ACI Newsletter Aug 21

Planning ACI's work for the future

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our August edition, which begins with a reminder of our third AGM later this month, where we will review our progress over the last three years, adopt plans for the future and elect a new board of directors. We cordially invite you to join us.

In fact, we have a series of major events coming up in the next few weeks, beginning with our webinar on Lay People and Synodality with Sr Nathalie Becquart, under-secretary of the Vatican Synod of Bishops Secretariat on 19 August.

Then on 6 September, Mgr Philippe Bordeyne, outgoing rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, and Clara Geoghegan, executive secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, will join us to pay tribute to Pierre Haubtmann, the French priest who acted as redactor for Gaudium et Spes.

We note a new effort led by Anglicare to promote a basic minimum income guarantee. We highlight Anthony O'Donnell's history of the origins of Australia's Medicare system.

We congratulate Katharine Massam for the shortlisting of her book on the Spanish Benedectine missionary sister pioneers of Western Australia on the NSW Premier's History Award list.

We present an article by young Fr Jorge Bergoglio offering guidance on how to interpret social realities.

We mourn the passing of prominent US labor leader, Richard Trumka, a committed Catholic.

And we conclude by showcasing Cardijn's 1911 article on "Worker Organisation in England" published after his meeting with the trade union pioneer and leader, Ben Tillett.

Stefan Gigacz
Join ACI and help us plan our future
Only two weeks to go now until our 2021 AGM where our original directors from 2018 will all be up for re-election.

As mentioned in our last edition, it will also be the occasion for planning our next moves. Our guest speaker will be Fr Bob Wilkinson from Adelaide, where he has served in many parishes. As well as a YCW and YCS chaplain, he has also been a chaplain to the Christian Life Movement.

Please join us as we review the last three years and plan the next.


Download membership application form here. ($25 including application fee, three $1 shares and first year's membership.)

To renew your membership and/or make a donation, please see our bank account details below.



Priest of the people (Southern Cross)
Remembering Pierre Haubtmann, redactor of Gaudium et Spes: 6 September
Join us for another major event on Thursday 6 September, the 50th anniversary of the death of French priest and Jocist chaplain, Pierre Haubtmann, the redactor of the final version of the Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, Gaudium et Spes.

Our keynote speaker will be Vatican II expert, Mgr Philippe Bordeyne, outgoing rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, now about to take up a new role as president of Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Rome.

Responding to Mgr Bordeyne's presentation will be Clara Geogeghan, executive secretary to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.


Mgr Philippe Bordeyne, Remembering Pierre Haubtmann, 6 September 2021, 7.00pm AEST (Zoom)


Remembering Pierre Haubtmann, redactor of Gaudium et Spes (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Stefan Gigacz, Pierre Haubtmann and the drafting of Gaudium et Spes (Presentation)

Pierre Haubtmann (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Last chance to register for Sr Nathalie Becquart on Synodality: 19 August
Nathalie Becquart
With the Australian Plenary Council also rapidly approaching, our forthcoming webinar with Sr Nathalie Becquart on "Lay People and Synodality" has taken on extra significance.

Responding to her presentation will be Sarah Moffatt, former Australian YCW national president, now Acting Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Adelaide, and Samuel Vermuelen, youth engagement officer for Perth YCW.

Bishop Shane MacKinlay of Sandhurst will also share his reflections in light of the Plenary. Susan Pascoe, former executive director of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, who has also recently been appointed to the Methodology Commission of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality, will also offer her reflections in light of that event.


Sr Nathalie Becquart: Lay People and Synodality (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Australians to help prepare 2023 Synod (CathNews)


Interview with Sr Nathalie Becquart (KTO/YouTube)(French)
Australians back minimum income guarantee
Kasy Chambers
Three-quarters of Australians back a basic income guarantee above the poverty line, according to a recent poll commissioned by Anglicare, ABC News reports.

In fact, more than half strongly support the concept, while only 3 per cent are strongly opposed.

Anglicare executive director, Kasy Chambers believes the pandemic and associated recession have increased empathy for those who've fallen on hard times.

"I think many, many more people who hadn't previously experienced poverty or didn't know somebody who was living in poverty now do," she said.


Universal basic income attracts 77pc support in Anglicare poll (ABC News)


Anglicare's executive director Kasy Chambers said COVID had highlighted that poverty is a policy choice.(ABC News)
How Australia won universal health care
Gough Whitlam
In 1967, Moss Cass, a medical doctor and left-wing member of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), invited the Labor opposition leader Gough Whitlam to a meeting at his house in in Canterbury, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, writes Anthony O'Donnell, a former leader of the Tertiary YCS (TYCS), in Jacobin Magazine.

Whitlam met a coterie of health-policy experts, including two health economists, Dick Scotton and John Deeble.

