ACI Newsletter – July 2020

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the July edition of our newsletter in which we highlight Catholics mobilising on refugee issues as well as in the battle against trafficking in persons.

It is particularly pleasing to announce that the National Library of Australia has released the late Professor John Molony’s recording of Cardijn speaking live in Ballarat in 1966, which is possibly the only recording of Cardijn speaking English still in existence.

Not only that but we also present Dorothy Day speaking in Melbourne during her visit to Australia in 1970 and a new book by Val Noone that recalls the event.

We also feature articles on French Dominican Yves Congar’s theology of the laity, and New Zealand priest Fr John Curnow’s opposition to the Springbok tour of 1981. In addition, we have a video story on Spanish “renegade in a cassock,” Fr Ángel García Rodríguez.

Finally, we remember former Adelaide YCW fulltimer and collaborator, Lesley Campbell, and Victorian blacksmith and politician, John Madigan.

Stefan Gigacz


Catholics mobilise on refugee issues

Sydney Catholics are proposing to establish a new “Catholics for Refugees” group to tackle the many problems and issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.

Fr Peter Smith, Promoter of Justice and Peace, Justice and Peace Office for the Archdiocese of Sydney, explained the proposal in a recent letter.

“Catholics for Refugees is really a movement of people who want action to make the lives of refugees and asylum seekers better.

“It is an idea that reflects the fact that Catholics – in organisations, Religious Orders, parishes and those who have left the church altogether but are still drawn to the social teachings of the Church – want to do something to restore integrity, humanity and legality to our country’s treatment of refugees both here and in off-shore detention.


Catholics combine on refugee issues (Australian Cardijn Institute)


John Englart / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0 

Historic Cardijn recording now online

The National Library of Australia has released a historic live recording of a public speech delivered by Cardijn to the Christian Social Week in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1966.

Already 83, Cardijn, who had recently become a cardinal, was on his second and final visit to Australia. However, he retained much of his fire and showed that he was still very much concerned with the major issues of the day.

Fortunately, John Molony (above), who was then YCW diocesan chaplain in Ballarat and hosted Cardijn’s visit, recorded the speech, which he donated to the NLA prior to his death in 2018.

John, who later became a well-known historian at the Australian National University, recalled the visit in an interview with Stefan Gigacz in 2014.


Cardinal Joseph Cardijn speaks at Catholic Social Week in Ballarat in 1966 in the John Molony collection. (National Library of Australia)


John Molony recalls Cardijn’s visit to Ballarat in 1966 / Stefan Gigacz / YouTube


John Molony / Stefan Gigacz 

Educating, serving, representing: Yves Congar and the priesthood of the faithful

Yves Congar was a French Dominican theologian who helped draft many of the documents of Vatican II, including Cardijn’s own speeches to the Council.

From the early 1930s, he had also preached retreats to JOC leaders from Belgium and France. This experience inspired him to write many articles and books on the theology of the laity.

The best known of these in English was Lay People in the Church (2nd edition 1967) in which he explored the way in which lay people shared in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly roles.


Stefan Gigacz, Yves Congar and the priesthood of the faithful: Educating, serving and representing (Cardijn Research) 

Renegade in a cassock

More than 60 years ago, Fr Ángel García Rodríguez began his priestly ministry as a JOC chaplain in Madrid, Spain. Recognised for his work with the poor and marginalised, his parish church has also become famous as a potential model for a Pope Francis church.

German network, Deutsche Welle, tells his story.


Renegade in a cassock (DW/YouTube)


Conversaciones íntimas con… El padre Ángel (El Mundo) (Spanish) 

John Curnow and the Springbok tour of New Zealand 1981

A key moment in New Zealand priest John Curnow’s interpretation of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn’s method was his organisation’s donation in 1981 of $1000 to the anti-Springbok tour movement Halt All Racist Tours (HART), writes Cecily McNeill.

