A gospel made flesh

Dear Friends,

We begin this month with Pope Francis, who has re-emphasised the Vatican II message that "we are all prophets" in our daily lives. Indeed, as the new archbishop of Lille, France, Laurent Le Boulc'h, told French YCW leaders earlier this month: "The YCW is a gospel made flesh."

All the more reason to feature an original Cardijn article from 1933 in which he seeks to define "the real YCW."

Pat Branson has another Gospel Enquiry on "The Good Shepherd" while Richard Pütz reflects on "The Sermon on the Mount."

We have the video from Bruce Duncan's excellent presentation on John XXIII and Pacem in Terris.

Congratulations to ACI board member, Katharine Massam, on her appointment as chair of the Academic Board at the University of Divinity.

We remember Gérard Lutte, a former Belgian YCW collaborator, who founded a Movement for Street Children in Guatemala.

And with the First Session on the Synod on Synodality coming up in just a few months, I'm sharing a couple of articles I have written highlighting the lack of representation of international Catholic organisations and movements at the Synod - a backward step from Vatican II that needs to be remedied.

Recalling that Sr Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Synod, has emphasised the see-judge-act as a synodal method, I'm also going to present the August webinar on the origins of the "see-judge-act" with French philosopher and social activist, Léon Ollé-Laprune.

Finally, we also announce our fifth ACI Annual General Meeting coming up on 22 August. As usual, we're looking for your support and invite you to become a member or renew your membership.

All details below!

See you all next month!

Stefan Gigacz
We are all prophets: Pope Francis
In his Angelus message on Sunday 2 July, citing the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, §35, Pope Francis reminds us that “we are all prophets, witnesses of Jesus, so ‘that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in daily social and family life’.”

It’s no accident that §35 of Lumen Gentium forms part of Chapter IV on The Laity, the chapter most influenced by Cardijn and the Jocist bishops and theologians at the Council.


Stefan Gigacz, We are all prophets (Cardijn Reflections)
ACI Annual General Meeting, Tuesday 22 August 2023
ACI will hold our fifth Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 22 August 2023.

Since we launched in August 2018, we've held more than 30 webinars and co-organised one international conference in Leuven, Belgium.

We had some success in influencing the outcome of the Australian Plenary Council's statements on lay apostolate and formation.

We've published 275 articles on our website and built up our newsletter mailing list to just over 1500 now.

The Joseph Cardijn Digital Library now contains over 1500 documents in French and approximately 500 in English with more being added on a monthly basis.

Altogether our websites drew 1.1 million visits last year. So somehow we're making an impact. But there's so much more to do!

Hence, this invitation to our readers to join the ACI Cooperative as a member shareholder. As a non-profit coop, there will be no dividends - not in the financial sense anyway, just the satisfaction of contributing to the promotion of the Cardijn message in the 21st century.






Gospel Enquiry: The Good Shepherd or hired help?
"The Church celebrates the life and death of St Apollinaris, a first century Christian martyr," writes Pat Branson. "We know very little about him, but tradition tells us that he knew St Peter, who sent him to Ravenna, Italy as its bishop. Apollinaris was a fearless leader of his local church. He suffered persecution, torture and death in the name of Christ.

"The Gospel proclaimed during the memorial Mass celebrated on his feast day sums up his life and example in Jesus’ words: “The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). A faithful disciple, St Apollinaris demonstrated in his life the total commitment of the Good shepherd."


The Good Shepherd. Or hired help? (Cardijn Reflections)
Webinar: See, judge, decide: From Léon Ollé-Laprune to Vatican II
ACI secretary Stefan Gigacz will present our August webinar on Léon Ollé-Laprune, the French philosopher, who first articulated the method that we today know as the “see-judge-act.”

Born in 1839, Léon Ollé-Laprune studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. As a student, he read the works of Alphonse Gratry, who had been chaplain at the ENS. As a Christian, he modelled his life on that of Frédéric Ozanam, seeking to make himself a “lay apostle.” As a social activist, he followed in the footsteps of Frédéric Le Play, the pioneer sociologist whose method of social enquiry so influenced Cardijn.


