Webinar: Gerard Philips, architect of Lumen Gentium

2022 not only marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 but it is also the 50th anniversary of the death of Belgian theologian, Gerard Philips, the architect of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.

ACI has therefore invited Professor Mathijs Lamberigts, former director of the Vatican II Centre at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, to be the presenter for our 13 September webinar entitled “Gerard Philips, Theologian, senator and promoter of the laity.”

Gerard Philips, theologian, senator and promoter of the laity

Born on 29 April 1899, Philips was an early and enthusiastic collaborator of Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement. During the 1930s, he played a key role as chaplain in the development of the Flemish Catholic students movement. Continuing his work with Cardijn, he promoted Specialised Catholic Action among generations of Belgian seminarians.

In 1952, he published his landmark book, De leek in de Kerk, translated into English as “The laity in the Church.” In 1957, he achieved further prominence with his keynote address to the Second World Congress on Lay Apostolate in Rome.

As a peritus at the Second Vatican Council, Philips was called on by Cardinal Léon-Joseph Suenens to write what became the first draft of the future Dogmatic Constution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. Later, he collaborated closely with French peritus, Pierre Haubtmann, in the drafting of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World, Gaudium et Spes.

To these tasks, he brought his knowledge as a theologian but also the skills of diplomacy and negotiation that he had developed as a co-opted senator in the Belgian parliament

Originally from the Diocese of Liège, Gerard Philips taught at the University of Louvain (Leuven) from 1944 until his death on 14 July 1972.

Mathijs Lamberigts

Mathijs Lamberigts

Mathijs Lamberigts is Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, where he remains a member of the Research Unit on the History of Church and Theology.

An academic librarian from 1989 to 2000, Professor Lamberigts was Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Leuven from 2000 to 2008, and again from 2014 to 2018.

For 15 years, he was a member of the Religious Sciences working group of the Belgian National Foundation for Scientific Research (FNRS) and is also a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium.

He is a member of the editorial staff of several leading theological including. Augustiniana, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, Melitta, Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales, Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique, and Sacris Erudiri.

Date and time

Tuesday 13 September, 7pm AEST

Register

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86728331442?pwd=UERxRjM3NnhKZmlxSkRERnhlL3Budz09

READ MORE

Gerard Philips (French Wikipedia)

Gerard Phiips, The 25th anniversary of the YCW (French)

Gerard Philips, Reflections of a theologian (French)

LG31 Forum on Formation for the Lay Apostolate

Following the success of our first LG31 Forum and of the Second Assembly of the Plenary Council, we will hold our second forum on Thursday 28 July 2022 at 7.00pm AEST.

Plenary Decree 6 on “Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry” makes formation for the apostolate of the laity a priority for the Australian Church.

“Responding to the call for a renewal of formation,” §7 of the introduction to Decree 6 reads, “the Plenary Council endorses principles and strategies that develop models of formation to encourage and strengthen the apostolate of the laity in the world. “

It continues with a strong endorsement of the see-judge-act method for this formation:

This apostolate offers a particular prophetic sign by seeking the common good and by concrete actions that protect and promote human dignity, peace and justice. Attentive to the ‘signs of the times’, movements of the lay apostolate, in their various forms, offer the baptised a way to reflect on the concrete experiences of their lives in the light of the Gospel and engage as missionary disciples in the world.

As a means for formation, the apostolate of the laity is grounded in scriptural reflection, reception of the ecclesial wisdom of our tradition, and prayerful communal discernment. This formation shapes Christian engagement with the broader Australian community through listening and dialogue, and supports actions for the transformation of society through daily commitment and public witness.

“Therefore, to meet the formation needs of the present and future,” §9 adds, “the Plenary Council commits the Church in Australia to developing and committing to a culture of life-long faith

In our next LG31 forum we will discuss how to implement these decrees, looking particularly at what ACI can offer.

Please join us for this important event.

