First African meeting may offer model

First African meeting may offer model for other parts of World
By Rosemary Goldie

From Entebbe, political capital of the Protectorate of Uganda, where Government buildings, attractive dwellings and the White Fathers’ church and mission are dotted over wide parklands, the red clay road leads up between Indian shops, African mud-huts and banana plantations towards Cisubi. Just before the village, a new road has been opened up to the Minor Seminary, a fine modern building, newly completed, which looks out from its eminence over the broad expanse of Lake Victoria.

It was here, a few miles from the Equator, that some 60 delegates from 15 territories of Africa, with experts from 14 Catholic International Organisations came to gather between December 8 to 13, 1953, for the first leaders’ meeting for the Apostolate of the Laity in Africa.

The meeting was organised in collaboration with the Uganda National Council of Catholic Action, by the Permanent Committee for International Congresses of the Lay Apostolate created in Rome by the Holy Father in January, 1952; it was the General secretary of this committee, Mr. Vittorino Veronese, who – as president of Italian Catholic Action -brought to Rome in October, 1951, for the first world congress of the Lay Apostolate, the militant Catholic laymen and laywomen of 74 countries and 38 Catholic international organisations.

The meeting in Uganda was in a sense the sequel to those unforgettable days in Rome, for it was clearly evident at the first world congress that regional meetings would be necessary to give more adequate study to the problems facing lay Catholics in the different parts of the world.

The tasks of the apostolate in Latin America and in Asia are one in their spiritual essence, but the external conditions of their fulfilment are widely differing.

Why Africa

That Africa should have been chosen for the first of such regional meetings was due in part to the express desire of African Catholics, but also to the dramatic acuity of the problems raised in Africa to-day by the rapidity of present social transformations, and to the obvious urgency of preparing Catholic lay people to bring to this evolving society to the guilding light of Christian principles.

This significance of the meeting was stressed in a magnificent letter addressed to His Grace Archbishop Cabana, of Rubaga (Uganda), by His Excellency Monsignor Montini calling upon the African laity – in the Holy Father’s name – to respond to “their God-given vocation with a fidelity springing from genuine spiritual life, with the clear-sightedness necessary for taking their full responsibilities in all spheres of social and civic activity and with that same resolution which has made glorious the martyrs of Uganda.”

It was stressed also, in dramatic fashion, when, a few days before the meeting, Uganda came into the limelight of the world press through the events which led to the banishment by the British authorities of the Buganda King, the Kabaka Mutesa II. Despite the announcement of a ‘state of emergency’ in Kampala, preparations proceeded normally; and, while the whole Catholic world was preparing for the opening of the Marian Year, delegates from all parts of Africa, and beyond it, were making their way – by bicycle, car, train and Comet – to Kisubi.

From Mozambique came His Eminence Cardinal de Gouveia, Archbishop of Lorenzo Marques; the new Apostolic Delegate, His Excellency Monsignor James Knox – first Australian to assume such functions in any part of the world – made Kisubi his initial goal in his jurisdiction of East and West Africa; no less than 18 Archbishops, Bishops, Vicars and Prefects Apostolic personally responded to the invitation extended to their territories; with them came missionaries – priests, brothers and nuns – but also, lay leaders, those who had answered the call of the Encyclical, Evangelii Praecones: “It is absolutely essential that in the missions there should be many lay people to enter into the ranks of Catholic Action…”

Experts Attend

Even in the fullest sense this was an international meeting: ‘Experts’ were sent from Europe by the Catholic international organisations – by the International Y.C.W., Pax Romana, the women’s and girls’ organisations, etc.; Monsignor Ligutti, director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference of the United States was there; Mr. Douglas Hyde, former communist leader and now active apostle of the writ ten and spoken word for the cause of Christ; the Prince zu Lowenstoin, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics; Dr. Aujoulat, president of the International Secretariate for Lay Missionary Activity; and lay missionaries at present working in Africa, from the Grail and from the International Feminine Auxiliaries (among them Miss Frances Scott, former Grail president in Australia).

This was, however, an international meeting of an unprecedented kind. From the outset, the organisers, whether in Rome or in Uganda, had no illusions as to the complexity of the problems to be treated and the difficulties which could arise in a continent of such social and political fermentation and of such diversity in the state of development of its various regions.

The lectures were consciously adapted to meet this situation, and did not slur over the real problems of the African scene. It was no mere theoretical interest which held African listeners strained in attention while His Excellency Bishop Lanctôt, Bukoba, Tanganyiku, spoke of ‘Africa To-day and the Mission of the Laity,’ or while His Grace Archbishop Maranta, of Dar Es Salaam, outlined with masterly touch the Church’s teaching on nation and State and its implications for Catholic lay people. And, for the Kikuyu students from Kenya who formed part of the fine delegation from Makerere University College the Church’s attitude to racism could hardly have appeared a purely academic question.

Nature Of Apostolate

The nature of the Apostolate of the Laity was treated by Monsignor Cleire, Vicar Apostolic of Kosongo; its basis in the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ; its various forms; individual and organised; organised in official Catholic Action for tasks specifically relating to the work of the Church; organised in an action of Christian inspiration, emanating directly from the lay people, for the ‘temporal’ tasks of the social and civic order.
It was a layman, Mr. Paul Ssemakula, of Uganda, who dealt from his experience as a leader in Catholic Action, with the formation that is indispensable for the apostolate: formation of intellect and will; spiritual, dogmatic, moral and liturgical formation; technical formation, enriched by experience and adapted to the milieux where the layman is called upon to exercise his activity. Two other African laymen prepared the paper on concrete social problems in Africa to-day: Mr. A. Lawrence, from French Guinea, member of the French Economic Council, and Dr. Conombo, member of the French National Assembly.

