ACI Newsletter – July 2020

Cardijn live in Ballarat

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

Stefan Gigacz

Secretary 


Catholics mobilise on refugee issues

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

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

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

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

READ MORE

Catholics combine on refugee issues (Australian Cardijn Institute)

PHOTO

John Englart / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0 


Historic Cardijn recording now online

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

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

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

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

LISTEN

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

VIDEO

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

PHOTO

John Molony / Stefan Gigacz 


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

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

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

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

READ MORE

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


Renegade in a cassock

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

German network, Deutsche Welle, tells his story.

WATCH THE VIDEO

Renegade in a cassock (DW/YouTube)

READ MORE

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


John Curnow and the Springbok tour of New Zealand 1981

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

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

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

READ MORE

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


Dorothy Day’s 1970 visit to Australia


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

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

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

LISTEN TO DOROTHY SPEAK

Dorothy Day speaks in Melbourne 1970 (Dally Messenger)

ORDER THE BOOK

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

Click here for order form

READ MORE

Dorothy Day’s radical faith (New Yorker)

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

PHOTO

Dorothy Day / Wikipedia 


RIP Lesley Campbell

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

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

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

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

READ MORE

Mark Ager, RIP Lesley Campbell (Australian Cardijn Institute)

VIDEO

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

PHOTO

Lesley Campbell / Michael Campbell 


John Madigan, blacksmith and politician

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

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

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

READ MORE

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

John Madigan (Wikipedia)

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

PHOTO

Ballarat Courier 


World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2020

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

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

RESOURCE

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

IMAGE

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


Coming Events 

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

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

ACI Newsletter – June 2020

Black Lives Matter Edition

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Black Lives Matter edition of our newsletter.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cardijn movements have a long and proud history of working for racial justice that we highlight in this issue.

The US YCW, in fact, launched a national campaign in 1958 while Cardijn expressed himself strongly in an article lamenting the famous incident of the Little Rock Nine black students, who were refused entry to a white school in 1957. Several years later in 1964, Congolese former YCW chaplain, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Joseph Malula,called on the Second Vatican Council to condemn racism.

And we recall the commitment of Catholic Worker activist, Martin Gugino, who suffered serious injuries at a Black Lives Matter protest in Buffalo, NY.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, applications for this year’s Rerum Novarum Foundation awards are now open. Former YCW fulltime worker, Des Tobin, has published a biography of his famous father, Phonse. We bid farewell to Columban Fr Noel Connolly SSC, who lost a long battle with cancer earlier this month.

Plus news of the Cardijn Community Australia meeting in Melbourne and a Cardijn anniversary mass in Perth.

Stefan Gigacz

Secretary 


A Cardijn influence in the US civil rights movement

As Black Lives Matters protests ramp up around the world, it is perhaps timely to look back at the role of the US Cardijn movements on racial justice issues.

In her book A Time of Awakening, The Young Christian Worker Story in the United States 1938 to 1969, Mary Irene Zotti hghlights a 1957 YCW national enquiry on the theme “Unity” that helped launched grassroots awareness and action around the nation.

“Leaders examined life in the parish and the neighborhood, unions at work and even the United Nations. Actions on international concerns included talking to friends on the need for understanding the situation in other countries, helping immigrants to adjust to American life, and sending CARE packages to the poor overseas,” Zotti writes.

“Major action followed the examination of the facts of racial discrimination,” Zotti notes.

Many jocist priests also played leading roles in the civil rights movement, including Fr James Groppi from Milwaukee. Indeed, a film about his life is due out this year.

READ MORE

The Cardijn influence in the US civil rights movement (Cardijn Research)

VIDEO

When Hell Freezes Over: The Story of Father James Groppi (Trailer) / 11th Story/YouTube 

When Hell Freezes Over: The Story of Father James Groppi (Full Movie)


Catholic Worker activist hospitalised after Black Lives Matter protest

75-year-old Catholic Worker activist, Martin Gugino, has been hospitalised with head injuries after being pushed to the ground by police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Buffalo, New York. Two police are now facing charges of assault over the incident.

President Donald Trump accused Gugino of being an ANTIFA “provocateur.” However, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator of Buffalo diocese defended him.

“We honor Mr Gugino’s witness and service to the Catholic Worker Movement,” Scharfenberger said in a statement to CNA.

READ MORE

Buffalo bishop ‘honors witness’ of Catholic man injured in protest (Catholic News Agency)

Catholic activist has been anti-hunger, anti-war, not ‘antifa,’ friends say (Angelus) 


A chance to shape society

Our Australian response (to Covid-19) can take many different forms, but our priorities need to be clear, writes Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

And there is one priority above all others – the human being must be the focus of any response. Of course the economy matters, but only if it puts the human being at its heart. The economy was made to serve us; we weren’t made to serve the economy

The Church doesn’t have to go too far back into our history to find guidance for these times. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII published his now famous open letter Rerum Novarum on the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour.

We’re in a situation now where the world has changed, perhaps forever, and the principle duties and responsibilities of employers, employees and governments are as much in focus today as they were when Rerum Novarum was issued.

READ MORE

A chance to shape society in ways that weren’t possible before the crisis; but as a community, not just the political leaders (Brisbane Catholic)

PHOTO

Archbishop Mark Coleridge / www.bosnasrebrena.ba (Stipo Karajica) / Wikipedia / CC BY SA 3.0 


Rerum Novarum Awards 2020 now open

Rerum Novarum Awards for social justice have been re-launched The Rerum Novarum Awards for 2020 have been re-launched as a result of the disruption to the school year caused by the COVID-19 virus.

The competition is open to groups of Years 10-12 students in Catholic schools in Victoria for projects on a social justice issue, using the See, Judge, Act method to apply the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

The Gold award in the competition is $10,000, which will be paid to the school to fund a social justice project undertaken by the school. There will also be a Silver award ($5,000) and a Bronze award ($2,500).

Entries will comprise a research paper, a video presentation, a project impact report and a funding proposal in the event that the entry is awarded a cash payment.

READ MORE

Rerum Novarum awards launched (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Document: African archbishop asked Vatican II to condemn racism

In a powerful speech to the Third Session of the Second Vatican Council in 1964, former JOC chaplain, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Joseph Malula of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, appealed for a condemnation of racism

“Racial injustice committed anywhere in the world is an insult to every human being; but you know, Venerable Fathers, what a particularly painful repercussion it awakens in the hearts of black Africans,” Malula said. ‘No doubt, our peoples suffer from a certain complex which makes their sensitivity especially keen in this area. The Church can powerfully assist them to free themselves from this complex.

“It is very desirable (and if I dared, I would say that it is absolutely necessary) that the Council openly condemns Racism – and by racism we must understand the oppression or the persecution suffered by a group of men, from other men, for reasons of colour or race,” he insisted.

READ MORE

Cardinal Joseph Malula (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Schema De Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis – English (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

PHOTO

Cardinal Joseph Malula (Magazine cover) 


Document: Cardijn on the Little Rock drama of 1957

Cardijn often spoke out against racial discrimination and injustice, which he abhorred. He rejoiced when the first international council of the IYCW condemned it.

“We have just spent ten days together with 30,000 young people of all races and colours from 87 countries. It was moving to see the ease of their relationships. On the last day of the Council, the motion condemning all racial discrimination was acclaimed with such unanimity that it was easy to see that it responded to the deepest aspirations of the young people of 1957,” he wrote.

When, a few weeks later, a group of US black students, who became known as the Little Rock Nine, were prevented from taking their places at a (white) school, Cardijn responded strongly.

“Universal basic education must ensure that it eradicates all prejudices of hatred, bitterness, mistrust and selfishness in every field… The Little Rock drama illustrates, alas! that there are still islands where it fails to penetrate. This is yet another reason to multiply demonstrations of union, understanding and friendship. This is a task worthy of young people, and very necessary in order to remove all obstacles to international collaboration.”

FULL ARTICLE

Joseph Cardijn, The lessons of the Little Rock drama (josephcardijn.com)

Little Rock Nine (Wikipedia)

Little Rock Nine (History.com)

IMAGE

Commemorative cover of National Geographic magazine 


Saving the world through youth

“This is an age of youth movements; of youthful Fascism, Hitlerism, Communism; of Young Australia, movements, Young India movements, and etc., etc., but it has been left to little Belgium to inaugurate a young Christian movement which, in the ten years of its existence, has girt together with bands as strong as steel young Christian
working men and working women throughout the whole world,” wrote Carole Gay in the Melbourne Advocate on 17 October 1935 .

“I speak of the Jocistes who, to-day (25 August) in Brussels, held the most amazing and most genuinely moving demonstration I have ever seen,” she continued in what was certainly one of the earliest if not the earliest references to the jocist movement in the Australian Catholic press.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

A Gallant New Crusade, Saving the world through youth (Advocate/Trove) 


Books: Des Tobin remembers “A Man Called Phonse”

Cramming more lives than “your average cat” into his 82 years, Des Tobin has variously been a failed student, springboard diver, discontented apprentice panel beater, junior pole-vaulter, VFL and Olympic Australian Rules footballer, as well as a YCW extension worker in Queensland, ten pin bowling instructor, successful funeral industry executive, golfing tragic, university lecturer and more recently a published author.

His latest book is a biography of his famous father, Phonse Tobin, founder of the Tobin Bros funeral business.

READ MORE

Des Tobin: Writer, speaker, YCW fulltimer (Australian Cardijn Institute)

BUY THE BOOK

destobin.com.au 


Vale Fr Noel Connolly

Originally from Gympie, Queensland, Columban Father Noel Connolly SSC, a good friend of the Cardijn movements and a facilitator for the Australian Plenary Council, has died at the age of 75 after a long illness.

“Noel loved the world and loved people,” writes his colleague, Fr Jim Mulroney. “He believed in the bounty of the blessings received from investing in the truth and above all, he loved God, the trace of whose finger in the arena of human affairs he spent a lifetime discerning.”

“He listened with patience during his many engagements in the spirit of the listening Church he believed in, and encouraged people to listen to what the Spirit is saying. He spoke with enthusiasm of the sense of faith possessed by the community of souls that make up the Church, quietly explaining the difference between the well-known Church that teaches and the less-known, but more desirable one that discerns,” Fr Mulroney concluded.

