22nd National Conference of Christian Workers’ Youth

THE French Christian Workers’ Federation held its 22nd National Congress in Paris. About 500 delegates from all the federations of the home country and the empire, studied the serious living questions which face the youth of the working class. At the final session a summing up was given of the work of the various committees. Important aims include:

(1) Protection of the health of young people. The Christian Workers Youth has been doing, good work for a year already and intends to follow it up with the demand that the balance between the needs of the health of youth and the necessities of production should always be maintained. As regards sick persons, a “Sick Persons Law” has been drafted which the organisation claims should be enforced.

(2) Sounding a warning in regard to leisure facilities. Their scarcity, or their high cost, has the effect of a concentration on dances to such an extent that the physical health of young people suffers.

(3) Defining the independent position of the Christian Workers’ Youth with regard to the State, family protection movements, trade unions, and political parties.

(4) Drawing attention afresh-to the importance of apprenticeship, and protecting in this sphere the rights of natural educators, firstly the family.

(5) Demanding the enforcement of the law regarding marriage loans and asking for increase of dowry funds.

(6) Encouraging the formation of an international workingclass youth movement completely independent of politics. Economic problems in general were discussed from the point of View of the health, self-respect and educational needs of young workers.

A question on the results of the 22nd Congress of the French Christian Workers’ Federation brought the following reply from M. Gaston Tessier, the general secretary:

“I will not attempt to conceal from you that this gathering of young militants, tempered in the crucible of the Resistance Movement and trained by direct action brings great joy and hope for the future to an old militant like myself. The French Christian Workers’ Federation is extending its influence more and more amongst workers and young people; does not this fact promise us a useful and propitious career in the service of the working class? Our influence even extends to .North Africa, where we are taking firm hold.”

The discussions were naturally mainly around wages and prices. Whilst they were aware of the danger of a futile race between wages and prices, the delegates were of the opinion that an economic re-organisation was necessary. Skilled wages must be substantially increased. Increases in wages which would increase the productivity of labour, which is jeopardised by low standards of living, must be combined with a vigorous price stabilisation policy.

The federal office had made contact with the C.G.T. (Confederation of Labour) with a view to common action. M. Leon Jouhaux replied that his organisation whilst recognising the different stand taken by the Christian Workers’ Federation was anxious to work in unity with them for the benefit of the working class.

M. Gaston Tessier then stated: “I am sure that the concerted action of the Confederation of Labour and the French Christian Workers’ Federation will protect our common working-class interests and be of benefit to the whole working class. We are anxious to see this way of working become universal—it is in no way incompatible with our formula of ‘the free trade union in the organised industry,’ but will allow us to make this a reality.”


22nd National Conference of Christian Workers’ Youth (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 17 July 1946, page 30)(Trove=

Paul McGuire Revisits France and the J.O.C.

In a recent article in “Columbia/’ official organ of the Knights of Columbus (U.S.A.), Mr. Paul McGuire, who recently visited Europe, discusses the Catholic situation in France, with special reference to the jocist movement. It will be recalled that during the ‘thirties, Mr. McGuire studied the movement at first-hand and later publicised its mission and methods throughout the English-speaking world in magazine articles and on lecture tours. Mr. McGuire’s lectures on the subject in Australia had no small influence on the lines of Catholic Action development in this country.

IN his “Columbia” article (February, 1946), Mr. Paul McGuire says that “the view from the boulevards,” which is usually what itinerant journalists mostly see, might lead you to imagine that French Catholicism was dying on its feet. But as he moved around and met old friends, he began to learn better.

I began again, he writes, to meet men who were boys, six years ago—boys of the J.O.C. (the Young Christian Workers), of the J.I.C. (the middle-class movements), of the student groups. They have been through the fire that they had foreseen. Many are dead: some died in the Services, more in the German concentration camps, and the Maquis. There have been martyrs, unquestionably, among them: martyrs who until the last kept up their intense work as propagandists for God, not only amongst their own people in the prison-camps, but amongst the other peoples herded with them, even amongst the Germans about them, the guards and people for whom they were forced to slave. One girl said:, “I am to-day very happy. My husband has come home.”