Frank discussion was the order of the day, as African delegates, missionaries and experts succeeded one another at the microphone to comment on various themes. And the same frankness – tempered by the same spirit of fraternal charity – reigned in the ‘forums’ or discussion groups to which two full days were devoted for concrete study of four essential fields.

Concrete Discussion

The Education forum was led by Dr. H. Jowitt, C.M.G., Professor at the Pius XII Catholic University for Africans (Basutoland) and former Director of Education in Uganda; the presence among the delegates of many African lay teachers gave special importance to this study of educational problems.

Discussion on Woman and the Family was under the guidance of Soeur Marie Andre du Sacre Coeur, of the White Sisters, who has done extensive research and published much material on the difficult question of marriage customs and women’s status among the African peoples, Dr, Aujoulat was chairman of the forum on the subject of Labor and Social Betterment in the rapidly evolving industrialisation of African life.

Mr. Douglas Hyde, as chairman of the forum on the Training of Leaders, stressed the excellent material afforded by the splendid African Catholic youth with their eager generosity to serve the cause of Christ. If the apostles of atheistic materialism had similar material, they would know how to use it; we may not use all their methods, but Christianity, lived to the full, has a dynamism they cannot know.

Clearly it was not possible in the short time allotted to these forums to exhaust the vast subject matter presented for their consideration, nor was it possible to make all the concrete applications necessary for widely differing territories and for the varying possibilities of their organised laity. It was, however, already of great importance that the problems should be raised and a concrete picture given of the difficulties involved. It was important, too, that African Catholics should have this opportunity to work with lay people from Europe and America whose actions do not belie the teachings brought to Africa by the missionaries – all too often the case with white ‘Christians’ on African soil – lay people, on the contrary, whoso energies are devoted to collaboration in the Church’s redeeming apostolate.

Unity In Diversity

It was important above all that, behind the diversity of the forms of apostolic activity already operative in Africa, the unity should become apparent of their guiding principles and of their source in one same life of grace. If Uganda has a fully constituted National Council of Catholic Action while also where organised lay action is still confined to the work of the catechists; if in one diocese the Legion of Mary is officially mandated as Catholic Action and in another is working as an auxiliary body; if the personal apostolate of African Catholic leaders may be exercised as tribal chiefs or as members of the political organisms of the French Union… these external differences of form or degree are far less important than the deep unity of those laboring, in whatever sphere, to make Christ’s Kingdom a reality on African soil.

This unity – the reality of Christ’s Mystical Body, not only for Africa, but for the Universal Church – was a matter of daily experience: at the opening Mass celebrated by His Excellency Monsignor Knox at the torchlight Rosary Procession through Kisubi Parish on the evening of December 8, where over 2000 Africans took part, singing the Latin hymns of the Lourdes ‘Ave’ with the same gusto as their native Luganda; at the unforgettable pilgrimage to Numugongo, place of martyrdom of Blessed Charles Lwanga, Patron of African Catholic Action, when one African Bishop celebrated evening Mass, another preached and hundreds of Uganda Catholics approached to receive Holy Communion with delegates from all parts of Africa and of the world. It was again the great and deep reality of the Church which remained as a lasting impression from the Pontifical High Mass – offered by a Cardinal for the first time in the history of Uganda – and from the Te Deum which rocked the seminary chapel on the closing afternoon. But this reality was expressed also in other, less solemn ways: by the silent presence, for instance, at every session of one of the parish monitresses, mother of a family, who understood no word of English or French that was spoken throughout, but explained in her own tongue: “I know what you are talking about even though I do not understand. These are the things which I also believe; I want you to see that I am one with you.”

Historic Occasion

At the solemn closing section of December 13, His Excellency, Sir Andrew Cohen, Governor of Uganda, stressing the value of the work done by the missionaries for the material and spiritual development of the Protectorate, styled this meeting an ‘historic’ occasion. And historic it was in deed, not only for Uganda, but for the Church in Africa and throughout the world.

Similar conferences will no doubt follow, in Africa itself and in other continents; but this first regional lay apostolate meeting will remain a decisive step forward on the road towards a ‘full and efficacious collaboration in universal charity’ traced out inn 1951 for the congressists in Rome by the Holy Father himself. It will have been also tangible proof that the Catholicism of ‘mission lands’ can no longer be considered as falling outside the orbit of ‘normal’ ”Catholic life. In the words again of the Holy Father (to the Sacred College, Christmas, 1945), “…to-day we see appearing, as it were, an exchange of life and energy between all members of the Mystical Body of Christ on earth. Not a few regions on other continents have long outgrown the missionary form of their ecclesiastical organisation; they have their own Hierarchy and, whereas they were formerly only receivers, they give now to the Church goods, both spiritual and material.


The Apostolate of the Laity. First African meeting may offer model for other parts of World
By Rosemary Goldie

Catholic Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1942 – 1954), Thursday 28 January 1954, page 12

Archbishop Addresses Young Catholic Students

“I AM very grateful for the musical item by the C.L.C. girls, and now you will have to submit to an unmusical item by me,” said his Grace the Archbishop, Most Rev. D. Mannix, addressing a recent conference of Young Catholic Students at Sacre Coeur Convent, Malvern.

