YCW Centenary History Project

Call for Contributors 

The YCW Centenary 2025

Perspectives from Oceania

Thirteen years after Joseph Cardijn and his collaborators launched their first experimental study circles with teenage girl needleworkers in the Brussels suburb of Laeken, the Young Christian Worker Movement was founded formally in 1925. It spread quickly across the globe. The method of ‘see-judge-act’ enabled a lay apostolate that saw faith as inextricably and powerfully connected to the whole of life. By 1966 the outward and public focus of YCW formation involved 4 million young people in 100 countries with a dozen allied movements, each committed to transforming the social context through shared reflection. The method impacted 10 of the 16 major documents of the Second Vatican Council and resourced ‘liberation theologies’ globally, not least through countless ‘mundane’ actions in the daily lives of members.

To mark the centenary of the foundation of the YCW, we aim to workshop and publish an edited collection of academic contributions on the YCW in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. We are interested to hear from writers across the academic disciplines (including, but not limited to business and labour history, education, gender studies, history, law, literature, sociology, theology and religious studies) to explore the variety of the YCW movement across time and the in diverse locations of Oceania in chapters of 4,000 – 7,000 words.

Topics to be explored include but, again, are not limited to:

  • Foundation stories of the YCW / NCGM in different regions
  • Contextual studies by decade and era: e.g. post-Second World War, into the 1960s, post Vatican II, through Vietnam War, into the 1980s
  • Sporting competitions
  • Migration initiatives
  • Colonial and post-colonial realities
  • Biographies
  • Trajectories of members after the movement
  • Co-operatives, credit unions and housing initiatives
  • Changes in the theological climate
  • Accounts of major actions – (e.g. Springbok tour, Adelaide’s freeway campaign, Walton’s campaign, Fitzroy Legal Service, apprentices)
  • YCW Extension Workers
  • YCW Chaplains
  • Formation programmes and conceptions of leadership
  • Transnational collaborations

For an overview of original sources, biographical material and existing studies, please see:

Joseph Cardijn Digital Library: https://www.josephcardijn.com

History of the Cardijn Movements in Australia: http://history.australiancardijninstitute.org/

Trove Timeline Cardijn Movements in the Media: https://timeline.austtaliancardijninstitute.org/

Please send a short abstract of up to 250 words and a biographical statement of up to 100 words to Anthony O’Donnell odonnellanthony21@gmail.com by 15 May 2023.

Acceptance will be advised by 31 May 2023.

Presentation at a hybrid workshop 27 October 2023

Revision of manuscripts for publication by 31 March 2024.

About the project team:

Anthony O’Donnell is an adjunct senior lecturer in the School of Law, La Trobe University. He researches and publishes in labour law, labour history and social policy. His most recent books are a biography of Moss Cass and a history of Australian unemployment policy. He was a member of TYCS in the 1980s.

Stefan Gigacz is an honorary post-doctoral researcher with Yarra Theological Union within the University of Divinity and secretary of the Australian Cardijn Institute. Previously, he worked for the YCW in Australia and internationally. His doctorate, and forthcoming book, The Leaven in the Council identifies the key role of Joseph Cardijn at the Second Vatican Council.

Katharine Massam is professor of history at Pilgrim Theological College within the University of Divinity. She has published extensively on the history of Catholicism in Australia, most recently A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia, with a particular interest in the spirituality of work.. She is a member of the board of the Australian Cardijn Institute.

Download the Call for Papers here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FBlSlkadmW_gHoMVTTuf6P81Jh0CYfF6/view?usp=sharing

Faith in our struggle: South African YCS leaders against apartheid

Former South African YCS leader, Peter Sadie, is publishing his autobiography entitled “Faith in our struggle: A memoir of hope.”

He recounts his personal story as well as that of the South African YCS in this interview with Polity magazine:

“His story vividly illustrates how he grew up from a naïve, yet loving childhood, through the fires of divorce, deaths and broken political promises fracturing trust,” write Aluta Continua in Polity.

“Can lives inspired by faith restore compassion with the poor and act again to respond to their suffering?  Could this be a time of Kairos in our country’s growth to a more ‘critical loyalty’: from the innocence of our freedom in 1994, through the wasted years of state-capture, to the resurrection of a more mature political reorder?”

READ MORE

Faith in our Struggle: A Memoir of Hope – Peter Sadie (Polity)

Combat exploitation, restore dignity to work: Pope Francis

Addressing the Vatican Diplomatic Corps on 9 January, Pope highlighted three priority areas of concern for the year 2023: migrants, the economy and work as well as “our common home.”

“We live in a world so interconnected that, in the end, the actions of each have consequences for all,” Pope Francis said.

Here, I wish to draw attention to three areas in which this interconnection uniting today’s human family is particularly felt, and where greater solidarity is especially needed.

The first area is that of migration, which concerns entire regions of the world. Often it is an issue of individuals fleeing from war and persecution, and who face immense dangers. Then too, “every human being has the right to freedom of movement… to emigrate to other countries and take up residence there” and everyone should have the possibility of returning to his or her own country of origin.

Migration is one issue where we cannot “move ahead at random”. To understand this, we need but look at the Mediterranean, which has become a massive tomb. Those lost lives are emblematic of the shipwreck of civilization, as I noted during my trip to Malta last spring. In Europe, there is a pressing need to reinforce the regulatory framework through the approval of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, so as to put in place suitable policies for accepting, accompanying, promoting and integrating migrants. At the same time, solidarity requires that the burden of the operations needed to aid and care for the shipwrecked does not fall entirely on the people of the main landing points.

The second area concerns the economy and work. The crises of recent years have highlighted the limits of an economic system aimed more at creating profit for a few than at providing opportunities for the benefit of the many; an economy more focused on money than on the production of useful goods. This has created more fragile businesses and unjust labour markets. There is a need to restore dignity to business and to work, combating all forms of exploitation that end up treating workers as a commodity, for “without dignified work and just remuneration, young people will not truly become adults and inequality will increase”.

