ACI Newsletter Aug 22

Agents of social change

Dear Friends,

It's the fourth anniversary of our ACI foundation meeting this month. And we're inviting you to join us for our Annual General Meeting on 30 August. We've also got some big new projects ahead of us, including the development of a physical library in Perth to complement the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library, now celebrating its second anniversary.

In this issue, we're proud also to present to you Pope Francis' letter to the Pax Romana movement - to which ACI is affiliated - in which he calls us all to become "agents of social change."

One way to achieve social change will be to take up the challenges presented by the Australian bishops in their annual Social Justice statement for 2022-23 entitled "Respect: Confronting violence and abuse."

We also present our latest videos. The first is from our second LG31 Forum on Lay Apostolate Formation with Wendy Goonan and Fr Max Vodola, who both participated in the Plenary Council. The second is from our August ACI webinar with Mark Linkson speaking on Australia's Indigenous Science Network. The third video is from my own presentation to the Yarra Theological Union entitled "Cardijn's See Judge Act: A tool for ecumenical and interreligious collaboration."

We also feature a review of Matthew Rose's book, A World After Liberalism, which warns against the rise extremist individuals and groups, who while not believing in Christianity, purport to rely on and promote Christian values.

Last month, we presented the incorrect content for our article on the Pact of the Catacombs. This month you will find the correct article and links to this important commitment to a Church of the poor that took place at the end of the Second Vatican Council.

And speaking of our own foundation, let's also remember the foundation day of the YCW, which we celebrate this Thursday 25 August.

Stefan Gigacz
Pope Francis to Pax Romana: Be agents of social change
Pope Francis
In a personally signed letter to the Pax Romana movements on 22 July 2022, Pope Francis called on Catholic students and professionals to work for the spread of the Gospel, its values of justice, peace and solidarity, and to be agents of social change.
Pax Romana, which comprises two movements – the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) and the International Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA) – has just concluded its centenary year commemorating its foundation in 1921.

In his letter, Pope Francis thanked Pax Romana leaders for maintaining a “spirituality of action” and for fulfilling “your mission of addressing the spiritual and material needs of young people in tertiary educational institutions throughout the world.”

ACI is a corresponding member of Pax Romana ICMICA.


Pope Francis to Pax Romana: Be agents of social change (ACI)

Pax Romana ICMICA
Social Justice Statement: Respect: Confronting violence and abuse
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has issued its Social Justice Statement for 2022-23 addressing the theme “Respect: Confronting violence and abuse.”

"The statistics concerning violence against women and children in Australia are shocking," the statement notes. "One woman is killed every nine days by a current or former partner while one in six girls and one in nine boys were physically or sexually abused before age of 15.

"Some groups are more vulnerable than others. Apart from physical violence, women and girls with disabilities experience all forms of violence at higher rates than men with disabilities, or people without disabilities. A staggering 65% of women with disabilities report experiencing at least one incident of violence since the age of 15 and women with disabilities are twice as likely as women without disabilities to have experienced sexual violence."


Respect: Confronting violence and abuse (ACI/ACBC Office of Social Justice)
Cardijn Library and Research Centre, Perth
It's two years this month since the launch of the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library, which now attracts over 1500 visitors a month from around the world - 50 people per day.

We initially started with around 250 documents in French and another 100 documents in English. Since then, the JDCL has grown to over 1000 documents in French and 500 in English.

We are now working to launch a Spanish version of the site, hopefully before the end of 2022.

Now, the ACI board has also decided to launch a physical library in Perth to house the books, documents and archives of the Cardijn movements in Australia.

Stay tuned for more news of this initiative!


Joseph Cardijn Digital Library
ACI AGM speakers: Sarah Prenger: The missionary dimension of the YCW
ACI's Fourth Annual General Meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday 30 August 2022.

Our guest speaker will be Sarah Prenger, who has just recently completed her term as president of the International YCW. Sarah, who is currently completing a master's in Catholic Social Teaching in her home country, Germany, will speak on "the missionary dimension of the YCW."

Also joining us will be Sarah's compatriot, Bernhard Bormann, another former IYCW leader, who is involved with the Christian Workers Movement and also with YCW alumni.

At our AGM, we will also look at ACI plans for the coming years, including the development of the Cardijn libraries, both physical and digital.



7pm AEST, Tuesday 30 August 2022



LG31 Forum: Plenary Council Review
LG31 Forum on Formation for the Lay Apostolate
At our second Lumen Gentium 31 Forum on Lay Apostolate on 24 July, Plenary Council member, Wendy Goonan from Parramatta Diocese, and peritus, Fr Max Vodola from Catholic Theological College, Melbourne, shared their reflections on the event.


Video: Mark Linkson: Australia's Indigenous Science Network
Indigenous Science Network
Mark Linkson was the presenter for our August ACI webinar on “Australia’s Indigenous Science Network.”

A former YCW leader from Adelaide, Mark has taught in Indigenous communities in northern Australia and the Torres Strait islands for more than 30 years. He also taught for two years in Somalia.

With this wealth of experience, he has become the Australian coordinator for the Indigenous Science Network (ISN), a global initiative based in Australia that promotes the use of Indigenous science in education and highlights the work of Indigenous scientists.



Mark Linkson, Indigenous Science Network (ACI)

Cardijn's See Judge Act: A tool for dialogue and collaboration
See Judge Act for dialogue
On 11 August 2022, ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz, an honorary post-doctoral research associate at Yarra Theological Union and the University presented a research paper entitled "Cardijn's See Judge Act: A tool for ecumenical and interreligious collaboration."


Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn's See Judge Act

Book Review: Matthew Rose's A World after Liberalism
It’s one of the many merits of Matthew Rose’s A World after Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right that it helps answer the question of how a figure like Anders Breivik, who killed seventy-seven people, mostly teenagers, in Norway in 2011, could both disavow Christian belief and claim to kill on behalf of “our Christian cultural heritage.”

Breivik defined himself as an unbeliever but a cultural Christian, acting to defend the faith against secular and infidel (largely Islamic) foes. In his manifesto,. He tolld his followers that they “don’t need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage.”


Review: ‘A World after Liberalism’ (ACI/Commonweal)
The Pact of the Catacombs and the Pietralata Message
The Domitilla Catacombs
ACI has launched a new website – – that tells the story of the Pact of the Catacombs for a Church of the Poor and its long forgotten counterpart, the Pietralata Message, for a worker Church.

The story began with a proposal by Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara to hold two Eucharistic celebrations towards the end of the Fourth Session of Vatican II in October or November 1965, one for workers with Cardijn and one for the poor.

Christian Workers Movement
The Australian Christian Workers movement continues to develop, Kevin Vaughan notes.

To join and/or to receive more information, please write to Kevin at:
Coming events
Here is a list of coming events and webinars with Zoom registration links:

Tuesday 30 August, 7pm AEST: ACI AGM with Sarah Prenger

Tuesday 13 September, 7pm AEST: Mathijs Lamberigts: Gerard Philips, Lay people in the Church

Thursday 22 September, 7pm AEST: LG31 Forum: The Worker Mission with Jackie Hocquet and Bernard Schricke of the French Mission Ouvrière

Thursday 29 September, 6pm AEST: New visions of priesting: An interview with Bob Wilkinson (new edition of Cardijn Studies)

Save the dates!
YCW Foundation Day: 25 August
25 August 1935: The International YCW has celebrated its foundation day on this day since the first International Congress of the movement in 1935.
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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