“I am, once again, delighted to have the opportunity of associating myself with this section of the lay apostolate. I like to call it the lay apostolate rather than Catholic Action. The title lay apostolate is much more significant and appropriate than Catholic Action, which has been misunderstood and misinterpreted, at all events, in this this country. country.

“I am delighted to find that you continue to make a notable contribution to the lay apostolate. No doubt there have been ups and downs. The best proof of your success is that the lay apostolate has been growing in strength over the years; for the growth of the apostolate is largely due to the fact that the young people at your stage of life are doing their best to lay solid foundations.

“I am grateful to the priests, sisters and brothers who are helping you so much. If the priests, sisters and brothers did not make their zealous contribution, your activities would peter out. I thank the priests, brothers and sisters for their contribution and the young people themselves. We all have much reason to be gratified for what has been done.

“I am much gratified to know that through your influence the number of religious vocations seems to be increasing. Recently, hero in Melbourne, a priest, Father Lyons, has been specially set the work of fostering vocations, and I am sure that you will co-operate with him. I don’t suppose all of you are going to have religious vocations; if you did, the lay apostolate would very soon come to an end. Nevertheless, you are going to make your own big contribution to the religious bodies.

“I hope also that parents, too, will co-operate generously. Sometimes parents can make difficulties in the way of vocations. While parents’ advice should be listened to and taken in the proper spirit, parents have no right to put obstacles in the way of their children’s religious vocations. That is something between the individual and God.

“We are all glad to welcome back Father Chamberlin from his world-wide investigations. I have not heard him speak his mind on how we compare with other places, but I am sure he would say that while we have a good deal to learn from other lands and peoples, we have no reason to be dissatisfied with what has been done here.

“Once again, I wish to express my gratitude and indebtedness to you. I ask God to continue to bless your movement and enlarge your activities so that His cause will advance in and through the Catholic Church in Australia.”


Archbishop Addresses Young Catholic Students (Advocate, Thursday 15 May 1952, page 8) / Trove

Canon Cardijn Anxious to Visit Australia

“CANON Cardijn is. anxious to visit Australia, not only because of his interest in the Australian Y.C.W., but also because his ardent desire to bring his movement to the aid of the teeming millions of the Eastern countries, where the human dignity of man is seldom recognised and his eternal destiny unknown,” said Rev. F. Lombard, Chaplain to the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, speaking recently at the welcome home organised by the Y.C.W. in Melbourne.

“I had the privilege of meeting him on many occasions,” said Fr. Lombard, “and, above all else, I was impressed with his intense, almost fanatical, love of the young workers of the world, and his determination to bring the Y.C.W. tq their aid. I heard him speak on one occasion in the King’s Way Hall, London, and despite the difficulties he had in expressing himself in the English language, it was easy for me to understand how, in his own country, he was accepted as the greatest orator of his day. I hope that we have the privilege of welcoming Canon Cardijn to Australia in the near future.

“The genius of Canon Cardijn,” continued the Y.C.W. Chaplain, “lies in the method which he discovered whereby young workers who have been robbed of their sense of responsibility and degraded to the level of machines and animals by our modern industrial system can be inspired and trained to uplift themselves and restore their fellow-workers to their rightful dignity as human beings and sons and daughters of God.

“This method of formation and training of leaders is not theoretical, for the young worker is trained in a practical manner out of life and in life. The problem of the young worker is discovered, is examined, and a solution sought, and then, finally, action.

“When Canon Cardijn established the Y.C.W., he had no thought of Catholic Action, yet when he visited the late Pope Pius XI the Holy Father said the work of the Y.C.W. is Catholic Action in practice. ‘Thank God, at last someone has come to speak to me about the masses of working class.’ Cardijn, therefore, in answering the problem of the young workers, had discovered for the whole of the Catholic laity a method for their apostolate.

“Canon Cardijn’s answer to the young worker’s problem was only discovered after years of trial and error. If any Priest or leader in the Australian Y.C.W. ever feels that, because a group has failed, that the Y.C.W. has failed, then they should remember that these reverses are as nothing compared to those encountered by Canon Cardijn. At the age of 67, he can now look back over the last 40 years—including years of imprisonment in a German camp— and, though success beyond his greatest dreams has been achieved, those years have known many hardships and reverses.”


Canon Cardijn Anxious to Visit Australia (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 16 June 1950, page 12) (Trove)

Seminarians Summer School of Catholic Action


Back Row (from left to right): J. Kelly (Ballarat), T. Holland (Adelaide), F. Lyons (Melbourne), J. Cross (Melbourne), T. Brophy (Melbourne), E. D’Arcy (Melbourne), F. Larsen (Melbourne), K. Ryan (Melbourne), L. Wholohan (Sydney), J. Allman (Sale), W. Murphy (Sandhurst).

Middle Row: R. Harden (Sydney), B. Burke (Melbourne), J. Cassidy, (Sydney), Leo Clarke (Melbourne), J. Murray (Melbourne), B. Lohan (Goulburn), F. Murphy (Melbourne), N. Timbs (Sydney), J. Ellis (Melbourne), R. Merrick (Melbourne), P. de Campo (Sandhurst), J. O’Shea (Melbourne).

Front Row: Rev. G. Weissel (Goulburn), Rev. D. O’Neill (Sandhurst), Rev. V. Marley (Sydney), Rev. K. Pranty (Sydney), Rev. B. Rosen (Sydney), Rev. C. Mayne, S.J. (Melbourne), Rev. B. Kennedy (Maitland), Rev. J. Phelan (Melbourne), Rev. E. Lloyd (Goulburn), Rev. J. Atkins (Melbourne), Rev. F. Doolan (Melbourne), Rev. F. Brouggy (Sydney).