The third area is the care of our common home. We are continually witnessing the results of climate change and their serious effects on the lives of entire peoples, either by the devastation they produce, as in the case of Pakistan in the areas that experienced flooding, where outbreaks of disease borne by stagnant water continue to increase; or in vast areas of the Pacific Ocean, where global warming has caused great damage to fishing, which is the basis of daily life for entire populations; or in Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa, where drought is causing severe famine; and in recent days too, in the United States, where sudden and intense blizzard conditions caused numerous deaths.

Last summer, the Holy See chose to accede to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as a means of lending its moral support to the efforts of all states to cooperate, in accordance with their responsibilities and respective capabilities, in offering an effective and appropriate response to the challenges posed by climate change. It is to be hoped that the steps taken at COP27 with the adoption of the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, however limited, can raise everyone’s awareness of an urgent issue that can no longer be ignored.  Promising goals, however, were agreed upon during the recent United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) held in Montreal last month.

60th anniversary of Pacem in Terris

Pope Francis also noted that this year marks the 60th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical, , which warned against the threats to peace of that time.

He concluded, adding that “building peace requires that there be no place for ‘violation of the freedom, integrity and security of other nations, no matter what may be their territorial extension or their capacity for defence’. ”  This can come about only if, in every single community, there does not prevail that culture of oppression and aggression in which our neighbour is regarded as an enemy to attack, rather than a brother or sister to welcome and embrace.

“It is a source of concern that, in many parts of the world, there is a weakening of democracy and of the breadth of freedom that it enables, albeit with all the limitations of any human system. It is women or ethnic minorities who often pay the price for this, as too do entire societies in which unrest leads to social tensions and even armed clashes,” the pope continued.

“In many areas, a sign of the weakening of democracy is heightened political and social polarization, which does not help to resolve the urgent problems of citizens,” he warned.

SOURCE

Address of his Holiness Pope Francis to the members of the diplolmatic corps accredited to the Holy See (Vatican.va)

PHOTO

January 9 2023 Audience to the Members of the Diplomatic Corps Pope Francis (Vatican Media/YouTube)

Therese of Lisieux at 150

Therese of Lisieux

Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of YCW patron saint, Therese of Lisieux, who was born on 2 January 1873.

UNESCO is commemorating her life following a proposal by France with support from Belgium and Italy made at the suggestion of the Shrine of Lisieux.

In presenting Thérèse de Lisieux to the UNESCO Executive Council on 25 March 2021, the French government wrote:

“Thérèse of Lisieux was a nun who died at the age of 24 and is best known for her posthumous publications, including Histoire d’une âme. This celebration will contribute to bringing greater visibility and justice to women who have promoted the values of peace through their actions.

Given the fame of Thérèse of Lisieux in the Catholic community (the city of Lisieux being the second most popular place of pilgrimage in France after Lourdes), the celebration of her birthday can be an opportunity to highlight the role of women within religions in the fight against poverty and the promotion of inclusion, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 161.

It can also reinforce UNESCO’s message on the importance of culture (poems and written plays) in promoting universal values and as a vehicle for inter-religious dialogue.”

YCW patron saint

It was Pope Pius XI who proposed Therese as patron saint for the YCW and indeed for all Catholic Action movements during a YCW pilgrimage to Rome in 1929.

Cardijn recorded the event as follows:

By giving us the souvenir medal of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the pope wanted to tell us that he had specially chosen her since she is the patroness of missionaries and that he regards us missionaries, the missionaries of the interior, the missionaries of work, and he emphasised that he considered our mission of the interior as important as the missions of the exterior.

What praise and what a responsibility!

We swore before the Pope to re-Christianise workplaces and to win back all our companions to Jesus Christ and the Church.

READ MORE

Therese of Lisieux (Wikipedia)

Therese of Lisieux, a woman of culture, education and peace (Shrine of Lisieux)

Saint Therese of Lisieux: A Gateway

Synod Submissions

Synod 2021-24

The Continental Stage of preparation for the forthcoming Synod on Synodality 2023-24 is drawing to a close.

Two Australian Cardijn-inspired groups made submissions to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, namely the Cardijn Community Rockingham group and the Australian Christian Workers movement.

CARDIJN COMMUNITY ROCKINGHAM, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  1. EXPERIENCES OF CHURCH

We note that young workers face great challenges at work and in their lives: Casualised labour makes it difficult to plan financially, depriving them of a rhythm to their lives Schools, including Catholic schools fail to prepare young people for their working lives This is true not just for young workers but also adults facing great living expenses while their free time has been whittled away. Church youth ministries and parishes in general do not address these issues. Movements such as the Young Christian Workers (YCW) no longer exist or lack support from the Church.

  1. CHALLENGES TO ADDRESS

Vatican II spoke about the need for the Church to renew its approach “ad intra” but also “ad extra,” i.e. in its approach to the world. Indeed, Gaudium et Spes emphasised that the Church is IN the world. Pope Francis himself has emphasised the need for workers to feel at home in the Church. https://australiancardijninstitute.org/workers-must-be-at-home-in-the-church-pope-francis/ Yet, paradoxically, the post-Vatican II period has witnessed the decline of the lay apostolate movements such as the YCW and YCS which helped form lay people for their role in the world, in their families, workplaces and communities. Catholic educational institutions do not systematically teach the lay apostolate Today there are few young priests available to act as chaplains for these movements. Youth ministers also lack understanding of movements like the YCW and YCS.

  1. PRIORITIES AND CALLS TO ACTION

The Church in Australia and around the world needs to rediscover the vocation of the laity – the lay apostolate as articulated at Vatican II in Lumen Gentium §31, Gaudium et Spes §43 and in the Decree on Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem. Movements such as the YCW and YCS – and/or new lay apostolate movements must be fostered by the Church. Lay apostolate formation must become a priority, including formation for priests, catechists and pastoral workers. This issue needs to be addressed in the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in 2023.

