JOC and the Training of Militants

In my last article I gave some account of the “Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne,” JOC, Catholic Worker Youth. In July last it assembled 70,000 delegates from twenty different countries at its Paris Congress. The previous week, the Communist youth organisations had assembled only 20,000. JOC is the Catholic masses, Catholic working youth, on march. On the march for Christ. Who, seeing them, can doubt that the Church is meeting the challenge of the age? Here is Catholic Action in being. Here one can see what Catholic Action means.

IT is true, I think, that one can best describe Jocism by describing its methods; and that a plain account of the work in a new Jocist group will be of most use. Much of this article is drawn from the little textbook on how to start a Jocist study circle. (“Comments debuter dans un cercle d’etudes jociste,” 4th edition. JOC, 12 avenue Soeur-Rosalie, Place d’ltalie, Paris, 3e.) I am indebted also to notes made by Fr. Decan, C.P., of Holy Cross, Belfast, whose translation of the text is shortly to be published, I understand, by the Liverpool Council for Catholic Action.

JOC always begins by training a group of militants. As it is concerned with the milieu, the immediate environment of workers, it must train its militants to understand their environment. It starts, not with general principles, but from the actual conditions of the workers’ lives. It reverses, in brief, the normal process of education; but, then, it is an essentially realistic organisation, training apostles, and the apostolate is exercised from the very first.

To see the situation, to estimate it, weigh and judge it, and then to act in it . . . that is the Jocist principle. It expects its members to realise the urgency of the social crisis, to get down to brass tacks. Everything which suggests the classroom is banished. The milieu is the street, the home, the factory. “Something, however small, can always be done by individuals straight away. You can correct a wrong impression of the Catholic teaching of the Just Wage, or start a talk about something vital to the workers, or start to sing a clean song when the fellows sing a dirty one. . . .”

To see things as they are—that is the first job of a Jocist. And so a group may begin by making a map of its district and marking on it the working-class streets, the mills, the corners where the young workers gather in the evenings. And the study circle will begin with these questions:

What streets and houses of our district are working-class?

Where do our comrades stand about in winter and in summer?

Where do the fellows we know work?

What young workers do we know?

Could we get to know them better? How?


It will be seen at once that the questions, designed to objectify the situation of each boy or girl, also from the first suggest action. How can we get in touch with the fellows we knew at school? What are they up to? Where do they work? Are they practising Catholics?

The second meeting of a circle will come back on these questions:

What have we done since last meeting to improve our knowledge of the district?

Can we now mark the map with all the working-class streets and houses?

Have we got in touch with some of the comrades? Whom? If not, why not? Did we talk to them? What did we say? What did they say?

Are we interested in their lives? Do we show interest in the lives of our comrades?

Are there any young workers in our street or factory or shop who left school and started life only this year? Are they happy in their trades? How did they come to choose them? Because they were handy at the job, liked it, were physically fit for it? Or because they didn’t think much about it, took it only because there wasn’t a better job going?

Did their parents try to find them better jobs? Did they consult the teacher or the doctor? Did they consider the disadvantages of the trade its standing, security, moral environment?

Do you think the workers understand how important it is to prepare carefully for one’s job in life?

The point begins to appear. The boys are gradually forming judgments, from their observations of their own and their comrades’ lives. And from the judgments follow the suggestions for action.


What hours are worked in our town and shops and mills? How does this compare with other places?

What unemployment is there where we work? Do we know any unemployed? What could we do for them? Watch out for jobs? Show them the ropes in the matter of the dole and so on? How are we going to do it?

That is a great question always for the Jocist. How are we going to do it? The boys or girls thrash out the methods and approaches. If they fail once, they return to the issue next time—and next time, until they succeed.

Do we know any jobs injurious to the health of young workers? Why are they unhealthy? Are the hours too long, is the ventilation bad, are the fittings insanitary, are there conditions promoting immodesty?

What do we think of the conditions the young workers have to bear? What does JOC think of them? What does it say in your handbook?


The worker is not only a worker; he has hours of leisure. And so the questions continue:

Do the young workers stay much at home in their leisure? Do they help their parents? Work for their own betterment? Do they garden? Practise handicrafts?

If not, what do they mostly do? Play games? Pubs? Betting shops? Card schools? Pictures? Dance halls?

What do you think of these amusements? What is their effect on the young worker?

In our district, is there a library which the young workers could use? Or courses in technical schools? Opportunities for music, singing, art? What effect would these have on young workers? What does JOC think about it all?

How are the workers housed about here? In new building estates, old houses and slums, shacks, caravans?

Have they sufficient light and air? What about sanitation? Are their homes cheery, decent, human? Can any gardening be done near the home?

What do we think of the workers’ housing? What effect has it on family life? On children’s health? On purity, decency, good manners? On the way that free time is spent?

What can each of us do to make living conditions better?


So the pattern grows in the boys’ minds; many more questions than I can repeat here, but each calculated to set them thinking, to move them towards doing. One can see, almost in the questions themselves, a developing social awareness, a growing sense of social responsibilities and ties. But man is not merely a social animal; he is a moral being. And the questions continue (but notice how they are still working on the boys’ own experiences):

What do the young workers talk about when they hang round the street corner? What is said about purity? Do the young workers think purity possible or necessary? Should a fellow have a girl? What do the chaps say? Do they think it should depend on his age? What do we think?