“Where has he been?”

“He has,” she said proudly, “been the Jocist propagandist at Buchenwald.”


Jocists were very active in the Resistance. One effect of that is the political strength of M.R.P. (the Christian Democratic Party). Jocists, do not, of course, as Jocists, take any part in politics, and those who enter an active political career must resign all office in Catholic Action. But Catholic Action has always encouraged men to accept their responsibilities as citizens. It has worked to fit them for patriotic and public duties. The effect of its formation was seen in the Maquis, in the Resistance generally, and now in politics. Remember that all who have been Jocists are still young, for the movement is still young. But there are many ex-Jocists in the French Assembly to-day.

People will tell you that France is broken. I have had it from many Frenchmen: “Something in France has snapped.” It is again, I think, the view from the boulevards, where you will pay 1500 francs for a blackmarket meal if you are so foolish and so ready to contribute to the racket.

People will tell you that France is slow to recover. It is true. France was stripped for years of much of her resources and a large part of her active manpower. The men from forced labour in Germany or the prison camps came back slowly, and many were worn out. Malnutrition and ill-treatment had exhausted their energies. The tuberculosis rate amongst them was frightful. The wonder is not that France recovers slowly but that she recovers at all. And France must not be judged from Paris. The most notorious features of Paris (and the ones in which too many visitors find most attractions) have in all my memory been much the business of cosmopolitan aliens largely catering for aliens, tourists and the like. But for the first time in many decades the “maisons de tolerance” were slammed shut the other day by the de Gaulle Government. There are some Frenchmen, now in power, determined that their, capital will not be chiefly known as an international bawdy-house and peepshow. This represents not only reviving moral conscience, but a new pride in France. One ex-Jocist politician said to me: “Half the moral rot in France, the black-marketing, the fifthcolumnism, the political corruption, came from the vice-rings. The underworld of Paris became an underworld of all France. We are going to break it.”

The black-market is widespread. Who casts the first stone? There is actually much more reason and excuse for black-markets in the confused, desperate, poverty-stricken conditions of France than there can be in happier countries.


I went to dine with my friend, G., who is an able, prosperous business man. He is also one of the leaders of a new movement for the Family. To it he gives half of his time. It is a movement typical of much of our effort now in France. It is inspired by Catholic life -and thought, but it embraces Catholics and non-Catholics alike, all who will recognise the natural law and the vital need to restore in modern society the family ideal. G. himself has seven children, six exquisite, charming, vivacious small girls; one solemn, intelligent boy. The eldest is ten. I asked (knowing the French concern for hospitality) that I should share their normal dinner. “Nothing special, you know.” We ate spinach and a tomato salad and a little macaroni, all delightfully prepared and served. We had each two slices of bread with no butter (do you ^remember how the French loved their good bread and butter?) We drank a little wine mixed with much water.

After dinner, I said: “Look, G., is that really your usual dinner?”

“Yes,” he said. He smiled. “You know, I still have a very good income. I could afford to buy for my family any food that sells in Paris. I have talked with the doctor. Once a week do go on the black-market. I buy a god meal of meat and potatoes and’ so on for the children. The doctor thinks that necessary for their health. But or^e a week serves. For the rest . . . well, I do not wish my children to grow up remembering that they lived well from the black-market while France went hungry.”