SUMMARY

  1. Ordinary workers, especially young workers and school leavers face many problems that the (Catholic) education system does not prepare them for working life.
  2. Prior to Vatican II, particularly since Pope Leo’s encylical Rerum Novarum, the Church had a strong awareness of these issues and programs and movements existed to reach out to workers and young workers, including the YCW
  3. Despite the strong teaching of Vatican II, this outreach and these movements have declined or even disappeared in many parts of Australia over the last 50 years. Yet the problems have not disappeared, and in many cases have worsened (casual labour, etc)
  4. The Church therefore needs to renew its mission to workers in general and young workers in particular
  5. It also needs to recall and renew its understanding of the Vatican II teaching on lay apostolate and the role, mission and vocation of lay people acting as a leaven to transform the world, beginning from their own lives, families, workplaces and communities
  6. Priests, catechists, pastoral workers and others need formation in these areas in order to promote the lay apostolate
  7. Catholic educational institutions need to introduce courses to train people in these areas.

AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN WORKERS MOVEMENT

The need for a Christian Worker Movement in Australia.

After the 2nd world war the Australian economy expanded rapidly in many industries and there was full employment. The trade union movement developed and represented approximately 54% of all workers. The cultural background of workers was predominantly English and European.

The trade union movement at this time was highly successful and improved the lives of workers in wage growth, health and safety, holiday pay, compensation, hours of work. Catholic men and women participated in and some helped lead this movement.

Over the past 3 decades the Australian economy has continued to expand and the population has more than trebled, mostly through migration, most migrants coming from India, China, Asia and the Middle East. The trade union movement now represents approximately 14% of all workers. Research conducted by the Australian Trade Union Movement {ACTU} has identified that 60% of workers are now experiencing wage theft.

Workers across all industries are being exploited including many catholic workers.

Based on Catholic social teaching, beginning with the encyclical Rerum Novarum,

§45: that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well balanced wage-earner.

§49 The most important of all are workers unions.

We recommend that the Australian Catholic Church advise all members of this teaching and recommend followers to join a union as the best way to obtain justice in the work place.

For years, state and federal governments have exploited their staff.  Demands that workers perform unpaid overtime are at epidemic proportions.  It never ceases to amaze me. You buy a dozen eggs from the shop, and you expect and get 12. You buy a case of beer, and you expect and get 48 cans you buy a kilo of sausages and that what you get. But employers universally believe they can buy 38 hours labour and expect (and get) 40 – 50 hours. Government employers are great believers in the myth of time off. Do this overtime and you can have some time off later.  It never happens. Even if the boss tells you to take time off, no one does your work whilst you are away, so you need to work twice as hard when you come back just to catch up which leads to more unpaid overtime. The casualisation of the government workforce is as rampant as it is in the private sector.

SOURCE

A response to the Synod Continental Stage (Synodal Reflections)

Synod 2021-24 (Vatican)

Vale Richard Buchhorn

Richard Buchhorn

Richard Buchhorn, or Dick as he was known to many, had a nose for injustice, hence the title of his memoir Cry Stinking Fish. He wrote: “And those who say to you: why bother us with this? Sing out, men with strong noses must cry stinking fish.”

Dick didn’t simply cry stinking fish. He sought, firstly, to understand the basis of any injustice, then to communicate this to others whom he hoped might join him in action to eliminate the stink.

Born and raised in Glen Innes, upon leaving school Dick attended the University of New South Wales and graduated as a mining engineer. He also became aware of, and was influenced by, the Young Christian Worker movement (YCW), an international organisation of the Catholic Church. In later life he gave full credit to the lasting influence the YCW had on his life and personal philosophy. He decided to train for the priesthood, first in Australia and then in Rome, where he was ordained in 1960.

Returning to Australia, he was appointed to the Tamworth parish. As YCW chaplain, he learned that many junior bank officials endured poor conditions and were underpaid. Under his leadership, the YCW’s local campaign was taken up by other branches, and banks were forced to improve wages and conditions. Their next campaign spread state-wide, resulting in much improved training for young apprentices following legislation enacted by the NSW parliament. During these actions Dick met, for the first but not last time, supportive unionists.

Dick was the catalyst. When he was around, things happened quickly.

In late 1969 Dick was moved to Narrabri where he made friends with a couple who shared his opposition to Australia’s involvement in the war in Vietnam. He suggested that, instead of travelling to Sydney for the May 1970 Moratorium, they might organise one in Narrabri. They got a few more people together and the Moratorium went ahead in the town’s main street. Posters were displayed, leaflets and flowers were distributed, and an open forum that same afternoon was attended by some fifty people.

In 1983, Dick resigned from the priesthood but continued to live at Boggabilla. He and a most remarkable Murri, Lilla Watson, entered into a permanent relationship and in time moved into their home in West End, Brisbane. Reflecting on this period of his life, Richard Buchhorn described how important it was, in terms of his own liberation, to be welcomed so warmly into the Murri community, within which he gained a more profound appreciation of Murri values and their way of life. It was his hope, he wrote, that whitefellas might: “…do the right thing: respect the law, the culture, of the people into whose country we have come, and chosen to live: to learn who we are, and to enter into an appropriate relation with this land and its people”.

He is survived by Lilla, and the last words are hers.

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

FULL ARTICLE

Terry Fox, Activist priest stood against Vietnam war, apartheid … and fixed washing machines (Sydney Morning Herald)

DOWNLOAD

Richard Buchhorn, Cry Stinking Fish

Bob Wilkinson’s ‘New visions of priesting’

Driven by his conviction that the Catholic Church needs a new social movement led by young people and centred on “humanity and its common home, earth”, Adelaide priest Fr Bob Wilkinson has documented his involvement in the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement founded by Belgian priest Joseph Cardijn.

New Visions of Priesting, an interview with Bob Wilkinson, published by ATF Press, looks at the different ministries Fr Bob has had in his almost 70 years of being a priest, the common element of which has been working with lay people as they participate in the life of the Church.

The book was launched in September after editor Hilary Regan conducted a series of interviews with Fr Bob as part of the Cardijn Studies journal.

Some of the 89-year-old priest’s reflections, influenced by his background in sociology, reflect on what could be called the glory days of the 50s and 60s, a time when “being Catholic was like being Australian, for better or for worse”.

“You lived in that Catholic world, it was so strong,” he said in an interview with The Southern Cross.

“We weren’t a persecuted minority but we were still energised by overtones that we had been (persecuted) and that we were coming to the top.

“There was a great sense of solidarity, we’d reached the middle class through the Catholic schooling system and we were taking our place socially.”