REGISTER FOR THE NEXT LG31 FORUM ON FORMATION FOR THE LAY APOSTOLATE

Date: Thursday 28 July 2022

Time: 7pm AEST

Registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpdequrTssE9bwDut7c1Woqx0peD4mAO-t

SOURCES

Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry (Australian Plenary Council)

2022: Australian Plenary Council: Formation (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Leadership for Mission (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Plenary Council prioritises lay apostolate formation

The Australian Plenary Council, which concluded last week, has prioritised formation for the apostolate of the laity in its Decree on “Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry.”

“Responding to the call for a renewal of formation,” reads §7 of the introduction to Decree 6,, “the Plenary Council endorses principles and strategies that develop models of formation to encourage and strengthen the apostolate of the laity in the world. “

It continues with a strong endorsement of the see-judge-act method for this formation:

This apostolate offers a particular prophetic sign by seeking the common good and by concrete actions that protect and promote human dignity, peace and justice. Attentive to the ‘signs of the times’, movements of the lay apostolate, in their various forms, offer the baptised a way to reflect on the concrete experiences of their lives in the light of the Gospel and engage as missionary disciples in the world.

As a means for formation, the apostolate of the laity is grounded in scriptural reflection, reception of the ecclesial wisdom of our tradition, and prayerful communal discernment. This formation shapes Christian engagement with the broader Australian community through listening and dialogue, and supports actions for the transformation of society through daily commitment and public witness.

“Therefore, to meet the formation needs of the present and future,” §9 adds, “the Plenary Council commits the Church in Australia to developing and committing to a culture of life-long faith formation that will ensure:

a. the diversity of the Catholic community is explicitly recognised;

b. intercultural competency is encouraged, especially in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and spiritualities;

c. the equal dignity of women and men is affirmed and demonstrated;

d. the renewal of faith formation within and for families in the context of the critical role that marriage, parenting, and care-giving plays as a school of formation, is prioritised and strengthened;

e. the apostolate of the laity, along with new ecclesial realities, acting as “leaven in the world,” (Lumen Gentium n. 31) is promoted, encouraged and supported;

f. the hopes, spirituality, giftedness, energy, and modes of communication and connection of young people are identified, incorporated, encouraged and celebrated;

g. ongoing support and strategies for those who minister to young people;

h. the rich variety of spiritual and devotional traditions of the Church are appreciated and celebrated; and

i. synodal practices such as encounter, accompaniment, listening, dialogue, discernment, and collaboration are fostered and deepened.

“By commiting the Australian Church to promoting the apostolate of the laity as a ‘leaven in the world,’ the Plenary has renewed the Vatican II emphasis on lay apostolate formation,” ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz commented.

“This offers a clear direction to the work of the whole Australian Church,” he added. “It is also a major encouragement to ACI in its own work of promoting the spirituality and methods of Joseph Cardijn, who did so much to bring the lay apostolate to the forefront.”

The decrees of the Plenary Council will now be sent to Rome for ratification. Once this is completed, they will become binding on the Australian Church.

SOURCES

Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry (Australian Plenary Council)

2022: Australian Plenary Council: Formation (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Forum: Lumen Gentium 31 and the lay apostolate

The Australian Plenary Council has published its Framework for Motions to be discussed at its Second Assembly which will meet in Sydney from 4-9 July 2022.

Once again, ACI’s concern was the lack of emphasis on the lay vocation or apostolate of lay people. See also Fr Bruce Duncan’s critique of the Framework, which expresses similar concerns.

Meanwhile, Cardinal-elect Robert McElroy has highlighted the potential of the see-judge-act method for the development of a truly synodal Church.

Our latest submission therefore proposes amendments to §79-80, which fall under “Part 6. Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry.” 

In particular, the ACI submission called for the insertion of a paragraph highlighting that formation needs to focus on promoting the “specifically lay apostolate of lay people acting as a leaven within the world.”

This is based on §31 of the Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium (LG31), which states:

What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes. But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.

Our second proposed amendment is to §80 and reads as follows:

To achieve this, the Church in Australia and in each diocese commits to develop and accompany lay apostolate formation movements, including classical movements such as the YCW and YCS as well as new initiatives responding to 21st century social realities and needs. Following the see-judge-act method of formation based on small review of life groups meeting regularly, these movements enable Christians to reflect on the concrete experiences of their lives as workers, family members and citizens in the light of the Gospel and to take personal and collective action to transform their lives and communities working for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven (Lumen Gentium §31). Priests, religious and lay ministers will play a vital special role in accompaniment in promoting this formation.