What do the fellows say about getting married? What age do they think is the right age for marriage? Why, in their view, do people get married? The physical pleasures? Or because they want to love and be loved by someone? Or because it is more comfortable to have your own home and to settle down? Or because they want children? What reasons do they give for their opinions? What do you think of their reasons?

What do the lads think of their parents and families? How do they talk about them?

Do we think that working conditions have much to do with all this?

What do the fellows think of working-class solidarity? Do they believe in it? Or do they think it should be every man for himself?

Is it very difficult for the young worker to remain pure and honest? Why? Is it the general tone of the chaps we work with or meet outside?

Do we know young workers who quarrel with their parents, keep their own wages? And young workers who help their parents? Why?

Does an immoral life affect health? And pocket? And the young worker’s capacity . for love, dignity, finer feelings?

What do we think of the moral character of the workers as a whole? Do our conditions affect our family life? Does immorality weaken us in our family life, in our organisations?

Is religion discussed by the lads? What do the workers say about God and the Church? What workers let it be known in the factories that they are practising Catholics? Are we known to be Christians? What do the other chaps say to us about it? What do we say to them?

Do we know what being a Christian means? Is it only going to Mass on Sundays and to the Sacraments now and again?

What have we to do to live like Christians? What are the Gospels? Who was Christ? What is the Church? What are the two chief Commandments? Can we practise them in our daily lives? How can we apply them to our mates at work? In the street? At home?


And so on. These questions are drawn, as examples, from the first four meetings. They are sufficient to instance the general method and the cumulative effect and the gradual orientation of the recruit’s thoughts to Christ and the tasks which Christ has set JOC. I do not know any method better calculated to engage a boy’s interest, or a girl’s for that matter. Priests using it have told me of its extraordinary effects; and I have seen work done by boys of 15 and 16, crude, illiterate, yet alive with the sense of Christ and His Charity. In the next article I shall give some account of the varieties of meetings and their conduct, and of jobs actually being done by Jocists.

– By Paul McGuire .


JOC and the Training of Militants (Advocate, Thursday 30 September 1937, page 6) (Trove)

Catholic Youth on the March, Jocism and the Apostolate of the Workers (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 1 October 1937, page 17) (Trove)

Joint Pastoral Letter

JOINT PASTORAL LETTER of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Fourth Plenary Council of Australia and New Zealand Held in Sydney, September, 1937

Very Rev. and Rev. Fathers and dear Brethren in Jesus Christ,

MINDFUL of the deposit of the Catholic Faith of which they are the chief guardians in these southern lands, and of the Apostolic admonition, “Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock wherein the Holy Ghost has placed you Bishops to rule the Church of God” (Acts xx., 28), the Archbishops and Bishops of Australia and New Zealand, under the presidency of his Excellency the Most Rev. John Panico, Apostolic Delegate and Legate to his Holiness Pope Pius XI., in these days past, met in Plenary Council in the city of Sydney to legislate for the needs of the Church and the faithful under their care, according to the provisions of the Canon Law and the peculiar conditions of the time and circumstances in which we live. This Fourth Council was fittingly inaugurated with Solemn Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday, September 5, when the guidance of the Holy Spirit was invoked on the deliberations of the Fathers, whose ~first act on assembling was to turn their minds and hearts to the aged and intrepid Pontiff who had called them together and to send him a cordial message of loyalty and affection—a message which brought back from his paternal heart the Apostolic Blessing and words of hope and encouragement for the work of the Council.

Notable Progress of the Church Since Last Council

In the 32 years that had elapsed since the holding of the last Plenary Council vast changes had taken place. With one exception—that of the venerable Archbishop of Sydney—the Fathers of that Council had been called to their eternal reward, and only a few of the priests who took part in it were still living. But the hearts of the assembled Archbishops and Bishops were filled with joy at the rich spiritual harvest reaped in the intervening years. This was evidenced net only in the greatly increased number of faithful, but in the growth of new dioceses and parishes, in the multiplying of institutions of Christian education and charity, and in the permanent shape and character in which the work of the Church generally had been organised. The period was also marked by two events of outstanding importance—namely, the coming of a personal representative of the Sovereign Pontiff, to be, as Apostolic Delegate, a close and permanent link between the Holy See and the young Church in this far distant outpost, and the holding for the first time on these shores of an International Eucharistic Congress which, under the presidency of his Eminence the late Bonaventure Cardinal Cerretti, as Legate of his Holiness, took place in Sydney in the year 1928, and was regarded as one of the most remarkable manifestations of faith ever witnessed in any part of the world in connection with such assemblies. A notable event in connection with the Congress was the opening of the completed St. Mary’s Cathedral, the mother-church of Australia and the cradle of the Catholic Faith in this continent. Six years later the first National Eucharistic Congress held in Australia took place in Melbourne. It was the contribution of the Catholic citizens to the Centenary celebrations of the Victorian capital. The Congress was presided over by the present illustrious successor of St. Patrick in the See of Armagh—his Eminence Joseph Cardinal MacRory—specially appointed as Papal Legate for the occasion. It brought together a great multitude of Catholics from all parts of the Commonwealth and New Zealand, as well as visitors from overseas, who united in unprecedented demonstrations of faith and devotion, culminating in a magnificent Eucharistic procession through the main thoroughfares of the city.