READ MORE

Plenary council facilitator Columban Father Noel Connolly dies aged 75 (Catholic Leader)

Obituary by Fr Jim Mulroney (Columbans)

PHOTO

Fr Noel Connolly / Columban Fathers 


Coming Events 

CCA General Meeting: Cardijn Community of Australia has confirmed a general meeting at the Mulgrave Catholic Parish Hall on Saturday 27 June from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. with lunch arrangements to be advised.

Issues to be addressed will include: Further contributions to the Australian Plenary Council process, including through Australian Catholics for Renewal; the Future of Work enquiry; Laudato Si developments; new conferences; restructuring of the national group and a proposal for action on the closure of country and suburban newspapers

“We will be asking regional and interstate members unable to travel to contribute their ideas by Thursday 25th June so we can distribute the proposals to the members and friends of the community,” CCA president, Wayne McGough noted.

Cardijn Mass Perth Southern Region: Commemorative mass for Cardijn’s anniversary at the newly opened St Teresa of Calcutta church, Baldivis, at 7 p.m. on Friday 24 July. All welcome. More details next month.

Des Tobin: Writer, speaker, YCW fulltimer

Des Tobin

Born in 1938, Des Tobin says he’s crammed more lives into his 82 years “than your average cat.” He has variously been a failed student, a springboard diver, a discontented apprentice panel beater, a junior pole-vaulter, a VFL and Olympic Australian Rules footballer, a YCW extension worker in Queensland, a ten pin bowling instructor, a successful business executive within the funeral industry, a golfing tragic, a university lecturer and a published author.

Des joined the Malvern Branch of the YCW in 1954 while still a 15-year-old schoolboy at St Joseph’s Technical College Abbottsford. His older brother Barry – who at the time was assistant Melbourne YCW diocesan secretary to Dan Callahan and was later ordained to the priesthood – was Captain of the Malvern YCW under 18-football team and recruited Des as a player. After leaving Abbotsford at the end of 1954 Des joined the branch leaders group.

Terminating his apprenticeship indentures in 1957 and completing National Service Training, Des worked at the YCW Co-operatives before “volunteering” to work for the National YCW at the beginning of 1959. He was assigned to Queensland and has described his two years as a YCW extension worker as a “life changing experience.” The work took him throughout the vast state of Queensland where he helped establish new YCW branches in every Queensland diocese other than Cairns where the then Bishop refused to welcome the YCW.

The responsibility of the position and living away from home brought him a new maturity and as Des was to say “those years helped me become a person in my own right.”

“I was lucky enough to be a premiership player with the Coorporoo Football Club in the QANFL in 1960 but best of all I was to meet my future wife Margaret Cleary (a member of the Brisbane NCGM executive) to whom I have been married for 58 years,” he said. “We have been blessed with a good marriage, four loving, independent children and eleven beautiful grandchildren.”

Des joined the Tobin Brothers funeral business in 1961. He ultimately became the company CEO in 1982 and remained in that position until his retirement in 1998.

A man called Phonse

Biographer

He then turned his hand to writing and since 2003 he has written and published six biographical works.

His most recent work Just a Man Called Phonse – the biography of his late father A.V. (Phonse) Tobin – was published in October 2018..

The life of Phonse Tobin was anything but ordinary. Born in 1905, he followed on behind soldiers as they marched to the wharves to depart for World War I. He earned pocket money by trapping rats and collecting the South Melbourne Council’s rat bounty, and almost ‘haunted’ the Collins Street movie and live theatres.

After leaving school in 1919 he worked as a storeman, salesman, soldier and fireman. In 1934 Phonse and three of his brothers started what has become Australia’s most successful family-owned funeral service company – Tobin Brothers Funerals.

A natural entertainer, Phonse possessed a fine singing voice and produced many amateur theatrical productions in the 1930s. He was a good all-round sportsman and a successful professional footrunner. He was a long-serving member of the North Melbourne Football Club committee and was the club’s president from 1955 to 1957. He was a life member of both the NMFC and the VFL (now AFL).

Phonse was one of those rare characters who could meet, communicate and be at ease with people of all classes and walks of life – from prize fighters to prime ministers, from “mug” punters to wealthy publicans or bookmakers, from Knights of the Southern Cross to knights of the realm, from everyday parish priests to ‘princes’ of the church, and from grave diggers to governors.

Like everyone else, he had his failings. But these failings – such as they were – were more than offset by his strength of character, generous spirit, creative flair, kindness to people in need, and his love for and undying support of his family.

To obtain a copy of Just a Man Called Phonse (or other books by Des Tobin), visit Des’s website destobin.com.au, call him on 0417 510 211 or email destobin@killaghy.com

Des Ryan

Rerum Novarum awards launched

Rerum Novarum Awards

Rerum Novarum Awards for social justice have been re-launched The Rerum Novarum Awards for 2020 have been re-launched as a result of the disruption to the school year caused by the COVID-19 virus.

The competition is open to groups of Years 10-12 students in Catholic schools in Victoria for projects on a social justice issue, using the See, Judge, Act method to apply the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

The Gold award in the competition is $10,000, which will be paid to the school to fund a social justice project undertaken by the school. There will also be a Silver award ($5,000) and a Bronze award ($2,500).

Entries will comprise a research paper, a video presentation, a project impact report and a funding proposal in the event that the entry is awarded a cash payment.

The relaunching will also make it possible for school groups to work on an issue that has emerged as a result of the COVID-19 virus or which has been compounded by the virus.

In re-launching the 2020 Awards, the chairman of the Rerum Novarum Foundation, Brian Lawrence, said : “When we launched these inaugural awards we could not have anticipated the disruption that would be caused to the school year. Rather than being a distraction in a difficult year, the relaunched awards will give schools the opportunity to focus on a project that will help students to better understand this new world, the social justice impacts of the virus and how the application of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching might be applied to alleviate injustice and deprivation.”

“The virus has brought the greatest threat to social justice that Australia has seen in generations. It has laid bare and exacerbated many social justice issues, sometimes raising deeper and more complex questions about fairness and justice and suggesting that more
complex solutions are required.”

Because there will also be many issues that will continue or re-emerge during and after the virus emergency the topics that may be chosen are not limited to those raised by the COVID19 virus.

Rerum Novarum was the encyclical letter written by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to address important social issues of that time. It was the seminal document in the development of the Church’s social teaching in the modern era. Successive popes have issued encyclicals
addressing a broader range of important social issues and further developing the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Each year the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference releases a social justice statement on a contemporary issue of social justice, based on these principles.

Expressions of interest are to be lodged by Friday 19 June 2020 and entries are to be lodged by Friday 6 November 2020.

Further information is available at https://resourcecem.com/rerum-novarum-awards/

Email inquiries may be made to: rerumnovarumawards@cem.edu.au

Lessons from a township that resisted apartheid

Oukasie, South Africa

Can people on the wrong end of power change the world by working together? Or are the moments when the powerless take control of their own lives doomed to be snuffed out?

The question is raised by Kally Forrest’s book Bonds of Justice: The Struggle for Oukasie. It is another in the Hidden Voices series which aims to recover and preserve writings on society which would otherwise fall through publishers’ nets. The book is short and highly readable, and so is accessible to a non-academic audience. It has been some years in the making – it uses information gathered in 2011 and 2012. But the story it tells raises topical issues.

Forrest details the fight, in the last years of apartheid, of the people of Oukasie, a township near Brits in North West Province, against an attempt to force them to move to Lethlabile, 25 km from Brits, primarily because their presence offended white residents. While it was common under apartheid for black people to be removed to areas where they would be out of sight to whites, it was uncommon for those who faced this threat to resist it successfully. Oukasie did manage to defeat the attempted removal.

It organised to do this despite a sustained campaign by the apartheid authorities. This included the murder of anti-removal leaders and members of their family, but its chief strategy was to divide residents. So, resistance could only succeed if the resisters were organised and united. While thousands were induced to move, enough stayed to force the authorities to abandon the removal and agree that Oukasie be developed.

Unusual circumstances made Oukasie an ideal site for strong grassroots organisation in which people remain united because they share in decisions.

The Resistance

Brits was the site of strong worker organisation, largely the work of Young Christian Workers (YCW), founded by Roman Catholic priests as a vehicle for European workers to change exploitative conditions through organised efforts. YCW, which in Brits was open to non-Christians, stressed democratic grassroots organisation based on careful strategy summed up in its motto – “See, judge, act” – which encouraged members to reflect on what they saw before deciding what to do about it.

Young Christian Workers was political, since it challenged the effect of economic power on its members. But it was wary of the political movements which, it believed, wanted workers to act in ways which advanced the movements’ interests but not their own. It was able to maintain this stance because, in contrast to much of the rest of the country, the political organisations were not active in Oukasie.

Its attitude was identical to that of a section of the trade union movement which happened to be strongly represented in Brits. Its vehicle was the union which became the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa). Young Christian Workers’s members gravitated to it and it developed a strong presence in Oukasie. The resistance to removal relied on the same stress on grassroots participation and careful strategy which Young Christian Workers and Numsa adopted in the workplace.

The Oukasie resistance became, therefore, a test for an approach which relied on the efforts of grassroots people rather than high profile political leaders to change the world.

In one sense, this route to change worked. Oukasie was reprieved, and this was followed by a period of development. The Brits transitional local government which was elected in the mid-1990s was led by Levy Mamobolo, a unionist and anti-removal leader who, until his untimely death, led the area effectively and honestly. The first few years seemed to show that democratic local organisation could also produce political leadership which serves the people rather than itself.

But, as Forrest shows, the Oukasie story does not end happily. Leaders committed to public service were forced out of the local government; public services declined and corruption increased.

Forrest therefore frames her book not as a story of the triumph of a particular way of fighting for change but as evidence of what is possible if people organise themselves in the way Oukasie did. The author of an important book on Numsa, she is an advocate of the approach followed by Young Christian Workers, Numsa and the Oukasie resisters. She contrasts this with the selfish elitism which gained control of Brits.

But she leaves unanswered the key question: is the grassroots organisation which saved Oukasie a realistic route to change, or is it doomed to give way to the top-down leadership to which Brits succumbed?

