ACI Newsletter Jan 22

See judge act with Pope Francis

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

We had planned to take a break for January but Pope Francis' surprised us last week with an important speech at a special audience with leaders from French Specialised Catholic Action movements. In his address, Francis' delivered a beautiful exposition of the see-judge-act that we could not wait to share with you.

In fact, it turns out that we have lots of news that we felt could not wait till February.

Pope Francis also delivered an important General Audience on "St Joseph the Carpenter" in which he reflected on the realities facing exploited workers today.

Thirdly, Tony Annett has an important article in Commonweal magazine highlighting a Catholic alternative to the scourge of neo-liberalism.

Fourthly, Earthworker Cooperative have just published the video of the Arizmendi Gathering in November. Plus, if you'd like to take practical cooperative action, the 888 Causeway Cooperative is seeking sponsors a new cooperative work space in Melbourne's CBD.

Fifthly, we have news of the upcoming beatification of Salvadoran Jesuit, Rutilio Grande, who mentored Archbishop Romero in the see-judge-act and was martyred with several companions in 1977.

Finally, we conclude with a list of upcoming "jocist" anniversaries for 2022 and a reminder of our first webinar this year featuring Colin Jory and Richard Doig on the Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia.

Well, it's turned into almost a full newsletter!

Enjoy reading and see you all next month!

Stefan Gigacz
Pope Francis on the see-judge-act
Pope Francis meets French Catholic Action leaders
Pope Francis met with leaders of the French Specialised Catholic Action movements on 13 January 2022, delivering an important speech in which he reaffirmed the value of the Cardijn see-judge-act and review of life methodology.

"It is an old habit for your movements to come and meet the Pope. As early as 1929, my predecessor Pius XI received representatives of Catholic Action and hailed “the renewal and continuation of what was in the first days of Christianity, for the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, (… ) in the cooperation of the laity with the Apostles” in the movement.

"You have rightly chosen the theme: 'Apostles today' for your pilgrimage. I would like to reflect with you on our call to effectively become apostles today, on the basis of the insight given to you by one of the great figures of Catholic Action, Father Cardijn, namely the 'review of life'."


Pope Francis reflects on the review of life and the see-judge-act (Australian Cardijn Institute)
St Joseph the Carpenter and the exploited workers of today
Thai workers
"The evangelists Matthew and Mark refer to Joseph as a 'carpenter' or 'joiner," Pope explained in his General Audience address on 12 January. "Jesus practised his father’s trade.

"'Carpenter' or 'joiner' was a generic qualification, indicating both woodworkers and craftsmen engaged in activities related to construction. It was quite a hard job, having to work with heavy materials such as wood, stone, and iron. From an economic point of view, it did not ensure great earnings, as can be deduced from the fact that when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, they offered only a couple of turtledoves or pigeons (cf. Lk 2:24), as the Law prescribed for the poor (cf. Lv 12:8).

"This biographical fact about Joseph and Jesus makes me think of all the workers in the world, especially those who do gruelling work in mines and in some factories; those who are exploited through undocumented work; the victims of labour: we have seen a lot of this in Italy recently; children who are forced to work and those who rummage among the trash in search of something useful to trade…." he continued.


Pope Francis, Think about exploited workers (Australian Cardijn Institute)
A Catholic alternative to neo-liberalism?
Cardijn often spoke strongly against the scourge of “liberalism.”

“Christ was born to make this known the effects of original sin, disorder in the world, the sin of liberalism, materialism, and slavery,” he stated in one of his famous 1948 “Hour of the Working Class speeches. “That is why He was born and lived as a worker.”
More recently, over the past four decades, despite record-setting global prosperity, the common good is threatened by ever more extreme economic and social dysfunctions, writes Tony Annett in Commonweal.

"Although we’ve witnessed impressive gains in poverty reduction—driven largely by China—we still have enormous levels of poverty, deprivation, and exclusion in a world of unprecedented wealth. According to the World Bank, about one in ten people alive today lives in extreme poverty, eking out a meager existence on less than $1.90 a day. Around 6 million children die each year before their fifth birthday, and almost all of those lives could be saved by cheap and straightforward medical interventions.
Inequality within countries has also skyrocketed over the past forty years."

"Grave social problems have arisen in tandem with this concentration of wealth."


A Catholic alternative to neo-liberalism (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Anthony Annett, The Fallen Idol, A Catholic alternative to neo-liberalism (Commonweal)

Joseph Cardijn, The hour of the working class – Lecture 2 – The Church and the workers (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Loz Pycock / Flickr / CC 2.0
Video: Arizmendi Gathering Asia-Pacific
Thanks to Earthworker Cooperative for preparing and posting the video of the Arizmendi Gathering for Asia-Pacific in November 2021.

Katharine Massam opens the gathering with a presentation on Fr Arizmendi's life and work. Antony McMullen follows with an outline of the Mondragon worker cooperative experience and its current relevance.

Dan Musil presents the experience of the Earthworker cooperative in Victoria while Elsa Pinto and Leo shares experience from Timor Leste on developing cooperatives there.


Arizmendi Gathering Asia Pacific 2021 (Earthworker Cooperative/YouTube)
888 Cooperative Causeway
888 Causeway
Antony McMullen has also signalled a new Victorian cooperative project, 888 Co-operative Causeway, which was formed in 2018 to establish a boutique co-working space in the heart of the Melbourne CBD.

"We didn't just want to come together to rent cheap deskspace - we wanted to build a community of mutual support," the organisers say.

They now have space available for social enterprises. Supporters can also chip in to sponsor others.


Take on 2022: with your city HQ, community & club! (StartSomeGood)
Beatification of Rutilio Grande SJ and his companions
Rutilio Grande SJ
Martyred El Salvador Jesuit, Rutilio Grande, who will be beatified on Sunday 23 January 2022, studied at Lumen Vitae in Brussels from 1962-64, learning the jocist see-judge-act method and perhaps (probably) meeting with Cardijn and other JOC leaders of that time.

On return to El Salvador, he used these methods in his work organising his local rural parish community. It was this work that led to his assassination along with two lay companions in March 1977. His life and death also inspired Archbishop Oscar Romero, who followed him in martyrdom in 1980.

Ana Maria Pineda tells his story and the lessons to be drawn from his life.


Ana Maria Pineda, 4 lessons from Rutilio Grande, priest, prophet and martyr (America magazine)
Jocist anniversaries during 2022
Joseph Cardijn 80
Time to begin compiling a list of jocist anniversaries for the new year of 2022!

Significant dates this year include:
  • The 150th anniversary of the death of the French priest, Alphonse Gratry, pioneer of the "inductive method," "reading the signs of the times," and a precursor of the see-judge-act.
  • The opening of the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII on 12 October 1962
  • The appointment of Fr Robert Kothen, who was likely the first jocist priest to be ordained, as Cardijn's assistant
  • The foundation of the Canadian JOC.

Jocist anniversaries 2022 (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Reminder: The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate
Campion Society
And don't forget our first webinar of the year on the role of the Campion Society in promoting the lay apostolate in Australia from 1929.

Colin Jory, author of "The Campion Society and Catholic social militancy in Australia 1929-39" and Richard Doig, author of a doctoral thesis "The National Catholic Rural Movement and a 'New Deal' for Australia: the rise and fall of an agrarian movement 1931-1958", will share their research on these pioneering lay apostolate initiatives.


The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia, Tuesday 15 February 2022, 7pm AEDT.


Richard Doig, The National Catholic Rural Movement and a 'New Deal' for Australia: the rise and fall of an agrarian movement 1931-1958 (Charles Sturt University)
Pope Francis - Amoris Laetitia
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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