G. is, I believe, representative of much in France that itinerant journalists often miss.


There is another Catholic movement of the Family sprung from the pre-war League of Christian Workers. It is doing remarkable work amongst the poor. Associated with it are the Missionaries of Paris: small cells “parachute,” as they say, into the poorest districts, the “red belts.” The missionaries are priests who work in factories and with the poor. They live in the cheapest lodgings. Before work and often in their own rooms and lodging houses they say Mass. Their lay fellows join with them each morning. They .are treating the modern situation as it must be treated, as a field for missionary activity, for penetration. The other day Cardinal von Preysing said to me in Berlin: “I consider our Christian position excellent. We are precisely in the state of the early Christians. We have nothing. We have everything to do.” That is the mind of the Missionaries of Paris. I do not know how many Jocists and the like there are now in France. No one is much interested in numbers. Quality is the thing. The active, intelligent Christian is obviously still in a small minority, as he is everywhere. But I believe that his influence is stronger to-day in France than it has been for centuries, including some reputedly Christian. For the Catholic to-day in France knows why he is a Catholic; what it means to be a Catholic. He is active; he has impact on his world. I don’t attach too much importance to political phenomenon except as symptoms of the deeper moral movements of society, and I think that all “Christian” or “Catholic” parties should be regarded with salutary scepticism. But the rise of the M.R.P. is (in part at least) an interesting political evidence of what I believe a moral movement deep in the soul of France.


I went from France into Belgium, to Canon Cardijn, the founder of the J.O.C. He was arrested as a young priest by the Germans in the last war. During his years in jug, he thought out the principles of his Christian Workers’ movement. This time he was, of course, arrested again. But he bothered the Gestapo. He does not say so himself, but I have heard in Brussels that the Gestapo feared to hold him, just as they feared to hold von Preysing or Faulhaber. Cardijn was released after five months. They came for him again towards the end. He tells with great glee how he escaped them by climbing and sliding over roofs and walls where the plump policemen could not follow. He is now grizzled, a man in his sixties, but merrier than ever. He talks of risks and escapes as if he had been up to skittish games. My chief difficulty with him is that he now will talk English. He insists that he learned English during the war.

Most of the leaders of the Belgian J.O.C. were arrested. Many are dead. Boys I remember working with passionate enthusiasm in the Centrale at Brussels (can it be six years ago?) are amongst the piled corpses or the scattered ashes of the murder-camps.


Belgian Jocists again had a great part in the Resistance. The extraordinary recovery and the political steadiness of Belgium (the J.O.C. has refused to take sides in the Leopold issue) are largely due to the new sense of social responsibility, which is in turn largely the creation of the J.O.C. So, at least, a Communist told me in Brussels, and I cannot think why he should lie. The association with the Resistance both in France and Belgium has unquestionably knitted the new Christian movements closely into the national life. Before the war, they seemed to be attacking from outside. Now they are recognised as powerful elements within the -social body. This will have its dangers. But it is a necessary stage in the regrowth of Christian life and order. The important thing is that those years of formation and preparation before the war are now’ being justified in the action of Christian men throughout the social system.

In Brussels, in September, there was a conference of the international J.O.C. The war in Europe was only four months ended. But at the meeting there were French, French-Canadians,

English, Americans, Australians . . . and Germans. German Jocists were torn, suppressed, murdered; but German Jocism has survived. These German boys (I am told) like the grgat Bishop of Berlin, were notable for what you can only call their cheerfulness: they have nothing-, but they have everything to do.

In Paris, in one transept of Notre Dame, I saw the other day a tall cross, thirty feet high, perhaps. It was of bare unvarnished wood, oddly naked and plain amongst the Gothic grandeurs. At its feet draped a tri-colour, and there were wreaths set about in mourning. It seems to me a most apt symbol. We have lost the grandeurs of the Gothic age, of the rich centuries of faith. We must begin again at the plain cross, decked as this was decked with the draped flag and wreaths of sorrow. Each day, in thousands, French men and women come to stand by that plain cross, to bow their heads. The cross is to stand at the centre of the Weimar-Buchenwald complex of prison camps, where 51,000 Frenchmen died It commemorates those “qui n’auront pas de tombes mais auxquels le Seigneur a donne la vraie paix”: those who have no graves but to whom God had given the true peace.

Their blood, perhaps, is the seed.



Paul McGuire Revisits France and the J.O.C. (Advocate, Wednesday 8 May 1946, page 17) (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)

Archbishop Simonds Defines Policy of Young Christian Workers

Archbishop Simonds Defines Policy of Young Christian Workers

Inspiring and Directive Address to Chaplains

ARCHBISHOP SIMONDS Episcopal Chairman, Y.C.W.