What does the ultimate defeat mean?Given the importance of this question, it is a pity that Forrest does not analyse the defeat of grassroots democracy in Oukasie. We are left wondering how and why control passed from the “good guys” to the “bad guys”.

One reason may well have been that the governing African National Congress’s (ANC’s) politics turned out to be more powerful than those who supported the Oukasie resistance hoped. Forrest records that key figures in the resistance to removal joined the ANC and served in its committees once it was unbanned. This suggests that Oukasie’s ability to maintain an independent path was purely a result of happenstance (the lack of a political presence in the area).

Despite these limitations, the book makes an important contribution. Forrest’s sympathy for the Oukasie campaign does not prevent her from highlighting weaknesses. She acknowledges that the campaign failed to prevent thousands leaving Oukasie, and she documents the defeat of the politics she champions as Oukasie moved from resistance to local governance. This makes the book a highly credible account of the events it describes.

The book should, therefore, be read by anyone concerned with democracy’s future in South Africa, but in other contexts too. It should also trigger a debate on whether the political approach it describes is feasible.

Author

, Professor of Political Studies, University of Johannesburg

Source

The Conversation

World War II martyrs on both sides

Jocist martyrs

World War II in Europe ended 75 years ago in May 1945. Right to the end, however, JOC and JEC leaders continued to die in Nazi concentration camps.

The 23-year-old French YCW leader, Marcel Carrier, who had been sent to Germany as forced labour, was one of the last, dying at the Flossenburg concentration on 6 May 1945 – just two days before the end of fighting.

Married at eighteen, he was survived by his wife and three young daughters.

The French priest, René Giraudet, whose youthful ambition to become a missionary, had been thwarted by ill health, had volunteered to go to Germany to work as a clandestine chaplain to the workers who had been sent there.

Like Marcel Carrier, he was arrested for his work with the Catholic Action groups that had been organised among the French workers.

He was imprisoned in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp until its liberation by American troops on 15 April 1945. Already weakened by typhus, he was evacuated by plane to Paris where he died in hospital on 12 June.

However, Catholic Action martyrs were not restricted to the Allied side.

Born on 25 January 1885, Erich Klausener served in the German army during World War I. He was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class in 1914 and the Iron Cross First Class in 1917 for his bravery.

After the war, he became a public servant, serving in various ministries, heading the Police Division of the Ministry of the Interior from 1924.

In 1928, he became head of German Catholic Action and took a strong stand against the nazification of Germany during the 1930s.

On 24 June 1934, he openly criticised the growing violence of Hitler’s government in a speech to the Catholic Congress.

Six days later during the Night of the Long Knives on 30 June 1934, he was assassinated on the orders of Reinhard Heydrich.

Klausener was supported in his opposition to Hitler by Bishop August Von Galen. However, most German bishops failed to oppose the Nazi regime.

SOURCES

Marcel Carrier (Cardijn Pioneers)

René Giraudet (Cardijn Priests)

Erich Klausener (Spartacus Educational)Bishop August von Galen (Spartacus Educational)

Laudato Si’ five years on

Laudato Si'

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ important encyclical Laudato Si’ on “Care for Our Common Home,” updating Catholic Social Teaching on environmental as well as labour and other issues.

Brian Lawrence offers a detailed analysis of the encyclical in his article “The Economics of Laudato Si’: No surprises here” published by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations.”

“Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ is primarily concerned with a range of environmental issues, particularly climate change. However, as the Pope emphasises, environmental issues cannot be separated from the promotion of social justice, the need to care for the poor and the operation of economic systems. As a result, a significant part of the encyclical draws on Catholic social teaching on economic affairs and the operation of markets,” Lawrence writes.

“The encyclical’s analysis and consideration of economic issues has been criticised in some quarters. Prominent attacks on the encyclical, and Pope Francis personally, are to be found in editions of The Australian and The Weekend Australian newspapers published shortly after the publication of the encyclical.

“The editorial of The Weekend Australian on 27-28 June 2015 claimed that Pope Francis and his advisers “emerge as environmental populists and economic ideologues of a quasi-Marxist bent”, that his views “are not part of the church’s deposit of the faith and they are not tenets of faith and morals” and that “the flock is not obliged to follow the shepherd” in his attempt to “reposition the church so far to the green-left”.

“The substance of the editorial is a personal attack on Pope Francis for taking the Catholic Church into new areas of social and economic teaching and departing from the teaching of his predecessors. These claims are part of an ongoing narrative being spread in sections of the media and in social commentary. Confronting the matters raised in the editorial is a means of setting the public record straight.

The response to the editorial in this paper falls into several section: an outline of the nature and purpose of Catholic social teaching; a review of Catholic social teaching on economics and markets; an outline of what Laudato Si’ says on economic matters; a response to the editorial’s use of quotations from the encyclical; and a response to the various criticisms made in the editorial.

“This paper demonstrates these kinds of criticisms of the economics of Laudato Si’ are without foundation and that what Pope Francis has said on economic issues is sound and is perfectly consistent with earlier Catholic social teaching on economic issues, including the operation and regulation of markets. The criticisms of Pope Francis and the encyclical by The Weekend Australian are unjustified and grossly unfair,” Lawrence concludes.

Meanwhile, Parramatta YCW are taking action as part of Laudato Si’ Week, writes youth engagement officer, Thomas Magri in Catholic Outlook.

“We are taking action with the introduction of a range of climate justice projects including vegan cooking classes, environmental documentary reviews, social inquiries and reviews and engaging our Facebook community to keep everyone updated.

“This project began when we realised that a lot of the YCW members held climate justice quite close to their hearts and are passionate about this issue. They felt that if they did not take action now, that future generations will not be able to live the same quality of life that we do now.

“Soon after this, we put together a climate justice coordination team which was made up of three people. As the call to ‘care for our common home’ talks about working in unity with everyone, we are all equal on this earth so let’s work towards a community where we are working towards a common good.

‘The community reacted strongly to our projects with our vegan cooking classes selling out after only a few days of advertisement. Once completed, it left everyone who attended eager and passionate to be more involved and to start taking action in their personal lives.

Parramatta YCW is in the process of planning sustainability classes which will be paired up with running a community garden. The classes will teach practical skills which would allow people to take personal action in their own lives at home to reduce their carbon footprint.

SOURCES

Brian Lawrence, The Economics of Laudato Si’: No surprises here (Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations)

Thomas Magri, Climate justice close to hearts of Parramatta Young Christian Workers (Catholic Outlook)

PHOTO

Parramatta YCW

 

Training Catholic Activists in New Zealand

See Judge Act

Rod Orange’s book, “See, Judge, Act, Training Catholic Activists in New Zealand, 1939-1983” is a history of the lay leadership training groups In this country, variously known as the Catholic Youth Movement (CYM), later the Young Christian Workers (YCW), and affiliated with Young Christian Students (YCS) and the Christian Family Movement (CFM), writes Pat Lythe in NZ Catholic, writes Pat Lythe, a former Parish and Pastoral Services Group leader at Auckland diocese, in NZ Catholic magazine.

“It is more than just a history; it is an analysis of the foundational principles behind the ‘See, Judge, Act’ theology, combining Catholic social teaching with leadership training In order to reform society. It traces the development and growth of the groups and their later decline and eventual closure. Rod himself was a leader In the movement, but Jocelyn Franklin, who had years as a full-time leader and had surveyed members about their experiences, was the Inspiration and instigator of the book. Jocelyn sadly died the day the book was released.

“Belgian priest Joseph Cardijn developed the movement to prepare young leaders to be the yeast in the dough of society struggling in the disturbed social conditions of the Depression and two world wars. The author traces the history from the beginnings in Dunedin in 1937, followed by groups in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. The study programs and the numbers and, In many cases, names of young people involved are examined. Prior to Vatican II, when there was very little lay involvement in the Church, these groups expanded and blossomed

“In the 1950s and 1960s. Chapter 6 looks at the influence of Vatican II on the movement and Chapter 7 covers the more radical positions the movement began to take, followed by a proliferation of other groups people could join. Chapter 8 looks at the decline of the movement, and the last chapter asks “what now” under Pope Francis?

“Rod has meticulously researched every group, published as many photographs as he could find and name, and gives an interesting take on the support or otherwise of the hierarchy. Many of our leaders today, (or yesterday!), Jim Anderton, Ivan Snook,, Paul and Shirley Temm, Alf Kirk, Ian Shirley, Cardinal Tom Williams, and Manuka Henare were products of this Catholic Action movement.

“Rod asks at the end, what are we doing today which enables our lay people to use their lived experience as a catalyst for being missionary in today’s world? In a ‘Fit for Mission’ scenario, it Is a very pertinent question. A book to reminisce through, but to be challenged by,” Lythe concludes.

Former YCW chaplain, Jim Consedine, also has another review in Common Good, magazine.

“What a labour of love this book is!” Consedine begins.

“For more than 10 years, Rod Orange researched, wrote and has finally produced an amazing history of not just one Church lay organisation, but four-the Catholic Youth Movement (CYM), Young Christian Workers (YCW), Young Christian Students (YCS) and the Christian Family Movement (CFM). These movements thrived in New Zealand during the 1960s and 1970s and gradually died out in the 1980s.

“At their peak, they helped form several thousand lay Catholics nationwide about Christian life and how to live it in today’s world. Their formula was simple – to follow the mantra of the prophetic Belgian priest/founder Joseph Cardijn: See, Judge, Act. Nourished by their regular weekly meetings, these folk went into their workplaces, homes and wider communities to bear witness to the message of Christ as found in the gospels and in Catholic teaching.

“Rod Orange explores in much detail the modus operandi of the movements, interviews many key leaders and draws on written archival material. Ultimately he asks and attempts to answer the difficult question-why did they flourish so successfully for so long and then wither and die within a short few years? He looks at the key role bishops and chaplains played, the secular social movements that arose during the latter period, the upheaval in the Church after Vatican II, and the influence changing social mores and values had on Church lay movements.

“He has produced a very readable popular history, filled with facts and insights. Illustrated with more than 100 photographs, many of them along with a lucid text provide historic insights into the youth of previous generations and their involvement with the Church.