Seminarians Summer School of Catholic Action (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 12 February 1948, page 7) (Trove)

None May Refuse Support to Catholic Action

Archbishop’s Urgent Statement at Christian Workers’ Conference

SPEAKING to the large gathering of men at the — National Christian Workers’ Movement annual conference at Sunshine Parish Hall on Sunday, September 28, his Grace the Archbishop quoted a recent utterance of the Holy Father. The Pope was addressing the Catholic Young Women’s Federation in Rome and he said: ” ‘Abstention from active work for God and for Christ in the present condition in Europe, you must know full well is in itself a grave sin of omission.’ These are very strong words coming from the Pope, dealing with a situation like our own,”‘ said Dr. ‘Mannix. “We have substantially and practically the very same pagan atmosphere to fight, and the very same problems to solve, and I have no doubt if the Pope were standing here, he would say the very same thing to you.”

The theme of the conference was “The Home,” which was considered under three heads, “Christian Marriage.” “Parents and Children” and “The Family Unit and Society.” the three rriain speakers being Rev. M. Caterinich, Sir Henry Digby-Beste and Mr. W. McMahon.

Mr. W. O’Keefe, diocesan president of the N.C.W.M., was in the chair and amongst those present were Revs. W. P. Hackett, S.J.; J. Ciantar. S.C.; M. Brosnan, B.A., PP.; C. Mayne, S.J.; B. Kennedy, B. M. Day and L. Egan.

In his address of welcome to the Archbishop the parish priest of Sunshine, Fr. Ryder, said that according to the reports of those who had been overseas Catholic Action in Australia could compare favourably with any other part of the world. Whatever success we had had here was in very large measure due to the wise guidance and wonderful sunport that Dr. Mannix had given it. Under present condition^, he said, none could hold back and refuse their full support to Catholic Action.


In his annual report the diocesan secretary, Mr. T. Cushen, said that the progress during the past 12 months had been very satisfactory. Membership had risen and there were now more than 1000 members in the N.C.W.M. in the Melbourne Archdiocese. Services and activities were growing and the spirit of the movement was at a very high level. Groups at West Brunswick and West Footscray had formed branches during the year. The former, although it had been in existence for only six months, already had over 90 members^ and was one of the most successful branches in the movement.

Groups were in process of formation at East Brunswick, Ascot Vale, Flemington and Castlemaine.

The two N.C.W.M. Co-operative Housing Societies had held their first annual general meetings in September and their reports were most satisfactory. There were approximately 60 members in the 22-year society and 126 in the 30-year society. Altogether, 40 members had started to build homes. Their applications for loans totalling about £46,000 had been granted, and four houses were completed and occupied.

Other services reported on were credit union, vocational guidance and employment bureaux, handy-man service, cooperative buying clubs and advice on taxation, gardening, social services and various other practical problems in the lives of adult workers.

A complete new training programme incorporating all the latest developments in Catholic Action was in course of preparation and would soon be ready. When it was, a new drive for branches, both within and outside the Archdiocese, Would be made.


Outlining the plans for the future, the national secretary of the movement, Mr. K. W. Mitchell, said that although great success had been achieved by the N.C.W.M,, until recently two problems had worried the executive and the leaders’ groups. Firstly, though there was great loyalty and enthusiasm amongst the ordinary members, there was no organised apostolic work undertaken by them, and it was of the essence of Catholic Action that every person who joined its army should become an active apostle. Secondly, there had not been, so far, any organised and systematised attack on the environment itself—in the factories, workshops and offices, in the homes arid the various places where men spent their leisure time.

The executive had now devised a plan which it felt confident would provide the solution to these two problems. Every, leader in the movement was asked to form a sub-leaders’ group comprising four or five members of his branch who lived in his immediate neighbourhood. The members of these sub-groups would, on the one hand, assist in the running of the branch and gradually take off the leaders’ shoulders all the organising and a d m i n i strative responsibility; and, on the other hand, would endeavour to form “teams of influence” in the environment through which they would spread the ideas of the movement and endeavour to Christianise the various spheres of -the work, the home and the leisure in which they spent their daily lives. Mr. Mitchell strongly urged all members to back up this plan and to develop and extend their apostolic activity so that the ultimate objective of the N.C.W.M., the Christianising of the whole environment of the workers, might be achieved.

In a stirring appeal for action, Rev. W. Hackett, S.J., said that the time for words had passed and it was now up to us to do sromething. Australians were altogether too apathetic, and if they did not bestir themselves now the country might well be plunged into the dreadful chaos that we had witnessed in Europe followed by the oppression of totalitarianism.


“If I could be carried away,” said his Grace the Archbishop, “I should have been carried away by that passionate address just delivered by Fr. Hackett. Everything that he said was something you have to take to heart, and the appeal that he made to you, in such eloquent and passionate language, is really the appeal that I have been making, much more feebly, for many years—not altogether without result—but now that the real Catholic Actionists have come into line with Fr. Hackett and Mr. Mitchell and others, I am looking forward to great strides in Catholic Action in the near future.

“When I listened to Mr. Mitchell explaining this new system, which apparently has been hatched between himself and Fr. Mayne, I think it has in it a great element of hope and progress. It is nothing very wonderful that any individual is asked to undertake, but everybody is asked to undertake something. Everybody can do something, and everybody make his own contribution. This scheme now put before you will yield very valuable results in the near, future.