Lumen Gentium 31 Forum

Our 2021 Submission to the Plenary also called for the establishment of an Australian Catholic Council for the Lay Apostolate to promote the Vatican II vision of lay apostolate.

To date, we have no indication that this proposal will be adopted by the Plenary.

ACI will therefore hold an open forum to discuss further action to implement this proposal.

We invite all members and friends of ACI to join us for this event.

Please also see the link below for a compilation of resources on Catholic Social Teaching concerning the lay apostolate.

DETAILS

ACI Open Forum Lumen Gentium 31 and the Lay Apostolate

Saturday 2 July, 2.00pm AEST

REGISTRATION LINK

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkfuGvqDgrH9wxxFJxAZc9NFXN8aeAeyIY

PHOTO

Lawrence OP / Flickr / CC BY ND NC 2.0

READ MORE

Fr Bruce Duncan CsSR, Plenary Council fails to embrace Pope Francis’s wider social vision (Eureka Street)

Cardinal-elect Robert McElroy, Pope Francis and Vatican II give us a road map for the synodal process (America Magazine)

A Chicago Declaration of Christian Concern 1977 (Australian Cardijn Institute)

ACI Submission to the Plenary 2019 on Lay Apostolate

ACI Submission to the Plenary 2021 on an Australian Catholic Council for the Lay Apostolate

ACI Proposed Amendments to the Plenary Framework for Motions 2022

Resources on Lay Apostolate (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Plenary misses Francis’ wider vision

Some 278 Catholic bishops, clergy, religious personnel and lay people will meet as members of an unprecedented Plenary Council during 4-9 July to finalise the resolutions of their first assembly last year. However the May working document ‘Framework for Motions’, despite much worthy content, especially on Indigenous affairs, relies on a narrow notion of mission overly focused on inner-church issues at the expense of the wider social engagement that Francis emphasises, writes Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR in Eureka Street.

(It is) puzzling how the Framework for Motions overlooks the specifically secular mission of lay women and men in their daily work, occupations, communities and families. Merely a single paragraph calls for deepening the ‘lay apostolate in the world based on attentiveness to the “signs of the times”, scriptural reflection, prayerful communal discernment and a commitment to engagement with the broader Australian community through listening and dialogue’ (#80). But it does not explain why this secular involvement is so crucially significant, especially for Pope Francis.

‘Francis has explicitly recast this see-judge-act method into the process of synodality and discernment, calling the whole Church to learn this way of listening carefully to others, especially the excluded or marginalised.’

Let me explain. The paragraph refers to the famous see-judge-act process developed by a Belgian priest, Canon Joseph Cardijn, nearly a century ago for use by young working women and men in factories and workplaces. Cardijn formed groups to discuss their life and work issues (‘see’), to reflect together using a Gospel passage for spiritual guidance (‘judge’) and then to take action to change situations (‘act’).

It was a circular process of empowerment for people to take charge of their lives and challenge unjust practices. It became known as the Young Christian Workers Movement and spread internationally, even to Australia, especially in Melbourne and Adelaide. Based on people’s personal experiences, it linked faith cogently with their real life issues, giving them strength and courage to make often difficult decisions but acting always on their own responsibility. This method often empowered people for the rest of their lives and careers.

Francis has explicitly recast this see-judge-act method into the process of synodality and discernment, calling the whole Church to learn this way of listening carefully to others, especially the excluded or marginalised.

Francis urges a ‘cultural revolution’ in the church, to undertake ‘the slow work of changing structures, through participation in public dialogue, where decisions are made that affect the lives of the most vulnerable.’ He said that the social apostolate is to empower people ‘“to promote processes [italics added] and to encourage hope”, to help communities grow, to be aware of their rights, to apply their talents, and create their own futures’. He dreams of a ‘Church that does not stand aloof from life, but immerses herself in today’s problems and needs, bandaging wounds and healing broken hearts with the balm of God.’