But the former editor of The Southern Cross insists the book wasn’t motivated by nostalgia for the past, rather by the “precious lessons” to be learnt from the YCW, Young Catholic Students and other lay movements to which he was chaplain over many years.

In fact, he is all too aware of the realities of today, claiming the drop in church attendances dates back to the 70s but is only being faced up to by clergy and leaders now as the churchgoers on Sunday become the “departing end of the Church as we know it”.

Most importantly, he is concerned about the absence of young people.

“Denying the fact of youth abandoning Mass would seem wilfully negligent. ‘Absent from Mass’ is not everything in a person’s spirituality. Most young people still consider themselves spiritual, rather than religious. But having less than five per cent Catholic young at Mass calls for thinking beyond individuals. A social perspective is essential.”

Fr Bob acknowledges the temptation to despair but his mantra of “it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” helps him to see it as another “revival” moment in the life of the Church.

“My main point of the book, what encourages and preoccupies me, is the urgency of a global youth movement around ecology, the whole Catholic contribution to ecology and ecology’s contribution to the Church,” he said.

“I really think it’s on the scale of Catholic education, what Catholic schools were at the time of Mary MacKillop.

“A global youth movement to help save the planet is the crucial thing facing everybody.”

Fr Wilkinson at home in North Plympton.

He stresses that it’s more than being ‘green’.

“At the centre of every green issue is the human issue and I think that’s where the Church is vital,” he explained.

“I think the great model for this is the Good Samaritan…the priests and the Levite on the way to the temple missed a half-dead man…I think we’ve got a half-dead planet and we are called to be the Good Samaritan.

While the global YCW movement had its roots in the neglected working class of Europe, Fr Bob said this became more of a symbol than a key element of the “vigorous youth movement” in Australia.

“What YCW communicated most was Cardijn’s truth of faith that every person is special to God, with a contribution to give,” he said.

“Shining the light on people’s lives was the key thing – work, home and leisure. The young factory workers were a precious resource, a treasure of society and Church, not a problem. Like the 19 out of 20 young people not going to church in Australia.

“The Church has been presented to young people as an inward-looking organisation that does some outside good.

“The fact is that our destiny is inseparable to the destiny of those around us. This hasn’t been stressed enough. Once you see that the struggle is for humanity and our common home, questions of the Church will sort themselves out.”

This inextricable connection with the world mirrors his own “progress in the priesthood”.

“I used to see the work of the priest as helping Catholics to live their lives to get to heaven, to put it crudely,” he said.

“The rest of the world was thought of as a quarry to make Catholics out of. I very much now see the Church as standing with the world and having a vital contribution to make.

“The role of the priest is to animate people to take their part in that struggle.

“Cardijn didn’t start from massive action, he always started with ‘who are you and how are you’ at the factory gate, that interest in the life of people.”

Other topics covered in the book include the fallout from the Church’s position on birth control, the impact of Vatican II on the laity, the Vietnam War and Basic Ecclesial Communities.

While it is not a biography, there are fascinating insights into Fr Bob’s early life growing up in foster care after his parents broke up, meeting his father for the first time just hours before his death.

New Visions of Priesting, an interview with Bob Wilkinson is available from ATF Press (www.atfpress.com) for $24.95.

SOURCE

Jenny Brinkworth, Time for another global youth movemehttps://thesoutherncross.org.au/news/2022/12/15/time-for-another-global-youth-movement/nt (Southern Cross)

BUY THE BOOK

Bob Wilkinson, New Visions of Priesting (ATF Press)

Jean Boulier’s “I was a Red Priest” and the Holocaust

BOOK REVIEW:

In 1977 Father Jean Boulier (1894-1980), a French priest, wrote an autobiography, J’étais un prêtre rouge. Like his American Catholic contemporary, Dorothy Day (1897-1980), he was on the left. And like Day, who is being made a “saint” by Rome, Fr Boulier is in a similar process, but it is Israel (Yad Vashem) that is considering conferring its equivalent honor, “Righteous among the Nations.”

As part of honoring Fr Boulier, an English translation of his autobiography, I was a Red Priest, is now being published. As a red priest, his book described his dealings with the French Communist Party (PCF), priest workers, Eastern Europe, the post-war peace movement, Vatican II, Jesuits, Thomism, liberation theology, liturgy, ecumenism, mysticism and the church hierarchy. His thinking and actions paralleled those of his American counterpart Day, as did the reaction of the civil and religious authorities.

It was his politics in World War II, however, which were on the side of the Jews and against the Nazi and Vichy government that both endeared him to Israel and pushed him permanently into the communist camp. As his book summarised, in 1938 he was appointed to be the pastor of Sainte-Devote Parish in Monaco. In June 1940, France fell to the Nazis and the independent principality of Monaco followed France.

READ MORE

Toby Terrar, An Autobiography of A Red Priest During World War II (Social Policy)

READ THE BOOK

Jean Boulier, I was a red priest (CW Publishers)

Book & Webinar: Bill Armstrong: “Everything and Nothing: Life and development work”

Former YCW leader, Bill Armstrong, will speak about his experience with the movement and in the international development field in our next ACI webinar on Tuesday 13 December.

He will also introduce a new book on his life, “Everything and Nothing: Life and Development Work” by Peter Britton.

“Peter Britton’s telling of the story of Bill Armstrong and his passionate belief in ‘not about us without us’ is a central part of his personal philosophy, a phrase, which, paradoxically, does not appear in the book,” writes Patrick Kilby in a review of the biography in Development in Practice magazine.

“It certainly comes through, though, as well as it being about good development practice.

“My interest in this story is in the 1960s and 1970s when Bill played a major role in two institutions that grounded a lot of development practice and participatory development philosophy: Action for World Development (AWD) and Australian Volunteers Abroad (AVA).

“Both, in their own way, challenged the paternalist and colonial views of global development at the time. This was a period of intense critique of colonialism and global development: including Franz Fanon (1965), among many others. In terms of development practice, Arnstein (1969), in her highly critical assessment of urban planning for African American communities in Chicago, and the work of Freire (1970), and Illich (1971), on radical approaches to adult education, were major sources of inspiration at the time, and for Bill, it was also the work of Cardijn (1965/2018) and the Young Christian Worker movement.

