ACI Newsletter September

Decent Work Edition

Dear Friends,

This month we feature the World Day for Decent Work promoted by the International Trade Union Congress, the World Movement of Christian Workers and other labour organisations.

Brian Lawrence notes a momentous change of stance by the US Jesuit magazine, America, in relation to the forthcoming presidential election.

This month we also announce that the new Joseph Cardijn Digital Library is now online with over 100 original Cardijn articles in English as well as a range of videos, photos and other resources.

We hear from former YCW leaders who worked to extend the movement in Eastern Europe during the Communist era.

We welcome the publication of an English of a book on the philosophy of Alphonse Gratry, a key influence on Cardijn and indeed on Vatican II.

We remember former YCW leaders and chaplains, Frank Hornby and Peter Robinson.

And we present a range of review of life and prayer resources on the Covid-19 issue.

Enjoy this month's reading!

Stefan Gigacz
World Day for Decent Work
World Day for Decent Work 2020
Sponsored by the International Trade Union Confederation and other labour organisations, this year's World Day for Decent Work will take place on October 7. This year's theme will be "A New Social Contract for Recovery and Resilience."

The World Movement of Christian Workers has released a statement for the event entitled “Let’s dare to dream of a better world.

“Decent work is central to the four strategic objectives of the International Labour Organisation relating to rights at work, in particular those defined as fundamental by the Declaration of Fundamental Principles Rights and at Work and its Follow-up, adopted in 1998,” the message begins.

“For the ILO, it is necessary to put in place economic policies to stimulate the creation of more and better jobs, to reduce informal work, to fight against child labour and slavery as well as against all forms of discrimination. It is also imperative to promote youth employment, extend and improve social protection, stimulate education and vocational training and strengthen workers’ rights.

“This implies that women and men all over the world benefit from decently paid employment carried out under conditions of equality, freedom, including freedom of association and total security in order to guarantee a dignified life.

“Decent and productive work is the main tool in overcoming poverty that afflicts millions of working people around the world. It is fundamental for building more democratic societies and for combating all forms of exclusion.

“On this international day of Decent Work October 7, it is time to strengthen our reflection on the right to decent work for all.


International Day for Decent Work (

World Day for Decent Work (International Trade Union Confederation)
US Jesuit magazine backs Biden
Image Chayka Pixabay
In a momentous change from past practice, “America”, a leading U.S. Magazine published by the Jesuits, recently endorsed Joe Biden for the next President of the U.S.

As part of its review of the issues in the forthcoming presidential election “America” is publishing a series of opinion pieces, with emphasis on the way in which Catholics might vote having proper regard to Catholic doctrine and principles. Of particular value for Australian readers are two leading articles in this series. John Carr, who was for many years the principal government relations and social policy manager to the U.S. bishops, has argued in favour of Biden. The case against Biden has been argued by another former director of government relations with the U.S. bishops, Jayd Henricks.

Perhaps the most relevant introduction to these two articles is that both writers believe that Catholics are politically homeless in the United States. Both focus on abortion policies. Carr argues that a Catholic can in good conscience vote for Biden: “I will not vote for him to support his position on abortion, but in spite of it”. Henricks states “I do not think a Catholic can vote vote for Mr Biden”.

Both writers look beyond the abortion issue in coming to their conclusions and cover a wide range of social issues. While both articles highlight differences between Australian and American politics, each presents some broader questions for Australian Catholics about their own political engagement.

Brian Lawrence


John Carr, I helped write the bishops’ first document on Catholics and voting. Here’s why I’m voting Biden, not Trump (America)

Jayd Henricks, Why I can't vote for Biden: A response (America)

Editorial, Donald Trump is a unique threat to the Constitution (America)

Joseph Cardijn Digital Library
After three months of intensive work, the new Joseph Cardijn Digital Library (JCDL) website is now online at

As the name suggests, the purpose of the library, which traces its origins back to 1998, is to preserve and publish texts, documents and testimonies relating to the life and work of Cardijn, the JOC movement as well as other leaders and chaplains who worked with him and/or other Cardijn-inspired movements.

Over 100 of Cardijn’s writings and speeches are already online in English, including many of his classic texts. Also included is a variety of testimonies from those who knew, worked with or were inspired by Cardijn.

The JCDL also includes a range of biographical material, news clippings as well as many photos, several videos and audio recordings.

Even more Cardijn documents are available in the original French by clicking on the French flag icon.

Developed during an internship with ACI by Sorbonne University student, Kiara Gigacz, the site is built with Omeka S, a "next-generation web publishing platform for institutions interested in connecting digital cultural heritage collections with other resources online."

The library offers many new features, including chronological listings, a subject index, as well as the possibility of downloading documents in Word, PDF or EPUB format.

Stay tuned for an official launch later this year.

Document: Jocism by Joseph Cardijn
Cover photo Sept magazine 23/08/1935
The first JOC International Congress took place in Brussels in August 1935. It began on Sunday 25 August with a huge rally at the Heysel Stadium which is said to have attracted 100,000 participants.

During the study week that followed, Cardijn delivered one of his most iconic addresses in which he set out the Three Truths dialectic that is the basis of the jocist method.

The Friday before the Congress he published a 400-word article simply entitled "Jocism" in the French journal, Sept.

Now translated into English for the first time, it is perhaps the best one page summary of the essence of jocism that exists.