His notion of mission is thus not confined to inner-church matters. At the opening of the 2021-1923 Synod on Synodality on 9 October 2021, he said that the Vatican Council understood mission as including ‘apostolic commitment to the world of today’, but warned that this was opposed to ‘proselytism’. In an address to Catechists on 27 September 2013, he insisted: ‘What attracts is our witness… Words come…. But witness comes first: people should see the Gospel, read the Gospel, in our lives.’

FULL ARTICLE

Bruce Duncan, Plenary Council fails to embrace Pope Francis’s wider social vision (Eureka Street)

Apostolate of the laity vs apostolate of the faithful

With only two months left until the Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council, it is worth recalling a key distinction insisted on by Cardijn at the Second Vatican Council.

Indeed, one of his key frustrations in his work with the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate in 1961, writes Stefan Gigacz, was the confusion and conflation by Commission members of the concepts of ‘apostolate of the laity’ and ‘apostolate of the faithful.”

For Cardijn, the “apostolate of the faithful” related to those tasks that lay people “carry out in religious life properly speaking (e.g. their participation in the Holy Sacrifice, in works of charity, etc.).”

In contrast, “apostolate of the laity” (or “lay apostolate”) related to the tasks that lay people “exercise in temporal life (in their profession, civic life, etc.).”

The consequence of confusing or conflating the two, Cardijn observed, was “fail(ure) to adequately highlight the necessity and importance of the proper and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people in temporal life.”

“This point seems to me, however, to be decisive in the world of the present and the future!” he insisted in a note for the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate.”

READ MORE

Stefan Gigacz, “Apostolate of the laity” vs “apostolate of the faithful” (Plenary Reflections)

Caroline Chisholm’s lay apostolate

In our April webinar, ACI will look at the life of Australian lay apostolate pioneer, Caroline Chisholm, known for her work with immigrant women and on family welfare.

Born in 1808, she arrived in Australia with her husband, Archibald, in 1838. They soon became aware of the difficult conditions that faced newly arrived immigrants, particularly young women who came without any money, friends, or family, or jobs to go to. Many turned to prostitution to survive.

Chisholm found placement for these young women in shelters, such as her own, and helped find them permanent places to stay. She started an organisation with the help of the governess for an immigrant women’s shelter. During the seven years she lived in Australia, she placed over 11,000 people in homes and jobs.

After a spell in England, the Chisholms returned to Australia to live in Victoria, where Caroline continued her work with immigrants, winning praise from the community and the Victorian government. In 1858, the family returned to live in Sydney before retiring to the UK in 1865 where they lived their final years. Caroline and Archibald both died in 1877.

SPEAKERS

Clara Staffa Geoghegan is co-director of the Siena Institute and an executive secretary at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Rodney Stinson is the author of two books on the life of Caroline Chisholm, “Unfeigned love: Caroline Chisholm and her works,” and “See, Judge, Act: Caroline Chisholm’s Lay Apostolate.”

CLICK BELOW TO REGISTER VIA ZOOM

Caroline Chisholm’s Lay Apostolate, Thursday 21 April 2022, 7pm AEST

READ MORE

Chisholm, Caroline (1808–1877) (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

Caroline Chisholm (Wikipedia)

IMAGE

Public Record Office Victoria / Old Treasury Building

Campion Society webinar: Video

Thanks to Colin Jory and Richard Doig for an excellent webinar on “The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia” on Tuesday 15 February 2022.

Also taking part were eight direct descendants of the original Campions, Karl Schmude, son of Alf, Anne Kelly and Barbara Kelly Cooper, daughters of Kevin T. Kelly, Jacinta Heffey and Marilyn Puglisi, daughters of Gerard Heffey, Tom Knowles son of Bill Knowles, as well as Paul Santamaria and Anne McIlroy, son and daugther of BA Santamaria. Also present was David Moloney, nephew of Des O’Connell.

We thank them all for joining us.

WATCH THE VIDEO

READ MORE

Colin Jory, The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia (Text of talk)

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)

Campion Society website (Australian Cardijn Institute)

The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia

Inspired by the encyclicals Rerum Novarum and later by Quadragesimo Anno, in 1929 a group of Catholic university students from Melbourne launched a study circle they called “The Campion Society” to study and act on the social issues facing Australia.