See, Judge, Act largely succeeds in its aims to provide an eyewitness account of the lay movements of the era, 1937-83. That he opens up many questions which need far more in-depth reflection is clear and answers are not immediate. Historians in the future will hopefully seek resolution to such questions and will find this book a great aid in their further research.

CREDITS

NZ Catholic

Common Good (Catholic Worker)

THE BOOK

SEE, JUDGE, ACT – Training Catholic Activists in Now Zealand, 1937-1983. By Rod Orange, (Steele Roberts Aotoaroa, 2019) $NZ39.99

ACI Newsletter – May 2020

Pentecost Edition

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Pentecost edition of our newsletter.

As Cardijn recalled of Pope John XXIII, “He spoke so freely of a new Pentecost!” Like John XXIII, he hoped that Vatican II would open the way to “a new Pentecost proclaiming the way of union and peace” to the world.

In this spirit, the Cardijn Community has also long sought to promote a “New Pentecost” in the Church and world. And this year, the Catholic movement, Pax Romana – ICMICA is organising an online celebration of Pentecost on Sunday 31 May, albeit at 11.00pm Australian Eastern Time.

From a historical perspective, we also recall the 70th anniversary of the death of Sillon movement founder, Marc Sangnier, a major influence on Cardijn, on Pentecost Sunday 1950. And we would particularly like to remember YCW cooperative pioneer, Bob Maybury AO, who died at the age of 92 earlier this month.

And we have lots more reading – and watching – below.

Stefan Gigacz

Secretary 


Laudato Si’ five years on

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ important encyclical Laudato Si’ on “Care for Our Common Home,” updating Catholic Social Teaching on environmental as well as labour and other issues.

Brian Lawrence has a detailed analysis of the encyclical in his article “The Economics of Laudato Si’: No surprises here” published by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations.”

Meanwhile, Parramatta YCW are taking action as part of Laudato Si’ Week, writes youth engagement officer, Thomas Magri in Catholic Outlook.

“We are taking action with the introduction of a range of climate justice projects including vegan cooking classes, environmental documentary reviews, social inquiries and reviews and engaging our Facebook community to keep everyone updated,” Thomas writes.

READ MORE

Laudato Si’ five years on (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


RIP YCW Coop pioneer, Bob Maybury AO

Former YCW leader, Bob Maybury, a leading figure in the history of the Victorian YCW co-operatives, passed away on 16 May, aged 92.

Bob joined the Deepdene YCW leaders group c.1943, and afterwards became a regional YCW committee member. Having gained accountancy qualifications through the Christian Brothers North Melbourne night school, in 1952 Fr Lombard invited him to become the new manager of the YCW Cooperative Housing Society group.

READ MORE

RIP Robert Bernard Maybury AO (CCA Newsletter, May 2020)

VIDEO

Bob Maybury on working in the YCW cooperative movement (Uniting Church/Vimeo) 


Remembering Marc Sangnier, founder of the Sillon movement

This week we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of Marc Sangnier, the founder of the French democratic movement, Le Sillon (The Furrow), which was the precursor and prototype for the YCW and its Specialised Catholic Action counterparts.

Inspired by Pope Leo XIII’s encyclicals on the worker situation (Rerum Novarum) and Church-state relations, Sangnier and a group of students at the Stanislas (University) College in Paris launched a social action “study circle” in 1893 that became known as “The Crypt” after the basement in which they met. Here they developed a method of “democratic education” that in many respects anticipated the “see-judge-act” of the YCW.

By the early 1900s, they had begun to promote similar study circles across France, which took the name “Le Sillon” or “The Furrow” after the magazine they also founded. Cardijn first read this magazine and drew inspiration from it when he began to launch study circles for young workers in Belgium in 1912.

READ MORE

Marc Sangnier – 70 years (Cardijn Research)

PHOTO

ACI Board member, Kevin Vaughan, with a photo of Marc Sangnier during a visit to the old Sillon office in Paris in 2006. 


Cardijn and Karol Wojtyla

This marks also marks the centenary of the birth of Karol Wojtyla, better known today as St (Pope) John Paul II.

The Polish pontiff was one of five 20th century popes (future pope in this instance) personally known to Cardijn. Indeed, young Fr Karol Wojtyla first came to visit and study the YCW during a series of summer visits to Belgium and France in 1947-48. In fact, they met on a number of occasions both in Brussels and Rome as John Paul II affectionately recalled in 1985.

The YCW collaborator, Fr François Houtart, who later drafted the first version of the Introduction to the Vatican II Constitution Gaudium et Spes, accompanied Wojtyla on his visits to factories and mines in Belgium’s Walloon region.

Wojtyla was also close to the English YCW leader, Pat Keegan, who became the first lay person to address Vatican II.

READ MORE

Universal solidarity and brotherhood: Cardijn and John Paul II (Cardijn Research)

PHOTO

Karol Wojtyla (centre front) as a 21-year-old young quarry worker during World War II. 


John Maguire: Memories of Cardijn, Keegan and Vatican II

John Maguire, who was a Brisbane YCW chaplain during the 1950s and later a historian at James Cook University in Townsville, was studying in Rome during Vatican II.

There he met Cardijn and indeed was with Cardijn on the day he received his red cardinal’s hat from Pope Paul VI. John also became close friends with Pat Keegan and upon Pat’s request, Pope Paul appointed him as “ecclesiastical assistant” to the lay auditors at Vatican II.

John thus became one of very few Australians (apart from the bishops) to have an official role at the Council. Indeed, he was present during the famous “Black Week” that almost derailed the Council’s work in 1964.

Now living in retirement in Brisbane, John recently shared his memories with the ACI team in Brisbane.

WATCH THE VIDEO

John Maguire: Memories of Cardijn, Keegan and Vatican II (Australian Cardijn Institute/YouTube) 


A business founded on Catholic Social Teaching?

The Archdiocese of San Francisco recently hosted a webinar in honour of Servant of God Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, a simple parish priest who against great odds organized his followers to put Catholic social teaching to work and founded the world’s largest worker-owned cooperative business in the world, the Mondragon corporation.

Fr Arizmendi, as he was known, was the force behind Mondragon Corporation, which today exceeds $A20 billion in revenue and employs over 75,000 worker-owners across the globe through its nearly 300 companies across an array of sectors incuding finance, manufacturing, education, retail, and consulting.

Speakers were Dr Stephen. A. Cortright, Professor of Philosophy and Tutor, Integral Curriculum of Liberal Arts, at Saint Mary’s College of California and Jesus Maria Herrasti (above), who knew Fr Arizmendi, who has held various executive positions within companies of the Mondragon Corporation across multiple sectors including being Chairman of Mondragon Corporation. Watch from 1:23:00 of the video for where Herrasti highlights the role of the YCW in the foundation of the Mondragon cooperatives.

WATCH THE VIDEO

A Patron Saint for Cooperatives and Entrepreneurs (Archdiocese of San Francisco Office of Human Life and Dignity/YouTube) 


Three touchstones of the genuine YCW: Cardijn

By the early 1930s, the YCW had begun to spread to other continents and it had already inspired the birth of several other “Specialised Catholic Action” movements, including the YCS. This explosive growth also presented a major problem: what was an authentic YCW?

In this important but never previously translated 1932 article, Cardijn answers this question in terms of “three inseparable objectives or three touchstones,” that allow the YCW to be distinguished from any “fake or caricature,” namely that:

– The YCW aims to transform (or “conquer”) the mass of young workers 
– The YCW aims to re-Christianize the real life of working-class youth. 
– The YCW aims to reclaim the milieu or environment in which the mass of young workers work and live.

It is also highly significant that first in Cardijn’s list is the transformation of the “masses” of young worker.

Indeed, it was the YCW’s concern for the masses that first won the support of Pope Pius XI. “At last, someone has come to speak to me about the working masses,” he told Cardijn in 1925.

READ THE ARTICLE

Joseph Cardijn, Three touchstones of the genuine YCW (www.josephcardijn.com)


World War II martyrs on both sides

World War II in Europe ended 75 years ago in May 1945. Right to the end, however, YCS, YCS and other Catholic Action leaders continued to die in Nazi concentration camps.

The 23-year-old French YCW leader, Marcel Carrier, who had been sent to Germany as forced labour, was one of the last, dying at the Flossenburg concentration on 6 May 1945 – just two days before the end of fighting. Married at eighteen, he was survived by his wife and three young daughters.

The French priest, René Giraudet, whose youthful ambition to become a missionary, had been thwarted by ill health, had volunteered to go to Germany to work as a clandestine chaplain to the workers who had been sent there.

On the German side, Erich Klausener became head of German Catholic Action in 1928 and took a strong stand against the nazification of Germany during the 1930s. He was assassinated during the Light of the Long Knives in 1934.

READ MORE

World War II martyrs on both sides (Australian Cardijn Institute)

PHOTO

L to R: Marcel Carrier, René Giraudet and Erich Klausener 


Training Catholic Activists in Now Zealand

This month we have two new reviews of Rod Orange’s book, “See, Judge, Act, Training Catholic Activists in New Zealand, 1939-1983,” which is a history of various Cardijn-inspired groups including the Catholic Youth Movement (CYM), the YCW, YCS and the Christian Family Movement (CFM).

“It is more than just a history; it is an analysis of the foundational principles behind the ‘See, Judge, Act’ theology, combining Catholic social teaching with leadership training In order to reform society,” writes Pat Lythe, a former Parish and Pastoral Services Group leader in Auckland diocese.

“For more than 10 years, Rod Orange researched, wrote and has finally produced an amazing history,” writes former YCW chaplain, Jim Consedine, in another review. “What a labour of love this book is.”

READ MORE

Training Catholic activists in New Zealand (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Reflection: Negotiating the pandemic in the light of Vatican II

“Our nation and our church stand at a pivotal moment as we ponder the crucial issue of how religious communities can contribute to the common good in a time of pandemic and bitter partisan political division,” writes Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. “The Vatican II vision of church, state and politics provides a secure pathway as we face the issues of pandemic and partisanship that are becoming destructive of our national unity.

“The intense debates in recent days about religious freedom versus the right of the state to protect public health provide a key example. For the church, the right to public worship lies at the core of its mission and identity. Similarly, for the state, the protection of its citizens is at the heart of its raison d’être. Too often, the public debate has focused on these sets of rights as if they were absolute.

