Problem Of The Young Worker In Australia

The problem of the young worker in Australia in the light of Christian ideals was stressed at the Eighth National Conference of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, held at Adelaide last week. Messages to the Conference were received from His Holiness Pope Pius XII and from the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Carboni. Present were Archbishop Beovich, of Adelaide, Bishop Gallagher, of Port Pirie, Episcopal Chairman of the Movement, and 130 lay delegates and chaplains.

THE growth of the Young Christian Worker Movement in further fields, especially in the intllectual and cultural domains, would enable the movement to make an important contribution towards the rechristianization of society, the combatting of materialism and the triumph of the true Christian ideal of life, said a message from His Holiness Pope Pius XII to Most Rev. B. Gallagher, Bishop of Port Pirie, S.A., Episcopal Chairman of the Y.C.W., on the occasion of the Eighth National Conference and Tenth National Council of the Movement, held last week at Adelaide, S.A.

The message was received from His Excellency Monsignor Montini, Vatican Pro-secretary of State. Another message to the Conference was from His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate, Most Rev. R. Carboni.

His Holiness’ message read:

My Lord Bishop,

The Sovereign Pontiff, having been informed by His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate of the Eighth National Conference and Tenth National Council Meeting of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement of Australia, to be held in Adelaide at the beginning of October next, has graciously directed me to send to the participants, through the good offices of Your Lordship, the expression of His benevolent felicitation for the good work already accomplished, and a message of paternal encouragement for the future.


His Holiness nourishes the hope that the Young Christian Workers’ Movement of Australia may continue to grow daily in extension and in stature. By its extension to each and every diocese of the Commonwealth, it will bring the countless benefits of Catholic Action to the entire continent of Australia. By its growth to include further fields of action and other groups, especially in the intellectual and cultural domains, it will be enabled to make an important contribution towards the re-christianization of society, the combating of materialism and the triumph of the true Christian ideal of life.

So vast a programme can and will only be implemented by a deepening and intensification of the interior spiritual life of each member of die Movement, resulting in a profound personal conviction regarding die Faith and its responsibilities and hence a lively energetic apostolic spirit, always docile to the wise guidance of the Episcopate.

It is, therefore, to invoke abundant divine graces upon such praiseworthy endeavours, and in testimony of His particular benevolence, that the Holy Father cordially imparts to Your Lordship, and to the Chaplains, leaders and members of the Movement, His paternal Apostolic Blessing.

With sentiments of personal esteem and regard,

I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

J. B. Montini,


The full text of Archbishop Carboni’s message will be published next week.

The Archbishop of Adelaide Most Rev. M. Beovich, officially welcomed 130 lay delegates and chaplains of the Young Christian Workers at the opening of the Eighth National Conference of the Movement in Australia Hall, Adelaide, on Monday 4 October. His Grace extended a special welcome to, and introduced Most Rev. B. Gallagher, the Bishop of Port Pirie, and new Episcopal Chairman of the Y.C.W. .


Bishop Gallagher said he considered it a great privilege to be present at the conference and to be associated with the Y.C.W. He wished to join with the National President (John Doherty) in expressing to His Grace, Dr. Beovich, the deep gratitude of all Y.C.W.s for the kind and gracious hospitality extended by the Archdiocese of Adelaide. Bishop Gallagher paid special tribute to the work of his predecessor, Archbishop Simonds, “who had guided so carefully and so successfully your steps in Catholic Action.”

His Lordship then read the messages which had been sent by His Holiness Pope Pius XII and the Apostolic Delegate in Australia, Most Rev. R. Carboni, for the occasion of die conference. In declaring the conference open, Dr. Gallagher urged the delegates to look ahead and extend their Apostolate.

Following the reading of the National Report, and messages from oversea Y.C.W.s by the secretary (Jim Wilson) the first of three papers to be presented during the conference was given by Brian O’Halloran. In his paper Brian O’Halloran brought out the problem of the young worker in Australia.


To understand the problem we had to ignore the world’s present values and look at the present situation of the young worker in the light of God’s plan for him. To do this we had to realize that God made the world to serve Man so that he would attain his eternal destiny through the world—not in spite of it.