Gratitude to the Pioneers

The hearts of the Fathers were filled with gratitude to the great pioneer Bishops and priests and the generous and devoted laity whose united labours and sacrifices had laid so securely the foundations on which we are now privileged to build. Monuments of their zeal and precious remembrances of their faith and generosity abound everywhere, and their names are assuredly written in the Book of Life.

Among the most encouraging marks and signs of the growth and vitality of the Church in these regions is the development of seminaries and the increase of religious and priestly vocations among the native born. May such vocations multiply, not only as an aid to the expansion of the Kingdom of Christ within our own shores, but in the large mission fields beyond them.

Changed Conditions of Our Time

While fervently thanking Divine Providence for the graces and blessings that have marked the life of the Church in the first century of her existence here, the Fathers of this Fourth Plenary Council feel they cannot disperse without impressing on the minds of the faithful the changed conditions of our times compared with those in which our predecessors lived, and solemnly warning them against the grave dangers to Christian faith and morals which some of. those changed conditions involve. In issuing such warning, and suggesting the means to be applied to combat the ever-increasing dangers to Christian faith and virtue, the Archbishops and Bishops feel they cannot do better than recall to the minds of the people the wise counsels of the present Holy Father, who, in his memorable Encyclical Letters, has, with a master-mind, exposed the fallacies and wickedness of those modern movements that would alienate the people from. God, deny His rights and enslave and destroy His Church—the supreme guardian of Christian faith and morals and the strongest bulwark against the total subversion of our Christian civilisation.

Communism Condemned

Of all the evils of our time, atheistic communism is the most deadly. Against this insidious anti-Christian movement, that has already spread like cancer through a large portion of he body of society, his Holiness has issued a salutary warning and indicated clearly the precautions to be taken by pastors of souls and the faithful in general. As a fundamental remedy he calls for “a sincere renewal of private nd public life according to the principles of the Gospel by all those who belong to the fold of Christ that they may be in truth the salt of the earth to preserve human society from total corruption.” While rejoicing over the spiritual renewal happily apparent in the lives of so many of the faithful and in those singularly chosen souls who in our day have been elevated to the honours of the altar, the great Pontiff expresses deep sorrow over those who remain cold and indifferent.

“There are,” he says, “too many who fulfil more or less faithfully the more essential obligations of the religion they boast to profess; but have no desire of knowing it better, of deepening their inward convictions, and still less of bringing into conformity with external gloss the inner splendour of a right and unsullied conscience that recognises and performs all its duties under the eye of God.” With still greater emphasis on this phase of life, his Holiness continues: “The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely, but will be swept away defenceless in the new deluge which threatens the world.” (Encyclical, “Divini Redemptoris.”)

That Communism strikes at the very foundations of society is clearly evident from its history in those countries in which it has prevailed or got a foothold. It aims at the overthrow of religion and refuses to human life any sacred or spiritual character, robbing human personality of all its dignity and making man a mere cogwheel in its system. It denies to parents the right to educate their children according to the dictates of their conscience, and, in turn, denies to the children any right to a knowledge of God and the end for which they were created.

Communist Propaganda in Australia and New Zealand

It may be said that in these southern countries we as yet see no such effects of the Communistic movement. That, however, is no guarantee that if it prevailed here it would be any different from what it is in Russia, Mexico, or Spain, where it has used every means to destroy Christian civilisation and banish the Christian religion, Its diabolical hatred of both has been evidenced in Spain in recent months in the slaughter of thousands of priests and nuns and in the ruthless destruction of churches, monasteries and the priceless works of art of which they were the repositories. It has well been said that the persecutions of the Roman Emperors who sought to eradicate the infant Church pale before the savage and relentless onslaught of the “Reds” in Spain against everybody and everything that stands for God and religion. We warn our people, more particularly the youth and working men, to be on their guard against the crafty methods by which this movement is being propagated. The literature that constitutes a large portion of the Communistic propaganda in Australia, and much of which comes from overseas, is unblushingly atheistic, scoffing at God and everything that is dear to the Christian heart. Meanwhile Governments assume a passive attitude, and the daily press issues no warning against this growing evil. The Catholic Church is left to face practically single-handed this menace to Christian civilisation, as she was left alone to combat the twin evils of divorce and race suicide, which have assumed proportions so alarming as to threaten several countries with national decay through the decline both of population and the stability of family life.

Christian Education

For no portion of the flock is the Church more solicitous than for the tender souls of whom Christ said: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not.” (Matt, xix., 14.) “Take the child and bring it up for Me” (Exodus ii., 9) is God’s charge to His Church, and to that charge, thank heaven, she has never been unfaithful.

