Catholic Action Plans

Dr. Simonds Secretary of National Body

HOBART, Friday.

The formation of the National Secretariat of Catholic Action in Australia, with the Archbishop of Hobart (Most Rev. Justin D. Simonds) as national secretary, is officially announced by “The Standard,” published yesterday. Central offices have been secured in Melbourne, and his Grace states that Australia had at last embarked on a national movement of Catholic action to defend, expand, and consolidate the Kingdom of Christ in the land. During the past few weeks, states “The Standard,” Archbishop Simonds has been gathering information concerning, the already existing Catholic action movements throughout Australia.

Writing from St. Mary’s Cathedral, his Grace states that several years had passed since the Holy Father issued a call to the. entire world, inviting the laity to insist in the apostolate of Catholic action, the exalted aim of which was to re-establish in society that Christian concept of life which modern pagan forces were openly seeking to destroy. Isolated and inco-ordinate efforts had been made in several dioceses of Australia to respond to the Holy Father’s call, but now the movement was organised on a national basis.

All would he enlisted in the crusade, the letter states, but the specialised direct action would be taken by coordinated groups of organised Catholics, who would endeavour to spread the influence of Christ’s principles ,in the particular environment in which they lived and moved. As the purpose of Catholic action was to supiernaturalise the entire social body, there must be as many groups working for Catholic action as there were spheres of human interest and endeavour. In each sphere there would be a group of earnest, militant, and specially trained Catholics, who would make a special study of the ideals of Christianity, with particular reference to their bearing upon the environment in which they lived, and endeavour to have these ideals accepted and practised by all those who belonged to their particular environment. The leadership and direction of these groups would be exercised in accordance with the plan laid down by the Hierarchy, and under its general provision.

A sub-committee of three members of the Hierarchy had been elected to direct the national organisation on behalf of the Australian Hierarchy. The Archbishop of Melbourne (Dr. Mannix) was president, Archbishop Simonds secretary, and the other member was the Bishop of Maitland. The committee had secured the services of Rev. W. Keane, S.J., distinguished philosopher, and an authority on the social problems of the day, who would act as ecclesiastical assistant to the national secretariat. Messrs. F. K. Maher, M.A. LL.B., and B.A., Santamaria, M.A., LL.B., were officials of the lay secretariat.

SOURCE

Catholic Action Plans (Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954), Saturday 22 January 1938, page 6) (Trove)

Catholic Action

Australian National Movement.

REPORT BY ARCHBISHOP SIMONDS.

MOST REV. J. D. SIMONDS, D.D.

On the 13th of September last year, a decision of momentous importance to the Catholics of Australia was made by the Hierarchy of Australia and New Zealand, ‘when they decided at their general meeting to launch the movement of Catholic Action upon a national basis. Several years have passed since the Holy Father issued a call to the entire world, inviting the laity to enlist in the Apostolate of Catholic Action, the exalted aim of which is to re-establish in society that Christian concept of life which modern pagan forces are openly seeking to destroy. Isolated and inco-ordinate efforts have been made in several diocese of Australia to respond to the Holy Father’s call to Catholic Action, but now the movement is launched on a national basis, and will be organised by the Hierarchy on Australian-wide lines. The action of the Hierarchy is a welcome response to a widespread and urgent appeal from the Catholic laity of Australia to give them an opportunity of participating in the lay apostolate.

If all that is best in our social life is not to be ruined by the destructive agencies which are actively at work in our midst, no time must be lost in rousing every loyal Catholic to take his share in that apostolate to which he was dedicated in the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our inspiring leader, Pope Pius XL, has defined Catholic Action as ‘the participation of the laity in the Apostolate of the Church’s Hierarchy.’ Enlarging on this definition, which he affirmed was given ‘after due thought, deliberately, and, indeed, one may not say without divine inspiration,’ the Supreme Pontiff says that Catholic Action is ‘the participation of the Catholic laity in the Hierarchical Apostolate, for the defence of religious and moral principles, and the development of a wholesome and beneficent social action. It works under the guidance of the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, outside of and above political parties, for – the purpose of restoring Catholic life in the family and society.