God made every person with three aspects’—the physical, the’ spiritual and the religious. These three aspects were interlinked. Through diem the human person was meant to be developed and to realize his dignity. Looking at the world today it could be seen that many people gave no indication whatever of an interest in spiritual or religious activities.

Mr. O’Halloran then went on to point out how the influences on the young worker in the home, at work and at leisure were in contradiction to God’s plan for the young worker.

Referring to the incidence of divorce and the large number of unhappy homes Mr. O’Halloran said that these problems reflected the unwholesome situation of the husband and wife who failed to appreciate their obligation towards children. The situation resulted in frustration of the young worker through his not being formed through. a happy home environment in love, obedience, selflessness, honesty and consideration, responsibility and justice.

The home was the cradle of education and formation only when parents were capable of making it so. From the lack of education of children in the home there were many repercussions. Many , young workers today considered they had little or no responsibility towards the home.

Mr. O’Halloran, basing his statements on findings from facts gathered during the Home Campaign which was conducted recently by the Y.C.W. throughout Australia, said that many young workers spent six nights a week away from home and that only a small minority spent three or more in the home.

Other big contributing factors to the dehumanization of the young worker at home were the housing shortage and the lack of community life.


On entering into work a lad experienced a crisis because he was starting off in a completely new way of life. How he fared would be very greatly responsible for the salvation or damnation of his immortal soul.

The common attitude to work was wrong: rather than realizing that God meant young workers to be developed physically, spiritually and religiously through work, most considered that it was just something you have to do if you want to eat.

Mr. O’Halloran pointed out that to some extent the schools were failing in so much as many lads left school without the knowledge that work was a vocation. Further, school-leavers did not know what constituted a particular job other than by its title. As a result they had no idea to what type of job they were best suited.


The moral influences at work which so often were completely contrary to what he had been used to at school and at home were tremendous. Even though many things were contrary to his ideals, like misusing the boss’ material, poor quality work, sordid discussion on sex, etc., the young worker was a social being who desired company and companionship, and in order to be accepted by his fellow-workers he often conformed to their “ideals” or lack of ideals—the norm by which fellow-workers judged whether or not a lad was a good sport worthy of being accepted by “the boys” !

In some places there “still existed in Australia material conditions which failed to show a recognition of the fact that the young worker was a dignified person. Many factories had inadequate first aid facilities and numerous factories and workshops failed to provide proper safeguards, lighting and ventilation. (In support of this Mr. O’Halloran quoted Department of Labour and National Service figures which showed that 600 workers were killed in industrial accidents during 1953. More than 200,000 had been badly enough injured to miss three days work or more.)

Mr. O’Halloran spoke at length on the particular problem of the apprenticed Apprentices were often because of lo\V wages in their early years of apprenticeship, forced to become a burden to their parents at a time when they should be able to offer assistance.

So far as leisure time was concerned many Australian young workers were mentally inadequate to cope with leisure. This was so because they have not been educated as to the real meaning of leisure.


A great number of young workers spent a gOod deal of their leisure time in passive entertainment. God meant leisure to be a period of recreation through healthy sport and cultural education. Australia was greatly lacking in cultural life—yet culture was so. necessary for the development of the spiritual aspect of the human person.

Great problems presented themselves in the young workers’ leisure time through films, and literature which accentuated sex and violence.

Drinking had developed into one of the chief pastimes of young workers. Many young workers today considered the degree of their manhood was measured by the amount they could consume. Also they had the idea, from the world, that at parties and smokos you had to drink to get “happy” and “have a good time,” and be one of the mob.


Other points made ware that the lack of responsibility in the use of saving of money was the cause for many young men reaching the stage of marriage but finding themselves financially unprepared to provide for the basic requirement so necessary for the establishment of a happy future home life.

He also pointed out the problems which were associated with National Service Training.

In conclusion, he said: “God made every Young Worker with a Divine Destiny. Even though we are affected by Original Sin, we are still meant to go to heaven through the world and not in spite of it. Today the Young Worker has to achieve his Destiny in spite of Original Sin and the World. While the-world is not serving the Young Worker there is a problem. The Young Worker today cries out for a chance to live. The Y.C.W. must answer this call by building a new social order. “As Canon Cardijn said: “We have not come to start a Revolution, we ARE the revolution.”