“One way to break this seeming impasse may be found in the focus in “Gaudium et Spes” on the common good, which recognizes the transcendent goal of each of these claims: public worship and the defense of human life. Neither public health and the defense of human life nor the right to public worship can be ignored.

“Both must be integrated into the larger constellation of issues surrounding our response to the pandemic, such as the economic suffering that our country is enduring, the vulnerability of older people and the ways in which people of color are disproportionately suffering during this crisis.

READ MORE

Cardinal Cupich: How Vatican II can help us navigate the politics of a pandemic (America Magazine)

IMAGE

Pandemic board game / Padaguan / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0

ACI Newsletter – May Day 2020

St Joseph the Worker Edition

Dear Friends,

We’re back with a special shorter edition for May Day, which is also the feast of St Joseph the Worker, and we begin with Bishop Vincent Long’s call for social solidarity in this time of Covid-19.

We highlight a letter by Australian Catholic leaders to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for greater solidarity with those excluded from existing government aid programs.

We feature an article on the IYCW’s International Week of Young Workers as well as an article written by Cardijn for May Day 1952 on the greatness of human work and conclude with a reflection on “labour’s battlefield” and the YCW Prayer.

Finally, please stay tuned for our normal May edition in a couple of weeks.

Stefan Gigacz

Secretary 


Bishop Vincent calls for ‘social solidarity’

In his annual message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Bishop Vincent Long OFM. Conv. of Parramatta, the chairman of the Australian Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, has called for “social solidarity in a time of social distancing.”

“Our hearts go out to everyone who is out of work; to those whose businesses have been forced to close; and to those whose regular income has plummeted while their bills remain,” he said.

“Surviving on the JobSeeker payment, or any other form of government assistance, is difficult. However, there are also many people who are unable to access this support and are at risk of falling through the cracks,” Bishop Long warned, noting the precarious situation facing asylum-seekers, international students and those on temporary protection visas.

Excluding them from government assistance is “inhumane and unworthy of a decent society,” he added.

WATCH VIDEO AND READ FULL TEXT

Bishop Vincent’s Message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker (Australian Cardijn Institute)



ACI joins solidarity call

ACI chairman, Brian Lawrence, has joined a historic group of Australian Catholics including several bishops, Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the CEOs of several major Catholic health and social services providers in writing to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, raising serious concerns for two groups of people that remain on the margins of our community and vulnerable to both the predations of the COVID-19 virus and the despair that comes with it.

“We ask that everyone in the Australian community who is in hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including people seeking protection, be given temporary access to a financial safety net, Medicare, and adequate shelter if they are homeless,” the letter says.

“We ask the Federal Government to remember its responsibility for ensuring safety and human rights of everyone residing within its jurisdiction, even temporarily. In the same way, we hope that foreign governments will be mindful of the needs of Australians stranded abroad at this time,” the letter continues.

READ MORE

ACI asks PM to ensure no-one left behind in Covid crisis (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


International Week of Young Workers 2020

As it has done since the 1980s, the International YCW is this week celebrating the International Week of Young Workers, which has its origins with the Brazilian YCW which first celebrated the National Week of Young Workers in 1970.

The IYCW adopted it as an international event in 1983. This year, however, the movement is celebrating the week as a virtual event.

Former IYCW chaplain, Bishop Reginaldo Andrietta of Jales, Brazil, has written a special prayer for the event.

READ MORE

International Week of Young Workers (International YCW) 


The greatness of human work: Cardijn

Labour “marks a glorious step on the path towards truly human and liberating progress,” wrote Joseph Cardijn in a article for May Day 1952.

“It will be a festival that will honour, respect and magnify human work but not as a god to whom people and families are sacrificed. Instead, labour will be recognised, appreciated and understood as the necessary means to liberate people, families and the whole human race.

“Labour Day is just one step in this long march forward towards recognition and appreciation of the greatness and importance of human work, as humble and as strenuous as it may be,” he wrote.

READ MORE

Labour Day 1952 (josephcardijn.com) 


Reflection: Labour’s battlefield

“May the soul of every worker who died on labour’s battlefield rest in peace!” reads the YCW Prayer.

Nor was it an exaggeration to speak of “labour’s battlefield” as a September 1926 article in the YCW newspaper, La Jeunesse Ouvrière makes clear.

Entitled “Le Travail Meurtrier” or “Murderous Work,” the article, probably written by Fernand Tonnet, cites a recent edition of a Belgian newspaper in which he noted eight work accidents

READ MORE

Labour’s battlefield (Australian Cardijn Institute)

YCW Prayers (josephcardijn.com)

International Week of Young Workers

IYCW

As it has done since the 1980s, the International YCW is this week celebrating the International Week of Young Workers, which has its origins with the Brazilian YCW which first celebrated the National Week of Young Workers in 1970.

The IYCW adopted it as an international event in 1983. This year, however, the movement is celebrating the week as a virtual event.

Former IYCW chaplain, Bishop Reginaldo Andrietta of Jales, Brazil, has written a special prayer for the event.

“The working class in Brazil has suffered a serious setback that is affecting everyone but especially young people,” he writes. “In the face of the current scenario, we are called to unify our voices and actions.

“As a milestone for this challenge, we invite all young people and all people who share our struggle for worthy living and working conditions, to join us, praying as follows:

PRAYER OF THE WORKER

Jesus, I offer you this day:
my work, my difficulties,
Battles, joys and hopes. Grant to us,
young people who are preparing for our professional life,
who are looking for jobs
or who have work,
the consciousness of our dignity,
of our rights and our responsibilities. Grant us the grace to witness our love of life
and to what is honest and just,
through our daily dedication to our union and organisations,
and the wisdom of to act collectively
for the betterment of our living and working conditions. Finally, grant us
loyalty to the mission of working
For the kingdom that is yours,
today and always.

Amen.

SOURCE

The IYCW celebrates the International Week of Young Workers – April 24th – May 1st, 2020 (JOCI)

Dom Reginaldo Andrietta (Facebook)

Dom Reginaldo Andrietta

Labour’s battlefield

Murderous work

“May the soul of every worker who died on labour’s battlefield rest in peace!” reads the YCW Prayer.

Nor was it an exaggeration to speak of “labour’s battlefield” as a September 1926 article in  the YCW newspaper, La Jeunesse Ouvrière makes clear.

Entitled “Le Travail Meurtrier” or “Murderous Work,” the article, probably written by Fernand Tonnet, cites a recent edition of a Belgian newspaper in which he noted eight work accidents:

• in Brussels, a painter fell twenty meters resulting in two broken legs;

• at Marpent, a young worker stumbled and slipped under a locomotive and was beheaded;

• at Frameries, a miner was killed in a landslide;

• at Frameries, another miner suffered a broken leg from falling equipment;

• at Luingne, an agricultural worker, working on a thresher, had his head caught leaving him in a very serious condition;

• at Selzaete, a kid became caught in a strap and was killed;

• at Marcinelle, a worker fell into a cooling tank causing instantanous death;

• at Tournai, a brewery worker was seriously burned by boiling beer.

In the face of such problems, it is no surprise that Tonnet went on to recommend that “at each YCW meeting, we need to spend a few minutes talking about industrial accidents.”

“YCW leaders reading their daily newspaper should take an interest in the stories of accidents that have occurred to their working brothers and sisters,” he wrote

“It will only be by repeated and sustained effort that we will manage to improve security, care attention and protection in work practices and the working environment.

“Each YCW leader needs to draw the attention of other leaders to the frightening scourge of the workplace accident. Each one must feel moved by the stories in the weekly press release of the losses suffered on the labour field of honour of by the army of workers, including scientists, technicians and blue collar workers,” he concluded.

Lest we think that such problems are from the past or still only exist in developing countries, e.g. the Rana Plaza disaster, Safe Work Australia reminds us that 63 workers have already died in industrial accidents in Australia so far this year (as of 23 April).

Moreover, the total for 2019 was 168, up from 144 in 2018.

Clearly, labour remains a battlefield for many.

Stefan Gigacz

JOC 1929

ACI asks PM to ensure no-one left behind in Covid crisis

ACI chairman, Brian Lawrence, has joined a historic group of Australian Catholics including a number of bishops; Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the CEOs of several major Catholic health and social services providers in writing to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, raising serious concerns for two groups of people that remain on the margins of our community and vulnerable to both the predations of the COVID-19 virus and the despair that comes with it.

All 44 signatories have decided that it is time for the letter to be made public, and for Catholics around the country to join in the movement to ensure nobody is left behind, Catholic Outlook adds.

“Right now Australia is home to more than 1.5 million temporary visa holders,” said Fr Peter Smith, Promotor of Justice and Peace, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. “These women and men are members of our communities and congregations: they pray in our pews, work in our restaurants, farms, factories, aged care homes, supermarkets, and NGOs, study in our schools and universities, and live in our neighbourhoods. And we have abandoned them to their fate.”

“We need to look to Singapore to see what can happen when a wealthy, sophisticated nation cares only for their own citizens and tries to ignore all those in their country,” continued Fr Smith. “This virus doesn’t recognise passport status; it devastates everyone equally.”

Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia, Carolina Gottardo, said, “Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia has delivered emergency food packages to more than 500 refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants in vulnerable situations who have lost jobs, have no safety net and cannot go home in the last two weeks alone. The demand for JRS’s services including emergency relief has also increased twofold. The situation is desperate.”

“Many of the women, children, and men we support were already living in severely overcrowded dwellings. Now, as rental arrears build up and some landlords continue to threaten eviction, we are likely to see a surge of temporary visa holders in clusters of Western Sydney who are unable to self-isolate or practice social distancing,” Ms Gottardo continued.

“Our Federal Government’s exclusion of temporary visa holders from a basic temporary net is creating a situation in which people cannot protect themselves or the wider community from COVID-19,” concluded Ms. Gottardo.

Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv of Parramatta, the Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, pointed to an even more vulnerable group saying, “People who have been trafficked, victims of modern slavery, people seeking asylum, and women on temporary visas experiencing domestic violence are all excluded from support and access to Medicare and safe homes. This is not who we want to be as a nation.”