“All of these writings pointed to a different way of seeing the Global South and ways of engaging together.”

FULL REVIEW

Patrick Kilby, Development in Practice. Volume 32, 2022 – Issue 8

WEBINAR DETAILS

Bill Armstrong: “Everything and Nothing: Life and Development Work”

Tuesday 13 December, 7pm AEDT

ZOOM REGISTRATION LINK

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZckdeuspzIpHdaW5K6Fwim0ebRbOJkxypAk

BUY THE BOOK

Jocist Women Leaders Seminar, Leuven

Featuring speakers from Belgium, France, the UK, Uruguay, Australia and the US and hosted by the Catholic Documentation Centre (KADOC) and the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), the Jocist Women Leaders Seminar took place at Leuven, Belgium on 27-28 October 2022.

Reflecting the range of papers presented, the theme of the workshop was “To make daily life vast and beautiful: Jocist Women Leaders.”

Women leaders highlighted included Marguerite Fiévez, a key figure in the development of the International YCW and a close collaborator of Cardijn, trade union pioneer, Victoire Cappe, and Malaysian YCW leader, Irene Fernandez.

The workshop understood the term “jocist” in its broad sense, including not just those from a JOC (YCW) background but from the various lay apostolate/Specialised Catholic Action movements, including the YCS (JEC), JIC (Young professionals), JAC (young farmers) and others.

It is planned to publish select papers in an academic journal.

In another major initiative, an online biographical dictionary of jocist women leaders will be developed.

Immense thanks to the various project sponsors: American Academy of Religion; University of Divinity, Melbourne; King’s College, London; KADOC – KU Leuven; Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies; Dondeynefonds, KU Leuven; LACIIR  (Latin American and the Caribbean  Interdisciplinary Initiative on  Religion),  Florida International University, Miami, Fl, USA; Australian Cardijn Institute, Australia.

READ MORE

Seminar Papers (Jocist Women Leaders Project)

RIP Peter Maher

This month we remember Sydney priest, Fr Peter Maher, who died of cancer on 8 November 2022.

I first met Peter at a Cardijn Conference held at the old Manly seminary in Sydney in 1987 and he remained a convinced Cardijn priest for the rest of his life.

“The Cardijn method of see judge and act is essential to a deep listening, a competent dialogue and a compassionate and just course of action,” he once said. “This means all involved need to carefully listen to the experience of those normally excluded or silenced, study the biblical, social and theological perspectives and discern action in favour of the experience of the erased and silenced.

“Just as the Syrophoenician woman became Jesus’ teacher, the outsider and excluded stories inform the process of dialogue, reflection and action.”

Together with Minh Nguyen and others, he rebuilt ACMICA, the Australian affiliate of the Pax Romana International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA) during the early 2000s.

In this role, he played a major role in organising a series of New Pentecost events hosting international speakers, including World Social Forum (WSF) co-founder, Chico Whitaker, from Brazil, Malaysian Jesuit Fr Jojo Fung, an expert in Indigenous spiritualities, as well as interreligious dialogue experts, Edmund Chia and Gemma Cruz.

For many years, he worked as a student chaplain at the University of Technology, Sydney, just up the road from his own parish of St Joseph at Newtown.

There he developed profound ministries with the LGBTQI+ community as well as with Rachel’s Vineyard for women who had suffered from abortion.

I was privileged to enjoy his hospitality at the local presbytery on more than one occasion, learning also to appreciate a growing variety of Australian craft whiskies!

Many others knew Peter better and experienced his humanity far more deeply than I did.

We all mourn his passing. Condolences to all his family and friends.

Stefan Gigacz

READ MORE

RIP, Peter Maher, vigorous priest, Sydney, longtime editor of The Swag (Misacor)

“Impishly uncomplicated, lightly subversive”: remembering Father Peter Maher (John T. Squires)

FUNERAL VIDEO

https://www.funeralvideo.com.au/p/2022/11/fr-peter-desmond-maher

Albert Nolan: Priest, Activist, Author, and Renowned Theologian

By Terence Creamer with input from Fr Mike Deeb, Fr Mark James and Prof Philippe Denis

Well-known South African Catholic priest, anti-apartheid activist and internationally renowned theologian and author Fr. Albert Nolan has died at the age of 88.

He died peacefully in his sleep under the care of the Dominican Sisters at Marian House in Boksburg in the early hours of Monday October 17.

Born Denis James Harry Nolan in Cape Town on September 2, 1934, Nolan was born to a family of South Africans of Irish descent, who lived in Gardens. He went to school at St. Joseph’s Marist Brothers in Rondebosch and after a period working for a bank, entered the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church in 1954, taking the name Albert.

Awarded the ‘Order of Luthuli in Silver’ by then President Thabo Mbeki in 2003 for his “life-long dedication to the struggle for democracy, human rights and justice and for challenging the religious ‘dogma’ especially the theological justification for apartheid”, Nolan inspired a generation of Christian activists and theologians.

His dedication to the anti-apartheid struggle saw him decline the prestigious role of Master of the Dominican Order to which he was elected in 1983, as it would have meant him being transferred to the Order’s Rome headquarters. Instead, he convinced the Dominicans to allow him to remain in South Africa. At the height of the second State of Emergency in 1986, he was forced into hiding in order to escape from the notorious South African Security Police. Nolan was particularly vulnerable to arrest for steering the drafting process of the Kairos Document in mid-1985, which arose primarily from the work of grassroots theologians in Soweto and Johannesburg, but which he and Reverend Frank Chikane of the Institute for Contextual Theology (ICT) played a central role in editing.

Described as a ‘theology from below’, the document critiqued the role of the churches in apartheid South Africa, dismantled any theological justification for racism and totalitarianism and proposed instead a ‘prophetic theology’ akin to Liberation Theology.

From 1973-1980, he served as national chaplain for the National Catholic Federation of Students (NCFS) and also, until 1980, for the Catholic Students Association (CASA), which was formed in 1976 after black students began organising themselves into separate formations as Black Consciousness flourished.