Scotton and Deeble proposed that Australia could replace private health insurance with a universal public health insurance scheme that would be funded by a 1 percent levy on taxable income. Whitlam was interested and asked them for a copy of their paper.
The ALP leader subsequently announced that Labor would introduce a national health insurance scheme known as Medibank. The proposal became a centerpiece of Labor policy in the lead up to the 1969 election.

Labor lost that time, but only just. Crucially, Medibank seemed to win the party votes. Labor formed a government after the 1972 election and Whitlam became prime minister. In August 1974, his government passed Medibank at a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament.


Anthony O'Donnell, How Australia Won Universal Health Care — And How Workers Saved It With a General Strike (Jacobin Magazine)


Carl Guderian / Flickr / CC BY NC 2.0
Katharine Massam's 'A Bridge Between' shortlisted
Congratulations to Katharine Massam, another former TYCS leader, now associate professor of theology at Pilgrim College and the University of Divinity, whose recent book "A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia" has been shortlisted for the Australian History Prize in the 2021 NSW Premier's History Awards.


Katharine Massam, A Bridge Between, Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia (ANU Press) (Free to read online or download; print edition for purchase)

Shortlists announced for 2021 NSW Premier’s History Awards (State Library of NSW)
Jorge Bergoglio: Interpreting Reality
Jorge Bergoglio
The starting point for Cardijn's Three Truths dialectic was the contradiction between the Truth of Faith and Truth of Reality, i.e. the lived experience of people. In this light, it is significant to note La Civilta Cattolica has published a set of notes by a young Fr Jorge Bergoglio in which he sets out his thoughts on understanding and interpreting reality.

At the time, Bergoglio was working on his (never completed) thesis on Romano Guardini. He was examining the use of Marxist analysis in the interpretation of reality, which he saw as an example of how obsolete categories are eventually superseded by reality.

"My hypothesis," Bergoglio wrote, "is that the interpretive principles of any reality must be inspired by the reality itself, just as it is: both the reality that is interpreted and the reality of the one who interprets...

"Each reality contains, within itself, its own way of revealing itself, which arises from the very potentialities inherent in it. It reveals itself in consonance with what it is.

"It is, no doubt, “being,” and it reveals itself as “being,” but it is “being as such,” “being here,” “being now,” “being for”… and therefore reveals itself as such: here, now, for…," he wrote.


Jorge Bergoglio, Interpreting Reality (La Civilta Cattolica)
Richard Trumka: A deep loss for the US labour movement
Richard Trumka
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, died unexpectedly earlier this month. "His passing is a deep loss for the American labor movement and for working men and women across the country," writes Fr Clete Kiley of the US Catholic Labor Network, the US affiliate of the World Movement of Christian Workers.

"He had the amazing capacity to bring together the various ends of the labor movement. One of his great contributions was to see the common ground between the labor movement and the immigration reform movement. He was a great leader and a great friend to working people across this country.

"I remember the first time I sat with him in his office at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss a way to connect Catholic pastors with rank-and-file workers. He believed there was a natural connection because of our church teaching about the dignity of work and the rights of workers. He was very encouraged by Pope Francis' call to create a 'culture of encounter'," Fr Kiley added.

OECD secretary-general, Mathias Cormann, also paid tribute to Trumka, who also served as President of the OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee.

"Richard dedicated his life to advancing the interests of working people," Cormann noted. "From starting his own working life as a third generation coal miner to rising to one of the most senior union leadership positions globally - his lifelong service and contribution as a passionate, determined and highly effective voice for workers’ rights is truly inspirational."


Clete Kiley, A Catholic labor priest laments death of 'brother' Richard Trumka (NCR Online)

Mathias Cormann, Richard Cormann (OECD Media Release)

Mark Pattison, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, dies; Catholic faith shaped his career (NCR Online)

Mary Harris, American Workers Just Lost Their Biggest Champion (Slate)


aflcio / Bernard Pollack / Flickr / CC2.0
Cardijn meets English trade unionist Ben Tillett in 1911
Exactly 110 years ago, during the European summer of 1911, Cardijn made his first visit to England, where he met with the prominent trade unionist, Ben Tillett, general secretary of the British Dockers Union, who had recently played a key role in organising what became known as the Great Transport Strike.

Cardijn was interested to learn Tillett's methods of organisation and was particularly impressed by his "self-help" ethic and focus on worker education. Coming from Belgium, where "socialism" was viewed by many or most Catholics as anathema, he was no doubt intrigued by the fact that Tillett was a self-described "Christian socialist." But he did not mention this in his report!

During his trip, Cardijn clearly learned many lessons that would eventually be incorporated into the orientation and methods of the JOC.


Joseph Cardijn, Worker Organisation in England (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Stefan Gigacz, Was Cardijn a 'Christian socialist'? (Cardijn Research)

1911 Liverpool general transport strike (Wikipedia)
Swiss JOC postcard: We're forging a new working class
Forging a new working class
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