social entrepreneurship."

"Perhaps co-operatives are at the 'slow food' end of the social economy table but according to UNSW law and new economy academic Bronwen Morgan there has been an undue emphasis in mainstream social enterprise on 'outcomes rather than inputs, effects rather than important processes that emphasise internal governance, social relationships and participatory values'," McMullen writes. "The democratic and horizontal nature of the model can take up some time for all involved."

"It’s true, co-operatives are not as easy to establish as perhaps some of the ones forged by social 'heropreneurs'. However, depending on which study you look at, Australian mainstream start-ups have a 75 to 90 per cent failure rate within five years... A study by Greg Patmore and others from Sydney University recently found that the average lifespan of an Australian co-operative is about 25 years.

"Co-ops can be slow to establish but they can also last the distance," McMullen concludes.


Antony McMullen, Co-operatives – the slow food of social enterprise? (Pro Bono)


The Co-op Group / Flickr
South Korea experiments with Universal Basic Income
To stimulate its pandemic-hit economy, a province in South Korea has been experimenting with universal basic income programs by regularly giving out cash, no questions asked.

Now, some politicians want to go national with the concept. Governor Lee Jyae-Myung of Gyeonngi sees it as a response to what he terms the "fourth industrial revolution" which has been accelerated by the Covid crisis.


South Korea’s Universal Basic Income Experiment to Boost the Economy (Wall Street Journal)
Cardijn, the great apostle of modern laity
"It is vital to remember that the laity, you, are the Church," wrote British Cardinal Basil Hume in a tribute to Cardijn in 1982.

"And it is the most serious obligation of the laity to involve themselves in their own world of work, social concerns and politics... Catholics should belong to different parties. They should be involved in trade unions. They should take their rightful place at every level of public life and service.

"Some say that fewer Catholics than before are involved in politics, trade unions, local government. Certainly there are fewer in the apostolic lay organisations and movements. Perhaps the reason may be found in the fact that since the Second Vatican Council, many committed Catholics have devoted themselves to the renewal of the Church itself. They have been active in parish councils, commissions, special ministries and other works of great value to the Church.

"But it may have distracted them from their responsibilities to be Christian witnesses in the modern world. The Church must never be inward looking. The Church must always be outward looking. The Church must be missionary.

"The challenge facing us is clear. There is an urgent need to help Catholics understand how Christian faith and action need to be expressed in everyday life, how they have necessary consequences for industry, politics, economics and social policy.

"We should encourage the whole Catholic community to become informed about Christian social teaching. And then, wherever we are, in whatever walk of life, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we should seek to relate the Gospel to that situation and to use every means in our power, educational, political or social, to transform it.


Cardinal Basil Hume, Cardijn, the great apostle of the modern laity (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Gilbert Dru and Francist Chirat - Martyred YCS and YCW leaders
Gilbert Dru and Francis Chirat
Gilbert Dru was a French JEC (YCS) leader from Lyon, who allied himself with a local JOC leader, Francis Chirat, in an effort to develop a broad-based "Republican" coalition to prepare for the liberation of France from Nazi occupation during World War II.

They also provided assistance to young workers who refused to go and work in Germany as part of the compulsory labour program (STO) and other members of the French Resistance.

They were finally arrested on 17 July 1944 while in possession of compromising documents and were taken to Montluc prison where they were interrogated under torture.

Ten days later on 27 July they and three other young detainees were summarily executed by machine gun fire at Bellecour Square in Lyon in retaliation for a Resistance attack against German troops.

Some of Dru's writings later formed the basis of the program of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP), many of whose leaders were drawn from the Sillon, the YCW and the YCS, and which helped form the postwar French government.


Gilbert Dru (1920-1944) (Terre Nouvelle / Maitron des Fusillés)

Francis Chirat (1916-1944) (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library / Maitron des Fusillés)
Lily's Everyday Life Comics
Lily Nguyen
The mood in Victoria has been sombre for many months now with the ongoing lockdowns. But Lily Nguyen from Melbourne YCW has turned the crisis into an opportunity to develop her new project of comic strips dealing with everyday life.

"Ever since the lockdown, I’ve been in a rut from the recent happenings from the pandemic that has affected 2020;" Lily writes on Facebook. "Job losses and extreme health scares have been on my mind constantly when balancing life and work between adjusting to the new normal. 😷

"One day I began doing comics. Creating, drawing, and telling stories have been my outlet for the past 6 months. "Until finally I launched a 🎉Patreon account to help fund my dream of publishing a comic story in a book and to someday make drawing and storytelling a full-time job! ✍️

"I would be super grateful if you will consider supporting creative artists if you can! ✨" she asks.

Lily has also worked on a series of video interviews with former YCW leaders including Kevin Vaughan, Bernadette Allen, Anita Sheehan and Peter Gartlan.

You can support her work by clicking this link:

Watch Lily's YouTube video here.
Vale Maria George and Garry Eastman
This month we mourn the passing of former Melbourne YCW leader, Maria George, and publisher, Garry Eastman.

For many years from the 1970s, Maria her husband Dennis and her siblings, formed the bedrock of the Maidstone YCW in Melbourne's western suburbs.

Later she worked extensively as a pastoral associate in several Melbourne parishes and advocated for recognition of women's role in the Church.

Garry got his start in publishing with the jocist-inspired Cripac Press during the 1960s. After Vatican II, he founded Dove Communications and later Garratt Publishing to promote a vision of a Vatican II Church. Maria also joined Garry as a member of the Garratt Executive Board.

Our condolences to their families and communities.


Vale Garry Eastman Vale Maria George (Garratt Publishing)
Resource: A new YCS NUTS program
The Australian YCS has published a new edition of its classic NUTS program for student groups in schools and parishes.

Based around Cardijn's "Three Truths" and the "See Judge Act" method, it offers a comprehensive outline for students, teachers and others who are interested in launching new groups.


YCS NUTS Program
Coming Events
Fratelli Tutti 02e
The future of humanity, Fratelli Tutti webinar with Fr Bruce Duncan and Danusia Kaska: Thursday 22 October at 7.30pm AEDT. Please email: Stefan Gigacz at to register.

Cardijn Anniversary Mass: 7.00pm AWST, Friday 13 November at Mary MacKillop Church,16 Pelican Pde, Ballajura, WA.

CCA Annual General Meeting: Via Zoom on Saturday 14 November, 12.00pm AEDT. Zoom link will be available on 10 November.
Editorial Note: The purpose of the ACI Newsletter is to share information and promote discussion. Citing or linking to articles does not imply any endorsement by ACI of the authors' views.
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Please transfer $12 to our account to renew membership for 2020-21.
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