Cardijn Lecture: Reform or Revolution? The English YCS and the pursuit of a spiritual ’68

ACI is pleased to announce that the Cardijn Lecture for 2023 will be presented on Thursday 13 December 2023 by Dr Alana Harris from King’s College London.

The topic of her lecture will be “Reform or Revolution? The English Young Christian Students and their Pursuit of a Spiritual ’68.”

Full registration details below.

Dr Alana Harris

Originally from Shepparton, Victoria, Dr Alana Harris is a Reader in Modern British Social, Cultural, and Gender History at King’s College London, having previously acted as the Director of Liberal Arts and taught as a Fellow at Lincoln College, University of Oxford.

She has authored eight books, including the pathbreaking Faith in the Family: A Lived Religious History of English Catholicism, 1945-1982 (MUP, 2013) and her most recent publication, The Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism, 1914-2021 (OUP, 2023).

Adopting an interdisciplinary and intersectional methodology to explore ‘lived religion’, she has emerged as one of the foremost practitioners of this approach, which combines insights from anthropology and ethnography, sociology and the emergent history of emotions.

A distinctive expertise as the foremost historian of modern British Catholicism was forged through her doctoral studies on the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the devotional lives of English Catholics and consolidated through a chapter on English Catholicism (and the liturgical movement) within Kathleen Sprows Cummings, Timothy Matovina and Robert A. Orsi’s Catholics in the Vatican II Era: Local Histories of a Global Event (CUP, 2017).

With Niall Coll (Bishop of Ossory), she co-authored two chapters on British and Irish Catholicism (English and German translation) to be published next year in the 12 volume international series Vatican II – Legacy and Mandate (2024)

Her broader research specialisms, advanced in numerous book chapters and journal articles, encompass histories of gender and sexuality; ethnicity and migration; devotional cultures; pilgrimage; urban religiosity and material religion.

1950s English YCS logo

Webinar Details

Thursday 14 December 2023, 7pm AEDT (8am UK)

Registration link:

Previous Cardijn Lectures

2022: Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ, Siblings All, Signs of the Times – The Social Teaching of Pope Francis

2021: Professor Rafael Luciani, The emergence of synodality

Coming Synod a ‘turning point’: Rafael Luciani

Venezuelan lay theologian and advisor to the Synod of Bishops, Professor Rafael Luciani, has described the 2023 Synod Assembly on Synodality, as the “most important event since Vatican II” and one that signifies a “turning point” in the way the Church approaches the Council.

Professor Luciani, who will deliver the inaugural Cardijn Lecture for the Australian Cardijn Institute on 13 November, added that the Synod preparation process, which is launching globally this month, will be centred on “the ecclesiology of the People of God,” which was first introduced by the Council and has been emphasised many times by Pope Francis.

This idea, he says, means that the relationship between the People of God and Church is “not hierarchical anymore, that it is differentiated, but complementary”.

Moreover, a “bishop needs the other, including priests and lay people,” which changes the whole relationship.

“This is what co-responsibility is all about,” he noted.

According to Prof. Luciani, another key novelty of the 2023 Synod will be the enhanced involvement of theologians in the process of listening and discernment aimed at creating this new synodal Church and the inclusion of theological reflection in the structures of the Church. In this sense, it is a real “kairos” moment for the Church.

“We don’t have theological reflection on one side, and people, on the other, saying: ‘How do we bring that into the real structures in the Church’.”

“My expectation and hope that there will be a real dialogue and consensus.”

Speaking to NCR Online, Prof. Luciani added that the aim is an enhanced “new ecclesial way of proceeding inspired by a practice of transparency and accountability.”

Cardijn Lecture: “The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience”

Rafael will share this experience in the inaugural ACI Cardijn Lecture on the theme “The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience,” which will take place on at 1.00pm AEDT on Saturday 13 November (Friday evening 12 November US time).

The event will be co-hosted by the US Cardijn Network and Pax Romana USA.

Dr Elissa Roper,  who completed her PhD on “Synodality and Authenticity: Towards a Contemporary Ecclesiology for the Catholic Church” at Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity this year, will respond to Rafael’s presentation.

Previously, Elissa was also a member of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission. She was a member of the Victorian Council of Church’s Faith and Order Commission for six years, and is currently the VCC Liaison Officer on the Board of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia. She and her husband have four children.

Joseph Cardijn was the founder of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement and a Council Father at Vatican II.

More information: Stefan Gigacz:

Dr Elissa Roper



The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience

Rafael Luciani on Latin American Roots of Pope Francis Reforms (College of the Holy Cross/YouTube)

A theologian’s take on how the 2023 Synod is a turning point for the Church (Vatican News)

Francis is betting a synodal church will be a cure for a clerical church (NCR Online)

Pope Francis, Moment of reflection for the beginning of the synodal journey (

Local consultation opens for global Synod of Bishops (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference)

Pax Romana ICMICA

Joseph Cardijn (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Amerindia (Rafael Luciani) and Elissa Roper