Founding YCS in South Africa

In 1977, Nolan was instrumental in establishing Young Christian Students (YCS) in South Africa after he attended an International Movement of Catholic Students gathering in Lima, Peru, in 1975, where he was introduced to the See-Judge-Act method of social analysis and was inspired by Gustavo Gutiérrez, who later also became a Dominican and who is regarded as one of the pioneers of Liberation Theology.

From 1977-1984, Nolan served as national chaplain of YCS, which affiliated itself to the United Democratic Front, initially formed in 1983 to oppose the Tricameral Parliament but which also united more than 400 organisations across all sectors of society in the struggle for a ‘non-racial, non-sexist and united South Africa’.

Underground work

Nolan also played a brave role in the “underground work” of the liberation movements, notably the African National Congress, offering his support to activists, especially those who became victims of the apartheid regime’s violent and repressive security police. He was part of a secret underground network that managed logistics, including the transportation and movement of activists, providing safe houses and a means of communication while in South Africa.

The full extent of his role in these networks was revealed by Horst Kleinschmidt in a tribute to Nolan on October 20, 2022. Kleinschmidt, who was himself banned, detained, and exiled by the apartheid regime, disclosed that Nolan was part of a group of more than 20 operatives who smuggled communication out of South Africa to the then exiled African National Congress and returned with messages from Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki to activists inside the country.

“I reveal today for the first time that Albert Nolan was known as operative A4 after Black Wednesday [October 19, 1977, when Black Consciousness organisations were banned, editors arrested and opposition newspapers banned] and from 1981 onwards he was operative 42. The numbers ‘4’ and ‘2’ were scrambled into texts and figures – and the Security Branch never found the key to this messaging.” Kleinschmidt also revealed that the long-running operation involved the smuggling of letters, none of which were ever intercepted, as well as call-box to call-box communications that changed location each week and the swapping of money that made any tracing of bank records impossible.

Dominican provincial

Having been elected provincial of the Dominicans in Southern Africa in early 1976, Nolan relocated from Stellenbosch – where he had received his religious formation, and also served as university chaplain for several years up to the early 1970s – to Johannesburg. Poignantly, the move took place on June 16, 1976, a date synonymous with the ‘Soweto Uprising’ which was violently suppressed and is today commemorated as Youth Day.

As provincial, from 1976-1980, Nolan supported several of his priests – including Joe Falkiner, Benedict Mulder and Finbar Synnott – in their establishment of a simple-lifestyle community in a run-down building opposite the station on Central Avenue in Mayfair, a working-class suburb on the western edge of the Johannesburg central business district. He then made the bold decision to sell the provincial’s house in the leafy suburb of Houghton, in the richer northern suburbs, and relocate to Mayfair himself, where CASA, NCFS, YCS and the Young Christian Workers also set up their national offices. He would serve as provincial of the Dominican Order for two more terms, from 1980-1984 and from 2000-2004. Besides serving as provincial, Nolan played various other roles within his Order, including that of novice master and student master, which allowed him to continue to nurture and guide young people, as he had done for many years as a student chaplain.

Biblical scholar

A gifted Biblical scholar and theologian, Nolan completed his doctorate in Rome in 1963 – a period that coincided with the Second Vatican Council and which ushered in significant reforms across the Catholic Church. Having completed his thesis, Nolan decided it was ‘too expensive’ to have it published, a pre-requisite for being awarded the title of ‘doctor’ and, thus, he never formally secured the title that he had duly earned. He was also initially denied the distinction of being awarded an honorary doctorate when the Holy See, without explanation, disallowed the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) from bestowing such in 1990, presumably owing to misgivings at the time about Liberation Theology. However, in the same year, as a sign of solidarity, the Jesuit-run Regis College of the University of Toronto granted him an honorary doctorate. The Dominican Order recognised his contribution as a theologian and preacher of the Gospel when, in 2008, the Master of the Dominican Order promoted Nolan to a Master of Sacred Theology.

Nolan, however, preferred to see himself as a preacher rather than a Biblical scholar. He wanted the Gospel to make a difference in people’s lives, and did not view debating small issues of textual interpretation as the purpose of the scriptures. In his view, the scriptures were there to inspire, convert and transform people and lead them to change their lives and the world in which they live.

Jesus Before Christianity

Outside of South Africa, Nolan became highly regarded for his 1976 best-selling book Jesus Before Christianity, which has been translated into at least nine languages. The book was the product both of Nolan’s deep knowledge of the Bible and his work in the student movement where he gave regular inputs on ‘That Man Jesus’ in student conferences. While in hiding in the late 1980s, Nolan went on to write God in South Africa, which is the outcome of what he described as “doing theology in a particular context” and Jesus Today, which explores the spirituality of Jesus as a “spirituality that leads to unity with God, ourselves, others, and the universe”. A collection of his talks, edited by one of his brothers, Fr Stan Muyebe, was published as Hope in an Age of Despair.

Nolan, who was one of the first staff members of the Institute for Contextual Theology (ICT) in 1981, later become editor of the ecumenical Challenge magazine, widely circulated across all denominations and which offered a considered perspective on how Christians should respond to the struggle for democracy in South Africa before and after the democratic elections in 1994. Ecumenism was a theme throughout Nolan’s life and was evident not only in his student ministry and at ICT but in his close relationship with leaders outside of the Catholic church, including Reverend Frank Chikane, Dr Beyers Naudé and Reverend Cedric Mayson. Despite his criticism of the Catholic Church, he also remained respected by the Catholic hierarchy for his Biblical proficiency, his theological insight and his commitment to preaching the Gospel. He was, thus, regularly requested to deliver inputs and retreats, including to the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, particularly when it was led by Archbishop Denis Hurley during the last decade of apartheid.

Nolan was also a source of support to other religious in the Catholic church who took up an active role in the struggle, notably Sr. Bernard Ncube and Fr. Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, who was detained several times and banned. Ncube was a member of the first democratic Parliament in 1994, chairing the portfolio committee on arts and culture, and in 2002 became mayor of the West Rand municipality. In 1996, Mkhatshwa became the Deputy Minister of Education, a post he held until 1999. He was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in 1997 and in 2000 he became the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane.

