Traditions of value

Dear Friends,

Recently, I came across the phrase “traditions of value” and I thought immediately of this newsletter, which gives an account of some of the activities of a tradition that values the formation of people for the lay apostolate.

From Pope Francis to students and young workers, we are treated to reflections that highlight the power of Cardijn’s method of See, Judge, Act to transform peoples’ lives.

Cardinal Christophe Pierre speaks of his own formation through the use of See, Judge, Act. Pope Francis’ reflection on the virtue of prudence shows the influence of the method on his way of teaching.

Faithful to the Cardijn tradition, Stefan Gigacz raises the question of the method employed for discernment during the present Synod on Synodality. Indeed, the entire newsletter may be considered an argument for adopting See, Judge, Act as the method for the second session of the Synod.

We explore the mission and vocation of the lay person, not only through webinars advertised in the newsletter, but also through video and thought-provoking articles by Richard Pütz and Brian Lawrence.

Finally, you will find in our newsletter the call for the inclusion of specialised Catholic action movements and other lay movements in the second session of the Synod.

Pat Branson
Cardinal Christophe Pierre: Pope Francis and the See Judge Act
Delivering the 2024 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Lecture sponsored by the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University, Chicago, on 11 April 2024, Apostolic Nuncio to the USA, Cardinal Christophe Pierre, spoke of the importance of the see-judge-method as a tool of ecclesial discernment.
Cardinal Pierre himself has close family links with the Specialised Catholic Action movements in France through his mother, who was a founder the Action Catholique Indépendante (ACI), a movement for business people and professionals.


See judge act as a tool of discernment
Analysis: Tax deal not fair on working poor
The change to Australia’s income tax legislation in February 2024 was a carefully calculated initiative by the Federal Government to appeal to “middle Australia”, writes Brian Lawrence, with the result that low paid workers, the working poor, did not get a fair deal.

“The tax bites into their wage packets have grown through bracket creep while substantial changes for middle income taxpayers have restored their tax bites to earlier levels,” he writes in a reflection for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker on 1 May 2024.


Tax deal not fair on working poor
Pope Francis: The virtue of prudence and the see judge act
"Prudence is not the virtue of the timorous person, always hesitant about what action to take," Pope Francis said in his Wednesday Audience catechesis on 24 March 2024. "No, this is a mistaken interpretation."

"The prudent do not choose at random," he explained, linking the virtue to the practice of the see-judge-act. "first of all, they know what they want, then they weigh the situation, seek advice, and with a broad outlook and inner freedom, they choose upon which path to embark."


Pope Francis, The virtue of prudence (See Judge Act)

Stefan Gigacz, Cultivating the virtue of prudence (Cardijn Research)
Synodality: See judge act or spiritual conversation?
What method should dioceses and Church bodies use in the process of synodal discernment? Should they follow Cardijn’s “see-judge-act” process that has become a staple since the Second Vatican Council? Or what about the Ignatian-inspired “spiritual conversation,” the method followed during the Australian Plenary Council and the First Assembly of the Synod on Synodality?

The question seems to have arisen in the Australian Archdiocese of Brisbane, which is organising a SYNOD24 Consultation Session with Bishop Tim Norton SVD ahead of its own Synod to be held in October this year.


Stefan Gigacz, See judge act or spiritual conversation? (Synodal Reflections)
Webinar: Innocent Odongo, International YCS: The lay vocation and mission
International YCS secretary-general, Innocent Odongo, will be ACI’s guest speaker for our May webinar at 7pm AEST on Wednesday 8 May 2024.

He will share his experience with the Young Catholic Students movements in his home country of Ghana as well as at international level, highlighting the achievements and challenges facing the movement today.


Wednesday 8 May 2024, 7pm AEST, 11am Paris


Video: Bishop Peter Cullinane on lay mission
Thanks to Bishop Peter Cullinane, emeritus of Palmerston North Diocese, New Zealand, who presented our April webinar on "The Mission and vocation of lay people."

A very lively discussion followed.

Synod on Synodality: The missing associative dimension
At Vatican II, many of the lay auditors were either from or had a strong background in one or another of the proliferating lay movements, writes Stefan Gigacz.

This was not surprising since Pope Paul VI himself had worked closely with these lay movements since he had been a chaplain himself to the Italian Catholic university student movement known by its initials as FUCI. He had known Cardijn since the 1930s.

Why then are the lay movements so poorly represented at the Synod on Synodality?


Stefan Gigacz, The Synod’s missing associative dimension (Synodal Reflections)
Gospel Enquiry: We are his witnesses
It is my intention here to draw your attention to the need for action to bring about the kingdom of God on earth, writes Pat Branson. When Jesus reminds his followers that they are his witnesses, it is not to his resurrection but to the work of his mission that they witness.

He stated clearly at the commencement of his ministry that his mission was to those who needed God’s saving grace … and his followers are his instruments, not only back then in that room in Jerusalem, but also now and until the end of time.

We are his witnesses and he calls us to be his instruments of salvation in a broken and suffering world.


We are his witnesses (Gospel Enquiries)
Reflection: What change do we want?
Maybe we forget, but the resurrection we celebrate was a milestone in causing change to happen in the world, writes Richard Pütz.

Try to imagine how shocking the realization of resurrection must have felt for Jesus' followers when confronted with the reality of resurrection.

No matter our ages, we are at the dawn of a new consciousness in our global culture. How will we and do we approach our life and the lives of those we touch daily the same as the human family in a world experiencing angst, change, and technological advancements that leave us feeling we are in a fragile world?


Richard Pütz, What Change Do You Want To Be A Part Of? (Cardijn Reflections)
Document: Joseph Arendt SJ: Social formation by the YCW
In this historic 1925 document by Cardijn's assistant as chaplain to the Belgian JOC, Fr Joseph Arendt SJ, the author presents the first systematic outline of the movement's developing method of formation under the headings see-judge-do.

This is the first time this document has appeared in English.


Joseph Arendt SJ, Social formation by the YCW (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Celebrate May Day with the Australian YCW
AYCW and YCS have organized a May Day reflection based on work they have been doing to develop a Student Work Life Program. YCW/YCS workers from Perth and Melbourne have conducted research into young people’s choices regarding casual and part-time work and their perceptions of their work rights.

The webinar will feature stories from young workers in three states about their work experiences, the struggles and challenges.

Please book the date and register for the webinar. We would appreciate your support by sharing information about the event with your friends.

Register here:
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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