As the Great Depression took hold over the next decade, the Campion Society members launched or helped launch a wide range of social initiatives, including the YCW, the Australian National Secretariat of Catholic Action, the National Catholic Rural Movement and many others.

In our first ACI webinar of 2022, 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.

CLICK TO REGISTER

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

READ MORE

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)

12 pastoral priorities for the Ecclesial Assembly

The Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean is nearing its conclusion with the adoption of twelve pastoral priorities.

The priorities are:

  • Recognise and value the initiative of young people in the ecclesial community and society as agents of transformation.
  • Increase formation in synodality to eradicate clericalism.
  • In the light of the People of God and Vatican II, renew our conception and experience of the Church as People of God, in communion with the richness of its ministeriality, while avoiding clericalism and promoting pastoral conversion.
  • Accompany victims of social and ecclesial injustices with a process of recognition and reparation.
  • Promote the participation of lay people in spaces of cultural, political, social and ecclesial transformation.
  • Reaffirm and give priority to an integral ecology in our communities beginning from the four dreams of ‘Querida Amazonia’ (Beloved Amazonia).
  • Boost the active participation of women in ecclesial ministries, instances of government, discernment and decision-making.
  • Hear the cry of the poor, excluded and the discarded.
  • Foster a personal encounter with Jesus Christ incarnated in the reality of the continent.
  • Promote and defend the dignity of life of the human person from conception to natural death.
  • Reform the formative itineraries of seminaries, including themes such as integral ecology, Indigenous peoples, inculturation, interculturality and the social thought of the Church.
  • Accompany Indigenous and African-American peoples in the defence of life, land and culture.

Many of these are also directly relevant to Australian circumstances, particularly in light of the forthcoming Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council in July 2022.

From the point of view of promoting the lay apostolate of lay people, the priority to “promote the participation of lay people in spaces of cultural, political, social and ecclesial transformation” is particularly significant.

SOURCE

Rafael Luciani (Twitter)

Paraguay launches Year of Laity

Paraguay’s bishops launched a Year of the Laity on the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday 21 November.

“In 2022 we invite you to continue like those disciples of Emmaus, who ‘instantly set out to proclaim Christ’ (cf. Lk 24, 33-35). In the light of this Gospel we want to remain open to what the Lord wants to say to us and dedicate a new time of reflection on the being and mission of the laity , who ‘are men and women of the church in the heart of the world and men and women of the world in the heart of the church’

“We must give priority to evangelisation,” the bishops noted in a statement at the end of their General Assembly. “Furthermore, it is necessary to evangelise the field of politics and politicians, according to the proposal of the Church’s Social Doctrine, so that they love the country and not just their interests”.

Looking at the situation in the country, the bishops called, among other things, for agrarian reform and real dialogue with a concrete and in-depth approach to solving the problems related to land tenure and ownership.

They also noted a “deepening of inequalities” in various sectors and areas, citing in particular education, land rights, health, labor, indigenous peoples and farmers.

“We are in a very difficult context, there is no clear proposal or adequate support for the development of peasant and indigenous family agriculture, an agriculture that provides food to people; rather, large-scale agriculture is preferred for export,” the statement continued.

“We see a lack of opportunities for the poor. Many of the laws passed by state institutions are to the detriment of the poorest. We are concerned about the lack of dialogue and listening.”

Given this context of social inequality, the bishops emphasised the importance of the family as a stable basis of society, and call on the state to promote and accompany them, considering the creation of a family ministry appropriate.

The bishops also highlighted growing insecurity associated with drug trafficking, which has “permeated public institutions and increasing violence.”

And they warned of a worrying increase in homicides, feminicide, robbery and assaults.

“The government and the responsible institutions must redouble their efforts to restore peace to our people,” the said.

“The Paraguayan Bishops’ Conference proposes to dedicate the year 2022 to the laity,” they concluded. “This pastoral initiative is an opportunity to address the great issues of national and ecclesiastical reality and to take actions that allow for personal conversion and social change by strengthening what is already being done in the dioceses of the country.”