In addition, Nolan taught at St Peter’s Seminary, in Hammanskraal, in the late 1970’s when a strong Black Consciousness focus was developed there, working particularly closely with Mkhatshwa and Buti Tlhagale in attempts to promote this voice in the church. Tlhagale is the current Archbishop of Johannesburg.

As a priest, activist, author, and renowned theologian Nolan offered a forceful yet gentle message of hope, particularly hope in the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, peaceful and environmentally sustainable South Africa and world.

SOURCE

Published on Polity.org.za and written by Terence Creamer with input from Fr Mike Deeb, Fr Mark James and Prof Philippe Denis and with additions arising from tributes delivered by Fr Mark James and Horst Kleinschmidt on October 19 and 20 respectively.

Be the leaven in the dough: Pope Francis

During his visit to Bahrein for the  “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence” from 3-6 November, Pope Francis met with young people at Sacred Heart School/

“I am happy to have seen in the Kingdom of Bahrain a place of encounter and dialogue between different cultures and beliefs.,” Pope Francis said. “As I look out at you, who are not all of the same religion and are not afraid of being together, I think that without you this coexistence of differences would not be possible. And it would have no future!

“In the dough of the world, you are the good leaven destined to rise, to break down many social and cultural barriers and to foster the growth of fraternity and innovation. You are young people who, as restless travellers open to the unexpected, are not afraid to exchange ideas with one another, to dialogue, to ‘make some noise’ and mingle among yourselves; and so you become the basis of a society marked by friendship and solidarity. *

“This, dear friends, is something essential in the complex and varied situations in which we live: to tear down certain barriers in order to bring about a world that is people-oriented and more fraternal, even if this involves facing a number of challenges,” Pope Francis said.

He proposed three invitations to young people.

Culture of care

My first invitation: to embrace the culture of care. Sister Rosalyn used that expression: “culture of care”. To care means to develop an inner attitude of empathy, an attentive gaze that takes us out of ourselves, a gentle presence that overcomes our lack of concern and makes us take an interest in other people.

“This is the turning point, the start of something new, the antidote to a world closed in on itself and, rife with individualism, a world that devours its children. A world imprisoned by a kind of sadness that gives rise to indifference and solitude. Let me say this to you: how badly the spirit of sadness hurts, how badly! If we do not learn to take care of our surroundings – other people, our cities, our society, the environment – we will end up spending our lives like those people who are constantly in a hurry, running around, doing many things at once, but in the end are sad because they have never really known the joy of friendship and generosity. Nor have they given the world that unique dab of beauty that they alone, and no one else, were capable of giving.

“As a Christian, I think of Jesus and I see that everything he did was inspired by care for others. He was concerned about relating to all whom he met, in their homes, in the towns and along the wayside. He looked people in the eye, listened to their pleas for help, drew near to them and touched their wounds. Do you look people in the eye? Jesus entered into our human history in order to tell us that the Most High cares for us. To remind us that being on God’s side involves caring for someone and something, especially for those who are in greatest need.

“Dear friends, how beautiful it is to care for others, to build relationships! Yet, like everything in life, this calls for constant training. So do not forget, first of all, to care for yourself: not so much outside as inside, in the deepest and most precious part of yourselves. What part is that? It is your soul, your heart! And how can you care for the heart? By trying to be silent and listen to it. Try to make time to keep in touch with what is going on inside you, to appreciate the gift that you are, to take hold of your life and not let it slip through your fingers. “

Spread fraternity

“This, then, is my first invitation, to embrace the culture of care. If we embrace it, we will help make the seed of fraternity grow.

“And this is my second invitation: to spread fraternity. I liked what you said Abdulla: ‘You have to be a champion not only on the playing field, but in life!’ Champions off the playing field. That is true, so strive to be champions of fraternity, off the playing field! This is the challenge of today that will make us winners tomorrow, the challenge faced by our increasingly globalized and multicultural societies.

“For you see, the devices and technology that modernity offers us are not enough to make our world peaceful and fraternal. We are witnessing this: the winds of war do not stop blowing with technological progress. We are seeing with sorrow that in many regions, tensions and threats are increasing and, at times, are breaking out in conflicts. Often enough, this happens because we do not work on the heart; we allow distances between ourselves and others to increase and, as a result, ethnic, cultural, religious and other differences become problems and fears that isolate rather than opportunities to grow together. And when those differences seem more powerful than the fraternity that keeps us together, we risk confrontation and conflict.

“To you, young people, who are more straightforward and more capable of making contacts and building friendships, overcoming prejudices and ideological barriers, I would like to say this: continue to sow the seeds of fraternity, and you will be builders of the future, because only in fraternity will our world have a future!

“This invitation is one that I find at the heart of my faith. Indeed, the Bible says, “Those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this, that those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also” (1 Jn 4:20-21). Yes, Jesus tells us never to separate the love of God from love of neighbour, and to become neighbours to everyone (cf. Lk 10:29-37).

“Everyone, not just the people we like. To live as brothers and sisters is the universal vocation entrusted to every creature. You young people – you more than anyone else – in the face of the prevailing tendency to remain indifferent and intolerant of others, even supporting wars and conflicts, are called to “respond with a new vision of fraternity and social friendship that will not remain at the level of words” (Fratelli Tutti, 6).

“Words are not enough: there is need for concrete gestures carried out on a daily basis,” Pope Francis emphasised.

“Here too, we can ask ourselves a few questions. Am I open to others? Am I friends with someone who does not share all my interests, or has different beliefs and customs from mine? Do I try to meet others, or do I stick to the people I know? The key, in a few words, is in what Nevin told us: to “create good relationships” with everyone.

The challenge of making decisions

“I would also like to offer you yet a third invitation: accept the challenge of making decisions in life. You know from everyday experience there is no such thing as a life without challenges. Just as when you come to a fork in the road you have to choose, so, when faced with a challenge, you always have to put yourself on the line, take risks and make a decision.

“This requires good planning. You cannot improvise, living by instinct or always acting on the spur of the moment! So how do you prepare, how do you develop your decision-making ability, your creativity, your courage and your tenacity? How do you sharpen your inner gaze, learn to judge situations, and grasp what is important? It requires learning how to weigh your options and take the right direction. This is why the third invitation is to make decisions in life, right decisions.