When the Fathers of the First Plenary Council met in Sydney fifty-two years ago they left on record their determination to maintain their Catholic schools. The State grants had been taken away several years before, and many had predicted that the Catholic schools, like those of other religious bodies, would disappear. The contrary, however, occurred, and speaking of the blessings of Divine Providence on their struggle to maintain religious education, the Fathers said, “God has been largely helpful of His Church during her present struggle. . . . Truly at this moment does this Catholic Church of Australia, especially in the matter of Christian schools, stand alone in this southern world.” Since these words were written Catholic schools and teachers in Australia and New Zealand have increased fourfold, so that if half a century ago one of the outstanding features of the life of the Church in Australia and New Zealand was her fidelity to Christian education, it is much more so today.

We believe as firmly as did the Catholic Bishops of fifty years ago that in maintaining our religious schools we are doing the best service to our people and to the nation, but like them we regret the deep prejudice that perpetuates injustice to our people by denying them, for the education of their children, any share in the public funds to which they as taxpayers contribute. We feel that fair-minded men in public and in private life will yet recognise the justice of our claim. But whatever the future may bring, we know that our schools will continue and that their numbers, efficiency and Christian character will make them growing factors for good in the life of the nation.

The Work of Our Catholic Teachers

And here we desire to place on record our deep appreciation, of the splendid work of the priests, religious Brothers, and Sisters of the various teaching Orders who have so devotedly carried on the work of Christian education in these southern lands, proving themselves equal to every new demand made on them, and reaching a high standard of efficiency, thus placing our Catholic schools and colleges in an unassailable position.

Through the agency of our religious sisterhoods Catholic education has been carried right to the backblocks of the country, bringing the inestimable blessings of religious training and Christian refinement to the little ones of the “bush.” The children that they are not able to reach are receiving religious instruction through the excellent correspondence courses established for that laudable purpose.

Fruits of Catholic Education

The fruits of Catholic education will become more happily manifest with the passing of the years. They are manifest now in our family life and in our splendid associations of men and women such as the Holy Name Society, the Society of the Sacred Heart, and the Sodality of the Children of Mary, which so frequently edify us by their religious fervour and devotion. It has well been said that “so long as the Christian school exists the path to the Church will never be grass-grown.” It is not the Church alone, however, but society at large, that benefits by the religious school. As Pius XI points out, it is men and women so fashioned that promote in great part the good fortune of the nation, for Catholics, if they faithfully and religiously observe the dictates of Catholic education in peace and in war, make the best kind of citizen. The religion of Catholics has never clashed with their loyalty and allegiance to the laws of the country in which they live, and of that truth Australia herself has had sterling proof.

Working for Peace

We deplore the menaces to the peace of the world that are everywhere visible to-day, and we join with all true lovers of humanity in praying to the God of peace that the scourge of war may be eliminated from the earth. After the experience of the destruction of life and property in the World War, it is extremely sad to see nation after nation arming again on a more colossal scale than ever before. We appeal to all to work in the cause of peace and to pray that the blight of war may never deface our own fair country.


The existence of unemployment to the extent to which it is found even in Australia calls for the attention of all who can in any way contribute to its abatement, for not only is it a serious blot, on our social system, on account of the suffering it entails on the poor, but it supplies a fertile ground for the fostering of spurious remedies more dangerous than the disease. It is the duty of Governments and employers to remove as far as possible the cause of unrest, discontent and revolt among the wage-earners by giving them the fullest measure of justice. Workingmen whose paramount interest is in their homes and families have no desire to become revolutionaries, but they must be treated fairly in all respects. Leo XIII and Pius XI. have cogently reasoned on this great social question and have pointed out the remedies for it, but in vain will appeal be made to the mighty forces struggling for the mastery—capital and labour— so long as both neglect the moral and religious bond without which society cannot hold together. The Church cannot be indifferent to the sufferings of the poor. She cannot witness miserable and degrading destitution without raising her voice against it, for she has been set in the world not only as the exponent of Divine truth, but as the friend of the weak and the defender of moral and social justice.

Bearing in mind the needs of the family, the two Pontiffs named urge that fathers of families receive a wage sufficient to meet adequately ordinary domestic needs. If in the present state of society this is not always feasible, social justice demands that reform be introduced which will not only guarantee such a wage, but make provision against unemployment and increasing family burdens. In this connection we trust that a comprehensive scheme of child endowment will yet be established. Such wise provision would, we are sure, do much to remove the temptation to restrict the births that mean so much to national welfare. Meanwhile, for the- relief of the indigent we warmly commend the work of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and we exhort all Catholic men who can do so to become active members of its ranks. We also counsel our men to seek admittance into the excellent Catholic benefit societies that have branches in practically every parish.

Bulwarks of Faith

The circumstances of our time call more urgently than ever for the strengthening of faith and for the making of ourselves efficient co-operators with Christ. To this end we earnestly recommend the work of the Propagation of the Faith, so devotedly sponsored by the present Holy Father, Pius XI, who will go down in history as the “Pope of the Missions.” Membership in this society is within the reach of every Catholic, whatever be his condition in life. We entreat the clergy to make the work of the society known to their people and to lay special emphasis on it on the Sunday in October of each year set aside for this purpose. The distribution of Catholic literature is a most important factor in spreading and defending the Faith. There is one agency of this distribution in Australia and New Zealand which deserves our heartfelt gratitude and our unstinted support. We refer to the Catholic Truth Society. Priests and people alike should join wholeheartedly in promoting the great apostleship of this society, and we earnestly request them to do so. Priests can help very materially by having the publications of the society on sale at the doors of their churches and by frequently calling the attention of the people to them. The work of the society should also be organised in the schools. We have excellent Catholic newspapers, which we regret do not receive the full measure of support they deserve. Here again we call for the co-operation of the clergy, who could render immense assistance to religion by urging that there should be a Catholic newspaper in every Catholic home. Besides the ordinary Catholic newspaper, those excellent penny publications, the “Catholic Worker” and “Our Australian Sunday Visitor,” deserve every encouragement. It is on our religious newspapers that we depend so largely to defend Catholic truth and action, and; correct the many erroneous and even deliberately false accounts of happenings in Catholic countries that appear from time to time in secular newspapers and other publications.