READ MORE

El 2022 será el año dedicado a los laicos (Diocesis de Ciudad del Este)

Mensaje del obispos del Paraguay Año del Laicado (Episcopal Conference of Paraguay)

The Bishops: “We must give priority to evangelization and also necessary to evangelize the field of politics and politicians” (Foreign Affairs Co NZ)

Inauguration of the Year of the Laity: “on the way to proclaim Christ” (Fides)

Cardijn’s triumph: The World Congress on Lay Apostolate 1951

This month we celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of Cardijn’s greatest triumphs, i.e. his keynote speech to and decisive influence over the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate in Rome from 7-14 October 1951, which helped set the stage for Vatican II.

Recalling Cardijn’s keynote speech entitled, “The World Today and the Lay Apostolate,” Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara would later characterise Cardijn’s ” complete panorama of the great issues of the present time” as having a “very great impact” on him, “one of the greatest of my life.”

In the longer term, however, the most important impact of Cardijn’s speech and the work of his allies was the change in perspective introduced by the Congress.

As Stefan Gigacz writes in an article recalling the Congress and Cardijn’s contribution, “the Congress proved to be a defining moment, introducing two major shifts in perspective that would come to fruition at Vatican II.”

First, it introduced the JOC’s reality-based see-judge-act as the method of work at the Congress instead of the traditional doctrinal approach beginning from Church teaching.

Secondly, and equally if not even more important, it introduced Cardijn’s conception of lay apostolate as the role of the lay person transforming the world “in his personal life, in his family, professional, social, cultural and civic life, on the national and international planes” rather than in terms of personal piety, charitable and even social action.

In this sense, Cardijn’s speech anticipated both the conception of lay apostolate that would be adopted by Vatican II in its Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, and Decree on the Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem, as well as the see-judge-act method adopted in the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the World of Today, Gaudium et Spes.

Indeed, Cardijn’s conception of a “new apostolate” for the emerging “new world” also directly foreshadows the concept of “new evangelisation” that would be adopted by the CELAM bishops at Medellin in 1968.

READ MORE

Joseph Cardijn, The world today and the apostolate of the laity (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn and the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate 1951 (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, The leaven in the Council, Joseph Cardijn and the Jocist Network at Vatican II (Australian Cardijn Institute)

ACI calls for ‘revitalisation’ of lay apostolate

In a new submission to the Plenary Council, the Australian Cardijn Institute has called for the establishment of an “Australian Catholic Council for the Lay Apostolate” to support the “revitalisation” of the lay apostolate as understood by the Second Vatican Council.

“The term ‘apostolate’ describes the way in which Christians are to live their faith,” the submission notes. “Each Christian has both a personal and a social apostolate in living out their mission as a follower of Christ.” This is to be distinguished from the work of “lay ministry,” which “requires authorisation from the competent authority,” the submission explains.

“We urge the Council to draw on the rich experience of the Jocist movements in Australia to revitalise understanding of the lay apostolate,” the submission says, referring to the movements that draw on the heritage of Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) or Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne (JOC).

Cardijn was “a leading voice among those bishops who worked on the articulation of the role of the Church in the world and the apostolate of the laity as they appear in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today (Gaudium et Spes) and the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem),” the submission states.

“The development of lay ministry has been a great positive in the Church but it is deeply paradoxical that this emphasis appears to have developed at the expense of the Vatican II conception of lay apostolate,” commented ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz. “It’s time to rebalance priorities.”

The ACI submission proposes the establishment of an “Australian Catholic Council for the Lay Apostolate” specifically to promote the lay apostolate as described in the Vatican II Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. It further calls for financial support for the provision of “direct funding to nationally organised movements that promote the lay apostolate” understood in this sense.

Finally, it calls for resources to be directed to “training in the theology and pedagogy of lay movements promoting faith formation and social transformation for priests, religious and lay people” as well as “research, publication and study to foster understanding of the lay apostolate and the application of Catholic Social Teaching.”*

ACI Submission: https://australiancardijninstitute.org/aci-calls-for-lay-apostolate-council/

Contact: aci@australiancardijninstitute.org