Most Rev. Bryan Gallagher Episcopal Chairman, Y.C.W.


Problem Of The Young Worker In Australia (Advocate, Thursday 14 October 1954, page 8) (Trove)

Lay Apostolate World Congress Opens in Rome

Problems Now are International

A Lay Apostolate World Congress opens in Rome on Sunday next, October 7, and will last a week.

Rev. F. Chamberlain, National Chaplain of the Young Catholic Students’ Movement, will Represent the Australian Secretariat of Catholic Action. The Congress will consider dogmatic, moral and ascetic principles of the Lay Apostolate in the light of Papal documents, and the fundamental objectives of the apostolate on. a world plan.

THE purpose of the World Congress of the Lay Apostolate is to gather together the best qualified representatives of national and international Catholic organizations approved by Ecclesiastical Authorities.

Leading representatives of Catholic Action and of all other Catholic Organizations of men or women are invited but as the Congress is a meeting devoted to study, the number of participants must be limited to those properly qualified.

The following is the general plan.

International delegates. Every International Catholic Organization invited by the Organizing Committee of the Congress may send at the most 10 of its representatives.

National Delegates. In order to secure an extensive and complete participation, the Organizing Committee has asked every national Episcopate to designate the lay organization admissable to the Congress. This has already been done for several countries. The delegates must belong to Organizations;

(a) of lay apostolate

(b) approved by ecclesiastical authorities

(c) of National extension.

Experts. Some lay or ecclesinstical experts in the lay apostolate, not members of the official delegation, may participate in the Congress as voluntary and individual assistants, without being entitled to vote. These experts applications had to be accompanied by a recommendation from a national Organizations of Lay Apostolate or from a member of the Episcopate.


Since the end of the Second World War world conditions have changed drastically. It is a fact of History that problems of today must be viewed on an international plane. Associations, organizations and movements, most certainly the Apostolate, must recognize the situation.

In a message to the J.O.C. Congress in Canada in 1947 the Holy Father pointed out that the Apostolate must be considered from an international angle.

“We are aware that today problems often assume not only national but world-wide proportions. Barriers tend to’ disappear, thank God, between countries and even continents, and the unity of the human race is stressed ever more and more. The progress of science also continues to favour the intermingling of peoples.”

This goes to show that questions relating to the Apostolate must be considered from the international angle. An International Lay Apostolate Congress came under consideration before the beginning of the jubilee year.

The months of preparation immediately before the beginning of the Holy Year made it particularly clear that today’s problems must be considered from the international viewpoint.

At that time, when all eyes were turned toward St. Peter’s in Rome, it was realized more clearly than ever before that there is a necessity for closing ranks. During the Holy Year itself the immense multitudes that gathered in the Holy City from all parts of the world proclaimed incessantly that the Church is universal, that she is one, that Catholicism is no empty word.

Militant Catholics, those that have listened to the summons of their hierarchy to devote their time and efforts and to sacrifice their tranquility for the triumph, of the Gospel and the salvation of their brethren, felt this more than anyone else.

It was thus that the calling of the Lay Apostolate World Congress came about. The idea was first proposed at a meeting of the Central Council of Italian Catholic Action in May, 1949, and the subject was considered at the General Assembly of Catholic Action in October, 1949.

The Congress was discussed at various international meetings and finally the date and general programme were arranged. The Congress will .take place in Rome from October 7 to 14, 1951.


The aims of the Congress can be stated as follows:

(1) To consider dogmatic, moral and ascetic principles of the Lay Apostolate in the light of Papal documents, ancient and recent.

(2) To offer objective documentation of different forms through which laymen carry out their apostolate and to explain why, under given circumstances, one method is preferred to another.

(3) To show precisely the breadth and depth of the fields in which laymen are called upon to carry out their apostolate.

(4) To view the fundamental objectives of the apostolate which can, today, be carried out on a world plan.

The aims of the Congress were studied at a conference of eighty leaders of national and international organizations representing 22 countries and a programme was made up. The final arrangement of the programme was then left to a commission of fourteen under the presidency of Monsignor Cardijn, founder of the J.O.C.