The Catholic Library movement has recently come into existence to fulfil a long-felt need, and we should like to see it supported and extended as much as possible.

Evils That Cry Out for Reform

We feel we must enter a vigorous protest against two evils that are particularly dangerous to the morals and welfare of the people, and which are a serious blot on the nation. They are the importation and manufacture of contraceptives, which, are openly advertised and sold, and the circulation of base sex literature which is largely used as a means of propaganda for birth control, and which is a powerful factor in corrupting youth. It is useless for statesmen to be deploring the falling birth-rate while they do nothing to eliminate the chief causes of it. While every means is taken to safeguard the bodily health of the young, it is sad to find Governments so utterly indifferent to their moral welfare as to leave them open to corruption through channels which it has the power to close. We uphold the practice of administering the total abstinence pledge to all children at Confirmation and we shall continue it. We desire to encourage the spread of temperance societies and the exclusion of strong drink from Catholic balls and other social functions carried on under the patronage of the Church.

The Home and Personal Sanctity

If Catholic Action in all the important matters which we have enumearted is to be really effective, personal sanctity must be regarded as of paramount importance. “Be ye holy,” said the Lord, “as I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. xix., 1, 2.) We therefore counsel the people to cultivate holiness of life by using the God-given means, access to which in our day has been greatly facilitated by the increased number of priests and churches everywhere. Good Catholics will, wherever possible, make frequent Holy Communion and the hearing of daily Mass their rule of life, and the pious family will gather together for prayers in common, particularly for the evening Rosary. Membership in parish sodalities and in associations for the fostering of Catholic social and intellectual life will be a great assistance to our young people in fulfilling their duty to God and the nation, and will help particularly in promoting marriages that will assure the happiness of the young couples themselves and safeguard the faith of their children.

We cannot view without pain and misgiving the reluctance of the young people of our day to settle on the land. Even the number of those reared in happy country homes, built up by the industry and thrift of their parents, who have abandoned the land for the glamour of the city is so appalling as to become a question of grave national concern. Since a good home is one of the surest channels of God’s graces and blessings to men, and since our country homes have always been fruitful in piety and in the service of the Church, we entreat our people who still possess such homes to resist all temptations to part with them.

For the rest, dearly beloved, we exhort you in the words of the Apostle St. Paul, “Whatever things are true, whatever modest, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things” (Philippians iv., 8), “and the grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

Very devotedly yours in Christ, The Archbishops, Bishops and prelates of the Fourth Plenary Council of Australia and New Zealand.

+MICHAEL KELLY, Archbishop of Sydney.

+JAMES DUHIG, Archbishop of Brisbane.

+DANIEL MANNIX, Archbishop of Melbourne.

+THOMAS O’SHEA, Archbishop of Wellington.

+ANDREW KILLIAN, Archbishop of Adelaide.

+REDMOND PREND1VILLE, Archbishop of Perth.

+JUSTIN SIMONDS. Archbishop of Hobart.

+NORMAN G1LR0Y, Coadjutor-Archbishop of Sydney.

+JOHN CARROLL, Bishop of Lismore.

+JOHN HEAVEY, Vicar-Apostolic of Cooktown.

+MATTHEW BRODIE, Bishop of Christchurch.

+DANIEL FOLEY, Bishop of Ballarat.

+J0HN MCCARTHY, Bishop of Sandhurst.

+JOSEPH DWYER, Bishop of Wagga Wagga.

+JAMES LISTON, Bishop of Auckland.

+JAMES WHYTE, Bishop of Dunedin.

+RICHARD RYAN, Bishop of Sale.

+JOHN BARRY, Bishop of Goulburn.

+JOHN NORTON, Bishop of Bathurst.

+JAMES BYRNE, Bishop of Toowoomba.

+JOHN COLEMAN, Bishop of Armidale.

+EDMUND GLEESON, Bishop of Maitland.

+JAMES O’COLLINS, Bishop of Geraldton.

+TERENCE McGUIRE, Bishop of Townsville.

+PATRICK FARRELLY, Coadjutor-Bishop of Lismore.

+THOMAS FOX, Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes.

+ROMUALD HAYES, Bishop of Rockhampton.

+OTTO RAIBLE, Vicar-Apostolic of Kimberley

+FRANCIS HENSCHKE, Auxiliary-Bishop of Wagga Wagga.

+ANSELM CATALAN, O.S.B., Abbot Nullius of New Norcia.