“Another thing that occurred to me was that Fr. Mayne and Mr. Mitchell might seem to be making big demands upon you, but we are not asking you to do anything that the Communists are not doing already, and doing with marvellous results—from their point of view. They have no difficulty about spending their time and devoting their energy to the promotion of their own particular objective, and if only we are as much interested in Christ’s cause as they are in the cause of the Evil One, there ought to be progress on our side, and I have great hopes that you who have done so much already, will, under the direction of those who are leading you, do even greater things in the future. I am very proud of what you have done. I know that you have made considerable sacrifices (not greater than the Communists have made for their objective), but I give you credit for all that you have done, and I have great hopes that you will do even better things in the future.

“I am glad to know that your members are increasing — not rapidly, but with continued progress. There is no falling off. Though the progress may be slow, still it is sure and stable, and you have, needless for me to say, much work to do if you are going to Christianise Australia.

Sad Plight

“We are in a very sad plight at the present time. There is very little Christianity in Australia. There is very little goodness in the world. We are, perhaps, too strong in our pronouncements on the wickedness of the world. There is some goodness, but it is mostly humanitarianism. It is not Christianity and it is for you to try and make any goodness there is in the Australian world — not merely humanitarian, but real Christianity. You are going to succeed if you will put your shoulders to the wheel and keep at it. Do not be afraid because you are not making rapid progress—even though things go awry or amiss, and something on which you have great hones turns out to be a failure. We must have failures if we are to succeed. Of course, we here in Australia are not the only people fighting this battle for Christ. Europe is even in a much worse condition than Australia. I don’t know that any part of Europe is more pagan than Australia, but they have many difficulties there from which we are free. Nobody rpq]icps that and the sad state of Europe better than the Holy Father, and he is looking out over Europe and honing that Catholics will do their duty. The Pope was reported recently to have said, in hi= address to the Catholic Young Women’s Federation in Rome, regarding the grave situation in Europe: ‘Abstention from active work for God and for Christ in the present conditions in Europe, you all know full well is in itself a grave sin of omission.’

Strong Words

“These are very strong words coming from the Pone, dealing with a situation like our own. We have substantially and practically the very same pagan atmosphere to fight, and the very same problems to solve, and I have no doubt if the Pope were standing here, he would say the very same thing to you. He would say that seeing the problems that Australia now has to face; seeing the menace of paganism and Communism,* that the man or the woman. who stands aside and fail£ to do his or her duty to shoulder his or her responsibility, is guilty of a grave omission. I am sure you will take that to heart.

“All you wanted was a lead, and very likely you have every justification for blaming your leaders. If you like you can blame the Bishops of Australia. Perhaps the call was not sufficiently urgent; perhaps the call was not eloquently supported. At all events, you can blame anyone you like—me especially—but we must now face the facts as we find them. We are face to face with atheistic Communism in Australia, and what happened elsewhere can happen here; unless we do our best, Communistic atheism will gain a victory, and it may be a losing victory, in Australia.

“You yourselves are fathers of families, or have young brothers and sisters. You couldn’t do anything better than to use all your energy in doing all you can for the young people” of Australia. You would be following the example of the Communists, but you are trying to lead youth to Christ—they are trying to lead youth away from Him.

“You have wise leadership. I am glad to hear from your leaders that you are prepared to co-operate with them so zealously. If you get the lead, you are prepared to follow. Leaders or followers, the one thing that we must always remember is that unless the Lord bless them that labour, they labour in vain. We have to put all our confidence in God. We must try and make our own lives good Christian lives before we can make Christians of those around us. Try and make ourselves real, genuine Christians, not afraid to stand up for our Faith and follow Christ.

“I hope that God’s blessing in great abundance will rain upon your leaders and yourselves, and through them, and through you, that the menace of Communism in Australia may be stayed and rolled back, and that Australia may be saved from the fate that has fallen upon so many other nations.”


His Grace Archbishop Mannix carrying the Blessed Sacrament . in the procession through the Cathedral grounds at the close of the Forty Hours’ devotion, Sunday, October 5.


None May Refuse Support to Catholic Action (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 15 October 1947, page 19) (Trove)

Y.C.W. Rally in Belgium Call for World-wide Movement

A call for a world-wide Young Christian Workers’ movement, which will operate among the masses in factories, mines and offices was made by Canon Cardijn, founder of the movement, when he addressed the rally held in Brussels recently to celebrate the organisation’s twentieth anniversary.

The rally was one of 200 held throughout the country to mark the anniversary. Among the 10,000 who attended a meeting in Ghent were English, French and Dutch representatives. After the meetings two days were devoted to. international study groups at which many foreign delegates were present.


Canon Cardijn gave a most stirring speech which opened with a challenge to the members as to whether they were prepared to accept and live in the world of barbarism and slavery which the present regime imposed. He spoke of the crusade that was needed to raise the dignity of the worker and continued:

“Are you ready to lead this crusade? Will you be Tonnets and Garcets who died at Dachau? Will you be the giants of the Faith? Will you be the builders, justifying the hopes which the J.O.C. places in you? Will you make the world accept the statute of the Worker Youth—that statute of liberation where it is not a question of any printed words, but of something alive expressing itself through your very presence?


“Remember the first thirteen years of the J.O.C. Remember 1912 and 1935, when J.O.C. leaders were then giants. Inspired by faith alone, they discovered those tremendous truths—the divine dignity and the eternal destiny of every worker. Every worker has his own divine vocation here on earth and by this vocation no one can take his place. Your task is to build a Christian world. The hour of the deproletarianisation of the working class has come; the hour of the real revolution has rung.