“It is important, then, to learn how to distinguish his voice, God’s voice that speaks to us. And how do we learn to do this? As you told us, Merina: through silent prayer and intimate dialogue with him, treasuring in our hearts what helps us and gives us peace. God’s light illumines the maze of thoughts, emotions and feelings in which we often find ourselves.

“The Lord wants to enlighten your understanding, your innermost thoughts, the aspirations in your heart, and the judgements that are taking shape within you. He wants to help you distinguish what is essential from what is superfluous, what is good from what is harmful to you and to others, what is just from what leads to injustice and disorder. Nothing we experience is foreign to God, nothing. Often we are the ones who turn away from him; we fail to turn people and situations over to him, and instead turn in on ourselves in fear and shame. Let us cultivate in prayer the consoling certainty that the Lord watches over us, that he does not grow tired, but constantly watches out for us and keeps us safe.

Good counselors

“Dear young friends, making decisions is not something we do alone. So let me say one last thing to you. Before you go to the Internet for advice, always seek out good counselors in life, wise and reliable people who can guide and help you. Do this first. I am thinking of parents and teachers, but also of the elderly, your grandparents, and a good spiritual guide.

“Each of us needs to be accompanied on the road of life! I will say again what I told you: never alone! We need to be accompanied on the road of life.

“Dear young people, we need you. We need your creativity, your dreams and your courage, your charm and your smiles, your contagious joy and that touch of craziness that you can bring to every situation, which helps to break us out of our stale habits and ways of looking at things. As Pope, I want to tell you: the Church is with you and needs each one of you very much, so that we can be renewed, explore new paths, experiment with new languages, and become more joyful and hospitable. Never lose the courage to dream big and to live life to the full!

“Adopt the culture of care and spread it. Become champions of fraternity. Face life’s challenges by letting yourselves be guided by God’s faithful creativity and by good counsellors.

“And lastly, remember me in your prayers. I will do the same for you, carrying you in my heart. Thank you!

“God be with you! Allah ma’akum!”

FULL STORY

Meeting with the youth, Address of His Holiness, Sacred Heart School (Awali), Saturday, 5 November 2022 (Vatican.va)

Pope in Bahrain: Dear young people, we need you! (Vatican News)

Coffees for Cardijn Appeal launches

It’s November! Nearly Christmas! Nearly time for the Cardijn Lecture with Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ! And also nearly Cardijn’s birth anniversary (13 November)!

A good time, we hope, to launch our Coffees for Cardijn Appeal inviting you to make a regular contribution of the price of a cup of coffee towards the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library, the online repository devoted to Cardijn’s life and work, including his speeches and writings, biographies, etc.

The aim, of course, is to make his writings available once again to present and future leaders of the YCW, YCS and other “see-judge-act” movements and initiatives inspired by the Cardijn model.

3000 resources

Nearly 3000 Cardijn documents and items are already online in French and English. A Spanish site is under development.

So far this year, the site has averaged over 1570 visitors per month – more than 50 per day – in a strong indication of the library’s utility to leaders, chaplains, mentors, youth ministers, community leaders, researchers and others.

All of this work to date has been done by volunteer labour. But the task is rapidly growing beyond our efforts. We need to ensure the library’s longevity and its future development. And regular donations provide a regular cashflow, enabling us to plan ahead.

Give generously

Hence this Coffees for Cardijn Appeal seeking a regular donation of the price of a coffee per week. Or in these challenging economic, we’ll be equally grateful for a monthly or even one off donation.

And if you do have the means, please give even more generously! Young workers, students and lay apostolate pioneers of today and the future will thank you!

Visit the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

www.josephcardijn.com

Sign up for Coffees for Cardijn (direct link)

https://www.trybooking.com/au/donate/coffeesforcardijn

Church’s mission starts from reality: Cardinal Hollerich

In an interview with La Civilta Cattolica, Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has called for the Church to focus on its mission, starting the reality that see us all as children of the same Father.

“I believe that today in Europe we are suffering from a pathology, which, that is, we are unable to see clearly what the mission of the Church is,” Cardinal Hollerich, a former chaplain to the Luxembourg YCW, warned.

“We always talk about structures, which is certainly not a bad thing, because structures are important and certainly need to be rethought. But there is not enough talk of the mission of the Church. Which is to announce the Gospel. To announce, and above all to testify, the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. 

“A witness that the Christian must interpret mainly through his commitment in the world for the safeguarding of creation, for justice, for peace. 

“The teaching of Pope Francis is everything and nothing other than the clarification of the Gospel. It is not difficult to understand. In today’s secularised world, direct proclamation is not always understood, but our witness is. We are observed and valued in the world for how we live the gospel. 

“It is a bit like it happens for teachers at school: it is certainly important what they say, but even more important is what they communicate about themselves. In our case, what matters is consistency with the Gospel. 

“Take the encyclical for example it is certainly important what they say, but even more important is what they communicate about themselves. In our case, what matters is consistency with the Gospel. Take the encyclical for example it is certainly important what they say, but even more important is what they communicate about themselves. In our case, what matters is consistency with the Gospel. 

“Take the encyclical for example Laudato si ‘.  Many have read it, even among non-believers, even among those who do not know the Gospel. And all those who read it shared its value, importance, urgency. I had direct feedback from my daily contacts with the politicians of the European Parliament and Commission in Brussels. So everyone has read  Laudato Sì,  and admires it. And the same was also true for  Fratelli Tutti. 

“In other words, everyone recognizes Pope Francis as the paternity of the proposal for a new humanism. Which he often proposes in solitude among the great world leaders. But then it is up to us to be able to explain that Francis’ humanism is not just a political proposal, but a proclamation of the Gospel. Those outside the Church sometimes understand the Gospel better than those inside. 

“Pope Francis therefore indicated this way of proclaiming the Gospel, which starts from reality, that reality that sees us all as creatures and children of the same Father. But to answer your initial question: in all European countries there has been much talk at synods of communion, of participation, but very little of mission,” Cardinal Hollerich concluded.

SOURCE

Hollerich: la Chiesa deve cambiare, rischiamo di parlare a un uomo che non c’è più (Vatican News)

PHOTO

GilPe / Wikipedia / CCA BY SA 4.0