+FRANCIS XAVIER GSELL, M.S.C., Administrator Apostolic of the Northern Territory.

+MICHAEL CLUNE, Vicar-Capitular of the Diocese of Port Augusta.

Sydney, September 13, 1937.


Joint Pastoral Letter (Advocate, Thursday 30 September 1937, page 11)(Trove)

The Christian Revolution



SEVENTY THOUSAND young men and women are standing in a vast arena. About them are great machines —the machines at which they toil. To music, group after group is marching in, carrying banners and the symbols of their trades and crafts. Then come the nurses, carrying a huge white cross. A torch is lit. It passes from hand to hand, other torches take fire from it, the lights run out to the far edges of the crowd. It is the light of Christian teaching, spreading from Jocist to Jocist, to illumine the world.

The mechanics make a platform of machines. The carpenters build upon it a table of mahogany. On the table the quarrymen set a flat stone. Over it the girl weavers spread three linen cloths from their mills. At the right hand, bookbinders place a huge book, the product of theirs and the printers’ arts. Miners set safety lamps on the table. The white cross is placed above it. The altar is ready for to-morrow’s Mass. The workers have raised, from the things they make, a throne for God.

In the morning, the Cardinals and the Archbishops and the Bishops of France come to that altar. An old man and an old woman come to it

They are workers, like the tens of thousands gathered there. Between the old man and the old woman walks their son. He was a worker, too. Now he goes to say his first Mass. He is a Jocist, and those who built the altar, the seventy thousand who will presently answer his voice in the responses of the Mass are Jocists.

They are the Christian Revolution.*

The Miracle of JOC.

A year or two after the war, a young Priest in Belgium said to a young workinginan and a young working girl: ” We are going to conquer the world.” In July, at Paris, seventy thousand delegates from twenty different countries knelt before the Altar of the Workers at that first Mass of the Priest who had once been a fitter. They came from the mines and the mills and the ships and the factories and the farms and the offices. All were wage-earners. Most were manual workers. Not one was more than twenty-five years old.

To them, the Holy Father addressed a special message. He repeated that pregnant phrase of his: “The apostles of the workers must be workers.” He has said that their action is “an ideal form of Catholic Action.” He has given them his blessing.

I met, at the C.S.G. Summer School in Oxford, Father Kothen, of the Belgian J.O.C. There is still danger from Communism in France, he said, but in Belgium that is passing. Today, for each recruit to the Belgian Communist parties, JOC makes three. There are 90,000 Jocists in Belgium, 100,000 in France, 500,000 in Europe; and to be a Jocist is not an easy thing, while the organisation itself has only been formally approved for ten years. About one-sixth of the Jocists are “militants,” and each “militant” is assumed to influence about one hundred of his fellow-workmen.

To resist Communism is only an aspect of the task. Communism itself is but a symptom of social disease: of that disease in which, as Pius XI has said, “the whole economic life has become hard, cruel, and relentless in a ghastly manner.” Catholics who see our whole task, or even a major task, in mere negative resistance to Communism are grossly mistaken. We must destroy the disease of which it is a symptom. We must restore health to the body of society. We must make our own revolution, the revolution in Christ. And that is what JOC is doing.

” Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne”: they are the words for which IOC stands: the Christian Worker Youth. Christian, notice: all things are centred in Christ, Christ is our Master, the Worker who is Master of Workingmen.

Christians—W orkers—Y ouths.

JOC, though it is the most familiar of them, is only one of five great organisations: JMC (Young Catholic Sailors), JEC (Young Catholic Students), JAC (Young Catholic Peasants), and JIC (Young Catholic Intellectual Workers). JOC is essentially the organisation of the industrial workers. It will be seen at once that the vocational orders, of which the Social Encyclicals speak, are observed here in their true sense. The vocations have each their part, but the parts combine for the common good, are ordered to it.

Last Whitsun, in Paris, JOC, JAC, JEC, JIC, and JMC presented together a parable play. They described in great choruses, the selfishness and violence which destroy the social order. Cries JOC: “The factory doors are shut.” Cries JAC: “No one wants the fruits of the earth.” Cries JMC: ” Ships remain in the harbors.” Cries JEC: “Students fail in the useless exams.” Cries JIC: ” Failures and miseries multiply.” Then all cry together: “Chaos, unemployment, misery, revolution, war. We want to work and to live. Who will save us?” And a voice answers: ” Christ.”

Christ is the Unity in Whom men must live and work, in Whom all vocations, all individual talents, all personal labors and sufferings, all social effort and trial, find meaning and realisation. That is the lesson of JOC and JAC and J EC and JMC and JIC. It is the message they are carrying to the world, to their immediate worlds, to the classrooms and the ships and the farms and the mills and the newspaper offices and the mines.

JOC is for boys and girls between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five. There are organisations for the younger, organisations into which they pass after twenty-five, but one musl leave these aside for the time. JOC is based on the parochial units, in which the Priest is the centre of the group, in the sense that he is responsible for its spiritual welfare. But the officers are all Jocists. The great congress in Paris the other day was arranged by these boys and girls: and, seated in the midst of the Cardinals and Bishops, a young man presided over it all—the young workingman who is President of the JOC of France.

JOC is a school of young workers.