“There can be no question of a sacristy or drawing-room J.O.C. We have no use for an instrument which works outside the masses. Jocism must be within the factories, the mines, the offices, the workers’ quarters. . . . This meeting is the decisive event in the history of the world, for it alone can transform the masses so that they can continue Christ’s mission.


Mr. Pat Keegan, Britain’s delegate at the .meeting, described Canon’ Cardijn as the best ambassador whom Belgium could send abroad and Jocism as the best export from Belgium. He promised the meeting that they would build a world J.O.C.

In a message written for the anniversary, Cardinal Van Roey spoke of the “conquering apostolate” of the Jocistis, the fruitful work they had done for the young workers and of the openly Christian spirit and Catholic sense with which they had always been animated and which they had always tried to spread in society, especially among the workers’ families.

“Jocists,” he added, “will strive to establish in the torn world that peace which is so desired through their apostolic action on minds and hearts, through the dissemination of the Christian principles of justice, equity and charity, through establishing the security and ennobling of work by the concord and collaboration of the social classes.”


Y.C.W. Rally in Belgium Call for World-wide Movement (Advocate, Wednesday 26 September 1945, page 7) (Trove)

Widespread Growth of Australian Y.C.W.

Second Annual Conference Reveals Remarkable Progress

THE success of this conference has exceeded my most optimistic anticipations,” said the Episcopal Chairman of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. J. D. Simonds, in his concluding address to those present at the 1945 Australian Y.CAV. National Conference.

This conference — the second annual conference of the Australian Y.C.W. chaplains and leaders—was held in Brisbane, at the kind invitation of the Archbishop of Brisbane (Most Rev. Dr. J. Duhig), from August 21 to 24. The conference was held in the main hall of All Hallows’ Convent, Brisbane.


The attendance of priests and Y.C.W. leaders was impressive. The 100 leaders and 60 priests present were representative of the following 13 dioceses of Australia—Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Armidale, Maitland, Sydney, Wagga, Sandhurst, Melbourne, Ballarat and Port Augusta.


Although the conference occupied only three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) the whole week was devoted to special Y.C.W. activity. Features were:

Sunday, August 19.—One-day retreat for Y.C.W. leaders at the Marist Fathers’ Monastery, Ashgrove. 100 leaders made the retreat, which was splendidly conducted by Rev. V. Arthur, of St. Michael’s, North Melbourne.

Archbishop’s Welcome to Y.C.W. Visitors.—On Monday night in the Brisbane Leader Hall, his Grace the Most Rev. J. Duhig, publicly welcomed Dr. Simonds, the visiting clergy and Y.C.W. leaders to Brisbane. In heartily welcoming the visitors, Dr. Duhig said here in Australia both the nation and the Church needed youth, and he was sure that- youth would not fail them.

He had seen the Y.C.W. Movement and leaders in action in Melbourne and had been impressed. He felt sure the conference would be a landmark in the history of the Church in Australia. Dr. Duhig was eloquently supported by Mgr. English (Vicar General) and Justices N. Macrossan and E. A. Douglas. Dr. Simonds, Rev. F. Lombard (chaplain, Melbourne Y.C.W.), Frank’ McCann (National Secretary of the Y.C.W.) and Frank McClean (Townsville Y.C.W. President) responded on behalf of the visitors. During his address, Dr. Simonds gave an inspiring explanation of Catholic Action and of .the Y.C.W. Movement’s part in it. He pointed out that Catholic Action was as old as the Church. “It was not the Popes,” he said, “who opened the priesthood to the laity—it was Christ. The Popes have merely reminded us of that fact. The Y.C.W. must begin in the parishes; first with small numbers of leaders who would be trained in the technique of the movement. The Y.C.W. was an apostolic movement—an official sharing in the Bishop’s apostolate.”


Holy Mass was celebrated by Rev. F. W. Lombard in All Hallows’ Hall at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 21, to mark the opening of the conference. At the conclusion of Mass Dr. Simonds, who presided throughout the conference, delivered his opening address. Congratulating priests and leaders on the zeal which had brought them to Brisbane for this important conference, Dr. Simonds also reminded them that the Sacrament of Baptism enabled us to share in the life of Christ and therefore in the priesthood of Christ. Confirmation added to this sharing in the priesthood of Christ.

The priests and leaders had separate conferences on the Tuesday. The following papers were read to the priests: “The Choice of Leaders,” by Rev. R. Walton (Toowoomba); “Spiritual Formation,” by Rev. D. J. Stewart (Townsville); “The Gospel Meditation,” by Rev. A. Tynan (Brisbane).

The leaders heard and discussed these papers: “Leaders’ Group Organisation,” John Maguire (Camberwell); “General Branch Organisation,” Ted Long (Melbourne); “Diocesan and National Control,” Frank McCann (National Secretary). On Wednesday and Thursday, priests and leaders met in. general conference and the following papers were submitted to them: “Contact and Influence,” by Don McKenna (Brisbane president); “The General Enquiry,” by Ted Long (Melbourne secretary); “Services,” by Frank McCann (national secretary); “Vocational Groups,” by Rev. J. Mclnerney (Melbourne); “Rehabilitation,” by Rev. F. W. Lombard (Melbourne Diocesan Chaplain). Each paper was followed by discussions among small groups and in this way many useful suggestions were forthcoming when group leaders reported back to the general assembly. The conference was brought to a close with a summary of the proceedings by Dr. Simonds. His Grace thanked everyone present for their zealous co-operation and the hard work they had put into the conference. He also expressed pleasure at the outstanding success of the conference, which had exceeded his most optimistic anticipations.