“We are really heartened to see the Tasmanian government give $3 million to support migrant workers in their state. This is not just welcome financial support it is an act of compassion and solidarity that recognises the vulnerability of these workers and the need to protect all people affected by COVID-19 for public health reasons,” Bishop Long said.

The letter also highlights imminent danger posed by the virus for the most distraught group of people – those who came seeking Australia’s protection and who are currently being held in hotels and detention centres across Australia.

Given the circumstances in which they live, this group cannot meet required physical distancing measures and are vulnerable to guards and service providers entering and leaving the facility at will, and potentially carrying COVID-19.

The signatories to the letter ask the Federal Government to remember its responsibility for ensuring safety and human rights of everyone residing within its jurisdiction, even temporarily.

Everyone in Australian community who is in hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including people seeking protection, must be given temporary access to a financial safety net, Medicare, and adequate shelter if they are homeless.

Nobody should be left behind in this time of extraordinary need.

Read the public letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison below:

Australian Catholics ask the Prime Minister to ensure that we really are all in this together

On the 7th of April, 2020, an historic group of Australian Catholics service providers, Religious Orders and Bishops wrote to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and applauded he and his government for showing leadership and agency in the face of this global pandemic. The Prime Minister was congratulated for deploying the vast resources of our wealthy nation in an effort to protect all Australians, including the vulnerable and ensure no one is left to deal with this pandemic on their own.

However, the letter raised two groups of people that remain on the margins of our community and vulnerable to both the predations of the COVID-19 virus and the despair that comes with such vulnerability.

In the first group there are more than 1.5 million temporary visa holders in the Australian community. Many thousands are members of our congregations: they pray in our pews, work in our restaurants, farms, factories, aged care homes, supermarkets, and NGOs, study in our schools and universities, and live in our neighbourhoods.

They are losing their jobs but have no access to any form of financial safety net, to Medicare, to temporary shelter, and to fundamental support services such as free legal advice. Support from overseas family members may also be affected. Most cannot return home at this time.

Within this population, some are in an even more precarious situation: trafficked people and victims of modern slavery, people seeking asylum, and women on temporary visas experiencing domestic violence. For them, the impacts of COVID-19 and the exclusions from government support sit atop an already dangerous and exclusionary reality.

There are also people seeking asylum and refugees living in the community supported by volunteers who provide meal assistance through food banks and vouchers. At present, the number of volunteers has significantly dropped due to social distancing requirements and yet there remains an urgent need for stocking food banks. We are already seeing all kinds of public health and economic impacts: a surge in homelessness, and destitution, including people without food on their tables; a concomitant growth in people who find they cannot meet social distancing and self-isolation requirements; and an increase of already sick individuals without Medicare who are unable to seek timely health care.

The second group includes the people who came seeking Australia’s protection and who are currently being held in hotels and detention centres across Australia. This group have no choice about whether they take the vitally needed steps in maintaining physical distance and hand and coughing hygiene. Despite having committed no crime, they are being held in detention where social distancing is impossible and they are vulnerable with guards and service providers coming and going. We join with the Australian Society for Infection Disease and the Australian College of Infection Prevention to urge the Morrison-government to release asylum seekers and refugees from detention.

To this end, we ask that everyone in the Australian community who is in hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including people seeking protection, be given temporary access to a financial safety net, Medicare, and adequate shelter if they are homeless.

Christians across Australia, including Catholics, have consistently shown concern for the welfare and lives of people who are on the margins. As Catholic leaders, we do the same.

We ask the Federal Government to remember its responsibility for ensuring safety and human rights of everyone residing within its jurisdiction, even temporarily. In the same way, we hope that foreign governments will be mindful of the needs of Australians stranded abroad at this time.

Australia cannot afford to leave some of the most vulnerable people in our community behind. COVID-19 makes us all as vulnerable as the most vulnerable person in Australia. Our support and generosity should extend to everyone in Australia who is in need of it at this critical moment.

None of us have ever experienced what we are going through today. It is a health crisis and becoming an economic crisis, but we must not let it become a crisis for our shared humanity. We must widen the circle of protection and care to include every person in Australia. Our health demands that as does our humanity.

List of Signatories

Fr. Peter Smith, Justice and Peace Promoter, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Most Reverend Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv DD STL, Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service, Bishop of Parramatta

Most Reverend Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Adelaide and Bishop of Port Pirie

Most Reverend Bishop Charles Gauci DD, Bishop of Darwin

Most Reverend Bishop Terence John Gerard Brady, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney

Brother Peter Carroll FMS, President of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA); Provincial, Marist Brothers Province of Australia; Leader, Association of St. Marcellin Champagnat

Very Reverend Fr. Brian McCoy SJ, Provincial, Jesuit Province of Australia

Very Reverend Peter Jones OSA, Prior Provincial, Order of St. Augustine, Province of Australasia

Sr. Alice Foley OCD, Congregational Leader, Carmelite Nuns of Australia

Sr. Clare Nolan RSC, Congregational Leader, Sisters of Charity, Australia

Sr. Eveline Crotty, Institute Leader, Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and PNG

Sr. Jan Barnett rsj, Josephite Justice Coordinator, Josephite Justice Network of Australia

Sr. Louise McKeogh FMA, Provincial, Salesian Sisters, South Pacific Region

Sr. Mary-Louise Petro, Congregational Leader, Sisters of Mercy Parramatta

Sr. Monica Cavanagh rsj, Congregational Leader, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart

Sr. Monica Walsh, Province Leader, Sisters of the Good Sheperd, Australia-Aotearoa/New Zealand

Sr. Patty Fawkner SGS, Provincial Leader, Sisters of the Good Samaritan, Australia

Sr. Stancea Vichie mss, Congregational Leader, Missionary Sisters of Service, Australia

Fr. Tom McDonough CP, Provincial Superior, Passionist Brothers of Australia

Fr. Brian Lucas, National Director, Catholic Mission

John Ferguson, Director, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Social Justice

Dr. Cristina Lledo Gomez, Chair, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC)

Kirsty Robertson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Caritas Australia

Toby Hall, Group Chief Executive Officer, St. Vincent’s Health Australia

Carolina Gottardo, Director, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia; Co-Chair, Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)

Julie Edwards, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jesuit Social Services; Co-Chair, Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA)

Claire Victory, National President, St. Vincent De Paul Society National Council of Australia

Louise Miller Frost, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), St. Vincent De Paul Society (SA)

Jack de Groot, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), St. Vincent De Paul Society (NSW)

Joshua Lourensz, Executive Director, Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV)

Maurizio Vespa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), St. Francis Social Services and the House of Welcome

Sr. Brigid Arthur csb, Founder and Coordinator, Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project (BASP)

Patrice Moriarty, Social Justice Coordinator, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta

Brian Lawrence, Chairperson, Australian Cardijn Institute

Helen Forde, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jesuit Mission

Phil Glendenning, Director, Edmund Rice Centre (ERC)

Richard Haddock, Chair, Mary Aikenhead Ministries

Fergus Fitzsimons, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Centacare New England NorthWest, The Social Services Agency of the Catholic Diocese of Armidale

Rebecca Bromhead, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Marist Solidarity Australia

Dr. Frank Malloy, National Director, Marist Schools Australia

Peter Loughnane, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Catholic Care – Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Mark Phillips, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Catholic Care – Sydney

John Lochowiak, Chairperson, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC)

Sr Louise Cleary csb, President, Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH)

Sr Brigitte Sipa, Regional Leader, Sisters of St Joseph Centre West Region

Sr Mary Clare Holland OP, Prioress, Dominican Sisters of Eastern Australia and the Solomon Islands

Cath Garner, Group Director, Cabrini Outreach

Sue Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Cabrini Health

Wendy Hildebrand ibvm, Province Leader, Loreto Sisters Australia & S.E. Asia Province

Libby Rogerson ibvm, Member, Loreto Justice Network

Bishop Vincent’s Message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker

Bishop Vincent Long

As we mark the Feast of St Joseph the Worker this year, the most significant issue affecting the work life of Australians is the impact of COVID-19. Like you, I have found it deeply distressing to see so many thousands of people queuing to apply for government assistance.

Many Australians have been experiencing their first encounters with CentreLink and our income support systems. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Let us hope that this exposure will translate into a broader and enduring societal solidarity with those who lack adequate income for their needs, those who are struggling to simply survive from day to day and others less fortunate in our community.

We are pleased to see that the JobSeeker payment, which has replaced NewStart, is a more adequate amount – at least for the time being. It is also appropriate that unrealistic mutual obligation requirements have been suspended at this time. The JobKeeper payments too are a welcome effort to support both workers and businesses. However there remain many people who are unable to access this support and are at risk of falling through the cracks.

Over and over the Scriptures encourage us to welcome and care for the ‘strangers’ among us. Excluding asylum seekers and temporary protection visa holders from government assistance is not only inhumane and unworthy of a decent society, it is also dangerous to public health at this time. Similarly, international students and non-residents on working visas are not eligible for income support. Would a good host, who invited guests to contribute to the economy by purchasing educational services or filling skills gaps, simply turn a blind eye to their needs at a time like this?

This major shock to our community, and economy, could provide an opportunity to reset our thinking about how we support the poorest, most marginalized, and most vulnerable members of our community.
In a climate of fear, there is a tendency to narrow our circle. God calls us to a different way: working together, needing each other, being the body of Christ. May St Joseph, model of integrity and solidarity inspire us to serve and to care for all. Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv
Bishop of Parramatta
Chair, Bishops Commission for Social Justice – Mission and Service

Future of Work project

Future of Work

ACI has been considering the possibility of researching Future of Work issues, including the possibility of a universal basic wage, the need for which is particularly evident in poorer countries and in the gig economy within all countries, in conjunction with the Vatican-based Future of Work: Labour After Laudato Si‘ project.

Last month (and before the Pope’s message), we contacted the project with a view to participating in a project that falls short of a Universal Basic Income, but which may achieve the same objects, at least in some economic systems (such as Australia’s). Proving that universal wage and welfare safety nets can work in wealthier economies can provide a way forward for emerging economies. The text of the approach to the Future of Work project included an outline of the two parts of the research being considered.