The South African Springboks rugby team were set to tour New Zealand in the second part of 1981 and the country was riven with rugby supporters excited at the prospect of seeing their beloved national team, the All Blacks, defeating that other great team, and equally passionate protesters against South Africa’s racist Apartheid system of government which privileged the white minority population over the country’s majority black and coloured population.

Curnow’s donation caused an explosion of condemnation from many traditional Catholics throughout New Zealand, led by John Kennedy, the conservative editor of the national weekly the Tablet.


Cecily McNeill, John Curnow, priest and prophet (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

Dorothy Day’s 1970 visit to Australia

It is 50 years since American activist Dorothy Day visited Australia at the invitation of two Australian priests, Roger Pryke and John Heffey.

Mary Doyle and Val Noone have marked the occasion with a new book, Dorothy Day in Australia. It begins with an outline of Day’s background and the importance of the
anarchist-pacifist Catholic Worker movement. A second chapter surveys a series of prior Australian connections with Dorothy and the American movement.

Chapter 3 offers an account of Dorothy’s three weeks in Australia in August 1970 – two in New South Wales and one in Victoria. The book concludes with examples of Dorothy’s continuing influence in Australia.


Dorothy Day speaks in Melbourne 1970 (Dally Messenger)


Val Noone, Dorothy Day in Australia, 132 pages, 40 images
Published by Mary Doyle & Val Noone, PO Box 51, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Click here for order form


Dorothy Day’s radical faith (New Yorker)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn and Dorothy Day speaking live in Australia (Cardijn Research)


Dorothy Day / Wikipedia 

RIP Lesley Campbell

Former Adelaide YCW fulltime worker and collaborator, Lesley Campbell, has died after a long illness.

A nurse by training, Lesley worked very closely with many refugees, including those held for long periods in detention centres.

She and her husband, Michael Campbell, a former YCW national president, had four children, Robert, Duncan, Ruth and Clare. Duncan and Clare also became leaders of the YCS and YCW movements.

Lesley “truly lived the Jocist life and inspired us by her example,” writes ACI board member, Mark Ager. “We all extend our affection to her husband, Michael, who is also a member of the institute, and solidarity to him and his family.”


Mark Ager, RIP Lesley Campbell (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Lesley Anne Campbell Funeral Service (Farrell and O’Neill Funerals/Vimeo)


Lesley Campbell / Michael Campbell 

John Madigan, blacksmith and politician

John Joseph Madigan (21 July 1966 – 16 June 2020) was an Australian blacksmith and politician, who served as a Senator for Victoria from 2011 to 2016.

Elected to the Senate at the 2010 federal election as a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). He resigned from the DLP to become an independent in September 2014, and later launched “John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party” in 2015.

He is remembered “as a skilled blacksmith who sold replicas of Ned Kelly’s famous armour, a politician who made his presence felt in the Australian Senate, and a ‘rough-as-guts gentleman’ who always fought for the underdog,” the Ballarat Courier reported.


John Madigan, former senator, dies aged 53 (Ballarat Courier)

John Madigan (Wikipedia)

John Madigan, Labouring for the Common Good (Rerum Novarum Oration 2012)


Ballarat Courier 

World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2020

The United Nations World Day against Trafficking of Persons will take place on 30 July.

ACRATH have produced a helpful See-Judge-Act resource on the theme “May our prayer lead us to act against human trafficking” for groups interested to become more involved on this issue.


Prayer for 2020 World Day against Trafficking in Persons (ACRATH)


Artwork from the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018, UNODC. 

Coming Events 

Australian Cardijn Institute Annual General Meeting: This year’s AGM will take place on Saturday 29 August. Owing to the Covid-19 situation, we plan to hold the meeting online. Further details in our next newsletter. 

Cardijn Mass Perth Southern Region: Commemorative mass for Cardijn’s anniversary at the newly opened St Teresa of Kolkata church, Baldivis, at 7 p.m. on Friday 24 July. All welcome. Please bring a plate to share.