The programme accepted calls for papers on various subjects with a general discussion following each paper, The following is a list of the themes to be considered:

I—The World of Today and the Lay Apostolate. The population of the world with reference to the Catholic Church. The religio-moral, cultural and

social condition of the world today. Active movements towards an economic, political, cultural and religious unification of the world. Looking towards an international community in the world. The lay-apostolate, a necessity.

II—Doctrinal Foundations of the Lay Apostolate.

(a) The lay apostolate, not a passing need, but a permanent postulate of Christian life. (Doctrine of the Mystical Body, obligations incurred by Baptism and Confirmation; the love of God and neighbour, a divine command; the teaching of the Church).

(b) The nature ,of the lay apostolate—its relations to the ecclesiastical hierarchy—its different forms (Catholic Action and action of Catholics)—its fundamental unity. (a) The lay apostolate supposes an integral Catholic Formation; religious, moral, cultural and social.

The interior life of the apostolate, the soul of the apostolate.

What are the responsibilities and the task of the priest in preparing the laity for the apostolate. (b) How to prepare the laity for individual apostolate and for organized apostolate. How to prepare the laity for: specific apostolates in the different sectors of life. How to prepare the leaders.

IV—For a Christian Social Order.

(a) Analysis of the actual economic and social situation of the world. The deep and wide-spread longing for a more human economic and social order. The individualistic and collectivist theories fail to satisfy.

(b) The Christian concept of life responds to the most genuine aspirations of men today for mutual understanding and cooperation. The urgent need of action on the part of Catholics to inaugurate a more human and Christian social order. Love as a mediating force in uniting justice with freedom.

V—The Presence and the Responsibility of Catholics in International Life. (a) Official and non official international organizations. Catholic international organizations. The international problems that concern the spiritual and social future of all nations. (b) Need of arousing every man to a consciousness of his duty to take part, spiritually and professionally, in international life.


What part do Catholics and their organizations play in international activities. A common front and closed ranks in the face of tasks imposed for the formation of a peaceful human family. In addition to the general themes there will be particular discussion groups, “Carrefours” or “Workshops” as they have been called, on the following subjects:

The apostolate of public opinion: cinema, press, radio, television;

The apostolate among intellectual people;

The apostolate in the field of assistance and charity;

The catechetic apostolate conducted by the laity;

The apostolate among families;

The apostolate among children;

The apostolate among the young people, rural, worker, students;

The apostolate in the working and professional world;

The apostolate in the field of sport and games;

The apostolate in the civic field;

The apostolate in mission countries;

The apostolate in the countries without religious freedom;

The apostolate according to the U.N.E.S.C.O. and O.M.S. programmes;

The apostolate with reference to migratory problems;

The apostolate of women.

Other discussion groups may be added.


Lay Apostolate World Congress Opens in Rome (The Advocate, 4/10/1951)

Ten Years of the Y.C.W. Movement in Melbourne

7th National Conference Opens in Brisbane on Sunday Under the presidency of his Grace Archbishop Simonds, Episcopal Chairman of the Young Christian Workers, a hundred lay-leaders and priest-chaplains from all parts of Australia will meet in Brisbane next Sunday for the opening of the seventh national conference (September 9-15).

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the movement in Australia, his Holiness Pope Pius XII is sending a special message and a recorded message has been received from Monsignor Cardijn, founder of the J.O.C. The main address at the conference will be given by Archbishop Simonds.

THE Young Christian Workers’ Movement on September 8, Our Lady’s birthday, celebrates the tenth birthday of its foundation in Australia. On September 8, 1941, the Young Christian Workers’ Movement received official mandate for Catholic Action from his Grace Archbishop Mannix.

From the very beginning, the Y.C.W. directed its efforts to the formation of leaders who would be truly apostolic. As early as Christmas, 1940, before the actual formation of the movement, an experimental leaders’ training camp was held at Mornington. The second leaders’ camp was held at Hanging Rock in Easter, 1942.

This work received a tremendous boost in 1943 when the Y.C.W. acquired its first property—a leadership training centre “Maiya Wamba” (House of Youth) occupying nine acres at Cheltenham. Since then, approximately twenty-five leaders from throughout the archdiocese have been in training at “Maiya Wamba” each week-end.