It is social service. It works for better conditions, better wages. It is a representative body. Its reports are valued by the International Labor Office. But, above all, it is an apostolate. It insists not only on the personal sanctification of its members, but on their duty, their splendid task, as apostles to their fellows. It works at the conquest of the workers for Christ.

Its militants are the hard core of the movement. They form cells in shops and factories and mines: they are the nucleus of the parish sections. JOC always begins with a small group of militants. One can see them in training now in England. In the first week-end of August forty young men of Wigan, Father Rimmer’s group, went into retreat. For nearly six months they have been preparing themselves. Father Atkinson has another group at Wellingborough. The organisation has been authorised in Westminster, Liverpool, Northampton, Birmingham. One believes that in a year or two it will be spreading across England, as it has spread across Belgium and France: that in every place where the toiling masses labor the spirit of JOC will be there to remind men again of Christ, Who toiled and labored.

To penetrate the milieu, that is the task of JOC. Tt is a personal apostolate for each boy and girl. You are concerned with tJie man next to you at the bench, the boys who live in your street: with the girl beside you at the loom, the young women in the dance halls. The job requires courage and knowledge and spiritual integrity. Tt is not the least of the great achievements of JOC that it has found the method of steeling the moral and intellectual purpose of the young city dwellers: it has learnt how to waken their enthusiasm, how to instruct their minds, how to nourish their charity, how to make apostles of them. The whole Catholic world can learn from JOC’s technique. In my next article T shall try to give some account of it.


The Christian Revolution (Southern Cross, Friday 24 September 1937, page 17) (Trove)


Next week will appear the first of a series of articles by Paul McGuire on the fgmous revolutionary organisation of the JOC (Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne, the Continental Christian organisation of industrial workers).

There are 90,000 Jocists in Belgium, 100,000 in France, 500,000 in Europe—and to-day, in Belgium, for each recruit to the Communist parties, JOC

makes three.

Read introductory reference in this issue—

See Letter from London.


JOC (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 17 September 1937, page 1) (Trove)

First Communion and Breakfast

Holy Name Society, Lewisham.

First Communion and Breakfast .


The first annual Communion and breakfast of the Lewisham Holy Name Society was favored with beautiful weather on Sunday, September 12, and was the occasion of a wonderful demonstration of faith, when the Right Rev. Joseph W. Dwyer, D.D., Bishop of Wagga, celebrated the Mass, and, assisted by the Rev. Father Walsh, gave Communion to over 400 men.

Mass over, the men assembled in the road outside the church, fortified four deep and, preceded by the band of the 2nd Lewisham Troop of Boy Scouts, who proudly carried the Papal Banner recently won in competition with all the troops of the archdiocese, an-l by a huge replica of the Badge of the Holy Name Society, marched to the Dispensary Hall at Petersham, where breakfast was served, and it was made known that his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, and the Right Rev. Dr. Dwyer, Bishop of Wagga, would address them before leaving for the morning session of the Plenary Council.

The prelates took their seats at the high table with the chairman, Mr. P. P. Brady, president of the branch; Right Rev. Monsignor T. Phelan, P.P., V.G., Spiritual Director; the Rev. Bro. C. C. Brady, of the Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham: Messrs. A. B. Mansfield (treasurer), T. Malone (secretary), W. F. Sheehan, LL.B., R. F. Bailey, F. X. Byrne, McEwen (vice-president of the Diocesan . Council of the Holy Name Society) , and Dr. Quinn.

The chairman, having happily introduced the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Bishop of Wagga, called upon Mr. W. F. Sheehan to propose the toast of ‘The Hierarchy and Clergy.’

Mr. W. F. Sheehan, LL.B., in a witty and eloquent speech, emphasised the great pleasure it gave him to toe asked to propose such a toast. A series of great events had been happening and were still happening. There was the great Plenary Council, with its Bishops and delegates assembled from all parts of Australasia, and then there was the consecration of St. Thomas’s Church. These had synchronised with the great meeting of the Holy Name Society at’the Cathedral, and they were especially privileged that day to welcome in their midst Dr. Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, and Dr. Dwyer, Bishop of Wagga. Dr. Mannix was a very distinguished prelate — for his scholarship, and above all for the courage of his convictions as a great leader of the Catholic Church. Wagga, also, under the able leadership of Bishop Dwyer, had seen stirring times. The Church was right in showing great devotion to the Hierarchy: they were notable for their learning, for their piety and for their courage.

Continuing, Mr. Sheehan drew attention to certain unfortunate remarks made in criticism of the Catholic Church by Dean Inge, known as ‘the gloomy Dean,’ as quoted in one of the leading weekly newspapers in Sydney. Catholics knew that the Church combined within herself in an amazing way the three principles of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. She was a monarchy, sworn in allegiance to her ruler, the Holy Father, and Successor of Peter: she possessed an aristocracy in her Hierarchy, yet with it all, and by reason of her faithful laity, she was also a democracy. He assured the Hierarchy that they would ever find the willing co-operation of the laity at their disposal. He commended the life and work of such priests as Father Walsh, Father Heffernan and Father Mulheren. The work that their priests were doing in the far north, in the backblocks, and in difficult places in Australia and throughout the world should make them still more loyal to the Faith they revered. (Applause.)