Thursday afternoon and Friday were devoted to a meeting of the Provisional National Committee. The committee, which is only a provisional one, is, for the present, appointed by the Episcopal Chairman and consists of representatives from each diocese where the Y.C.W. is established. The national secretary’s report revealed the continuous growth and development of the movement throughout Australia. The movement now has groups in 20 Catholic dioceses in Australia; has a membership of ten thousand and can claim 1000 leaders partly or fully trained. Reports were submitted by representatives of other dioceses represented, and they showed favourable progress.

A large agenda was gone through by the committee on a variety of items, including the 1946 national programme for the Y.C.W.; consolidation of leadership training; extension of services; assistance in industry and rehabilitation; inter-diocesan relationships and the next annual conference. At the conclusion of the meeting a vote of thanks to his Grace Dr. Simonds for his invaluable service as chairman of the conference and committee was carried with warm acclamation, on the motion of Rev. D. J. Stewart (Townsville), seconded by Ted Long (Melbourne).


On the Thursday night, 300 members of the Y.C.W. and N.C.G.M. of Brisbane attended a rally which commenced with devotions and Pontifical Benediction in the Holy Name Crypt, Brisbane. His Grace Dr. Duhig addressed the youth and called on them to accept the challenge to serve God gloriously in and through their youth. Later, the youth were entertained in the Leader Hall by a showing of a Melbourne Y.C.W. film and a short concert programme.

It can be safely said that the Y.C.W. representatives came to Brisbane for the definite purpose of helping to propagate the movement in Australia, Many priests and leaders had come at heavy personal sacrifice; they did it willingly that they might assist the conference—contribute to it what they could and take from it what would help them in the work of their apostolate.

Leaders who had met previously only in correspondence are now personal friends, brought closer together in their common work of forming a new youth to build a new Australia. By now, the great and historic gathering at Brisbane has dispersed and the leaders who were there are back at their normal daily work again, a work in which they will live and spread Christ.

Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., Episcopal Chairman of Y.C.W., with delegates to the National Conference of the movement, recently held at Brisbane.


Widespread Growth of Australian Y.C.W. (Advocate, Wednesday 5 September 1945, page 8) (Trove)

The Enquiry Technique

FOR the first time in Australia the successful method of the J.O.C. of Europe, the “Enquiry,”, has been thoroughly explained in the publication, “The Enquiry” by Rev. Fr. C. Mayne, S.J., and K. W. Mitchell, Melbourne Diocesan Secretariat of Catholic Action, both of whom are particularly fitted for the work. The Enquiry is a very difficult exercise in the beginning. Briefly, the method here outlined is to See, to Judge, and then to Act. The method is quite natural, the only difference is that we have been asked to think, to realise what we see already. Having seen the situation clearly, we Judge, and then Act accordingly. “When a man acts thus, he acts in the most natural manner possible, for in any given rational action there is: 1. The observation of facts and conditions; 2. The judgment of the intellect and a basis for that judgment; 3. The command of the will to act and the Action itself.”

Properly to SEE it is important that leaders collect real facts—not impressions. At the next step, leaders learn to apply what they have come to know from continual Gospel discussions and meditations, and the talks of the Chaplain. The Priest can help them more in this part than in any other. This section needs careful attention and thought, and various suggestions are made by the authors as to the formation of the Catholic mind. The ACT part will often not be practical yet, but something towards this action can and must always be done. There should never be an enquiry without either individual or collective action arising therefrom. The authors point out that definite action Is most important. The resolution made must not be too vague or it may never lead to results. One must work down to the root of the problem, find out the little details about it, and start somewhere with something definite.

The final purpose of the Enquiry is to change the environment, to make the world again Christian, or, as the authors say, “to put on Christ.” * In order to do so, one must know the world and Christianity. This publication will aid many to gain such knowledge; to realise the ideal of Catholic Action, “to bring Christ to the world.”

—Fr. G. VIM.

[Obtainable from A.N.S.C.A. Publications Department. Price 9d. per copy.]


The Enquiry Technique (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 27 April 1945, page 3) (Trove)

Catholic Action and French Resistance

Furnished Spiritual Inspiration for Struggle, Says French Leader

Though the Communists have sought to convey the impression that the Communist Party was the organising and leading force in the French Underground Resistance Movement, it is now becoming clear that the inspiration of the effective opposition to Nazi occupation and totalitarian ideas came from the Catholic Action groups, such as the J.O.C. (Young Christian Workers), J.E.C. (Young Students), and Scouts.

WITHOUT Catholic Action the French Catholic resistance “would never have started.” This is the deliberate statement of a French leader belonging to one of the great religious Orders, a noted man of science, and the main originator of the “Cahiers du Temoignage Chretien” (“Notebooks of file Christian Witness”), in an interview to a C.I.P. correspondent in Algiers.

There was Catholic resistance from the very day of the French capitulation when others were still stunned and it seemed as if no hope could rise again, he said.


The first resistance was not external, but spiritual, Catholic Action men, mostly the workers’ youth (J.O.C,), the students (J.E.C.), and scouts, immediately started organising to , keep the spirit of the French masses free from pagan Nazi influences. The movement even penetrated into the “Chantiers de la Jeunesse,” the work camps organised by the Vichy Government.