Date: Tuesday 8 August 2023, 7.30pm AEST

Katharine Massam appointed academic board chair at Uni of Divinity
The University of Divinity has announced the appointment of Professor Katharine Massam as Chair of the Academic Board for a term of three years, commencing in January 2024, Vox reports.

Katharine, who is a member of the ACI board and a coordinator of the Jocist Women Leaders history project, will succeed Reverend Associate Professor Frank Rees, who has served as Chair of the Academic Board since 2017. Professor Massam is the second woman to be appointed to this senior role at the University since its creation in 2005.

Congratulations from the whole ACI team, Katharine!


Katharine Massam to head Uni of Divinity academic board (ACI)
Video: John XXIII & Pacem in Terris with Bruce Duncan
Catholic Social Teaching specialist, Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR, presented the July ACI webinar on “John XXIII and Pacem in Terris 1963 – 2023” marking the 60th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical.


Lay people and movements at the Synod on Synodality
At the Fourth Session of Vatican II in 1965, among the 50-odd lay auditors present, there were 28, who were involved with international Catholic movements and organisations, writes Stefan Gigacz.

"While technically the Vatican II auditors may not have “represented” those organisations and movements, they certainly made their voices heard," he says.

Yet 60 years later, only one international movement will be represented at the First Session of the Synod on Synodality to be held in Rome in October this year.

"Why is this not the case at the Synod on Synodality?

"If 'synodal' means 'walking together,' how is it 'synodal' to exclude so many international Catholic organisations from having a voice at the Synod?"


Stefan Gigacz, Where are the international organisations? (Synodal Reflections)

Stefan Gigacz, Lay people in the Instrumentum Laboris (Synodal Reflections)
Reflection: The heart of the matter: Richard Pütz
"Over the next several weeks, I will reflect on Joseph Cardinal Cardijn’s philosophy/theology of praxis in relation to the Sermon on the Mount," writes Richard Pütz.

"For Cardijn, his theology was grounded in the Sermon on the Mount. From that understanding, he saw avenues to put theology into practice. For Cardijn, that was in YCW and YCS. For Cardijn, his lifelong dedication to social activism and working toward improving the working class was paramount.

"We see how the method weaved into Albert Nolan’s Prophetic work and conviction that theology must come from the grassroots level and not an academic solely, think of his radical church magazine called 'Challenge": and Louis Putz’s work in Movements of families, publishing, and education for senior seniors. We especially see his work weaving a seamless garment at Vatican II."


Richard Pütz, The heart of the matter: Answering the call (Cardijn Reflections)

Richard Pütz, The heart of the matter: Part II (Cardijn Reflections)
Gerard Lutte, champion of street children in Guatemala
Former Belgian YCW and European YCW collaborator, Gerard Lutte, who lived and worked for the last 30 years of his life in Guatemala, has died at the age of 94.

A psychologist by training, he authored a number of books and studies.
In Guatemala, he founded the Movement of Street Children (MOJOCA) to which he dedicated his life.


Gérard Lutte, champion of street children (ACI)
Cardijn: Ite, missa est: Building the real YCW
"The YCW is at present fashionable, everyone praises it. and soon people will feel ashamed if there is no YCW in their parish," said Cardijn in one of his most famous talks at the French Social Week in Reims in July 1933, 90 years ago this month.

"But it is essential that we should not merely have the YCW in name; we must have a movement that is truly YCW in spirit, methods and organisation. Otherwise false hopes will be raised, and the working class and working youth will not be reconquered. The young workers will be deceived once again, and instead of returning to the Church, they will give themselves up once more to revolt and despair.

"And that is why I am asking you very simply and straightforwardly to build the real YCW, the only one that can solve the problem which faces us."


Joseph Cardijn, Ite missa est (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
The YCW is a gospel made flesh
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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