His Grace Archbishop Mannix, who was heartily welcomed, in reply, stressed his appreciation of the eloquent speech they had just heard. Tributes had been ‘ paid to the Hierarchy and their work for the Faith, but the truth was that very little could have been, or could be done, if it were not for the young men and old men, such as were assembled there. The credit was often given to prelates like himself or to Archbishop Kelly, but it was the laity who were in the trenches and, as in all other armies ,the generals were often far away from the front making plans and issuing orders. No other people in the world were so faithful as Australian Catholics to the Faith. ‘I am an Irishman,’ remarked his Grace, ‘yet I count myself an Australian as well; and I see that even the justice granted to Catholic people under British rule in other parts of the world is not granted to us here in Australia.’

Continuing, the Archbishop pointed out that here in this free land, so-called Catholics suffered from -disabilities not placed upon them anywhere else, and these, as they well knew, were educational disabilities. With their assistance and co-operation their just claims must be placed before their fellow-citizens that they might not be serfs in their own land. (Applause. He was getting old, but he hoped to live to see a great cnange in Catholic conditions in Australia.

Right Rev. Monsignor Phelan said the Society was the leaven that would in time leaven the whole lump. From a humble beginning it now numbered its tens of thousands. Again lie thanked them and piayed that God would grant them His blessing and the gift of perseverance. (Applause.)

His His Lordship Bishop Dwyer, of Wagga, spoke of the thrilling demonstration of laity that had happened two nights before at St. Mary’s Cathedral, when some 8000 men had pledged themselves anew to great aims. They had other societies within the Church, such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which also had great aims, and they, especially, perhaps the Holy Name Society, had heeded the Holy Father’s call to Catholic Action, and the Holy Father had pointed out that Catholic Action was, above all things, an apostolate. Their’s was a united effort — united to safeguard and honor, by word and by deed, the Holy Name of Jesus. Such an effort in intention and action would leave them blameless in God’s sight. They had heard that Communism had methods the most modern and up-to-date, and they might well learn from these methods. The time had come to fight this malignant and malicious growth in their national life, not with swords, but especially with their heads — tongues and heads — that was their slogan. Wherever they went they seemed to see peaceful citizens, but there were no less than 100,000 organised for Communist propaganda amongst Australian people, and another 200,000 confessed supporters.

Continuing, Bishop Dwyer gave some first-hand information of Communist activities, quoting a long list of Trade Unions which were even now being ‘white-anted’ by propaganda. A Russian and his wife, he said, had recently come to Wagga from Russia, and told fearful stories of the terrible condition under which that sad country was laboring. The ‘Reds’ were forming ‘cells’ in every suitable organisation. It was quite possible that they might seek to join the Holy Name Society! Well then, let members of the Holy Name Society form ‘cells’ in other organisations. Let them stand firmly against blasphemy. He hoped, nay believed, that they would be on the watch, and watch well. Men of holiness and sanctity were needed today more than ever before, and these were the blessings he prayed for them. (Applause.)

Mr. P. P. Brady, the chairman and president of the branch, now proposed the toast of the Lewisham branch of the Society, coupling with it the name of Rev. Father Walsh, their Spiritual Director. Their first duty as members, said Mr. Brady, was to further their lay apostolate. While they looked to the past with pride yet they should not be satisfied until every young man in Lewisham had been added. Their opponents, indeed, the opponents of Christianity, stuck at nothing: no life was spared. Their special duty, he felt, was to exhibit love for their neighbor, and carry it out without shirking the responsibility. Continuing, Mr. Brady emphasised their debt to Father Walsh for his great zeal for the branch, for the splendid work he had done for them, to his own saintly example, and the marked progress made as a result of his efforts.

Rev. Father Walsh, who was very warmly received, congratulated them upon ‘the piety and devotion of the men as shown at the Mass that morning. He thought that these had been greatly encouraged by the beautiful singing of the Christian Brothers’ Boys’ Choir under the direction of Rev. Bro. Brady. The success of the Society had not been his own. It was the officers, the prefects, and they themselves who were responsible for it. After all, they had a glorious aim and end, for they were pledged to defend Christ and protect His Name.

In reply to the toast of ‘The Visitors and Press,’ proposed by Mr. Bailey, the vice-president of the Diocesan Council of the Holy Name Society, Mr. McEwen, congratulated them upon the remarkable progress the branch had made. In 1922 at St. Lawrence, South Adelaide, the Society had begun, and they now covered Australasia. On September 20 the Society would keep the six hundred and sixtieth anniversary of its foundation. The demonstration in which they had taken part on the previous Thursday in St. Mary’s Cathedral was proof that the Society had never been in a stronger position. Their own branch, too, had grown rapidly in a short time to 460 members.

Rev. Bro. Brady, whose choir won first prize at the recent Eisteddfod, spoke briefly. It is noteworthy that the Choir possesses a very fine boy soprano in R. Killea. who sang Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria’ during the Offertory at the Mass.

Mr. F. X. Byrne moved a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. P. P. Brady for presiding.


First Communion and Breakfast (Catholic Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1932 – 1942), Thursday 16 September 1937, page 19) (Trove)