'Cathonomics' or the potential of

the Catholic social tradition

Dear Friends,

Thanks for joining us again this month in which we begin with Pope Francis's reflections marking the 60th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's landmark encyclical Pacem on Terris, a document of ongoing relevance in today's divided world.

On the economic front, we announce an important webinar with leading Irish-American economist, Tony Annett, who will present his recent book "Cathonomics" illustrating the potential of Catholic social tradition for the building of a just economy.

Richard Putz follows with an article on the need to engage ethically with the emergence of AI.

On a historical level, we have the video of my presentation last month on Marc Sangnier, the Sillon and the YCW, as well as Brian Lawrence's article on how the Australian YCS of the 1960s responded to Vatican II.

With the announcement of Perth's forthcoming Archdiocesan Assembly to consider re-establishing a Pastoral Council, I share some insights on the Council's vision of these as bottom up bodies promoting the participation of lay people and especially lay groups and movements.

This month, we also remember two out of the ordinary clerics, France's "rebel bishop" Jacques Gaillot, and Melbourne's larrikin priest, Bob Maguire, both of whom died recently.

For reflection, we present a 1964 speech by French Cardinal Achille Liénart on making the Church a church of the poor.

We conclude with an article by Cardijn emphasising the importance of Catholic social doctrine and the need for priests to learn and promote it.

Stefan Gigacz
Pope's Pacem in Terris Appeal
Recalling the 60th anniversary of St Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris this month, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to read or re-read the 1963 encyclical.

“Yesterday marked the 60th anniversary of the encyclical Pacem in terris, which St John XXIII addressed to the Church and the world at the height of the tension between the two opposing blocs in the so-called Cold War,” Pope Francis said during his General Audience on 12 April.

“That encyclical was a true blessing, like a glimpse of serenity in the midst of dark clouds. Its message is very timely.

“I invite the faithful and men and women of good will to read Pacem in terris, and I pray that the Heads of Nations may be inspired by it in their plans and decisions.”


Pope’s Pacem in Terris appeal (ACI)
Webinar: Tony Annett, Cathonomics: Creating a more just economy
Irish-born American economist, Tony Annett, will present the next ACI webinar on Saturday 13 May addressing the theme “Cathonomics: How Catholic tradition can create a more just economy,” which is also the title of his recent book.

Cathonomics was written as an ethical and practical guide to readers of all faiths and backgrounds seeking to create a world economy that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable for all.

It addresses the issues of skyrocketing inequality, extreme poverty, the increasing political power of the wealthy, the bias against public interest in favour of the financial interests of the rich and the problem of a global economy driven by fossil fuels.


Webinar: Cathonomics: Creating a more just economy (ACI)

Date and time: Saturday 13 May 10.30am Australian Eastern Standard Time / Friday 12 May evening US time)


Thinking about AI and what it means to be human
Thomas Merton, Joseph Cardijn, and Dorothy Day were known for their spiritual insights and their commitment to social justice. As we enter a new era of emerging technology, the rise of emerging technology will challenge us to think about what it means to be a human and the difference it makes, writes Richard Pütz.

The economic system will drastically change; why? Because it has to, just as it has over the last two revolutions we as humans have endured. The concept of a single measurement of a company’s success will change. Begin to think about measurements such as people, property, planet, and purpose in life. And this is where the critical thinking of See-Judge-Act will be necessary, and we need to be ready to engage.

Begin to think of the implications of practicing religion within the context of emerging technology and the cause/effect of artificial intelligence. Think what a parish, a diocese, a learning community, and a faith community, our communities as members of the Jocist methods, will look like with this technology. How will it change, and how fast?

The question is, will we as humans drive society to create the necessary guardrails?


Richard Pütz,
The ‘seamless garment’ woven by Merton, Cardijn and Day (Cardijn Reflections)
Video: Marc Sangnier, the Sillon and the YCW
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marc Sangnier, founder of the French democratic movement, Le Sillon, which so influenced Cardijn and the early YCW.

Here are the video and the slide presentation from Stefan Gigacz’s ACI webinar on “Marc Sangnier, the Sillon and the YCW.”