Extensive Programme.

Its programme is so extensive that it excludes nothing that can assist the Hierarchy in their divinely appointed task of extending the Kingdom of Christ amongst men. It is an apostolate of like upon like, of working-man upon working-man, of student upon student or professional men and women upon their colleagues, and is thus an apostolate which is particularly suited to the members of the laity in every state and condition of life. It will extend to the individual, to the family, to the factory, to the field, to the business house, in the office, the trades unions, and even to the playing fields.

The activities of the apostolate have I been summarily expressed by the Holy Father in these words: Prayer, Study, Action and Sacrifice. Every Catholic can take Ms share in the duty of prayer for the ! expansion of the Kingdom of Christ, and ‘ to some extent also he can shave in the privilege of personal sacrifice for the sake of that same kingdom. To the members of the religious communities, especially those of the Contemplative Orders, the Holy Father make a particular appeal for the crusade of prayer and sacrifice to obtain from heaven efficacious aid for the Church in her present struggle. All will be enlisted in the crusade, but the specialised direct action will be taken up by co-ordinated groups of organised Catholics, who will endeavour to spread the influence of Christ’s principles in the particular environment in ? which they live and move. As the purpose of Catholic Action is to supernaturalise the entire social body, there must be as many groups -working for Catholic Action ;;s there arc spheres of human interest and endeavour. In each sphere there will be a group of earnest, militant and specially trained Catholics, who will make a special study of the ideals of Christianity, with particular reference to their bearing upon the environment in which they live, and endeavour to have these ideals accepted and practised by all those who belong to their particular environment. The leadership and direction of these groups will be exercised in accordance with the plan laid down b,y the Hierarchy, and under its general supervision.

Central Central Co-ordinating Body.

It is the intention of the Hierarchy to utilise the newly-formed central National Organisation to act as a central coordinating body for all the existing organisations, and to stimulate the growth of others that have yet to be formed. The Central Organisation will assist each diocese to form the necessary diocesan groups, which, in turn, will organise and develop the parochial units, and ultimately reach each individual.

A sub-committee of three members of the Hierarchy was elected to direct the National Organisation on behalf of the Australian Hierarchy. The Archbishop of Melbourne is the president, the Archbishop of Hobart is secretary, ind the Bishop of Maitland completes the membership of the committee.

The first work to which the Episcopal Committee set its hand was the establishment of an Australian Secretariat of Catholic Action, with an office and all the necessary equipment to carry out the work on a national basis. The members of the committee are pleased to announce that they have been able to secure the services of three leaders, whose eminent qualifications for their important offices, and their well-known zeal for the cause, give great promise for the future of Catholic Action in Australia. The Rev. Father W. Keane, S.J., who is known in every Australian State as a distinguished philosopher and an authority on the social problems of the day, will act as the Ecclesiastical Assistant to the National Secretariat. The officials, of the Lay Secretariat are a)so happily chosen; Mr. F. K. Maher, M.A., LL.B., and Mr. B. A. Santamaria, M.A., LL.B., who have for several years rendered valuable service to the Church as members of the Campion Society, and who wijl devote their wholo time to the work of the Lay Secretariat.

The Secretariat has already begun its work, and is at present engaged in making a preliminary survey of all the existing and potential associations in Australia, with a view to bringing them into touch with official Catholic Action. Communications should be addressed to the Australian National Secretariat of Catholic Action, 368 Collins-street, Melbourne, C.I., Victoria.Australia has at last embarked upon a National Movement of Catholic Action to defend, expand and consolidate the Kingdom of Christ in our own land. May God’s blessing attend the movement.

J.D. SIMONDS,

Secretary.

SOURCE

Catholic Action (Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW : 1895 – 1942), Thursday 20 January 1938, page 21) (Trove)

Catholic Social Action During 1936-1937

SURVEY BY INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE

In the Year Book for 1936-1937, published by the International Labour Office, there is a full summary of Catholic activity in social matters throughout the world (pp. 28-35). The International Labour Office was established in Geneva on January 10, 1920, with the benediction of the League of Nations. Fifty-six States have joined the organisation, whose object is to improve world labour conditions.