T H E policy to be followed iii the formation and development of the Young Christian Workers was clearly defined by the recently – appointed episcopal chairman of the movement, his Grace the Coadjutor-Archbishop, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., in a decisive address to close on fifty Y.C.W. chaplains and priests interested in this field of Catholfc Action, on Thursday last, June 17.

His Grace, who was in Belgium when the J.O.C. was being organised by its founder, Canon Cardijn, spoke with intimate knowledge of the movement, its problems, and the specific aims of the Holy See in its regard. His impressive address was listened to with great attention.

After thanking Fr. Lombard for organising such an impressive gathering of priests interested in the Apostolate of Youth, Archbishop Simonds said that it was not his original intention to make a formal address to the conference. He had come to hear from them the fruits of their experience in Young Christian Workers’ organisation, and to listen to the discussions concerning- its prospects and problems. However, the presence of so many enthusiastic young priests gave him an opportunity, as the newly – appointed episcopal chairman, to outline some points of policy which he wished the movement to follow, and he felt sure that they would give him loyal co-operation.


“The guiding principle of the Y.C.W.,” said his Grace, “must be an unswerving determination to follow loyally and enthusiastically the directions and advice on Catholic Action that have been given by the Holy See. In the particular form of Catholic Action in which we are engaged it is fortunate that we have the Belgian and French J.O.C. as a guide, for it is admittedly the finest example of the Church’s apostolate amongst the workers that has yet been evolved. It was pronounced by the late Holy Father a “model of Catholic Action.” In reality, it is more than that; it embodies an ideal which stamps it as the most essentially .Christian movement amongst the social organisations of the Church. In Belgium and France, where it reached its highest degree of success with 400,000 members, it has, unhappily, been emasculated or driven underground by Nazi tyranny. But we feel sure that its eclipse is only temporary, and it is gratifying to know that a very vigorous branch of the parent tree flourishes in Canada with a membership already/ amounting to 40,000 active Young Christian Workers. It is my sincere hope, and it shall be my ideal, to produce in Australia a movement of Young Christian Workers, organised on similar lines and inspired by the same ideals.


“I happened to be in Belgium during some of the period when the J.O.C. was being organised by its founder, Canon Cardijn, and know something of the problem it was created to solve and the methods it employed with such success. It has been stated on reliable authority that nine-tenths of the Belgian boys and girls, who began their industrial life at the age of fourteen in factories and work shops, abandoned all religious practice and were lost to the Church within a few months. The figures seem incredible, but it is admitted by those in close touch with the industrial youth of Belgium, that they are not exaggerated. Since most of these children spent from six to eight years in the Catholic schools, the strength of materialistic socialism in Belgian industrial life was recognised as the greatest challenge to the Catholic life of Belgium. Though the problem in Australia may not be so appalling, yet everyone in touch with youth knows very well that the defections of our Catholic youth in the postschool age reach depressing proportions. The number of boys who have never been to the Sacraments since they left school is far too large, and it is our special apostolate to spiritualise the lives of these spiritual defectives as well as the great mass of unbelieving youth.


“The founder of the J.O.C. was determined that its work should be thorough; that it should cover the whole person of the adolescent with an entire formation—religious, intellectual, social, vocational and moral. The organisation is based on local groups, united into regional federations, which are, in turn, grouped into national federations. Since the Bishops have appointed me national chairman of the movement, I propose to carry out their wishes by following the successful plan of Canon Cardijn, aiming at the organisation of parochial, diocesan, regional and national federations of the Australian Y.C.W, The movement must embrace young boys and men from school-leaving age to about twenty-five, for it would be impossible to get the best leaders if the movement were confined to those between fourteen and eighteen years of age. It will be organised on a parish basis, with, small cells for training under a “militant” lay leader or chaplain. For some time in Australia the chief burden of the formation of leaders will be the responsibility of the chaplains, but in due time we shall have an army of militant lay leaders, who will be the dynamic force of the movement.