The first would focus on the rights of workers to a just wage and other employment conditions and protections, with particular emphasis on the rights of workers who do not have secure and full time work, ie workers in the gig economy. In Australia minimum wage rates are based on full time work of 38 hours per week. “Casual” workers, that is those who have no ongoing employment rights, typically receive a casual loading of 25%, which is partly based on compensation for not having paid holidays and sick leave. The impact of the Covid-19 virus on industries with a high degree of casual employment (hospitality and retail, mainly) has demonstrated that casual workers in those industries who are required to stay away from work through illness or who are not engaged because of depressed custom are effectively left without proper support and are not able to readily access unemployment benefits. This part of the research might be called the wages (or employment) safety net.

The second part of the project would look at the social safety net and its capacity to be integrated with the wages safety net so that casual and gig economy workers may be supported by the social safety net when they have inadequate work. In general, casual workers who are unable to secure sufficient work are entitled to a means-tested unemployment benefit, but it is bureaucratic, lacking flexibility and set at poverty levels. These kinds of problems have led some to argue for a Universal Basic Income. However, this second part of the project would look at other measures that are capable of providing sufficient support for workers. It would not be based on a rejection of the concept of a Universal Basic Income, but would contain the critical elements of the concept (through income and services providing for adequate food, health, housing, education, etc), perhaps demonstrating that taking the steps towards a Universal Basic Income would be feasible.

One of the drivers of this research would be the need to develop a more effective way of supporting workers with family responsibilities; and to provide the social framework where couples can commit to raising a family without the fear of poverty. This is an important consideration arising from Catholic Social Teaching.

If you are interested in this project, please contact Stefan Gigacz at australiancardijninstitute@gmail.com

READ MORE

Future of Work: Labour After Laudato Si’

Remembering Mike Bowden

Mike Bowden

Former Richmond footballer and recent PhD graduate from Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity, Mike Bowden, died on Holy Saturday, 11 April this year, after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). 

Bowden’s doctoral thesis, entitled Searching Altyerre to Reveal the Cosmic Christ: A contribution to the dialogue between the ancient Arrernte imaginary and Christianity, is now being prepared for publication.

The thesis aims to show the continuing relevance of the “Altyerre”, which can be translated as dreaming, dreamtime, abiding event, creator or God, has continuing relevance not only for the local Arrernte people. Indeed, the Altyerre helped sustain the people in the face of the invasion by European colonistsn which threatened the Arrernte people with extinction, Bowden writes..

“The Arrernte have constructed an imaginary: a deeply structured foundational description of reality, defined in the thesis as Altyerre-Catholicism,” Bowden writes.

“Altyerre-Catholicism in the way it is lived is a gift to the Catholic Church and to the world,” he writes. “And in a manner beyond even the best of charity known to Christians – despite Invasion, dispossession, marginalisation, impoverishment, incarceration, and the sad dismissal of their gifts by White Australia – they continue to offer this richness to anyone and everyone who walks up to their open front door.”

Mike Bowden was raised as a Catholic in Melbourne, attending St Kevin’s College, Toorak, before entering Corpus Christi Seminary. However, after two years he decided that the ordained priesthood was not his path. 

He married his wife, Judy, in 1969, the same year he won a VFL premiership with Richmond.

Mike and Judy had six sons, Sean, Rhett, Kane, Joel, Patrick and Charlie and one daughter Majella.

In 1983 the family moved to Pukatja, an Aboriginal community of Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara people on the South Australian and Northern Territory border, about 150 kilometres from Uluru. There he taught at the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic College in Alice Springs founding the Ntyarlke Unit; before moving to Tangentyere Council as community development manager.

He graduated with his PhD in February 2020, just two months before his death.

“A recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia, a life member of the Australian Labor Party and the Richmond Football Club, (Mike Bowden) was archetypically Australian; a sporting hero; with sporting hero children; he had friendship and respect Australia-wide; a beautiful wife who balanced and loved him in every way; around him were political and community leaders who respected and followed his guidance,” 

READ MORE

The circle continues for Dr Bowden (Vox/Southern Cross)

Mike Bowden: Defined by decency, not strength (Sydney Morning Herald)

Mike Bowden at his PhD graduation (Vox)

ACI Newsletter – April 2020

Lockdown edition

Dear Friends,

This edition comes to you amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Sad to say, the Cardijn movements have not been immune to this disease with the deaths of at least one YCW chaplain, Fr Yves Wecxsteen from Lille in northern France, and of the well known French journalist and former YCS leader, Henri Tincq. We remember their contributions and send our condolences to their loved ones.

Meanwhile, here is a selection of reading to tide you over the coming weeks.

Stefan Gigacz

Secretary 


Consider Universal Basic Wage: Pope Francis

In an Easter letter to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, Pope Francis has called for consideration of a “universal basic wage” as a means to provide for people’s needs in response to problems such as Covid-19.

“Many of you live from day to day, without any type of legal guarantee to protect you. Street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers: you who are informal, working on your own or in the grassroots economy, you have no steady income to get you through this hard time … and the lockdowns are becoming unbearable.

“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights,” Pope Francis wrote.

READ MORE

Consider “universal basic wage”: Pope (Australian Cardijn Institute)

World Meeting of Popular Movements 


Future of Work Project

ACI has been considering the possibility of researching Future of Work issues, including a universal basic wage, the need for which is particularly evident in poorer countries and in the gig economy within all countries, in conjunction with the Vatican-based Future of Work: Labour After Laudato Si’ project.

Last month (and before the Pope’s message), we contacted the project with a view to participating in a project that falls short of a Universal Basic Income, but which may achieve the same objects, at least in some economic systems (such as Australia’s). Proving that universal wage and welfare safety nets can work in wealthier economies could provide a way forward for emerging economies.

READ MORE

Future of Work project (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Cardijn’s proposal to John XXIII

Sixty years ago this month, Cardijn wrote to Pope John XXIII enclosing a 5000 word note entitled “The Church and the world of work/labour.”

These were the notes that the pontiff had requested to assist in the drafting of an encyclical to mark the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo’s own defining 1891 encyclical on the condition of the working masses. The outcome a year later was the publication of Pope John’s encyclical, Mater et Magistra, which in turn had a great impact at Vatican II.

As well as a tour de force of sociological analysis of the world of labour, Cardijn’s paper offered an insightful theology of work that is perhaps yet to be fully appreciated, as well as presenting a series of proposals for action by the Church, all of which remain relevant and many of which are yet to be fully implemented.

READ MORE

Cardijn’s proposal to John XXIII (Cardijn Research)


RIP Rev. Paul Nicolson, an Anglican Cardijn priest

Anglican worker priest, Rev. Paul Nicolson, died at the age of 87 on March 5. A married man with five children, who once worked in the champagne trade, he read about the French worker priest movement while studying at Cuddesdon Theological College from 1966-8, The Tablet reports.

In 1982, he “discovered” Liberation Theology, which became his guiding light in trying “to apply the gratuitous love that we learn from the example of Jesus. [And t]hat gratuitous love is both personal and structural.” Archbishop Oscar Romero became one of his heroes.

From the beginning, he was also committed to the Cardijn “see-judge-act” method. He helped established the “Taxpayers against Poverty” movement and founded the “Zaccheus 2000 Trust.” His family have established a fundraiser to continue his work through the trust.

READ MORE

Farewell to an Anglican worker priest (Cardijn.info and The Tablet) 


A Brazilian ‘bishop for the workers’: Dom Tavora

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the premature death of another remarkable Cardijn bishop, José Vicente Tavora, who liked to consider himself as and in fact became known as a “bishop of the workers.”

Born in 1910 in the poor north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Nazaré da Mata in 1934. From the beginning, he showed a special concern for workers and worker issues, becoming the first JOC national chaplain in 1950. During Vatican II, he worked closely with Cardijn, who in fact drafted one of his speeches for the Council.

Dom Tavora also worked closely with Dom Helder Camara to organise two masses at the end of Vatican II, one for the poor and one for the workers, resulting in two important documents, the Pact of the Catacombs, which was inspired by Cardijn’s consecration of his life to the working class, and the Pietralata Message, which focused on the role of lay apostolate movements.

READ MORE

Dom Tavora, a Brazilian ‘bishop of the workers’ (Cardijn Research) 


Seeking archival treasure with Trove

If you haven’t done so, I recommend that you visit the National Library’s Trove website at https://trove.nla.gov.au, writes Brian Lawrence.

Its principal interest for me is its digitised newspapers stretching back to the earliest newspapers across Australia, but there are many other kinds of documents, printed, sound and film. It is a great resource for family history, but that is only a small part of its value.

The digitisation of newspapers has opened a new world for those who are interested political, social and economic aspects of Australian history. However, there is, at this point in time, little use of the data.

READ MORE

Finding archival treasure with Trove (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Towards a Christian Worker movement

Adelaide writer, Paul McGuire, one of the earliest promoters of the YCW in Australia, also helped spark the launch of a Christian Worker movement during the 1940s.

In 1944, the new National Christian Workers Movement and the League of St Thomas More co-sponsored a “Joint Conference of Workers and Employers.” The report was introduced by the following:

“A remarkable and unusual conference took place in St. Ignatius’ Hall, Richmond, on Sunday evening, November 26, when two Catholic organisations—one of employers, business and professional men; the other of workers—met in a combined session to affirm their loyalty to the Church’s programme of Social Justice, and their belief in the possibility of reconstruction through the collaboration of labour and management in Industry and Commerce.”

READ MORE

Towards a Christian Worker Movement? (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Remembering Mike Bowden

Former Richmond footballer and recent PhD graduate from Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity, Mike Bowden, died on Holy Saturday, 11 April, this year, after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Bowden’s doctoral thesis, entitled Searching Altyerre to Reveal the Cosmic Christ: A contribution to the dialogue between the ancient Arrernte imaginary and Christianity, is now being prepared for publication.

READ MORE

Remembering Mike Bowden (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Reflection

Finally, we share the following reflection from ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans)

Opening Prayer: On April 24, 2013 the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,134 garment workers and injuring more than 2,500 others. In the rubble of the building rescuers found labels for brands of clothing destined for Australia and other countries all around the world.

At the time Pope Francis denounced as “slave labor” the conditions of the workers caught in this deadly collapse.