THE following is a “summary of the summary,” which gives some idea of the Church’s social activity throughout the world, as seen by the I.L.O.

GREAT BRITAIN

The Bishops’ collective pastoral condemning social injustice. . . . The work of the Catholic Workers’ College. . . . The C.S.G. Summer School at Oxford. . . The beginnings of the Young Christian Workers’ movement. Their work for the young unemployed in Bristol.

BELGIUM

The Belgian Episcopate protests against the falsities of modern life, and calls for justice and truth and love and true freedom among the workers. . . . Belgian Catholics assemble at Malines to discuss social, economic and moral problems arising out of modern conditions. They agree on the need for reform of limited companies and the banks. . . . At Louvain there is a fortnight’s congress, at which the importance of curbing financial dictatorships was emphasised. . . . New centres for the unemployed set up by Jocistes.

FRANCE

Messages from nearly all the dioceses calling for goodwill in attempting to solve the social problems. . . . The repeated attacks on social and economic injustices by Mgr. Salieges, Archbishop of Toulouse, by Cardinal Lienart, and by Cardinal Verdier. . . . The efforts of the Jocistes to obtain better wages and working conditions for young workers, and their ceaseless attempts to improve the lot of the unemployed.

SWITZERLAND

The celebration by 5000 Jocistes of their first national congress. , . . The establishment of social centres for the unemployed.

AUSTRIA

Cardinal Innitzer’s vigorous attacks on those who destroy social justice, and those” commercial firms who make profit out of the distress of the people. . . . The establishing of Christliche Arbeiter Jugend, which corresponds to J.O.C. and Y.C.W., in four dioceses.

ITALY

The second International Congress of Catholic Journalists at Rome. Cardinal Pacelli, in addressing these journalists of 28 countries, asked them to fight the anti-Christian ideas in the world, among which he included:— “The maxims and practices of plutocratic Liberalism which, ignoring or despising the intrinsic dignity of labour, and considering the worker as a tool for profit rather than a subject for justice, persevere in shackling, or at least hampering, the organised and progressive redemption of the proletariat.”

HUNGARY

A feminine branch of the J.O.C. is established, and there are now 46 branches of J.O.C. in the country.

POLAND

Mgr. Teodorowicz and Mgr. Twardowski call upon Catholics to interfere in social and economic spheres in order to alleviate the miseries of the working-class.

U.S.A.

Cardinal Pacelli’s interview with President Roosevelt, at which reference was made to the President’s high regard for “Quadragesimo Anno.” The great celebrations in May, under the patronage of all the Bishops and Archbishops, on the anniversary of the social Encyclicals of Leo XIII. and Pius XI., when the social teaching of the Church was discussed and explained all over the continent, through pulpit, press and radio. The National Catholic Welfare Conference tries strenuously to obtain relief for rural landowners and to develop distributive co-operative societies and mutual credit societies. The Catholic Conference of Industrial Problems holds sessions in Chicago, Schenectady, Philadelphia, Washington and San Francisco, The Jociste movement is started among Portuguese workers.

CANADA

The Jocistes, under the guidance of the religious authorities, organise relief for young, unemployed persons, and plan means by which their spare time may be used.

BRAZIL

A first and most successful social week is held at Rio de Janeiro (June 8-12). There is considerable increase in the general interest on social subjects, and courses and lectures are instituted. The Jociste movement develops strongly in all the Brazilian States.

ARGENTINE REPUBLIC

The activities of the Economic and Social Secretariat, set up barely three years ago, now cover the whole country. The organisation institutes a vast enquiry, in 22 dioceses, into the conditions of urban and rural workers. Under its auspices, a culture week, which deals exclusively with social problems, is held at Santiago-del-Estero.

SOURCE

Catholic Social Action During 1936-1937 (Advocate, Thursday 20 January 1938, page 27) (Trove)