Joseph Cardijn, Jocism (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Former Eastern Europe YCW extension workers meet
Former YCW extension workers meet
Former German and European YCW leader, Bernhard Bormann, reports this month on a significant meeting this month in Nuremberg, “a city with a glorious, but unfortunately also dark past.”

Those who took part were “six former JOC leaders, who were responsible for extension work in communist countries (including the German Democratic Republic or GDR) in Europe from the 1960s until 2002, and later, after the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989), for the rebuilding of JOC movements in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Ukraine.”

“It was pioneering work, sometimes under the most difficult conditions and in the GDR always under the close control of state security, in Slovakia in the shadow of the underground church,” Bernhard noted.

“What can we as JOC learn from these historical experiences for the future? That was the central question that occupied us intensively for two days,” he continued.

“It was not a nostalgic meeting,” Berhard emphasised. “We were delighted with its intensity and the deep look back into our own life history - and into the life of the young movements in Central and Eastern Europe.”

The conclusions from the meeting are being shared with current YCW leaders in an “intergenerational dialogue.”

This work of remembrance and some conclusions will be passed on tomorrow morning in a video conference to the young generation, to those responsible today (JOC Europe, International Secretariat). We look forward to this intergenerational dialogue
Gratry's Philosophy
ATF Press have just published “Gratry’s Philosophy” which is an English translation by the late Sr Mary L. O'Hara CSJ of the Spanish philosopher Julián Marías’ book, La Filosofia del Padre Gratry.

Born in Lille, France in 1805, Alphonse Gratry was a major influence on Cardijn and the first generation of JOC leaders and chaplains in particular.

Once well-known for his theory of induction, Gratry was perhaps one of the earliest to make use of the expression “reading the signs of the times” in the sense that Vatican II would adopt a century later. Indeed, his tripartite formula “reality, reflection and resolution” anticipates Cardijn’s “see, judge, act.”

His most famous work, Les Sources, widely published until World War II, offers a plan of studies and a plan of life which reflect Gratry’s philosophy of the person.

The Christian Democratic Parties, the French lay movement Le Sillon, the Young Christian Workers (YCW), and the writings of Peter Maurin, mentor to today’s Catholic Worker movement, witness to his foundational and comprehensive influence.


The philosophy of Alphonse Gratry (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Alphonse Gratry


Presentation by Stefan Gigacz


Julian Marias, Gratry's Philosophy (ATF Press)
Remembering Peter Robinson and Frank Hornby
This month we note the passing of two former Melbourne YCW leaders and chaplains, Frank “Charlie” Hornby and Peter Robinson.

Frank died in Canberra on 12 September surrounded by his wife, Geraldine, and their children Patrick, Simon and Mary. Peter Robinson died earlier this year on 14 March.

Frank and Peter were both members of the Melbourne YCW Diocesan Executive. And in 1957, they were among a record number of former YCW members who became seminarians there.

They are pictured along with a number of their classmates in the above photo from a 2014 reunion.


Back row: Val Noone, Terry O’Neill, Bill Gill, Mick Shadbolt, Mick Croagh, Frank Hornby, Pat Gibson, Kerry Cronan, John McCarthy. Front row: Dan Drew, Peter Robinson, Mick Cogan, Brian Harold, Noel Oliver, Mick Morgan.


Frank ‘Charlie’ Hornby remembered (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Dom DiMattina, Peter Robinson, a champion fundraiser (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Review of life and prayer resources for COVID-19
Sr Professor Julia Upton rsm. Image: ACU/Supplied.
Catholic organisations and Church leaders are responding in a variety of ways to the global challenge of coronavirus.

The World Movement of Christian Workers has prepared a four part Review of Life focusing on the the issue.

Caritas International sees the crisis as an opportunity to promote awareness "of our shared human nature and how interconnected the political, economic, social, spiritual and cultural dimensions are.”

Warning that "unjust systems created the environment for the spread of diseases, how fragile our lives are, and how vulnerable we were before the virus," Caritas International president, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called for a “pandemic of love and solidarity” around the globe."

Lamenting that “partisan interests (are) emerging ” and that some are seeking to take advantage of the crisis for selfish purposes, Pope Francis has insisted that "the Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socio-economic crisis is based on love.

At the level of liturgy and public prayer, the COVID-19 pandemic has also disrupted our experiences as never before, according to an article in Catholic Outlook.

“Providing pastoral care to the sick and dying in high-risk environments alongside health professionals engaged in medical care, has necessitated the development of innovative approaches to this vital work,” the says.

The ACU Centre for Liturgy is also organising a free public lecture, “Liturgy, Prayer, Pastoral Care and Pandemics,” that will be presented live online from New York, USA by Sr Professor Julia Upton rsm of St John’s University (New York) on Monday October 12 via Zoom.

The Australian Sisters of Mercy have also compiled a list of prayer resources on the subject.


Review of Life on the Coronavirus (World Movement of Christian Workers)

Caritas: Amid the virus, cultivate a “pandemic of love and solidarity” (Catholic Outlook)

Pope Francis: Confront COVID with unbounded love (Catholic Outlook)

Pope Francis, Prayer to Our Lady, Health of the Sick (Sydney Archdiocese)

Prayer Resources (Sisters of Mercy)

ACU to host online public lecture on ‘Liturgy, Prayer, Pastoral Care and Pandemics’ (Catholic Outlook)
Coming Events
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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