Loving God, as we remember the anniversary of this event, we are mindful of these workers and the millions of workers who continue to work in toxic or dangerous conditions today to provide cheap clothing and other goods for us and other consumers.

Response: God of Justice, we remember.

FULL PRAYER

Remembering Workers at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh (ACRATH)

Towards a Christian Worker Movement?

Paul McGuire

Having joined the YCW as a student at age 14 in 1960 and having worked full time for the YCS national office in 1968-9, I have had an interest in the history of both and, from time to time, use Trove to look up some aspect of their history.

I recently found a reference in the index of YCW archives which referred to records dating from 1944 regarding a credit union in Glenhuntly being operated by the National Christian Workers Movement (NCWM).  I had no recollection of this organisation so I turned to Trove.

[Search tip: search “National Christian Workers Movement or NCWM and use Advance Search option to exclude “Young”, otherwise you will be inundated with YCW entries.]

A good starting point in telling the story of the NCWM is a piece by Edmund Campion drawing on his book ‘Australian Catholics’ (Viking 1987) which is published at  http://sources.cardijncommunityaustralia.org/catholic-action-history-in-australia

The Australian National Secretariat of Catholic Action (ANSCA) was established in Melbourne in 1937 by the Australian bishops for the purpose of developing specialised movements on the Jocist model.

The Advocate (in Melbourne) had an article on 3 February 1938 under the heading “Formation for Catholic Action”.  An insert introduced the article:

“The National Secretariat of Catholic Action which has been set up in Melbourne inaugurates a work of far-reaching importance for Australia. It will be conducted by laymen, but their efforts will be fruitless without the direction and cooperation of the priest. What is the function of the priest in the lay apostolate? In this article, Fr. Kothen, Assistant Chief of the Jocist movement, which has been enthusiastically praised by the Pope, defines the part of the priest in the formation of militants.”

Fr Kothen’s article commences:

“One day I asked Canon Cardijn to tell me exactly what is the role of the priest in the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, and he replied: “The priest is everything and he is nothing.”

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172019284

Campion writes:

“In looking at the origins of Catholic Action Australia, we must remember Kevin T. Kelly, who corresponded with Cardijn and in 1939 published a pamphlet on the YCW (Jocists) that sold 15,000 copies in 6 months. In the same year, Paul McGuire and English priest John Fitzsimons published a book.’Restoring All Things’ – the first major English language publication on Jocism.”

The role of Paul McGuire

The reference to Paul McGuire (see photos above and below) is significant.  The earliest reference that I found in Trove to “Christian Workers Movement” was to the following in The Advertiser of 1 August 1938, under the headings “Sweeping Social Move in Europe” and “Adelaide Author Finds Workers’ Ideal”:

“The amazing development of a most significant social movement in Europe — the Christian Workers’ Movement — was described by Mr Paul McGuire, the Australian author and lecturer, on his return to Adelaide by the Mooltanon Saturday after an extensive 15 months’ tour abroad lecturing and studying social conditions — and writing detective novels in his spare time.” https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/74392940

Paul McGuire Paul McGuire / State Library of South Australia

Paul McGuire’s impressive entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography is at  http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mcguire-dominic-mary-paul-10965

Clearly, ANSCA was looking at adult movements to be formed along Jocist lines (as it did with the the National Catholic Rural Movement), but there is limited reference in the Trove documents to the connection between it and the National Christian Workers Movement (NCWM).

The National Christian Workers’ Movement

The earliest report regarding the NCWM that I found was in The Advocate in September 1941 reporting that the Coburg branch of the NCWM had started a credit union; see https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172195060

Two years later it reported that the Coburg branch of the NCWM had sponsored school sports for the seven Mercy schools in Brunswick and Coburg; https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172210555

The promotion of credit unions was a major activity of the NCWM.  An article in The Advocate of 6 December 1944 reported that there were five credit unions operating in the archdiocese.  The report was based on the annual report of the NCWM given by K.W. Mitchell, an officer at ANSCA: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172217261

On the same page of The Advocate of 6 December 1944 is a report of a “Joint Conference of Workers and Employers” held by the NCWM and the League of St. Thomas More.  The report was introduced by the following:

“A remarkable and unusual conference took place in St Ignatius’ Hall, Richmond, on Sunday evening, November 26, when two Catholic organisations—one of employers, business and professional men; the other of workers—met in a combined session to affirm their loyalty to the Church’s programme of Social Justice, and their belief in the possibility of reconstruction through the collaboration of labour and management in Industry and Commerce. His Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev. D. Mannix, D.D., in the final address of the conference, praised the two organisations for the splendid spirit they had shown and expressed his hope that the collaboration thus demonstrated would become even more widespread and fruitful in the future.”

The article included:

“Mr. K. W. Mitchell then read a report of the activities of the N.C.W.M., which appears later.

Mr. F. K. Maher spoke of the work of the League and of practical measures it had in hand.”

Mr Maher, like Mr Mitchell, was an officer of ANSCA.

Frank Maher was a lecturer in the Melbourne University Law School when I started law in 1964, but I had no idea then of his background in Church affairs. He was very well regarded by the students. (You can see his legal publications by searching “F K H Maher”.) When I was working for the YCS in 1968-9 I came across the minutes of the first meetings during the 1940s of the bishops’ advisory committee for establishing the YCS as a national body. The meetings were attended by both Mitchell and Maher and, among others, Fr James Gleeson, later Archbishop of Adelaide, and Bob Santamaria.

We should keep in mind that these were the war years and that much of the focus of the ANSCA was post-war development, a matter made clear from the early days of the war with the publication of the Bishops’ Social Justice Statement of 1941, Justice Now!.

The Trove searches suggest that the Richmond branch, based on St Ignatius where the joint conference had been organised in 1944, was the most active NCWM branch with 220 members.  Among its activities was the construction of a Trade School for the training of boys, at a cost of £1,200 and leaving it with a very large debt of £1,000. The article is worth a read: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/172229859

Part of the article reads:

“The National Christian Workers’ Movement is a Catholic Action organisation, binding together all adult workers in one movement. It is a workers’ movement—it is run by workers—it is for the workers. It has nothing to do with’ an alleged body called “The Movement,” said to be working in trade unions, according to recent Communist propaganda.”

NCWM

As much as the NCWM may have wished to steer clear of politics and the fights for the control of unions, the course of politics and Church and quasi-Church activities would have precluded any such independence.  The Richmond branch of the Labor Party, with many Catholic members, was a key player in the events leading to The Split in the mid-1950s, which had long term adverse consequences for both the Catholic Church and the Labor Party.

Newspaper reports of the NCWM disappear by the Split in the mid-1950s.  The ongoing contribution of the NCWM appears to have been the Cana conferences and credit unions.

How the NCWM related to the emerging YCW in the 1940s would be an interesting field of inquiry.  The relationship between Fr Lombard, the first Chaplain of the YCW was no fan of ANSCA.  Fr Bruce Duncan has written that by 1941 “the strong-willed Lombard was unwilling to have YCW come under the control of ANSCA or to follow its direction”; https://repository.divinity.edu.au/1735/1/Duncan_Lombard.pdf

The need for an adult jocist movement

Joseph Cardijn and many others worked towards an adult Jocist movement for and by workers.  In Australia it failed even though the Australian YCW became one of the strongest YCW movements in the world.  The Christian Family Movement, which emerged in the 1960s (and disappeared in the 1970s) was a Jocist-based organisation, involving a number of former YCW and YCS members, but it did not have a distinctly worker character

Internationally, the World Movement of Christian Workers is the non-youth movement most connected with the Jocist tradition; see http://mmtc-infor.com/en/

The World Movement of Christian Workers has a distinctly working class orientation.  “Its member organizations promote the interests of all those who rely upon their work or for their income, whether formally or informally.”  It does not have an Australian affiliate.

The WMCW has its origins in May 1961 when delegates from 42 movements met in Rome on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the encyclical Rerum Novarum. The International YCW was one of those movements.

Brian Lawrence

Adult apostolate

Finding archival treasure with Trove

Trove website

If you haven’t done so, I recommend that you visit the National Library’s Trove website at https://trove.nla.gov.au

Its principal interest for me is its digitised newspapers stretching back to the earliest newspapers across Australia, but there are many other kinds of documents, printed, sound and film.   It is a great resource for family history, but that is only a small part of its value.

The digitisation of newspapers has opened a new world for those who are interested political, social and economic aspects of Australian history.  However, there is, at this point in time, little use of the data.

The data on Trove present a new world for the teaching of Australian history.  Gone are the days when you had to turn pages of bound copies of newspapers in some hard to access place to find what you have been looking for; and then having little or no chance to make a copy.  Perhaps more will discover Trove while in lockdown.

The role of Cardinal Moran

I also have an interest in the history of the Irish and, it follows, Catholics in Australia.  And, again it follows, anything to do with both in politics and the labour movement.  I grew up in Melbourne where Archbishop Mannix had been the stand-out Irish Catholic leader since the First World War and unaware of the impact that Cardinal Moran had in Sydney and beyond in the decades before Mannix.

I discovered the full text of Cardinal Moran’s address on the Rights and Duties of Labour given in August 1891, three months after Rerum Novarum, and delivered in the New Masonic Hall in Sydney (yes, the location is correct).  The vote of thanks was moved by Edmund Barton and seconded by Richard O’Connor, both very significant players in the march to federation, with the former becoming Australia’s first Prime Minister and then a judge of the High Court and the latter becoming a senator in the first Australian Parliament and then a judge of the High Court.  You can access the 7,000 word report of Cardinal Moran’s address and the vote of thanks at https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/235862359

Another interesting and intriguing address by Cardinal Moran was given at the Communion Breakfast of the Irish National Foresters in 1904 where he paints a very glowing picture of life in Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century, a century that started when “the great majority of the people of Ireland were serfs in their own land” and “treated as slaves”; https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/104910325

Cardinal Moran saw the Australian experience of Catholics and Protestants, of Irish and English, working together for common causes as a model for a future united Ireland, capable, like Australia, of remaining within the British Empire.  Whether or not it was realistic at that time, it proved to untenable after the brutal British response to the Easter Rising in 1916.

Brian Lawrence

Cardinal Patrick Moran