The purchasing of this property during the war and at a time when the Y.C.W. was having a battle to build up a stable organization was a sign of courageous confidence in the future of the movement.

The raising of the necessary finance for this venture was largely due to the efforts of the Melbourne Y.C.W. Men’s Extension Committee. This committee had originally been formed in 1942 to assist in the organization of the Xavier Youth Rally.

Mr. Frank Murphy was its first honorary secretary. Mr. Bernard Foley later became the full-time secretary of this committee. In 1947, Mr. Reuben Quirk succeeded him in this position.

Since their inception, both the men’s and ladies’ extension committees have made tremendous efforts to raise finance necessary for many of the Y.C.W.’s projects—including the purchase of the Albert Park Y.C.W. Hostel for underprivileged youth, the Hawthorn Y.C.W. Migration Hostel, and the staging of the Xavier youth rallies. This committee has so far raised over £100,000.


While these activities were taking place in Melbourne, the Y.C.W. had been spreading to other dioceses throughout Australia. In 1943 the Episcopal Committee of Catholic Action made it a National Movement and appointed his Grace, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., as episcopal chairman.This was a historic year for the Y.C.W., as in addition to the

development previously mentioned, it was the occasion of the first national meeting of the Y.C.W. chaplains. On this occasion 110 priests from all over Australia were in conference for two days at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Abbotsford. Largely due to the inspiration of his Grace, Dr. Simonds, this meeting was a huge success.

In 1943 the Y.C.W. in Australia appointed its first full-time worker; Frank McCann, now secretary-manager of the Y.C.W. Co-operative Trading Society, was appointed as national secretary by the episcopal chairman. The following year a preliminary national conference of chaplains and leaders was held at “Maiya Wamba.”

The first full-scale national conference was held at Brisbane in 1945. One hundred leaders and sixty chaplains from all over Australia were present, and his Grace Dr. Simonds presided. Subsequent national conferences have been held in Newcastle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. In June, 1947, a great Y.C.W. international conference, was held in Montreal, Canada, to mark the fifteenth birthday of the Y.C.W. in that country, 42 countries were represented.

Ted Long, Melbourne diocesan secretary, and a member of the national executive, was seint to represent the Australian Y.C.W. at the conference.

It was as a result of ideas brought back from this conference that the Pre-Cana Conferences for engaged couples were started later in the same year. Since then the Pre-Cana Movement has spread throughout Australia. Some thousands of engaged couples have availed themselves of this tremendously important service since its inception.

In 1948 Frank McCann, national secretary, was sent by the Australian Government as a representative to an international youth conference in London. While Frank was in England the information he gained of the English Y.C.W. proved a great assistance to the movement when he returned.

In 1949 Frank McCann retired as national secretary to take over as secretary of the Y.C.W. Cooperative Trading Society in Melbourne. Terry Barker, who had been a full-time Y.C.W. national field-officer since 1947, was appointed national secretary in May, 1949.

In 1950 Terry Barker attended an international Y.C.W. conference in Brussels to mark the’ silver jubilee of the Y.C.W. The same year, the national chaplain, Rev. Father Lombard, returned to Australia after having studied youth and migration problems in the countries overseas at the request of the Australian Government.


Right from the beginning of the national movement in 1943, the Y.C.W. realized the need for publishing a newspaper which would be the voice of the movement in bringing Christian values to the young worker and the public in general. New Youth, a monthly paper, was first published in 1943. The appointment of Ken Treacey as full-time editor of New Youth in 1948 was immediately reflected in the standard of the paper.

The Y.C.W. is immensely grateful for the assistance and advice given New Youth at the time by the late Alan Powell, a prominent journalist on a leading Melbourne daily. David Burke succeeded Ken Treacey in February, 1949, until .February, 1951, and further improved the quality and standing of the paper.


Since Father Lombard s appointment as full-time Melbourne chaplain in 1944, and the appointment of Ken Treacey as fulltime Melbourne secretary in 1945, the Y.C.W. progressed rapidly in the archdiocese. Ted Long, who had been acting national secretary while Frank McCann was ill, became Melbourne secretary when Ken Treacey was appointed editor of New Youth in 1946. Noel Murphy, Frank Quinn and Bill Davies increased the Melbourne staff and led to a further expansion of services.