“You have already been given a technique for training the leaders, and have been working on it with a great measure of success hitherto. Some of the chaplains are inclined to question the value of the ‘Gospel Enquiry,’ and think that the leaders could be more effectively trained if the work of their formation were entrusted to the Legion of Mary. I feel bound to make it clear that the Y.C.W. of Australia must follow loyally and with enthusiasm the directions that have been given by the Holy See in the matter of Catholic Action at work. The constitution of Catholic Action has been given to the Church by the Holy Father, and in following out that constitution loyally we may be sure of doing the work of God. It is fundamental to Catholic Action that it must be controlled by the Bishop, for Catholic Action is a share which the laity receives in the Apostolate of the Bishops. It is .the Bishop who is charged with the responsibility of giving an apostolic mandate to a particular lay movement, and of directing the formation of its leaders and its activities. The technique by which the J.O.C. militants have been formed has been so eminently successful, and has been so enthusiastically commended by the Holy Father, that I should be afraid of frustrating the will of the Holy See by allowing any auxiliary body, however estimable, to divert its spirit and inspiration into other channels. In his Encyclical Letters, and also in his private letters to Bishops, Pius XI. laid’ down the constitution and the spirit of Catholic Action, but he gave what was perhaps his most compelling teaching on ‘the matter when he instituted the liturgical feast of Christ the King. By the institution of this great festival he wished to impress on all Catholics their mysterious incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, and to recall them to a new loyalty and enthusiasm for Christ their Leader and King. This is precisely the driving force and inspiration of the Y.C.W. movement —an intense loyalty for Christ their Leader in a pagan world.


“In the spiritual formation of the Y.C.W. leaders we shall not confine ourselves to the ‘Gospel Enquiry,’ which is only a first step towards enthusing the leaders with loyalty to Christ. It is a disappointing fact that so few of the Y.C.W. members are to be found at Holy Mass during the week days. Perhaps the present disorganisation of family life may largely account for their absence, but our Catholic youth must be deeply impressed with their membership in the Mystical Body of Christ and be taught to realise their active participation in the sacramental life of the Church and its worship. Pope Pius X. once said that ‘the source of a truly Christian spirit is to be found in active participation in the Holy Mysteries and the Church’s prayers.’ Pope Pius XI. repeated his predecessor’s words with even greater insistence. In obedience to these directions from the Popes the J.O.C. devoted several years to an attempt to bring the workers into intimate contact with the great mysteries of Christ as they are lived each year in the cycle of the Church’s feasts. Beginning with Baptism, the militants set out with the determination of impressing on each member and prospective member the great truth that by Baptism man is born to a life that is divine, and incorporated into membership of the Mystical Body of Christ and the communion of saints. Mass renewal of baptismal vows, sometimes made in the presence of socialist workers, created a deep impression of their solidarity in Christ. It was no uncommon sight to see a group of socialist workers standing round a haptismal font, whilst a J.O.C. enthusiast explained to them the significance of the incomparable rite which was being enacted there, and the nature of the citizenship conferred. A whole year was devoted to an intensive campaign on behalf of the sacramental life conferred by each sacrament, and the year devoted to Christian marriage made a most profound impression upon the members.


“Side by side with the spiritual formation, proceeds the technique of enquiry and contact. The method used is the old scholastic one of ‘observation, judgment and action,’ and hence it would be rash to desire to substitute any other. The leader questions the young workers to draw out their observations on the moral and material conditions in their homes, places of work, and general environment. With the help of the chaplain all then try to reach a sound, conclusive judgment on these conditions, and whenever it is found necessary a constructive course of action is decided upon and carried out.

“I hope that in the near future we shall have a national conference of priests interested in the Y.C.W., and that we shall be able to organise in Australia a national movement of Young Christian Workers with a spirit and a technique similar to the parent body. I appeal to you for loyal cooperation in carrying out this plan, no matter what may be your predilection for a particular ideal of training. With the enthusiastic and loyal co-operation of the priests there is no reason why the grace of the Holy Soirit should not succeed in developing in Australia a Y.C.W. like the parent body, which merited from Pope Pius XI these stirring words:

“You are the glory of Jesus Christ! Your action is the highest form of Catholic Action in the Church!'”