Catholic Action was strongly supported by the Bishops in its struggle against indoctrination and State-control. The slogan adopted in the Bishops’ pastorals was “jeunesse unie, oui, jeunesse unifiee, non” (united youth, yes; unified youth, no), thus opposing State-controlled youth organisations.


In this first period of resistance, the ideological and practical opposition against totalitarianism was just as sharp as now, but there was no clarity about its political form. De Gaulle was very little known, and many who admired him for his broadcasts and saw in him a symbol of free France did not think that he offered a solution of their internal problems. It was not infrequent to hear affirmations that Petain was playing a double game to fool the Germans and that actually he agreed with De Gaulle.


In the second half of 1941 these groups of spiritual resistance resolutely began to oppose Vichy as the shield and instrument of the Germans. There were some struggles, but at the end of ’41 it was clear to most young Catholics that Vichy meant ideological surrender and that its defeatist propaganda had to be fought with all means, to save the spirit of France. At first, this opposition was voiced in certain articles and columns of religious papers. The .most influential organs of this tendency, “Temps Nouveau” and “Esprit,”’ were soon suppressed by Darlan.

The Catholic daily, “La Croix,” under direction of the Abbe Merklen and Monsieur Michelin, went on prudently but firmly combating the totalitarian ideology, and, because of its semiofficial character as organ of the Hierarchy, Vichy did not dare to suppress it. The leaders of “Temps Nouveau,” Stanislas Fumet and Roger Radisson, started an underround paper, “Position.” Aonther sheet, “Verite” (Truth), began to circulate. But it became clear that sporadic appeals nd news items were not enough.


A group of Catholic theologians decided to clarify the issues and o unmask the Fascist maneuvres thoroughly. They called heir organ “Cahiers du Temoingage Chretien,” which means “Notebooks of the Christian Witness.” The first issue printed 3500 copies in November, 1941. It was printed on paper bought on the black market from German officials at 80 francs the kilo (about six or seven shillings a pound).

All the typesetters did the job in their free hours. Instead of going home they took their meals on the job. The first number had to be reprinted several times and soon the Cahiers were printed in three different towns in France.


The Christian underground organisations of the North, more compact than those of the South, were most intricately ramified. Sometimes one or more of the distributors of the Cahiers were caught, but the system of communication prevented any interruption in production or dissemination. Each collaborator knew only one man under him and one above him. Some men living in the same house never knew which of the others was also in the “Temoignage” network.

All Bishops received the “Cahiers du Temoignage Chretien,” many approved it, some knew where it came from. The “Cahiers” were also smuggled to Rome, and there also some wise and highly-placed men did not conceal, their approval. Messages from certain ecclesiastical sympathisers in Rome were also muggled to France.


This form of spiritual resistnce existed earlier than the rmed resistance, which began to rganise only at the end of 1942, any Catholic Action men who tarted the spiritual resistance ere the first to start “Maquis” activities. This happened mainly when the “Chantiers” (work camps) which up to then had maintained a considerable independence from the Vichy spirit, were tricked into sending some of their men to Germany.

The Germans told them there would be no military co-operation but that they would simply continue in Germany the farm work they had been doing in France. Instead they were sent to munition factories. Some of the men formed in the “Chantiers” then decided to escape*and helped to form the first groups of the Maquis. Collaborators of the “Temoignage Chretien” joined them.

The groups of the “Christian Witness” as such, although having normal relations with other groups of the Resistance movement and furnishing the spiritual inspiration for the struggle, remained independent from the groups of political and military Resistance. Although the contents of the “Cahiers” remained severely intellectual and even often theological, 85,000 copies were printed of the last numbers before the liberation. As each copy was discreetly passed on to several persons, this meant that several hundreds of thousands read the issues.

The popular edition, “Courier Francaise du Temoignage Chretian,” consisting of four pages with short stories and simple articles, had to print 280,000 copies from the sixth number on, which probably meant a million readers.


Summarising his experiences, the French leader emphasised the point that the great idea of justice, or what may be called the cult of justice, was the lasting fruit of the period of resistance against deception and defeatism. He says the new generation of intellectuals, together with the masses, is now conscient of the depth of the crisis in society, and will see to it that justice is established as the root of a new political structure.


His Holiness Pope Pius XII was especially solicitious for the spiritual welfare of the Catholic Underground and instructed the French Bishops to arrange for religious and moral assistance for the men. (See “Advocate,” “Jocists Among the Maquis,” January 31, 1945) ‘

“The Pope had given orders to the French Bishops to assign’ priests, with all the privileges of military chaplains, for the spiritual assistance of the men of the Maquis. Thus, after the liberation of Rome, official recognition was given the mission of those ‘cures du Maquis’ (Maquis Pastors) whos without hesitation, right from the beginning of the deportations, made up their minds to bring religious assistance to the multitude of young Frenchmen who revolted against the shameful insults of the enemy and were determined, in loyalty to their conscience, to become resisters.

“What humble pride they must have felt, all our chaplains of the early times, whom some persons treated as if they were fools, and also all my comrades of the Maquis, whatever their religious beliefs may be, when they heard of that decision of die supreme leader of Christendom, the Vicar of Christ.”

The decision of Pope Pius XII, was communicated to the French Cardinals by a letter signed by Mgr. Domenico Tardini, of the Papal Secretariat of State.

CANON CARDIJN Founder of the J.O.C.

Youthful members of the French Underground In a town which they occupied briefly for a patriotic demonstration


Catholic Action and French Resistance (Advocate, Wednesday 7 February 1945, page 11) (Trove)