In 1946, the Y.C.W, acquired a hostel at Albert Park for under privileged youth. This hostel was later extended and accommodates 22 youths from St. Augustine’s Orphanage with Rev. Colin Miller as resident chaplain. In the same year, 1946, the first Y.C.W. Co-Operative Housing Society was registered. This has developed until at the present time, the Housing Co-Operative have a guaranteed capital of £3,000,000 and 2260 members; 720 homes have already been completed. In 1947 the Y.C.W. established an accommodation bureau as well as an apprenticeship and employment advisory bureau. These services did much to meet some of the major current problems of youth in Melbourne.

The Y.C.W. Migration Hostel at Hawthorn for young worker migrants from the British Isles was first purchased in 1948. The first batch of 34 migrants arrived in 1950. Regular batches of young workers from overseas have been arriving since that time. Rev. J. A. Carroll is resident chaplain at the migration hostel Another important development was the. purchase of a 25-acre property at Phillip Island in 1949 as a permanent camp-site for young workers.

Also in 1949 the Y.C.W. Co-Operative Trading Society was formed with Frank McCann as secretary. Since then 500 young families have obtained their home furnishings from this society on a co-operative basis.

The years 1949 and 1950 saw a considerable change-over of staff at Melbourne headquarters. Frank Quinn in 1949 was succeeded by Peter O’Donnell. In 1950 Dan Callahan and Ivor Davis joined the staff, replacing Ted Long, Noel Murphy and Bill Davies, who took up other positions, but continued to assist the development of the movement. Ted Long who joined the staff of the housing co-operatives, has recently returned to the Melbourne staff. Peter O’Donnell, who joined the Redemptorist Order, and Ivor Davis later left the staff in 1950.

The present fulltime workers at Melbourne headquarters are Ted Long, Dan Callahan, Bill Bainbridge, Bill Ginnane and Peter Kelly.

Rev. Father F. W. Lombard, National Chaplain, Australian Y.C.W., with Monsignor J. Cardijn, founder of the Y.C.W.


Ten Years of the Y.C.W. Movement in Melbourne (Thursday 6 September 1951, 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)

Canon Cardijn Visits England

Canon Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers, is spending a few weeks in England and will broadcast next Friday in the B.B.C. Home Service, in the “Christian Outlook” series.

Addressing a 2000-strong Y.C.W. rally in London on Wednesday, Canon Cardijn emphasized that anti-Communism and anti-working class attitudes will not save the world.

“The solution,” he said, lies in mutual, understanding in order to build a social order based on Christian principles. Many Governments and businessmen adopt a purely negative attitude towards workers’ movements and particularly towards Communism. Our hope is not in the atomic bomb, but in the strength of the spiritual potentialities of the peoples of the world.”


Canon Cardijn Visits England (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 24 November 1949, page 5) (Trove)

Canon Cardijn Visits Prague

Speaking at the Archdiocesan Seminary of Prague before group of leading priests and laymen, Canon Joseph Cardijn, of Brussels, Belgium, founder and leader of the world-wide Jocist (Young Christian Workers) movement, explained the principles and techniques of the Jocists whose associations are now flourishing in 52 countries The audience showed by its applause and by the many questions which-were asked after the address that in Czechoslovakia there is great interest in the Jocist movement.


Canon Cardijn Visits Prague (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 16 July 1947, page 20) (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)

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)

Y.C.W. in Founder Died in Dachau

Fernand Tonnet, president of the Belgian men’s Catholic Action group, and co-founder, with Canon Cardijn, of the Young Christian Workers, died in Dachau concentration camp on the night of February 6-7 this year, the “Universe” Paris correspondent learns from Brussels.

Arrested in April, 1943, for not betraying a parachutist, M. Tonnet was sent to Dachau in the following year.

In Block 29, where his quarters were, a typhus epidemic broke out and M. Tonnet worked hard helping his stricken comrades.

There was no priest in the block, but he managed to find one in another block who gave him some consecrated Hosts in little metal boxes.

He was therefore able to give Holy Communion to his dying friends. In the end he died of exhaustion.


Y.C.W. in Founder Died in Dachau (Advocate, Wednesday 29 August 1945, page 14)