Archbishop Simonds Defines Policy of Young Christian Workers (Advocate, Thursday 24 June 1943, page 5) (Trove)

French Catholics shelter Jews

Y.C.W. Leads Against Collaboration

LONDON, November 20. (By Beam Wireless)

(From “The Advocate’s” London Correspondent)

Reports from France state that strong resistance to the attempted deportation of Jews from Unoccupied France came from Catholics. It is reported that every Catholic family in Lyons sheltered Jews threatened with deportation. Many Jews were assisted in escaping to Switzerland by priests and identity cards and passports were provided. In Toulouse, Jewish children were given sanctuary in Catholic schools.

A fierce attack upon the Church was made in the Paris “Oeuvre,” by Marcel Deat, the French Fascist leader who urges stronger collaboration with the “Axis.” “Many Catholic prelates and priests,” he says, ”are profoundly convinced that National Socialism represents the most dangerous and pernicious form of anti-religion.”

It is interesting to note that the “Jocists,” or Young Christian Workers, whose founder, Canon Cardijn, was recently arrested by the Nazis in Belgium, are described as the “ringleaders” in the forces resisting collaboration with the Nazi regime.


French Catholics shelter Jews (Advocate, Thursday 26 November 1942, page 5)

Catholic Girls’ Movement

First Annual Communion and Breakfast

The first general Communion of the Catholic Girls’ Movement was held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral at the 9.30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, and all the clubs associated with the movement were represented in the gathering. The Vicar-Apostolic of Kimberley, W.A., Most Rev. Dr. Raible, was the celebrant of the Mass, and he was assisted in administering Communion by Rev. B. McGrade, chaplain of the organisation. Plain chant was sung during the Mass by the boys of St. Vincent de Paul’s Orphanage, South Melbourne, under the direction of Miss Honiss.

A Communion breakfast was afterwards held in the Cathedral Hall.

Miss E. Robinson, president of the movement, congratulated the girls on their mass demonstration in honour of Christ the King, and thanked his Lordship Dr. Raible for his co-operation. Fr. McGrade outlined the objectives of the C.G.M., and paid a tribute to its founder, Miss Robinson, who was assisted by officers of the Catholic Women’s Social Guild, who had fostered the new organisation. At present the movement includes about 17 units, and it is hoped that in the near future every Catholic girl will belong to it. Fr. McGrade also reviewed

Catholic girls’ organisations abroad, with special reference to the Grail, which he saw at work in Berlin, and the Jociste movement, which numbers about 110,000 members in Belgium and 100,000 in France. He expressed the hcpe that the Grail would soon come to Melbourne, and that the C.G.M, would associate itself in the splendid! work this organisation was doing.

Bishop Raible spoke of the problem of the Australian aborigines, whom we have shamefully neglected. At least 75 per cent of the workers in Australian mission fields are foreigners, he said. In his own diocese of Kimberley not one Australian is doing anything for blacks. One member of the Catholic Girls’ Movement has already volunteered for work in Kimberley, and he appealed for more Australian girls to join her.

Mrs. McDonald, president of the Catholic Women’s Social Guild extended an invitation, on behalf of Dr. van Kersbergen of the Grail, to any girls who wished to take part in the Grail training course in Sydney from January 8 to 15, and the camp in the Blue Mountains from January 16 to 23. The cost is £3/3/- and £2/2/- respectively and arrangements can be made through the guild.


Catholic Girls’ Movement (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 18 November 1937, page 18) (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)

Impressive Spectacle In Paris.

“MANY times indeed, have I mounted the pulpit in Notre Dame; many times have I seen affecting spectacles in its naves; but I make bold to say that never have I seen a finer one.”

Such were the words pronounced by His Eminence Jean Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris, in the course of a ceremony when, to use the Cardinal’s own words, “French Jocism was baptized.”

By “Jocism” is meant the spirit of the organisation of the young Christian workers, ” La Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne,” familiarly known in French-speaking countries as the “JOC.” The term Jociste is regularly used to describe members of the association.

The first national congress of the JOC, just held at Paris, proved most successful. About 8,000 delegates from all the cities and many small towns, the majority of them factory employees, came to the Capital for the congress.