Stefan Gigacz, Marc Sangnier, the Sillon and the YCW (ACI)
History: The YCS in the 1960s and its response to Vatican II
Thanks to Brian Lawrence and ATF Press for permission to post this article by Brian reflecting on his experience as a member of and working with the YCS during the 1960s and early 1970s.

This article also forms a chapter in the latest issue of the Cardijn Studies journal edited by Hilary and published by ATF Press.


Brian Lawrence, The Young Christian Students movement and its response to Vatican II (ACI)


From Catholic School Rooms to a Radicalised Student Movement (ATF Press)
France's 'rebel bishop' Jacques Gaillot has died
France’s “rebel bishop” Jacques Gaillot, who was removed from his Normandy diocese of Évreux by Pope John Paul II in 1995 after 13 years died of cancer on 12 April aged 87, The Tablet reports.

Transferred to Partenia, an extinct ancient diocese in Algeria that became his internet home, he was received “as a brother” by Pope Francis 20 years later.

As a bishop, he was a strong supporter of the YCW and other Specialised Catholic Action movements. In 2000, he was a guest speaker at the 75th anniversary congress of the International YCW in Brussels.


Rebel bishop Jacques Gaillot has died (ACI)
Reflection: Cardinal Achille Liénart: Towards a Church of the Poor
Addressing chaplains of the Christian Workers Movement in 1964, i.e. right in the middle of the Second Vatican Council, French Cardinal Achille Liénart noted that Council Fathers had agreed that the Church should be a Church of the poor.

In this text, Cardinal Liénart in fact anticipated much of the teaching of the Council, particularly as it would later be interpreted by the Latin American Church, which adopted the notion of a “preferential option for the poor.”

As the Australian Church moves towards the holding of a series of Diocesan Synods in fulfilment of the decisions of the recent Plenary Council, perhaps it may be useful to address these questions in the context of Australia today and with a view to how the Australian Church may better become a Church of the Poor? suggests Stefan Gigacz.


Achille Liénart, Towards a Church of the poor in Australia (Cardijn Reflections)
RIP Fr Bob Maguire, the 'larrikin priest'
Melbourne is mourning the passing of Fr Bob Maguire, a priest well-known for his work with the poor in inner city South Melbourne and elsewhere.

Born in 1934, Fr Bob, who was also once chaplain to the Ashburton YCW, died at Cabrini Hospital on 20 April. During that period, the Ashburton YCW lost 12 of its members, who had all been drafted for military service in Vietnam.

His community work is continued by the Father Bob Foundation.


Remembering Fr Bob, the larrikin priest – and YCW chaplain (ACI)
Perth's Archdiocesan Assembly & proposed Pastoral Council
Archbishop Tim Costelloe of the Archdiocese of Perth, Western Australia, has announced the holding of an Archdiocesan Assembly on Saturday 23 September 2023.
A key objective, +Tim says, will be to consider the re-establishment of an Archdiocesan Council.

This of course raises the question of what kind of structure might be adopted for a new pastoral council? writes Stefan Gigacz.

Fortunately, the Vatican II Decree on the Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem, offers excellent guidance here.


Stefan Gigacz, Perth Archdiocesan Assembly (Synodal Reflections)
Cardijn on Catholic Social Doctrine
Unsurprisingly, Cardijn was convinced of the need for the Church to promote Catholic Social Teaching or Catholic Social Doctrine as he called it.

In an unpublished article from 1960, he explains its importance and expresses his concern at the lack of knowledge of its teaching among priests.


Joseph Cardijn, Priests and the Social Doctrine of the Church (Cardijn Reflections)
Christian Workers Movement
The Australian Christian Workers movement continues to develop, Kevin Vaughan notes.

To join and/or to receive more information, please write to Kevin at: kedwardv@bigpond.com
Cardijn's theology of work and the Eucharist
Read more: Joseph Cardijn, Eucharistic Transformation (Cardijn Reflections)
Editorial Note: The purpose of the ACI Newsletter is to share information and promote discussion. Citing or linking to articles does not imply any endorsement by ACI of the authors' views.
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