Special Groups Formed.

For some years there functioned in France an organisation of young Catholics known as la Jeunesse Catholique Francaise. In order to improve its methods of apostleship and organisation, it was decided to organise specialised movements for industrial workers, farmers, students and seamen.

Perhaps because, unfortunately, they must live in factory neighborhoods, too many workers are ignorant of their faith. Nevertheless, the Jocistes give every evidence of apostolic zeal and high courage.

Without neglecting for a moment the defence of their material interests and the vindication of their group, they devote themselves to combating the irreligion about them, to dispel hostile prejudices, to defend their comrades against the injustices and the attacks and brutalities which are frequently encountered in the shops.

Methods to be used to exercise a beneficent influence in the factory, workshop and office were the subject of discussion at the congress. Should Jocistes work individually and discreetly? Would it be better to work in unison, that is by means of an avowed, official existence of a group in each factory exercising action in common?

The latter plan a priori, seemed more appealing. All the members of the group would co-operate, would assist one another, reciprocally strengthening their action. But in discussion it was brought out that opposing elements would find it easier to take offence at collective action and that certain employers, even among Catholics, would be disturbed over collective activities and would demand their cessation.

It was decided that the method followed should be determined by individual or particular circumstances, since it was felt important that neither fellow-workers nor employers be offended. The essential point, in either event, it was decided, is that members of the JOC should always be the best of workers, obliging and considerate of their comrades.

Even though Jocistes act individually in the shop, it was pointed out that the members in the same line of work and in the same parish should meet frequently for the purpose of mutual encouragement and advice.

Another interesting session was devoted to the consideration of modes of action for a Jociste group reorganised in an industrial community. The kinds of service members can render to their parish were discussed also.

Attendance at all the sessions was so large that finally it was decided to hold duplicate sessions and other halls were secured to meet the need. The largest auditorium in Paris, at the Trocadero, could not accommodate all those who wished to attend the closing session. About 2,500 youths had to go to the basement of a neighboring church, where the speakers came to them after addressing the assembly at the Trocadero.

Besides the French Jocistes, the congress was attended by members of the Catholic Action organizations, directors of – the Christian labor unions, and representatives oi the Belgian, Spanish and Swiss Jocistes.

The founder of the Belgian organisation, Canon Cardijn, delivered a particularly stirring address.

“I predict for you the conquest of the working class,” he declared. “It is jrou who will accomplish this. For

you are the real revolution, not that administered with the blows of cudgels, but the revolution of souls, not that which destroys, but that which builds.


French Jocism Baptised (Southern Cross, Friday 8 February 1935, page 12) (Trove)

Pope Receives 1200 Young Workers

A very large pilgrimage of the Jocistes from France, led by the Archbishop of Sens, spent a week of great spiritual activity, recently, in Rome. There were more.than 1200 young workers, representing every part of France. Their audience with the Holy Father was marked by great enthusiasm and very thoughtful preparation.. The Jocistes came into the Hall of the Benediction singing “Vers la maison du Pere,” and when the Holy Father, borne in his sedia gestatoria, appeared in their midst, their hymns greeted him in a full-voiced choir of joy and loyalty.

When the first ovation ceased—after several minutes, one of the girls read a very beautiful address to the Pope, thanking him in a very special way for his untiring efforts for the causes of Catholic Action and the workers’ interests.

The Pope in a long discourse in French expressed the intense joy that that wonderful audience afforded him. He exhorted the young workers to sanctify their daily toil and to become apostles of Catholic Action amongst their fellow-workers. The discourse was listened to amid intense silence, but its conclusion was the signal for a great outburst of cheering.

After the Holy Father had given his blessing to all present, the 1200 voices again broke forth into a great burst of applause.

A group of Spanish pilgrims of the Alliance of “To Jesus through Mary” were received by the Holy Father. They gave the Pope a very finely worked chalice as a tribute of their loyalty and affection.


Pope receives 1200 young workers (Advocate, Thursday 15 November 1934, page 8) (Trove)