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)

Church Needs Militant Lay Missionaries

Pope Pius XI Astounded at Workers Ignorance of Catholic Social Teaching, Says Canon Cardijn

DURING his six days in England on his return trip from the United States, Canon Cardijn Belgian founder of the world wide Young Christian Workers, told audiences in the north and south of England of the direct commission he received from Pope Pius XI to start his movement and of the Holy-Father’s consternation when he was told that the working classes knew nothing of the Church’s social teaching.

Canon Cardijn said that he was trembling when he sought his first interview with Pope Pius XI to put before him his great desire—to win the working-class masses for the Church.

“While I was speaking,” said the Canon, “the Pope stopped me and said: ‘This is the first time that anyone has come to me and said that he wanted to win the masses. Everyone says: “I will form an elite; I will form a little group of good Christians.” It is not an elite that the Church needs, not a small group, but the masses of the working classes.’


“Then the Pope said to me the words you have heard repeated so often: ‘The greatest scandal of the 19th century is that the Church lost the masses of the working class. The greatest service you can do to the Church is to win them back. The masses of the working class need the Church, but the Church needs the masses of the working class’.”

Canon Cardijn then quoted the following words uttered to him by the Holy Father during the same interview: “I can write Encyclicals, I can write about social doctrine, I can speak on the radio, but I cannot go into the factories, into the shops, into the offices, into the mines, and I cannot spread the doctrines of the Church. Nor can the Bishops^ nor the priests do this, for these places are closed to them. Therefore, the Church needs thousands upon thousands of militant, lay missionaries, young working boys and girls who are the representatives of the Church in their working environment. Everywhere there is a burning desire for the re-conquest of the masses of the people, the masses of the working classes of the world.”

Canon Cardijn went on to recall an audience which the Archbishop of Toulouse, Cardinal Saliege, had with the late Pope, in which he told his Holiness that the working class knew nothing of the Church’s social teaching. “Is that possible!” exclaimed the Pope. “Fifty-five years after ‘Rerum Novarum,’ 15 years after ‘Quadragesimo Anno,’ a Cardinal comes to tell me that the people know nothing about the Encyclicals, know nothing about the social doctrine of the Church. Is that possible? In the dilferent countries of the world there are people .who do not know the social doctrine of the Gospels, of Jesus Christ, of the Popes, that I myself have repeated so often by Encyclical, by letter and by the wireless!”

Canon Cardijn declared that the present Holy Father has told him: “I want for the future of the Church a very strong international organisation of Young Christian Workers in every country.”

During his short stay in England, Canon Cardijn addressed two meetings in London, in the presence of Cardinal Griffin and Archbishop Amigo of Southwark, one in Manchester and, finally, a national rally in Liverpool. He told the Y.C.W. members that the British Empire and the United States looked to the English Y.C.W. for leadership in the apostolate for the restoration of the working classes to Christ, and he added: “From what I have seen, that leadership will be forthcoming.” Soon he is to go to Rome to tell the Pope the results of his tour.

“I shall tell him,” he said, “that I have found the movement strong and virile in spirit in England and with immense possibilities in the Americas.”


Church Needs Militant Lay Missionaries (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 25 September 1946, page 3) (Trove)

130 Priests Attend Y.C.W. Conference

Role of Clergy and Laity in Catholic Action Discussed

Archbishops Mannix, Simonds, Tweedy at Sessions

THE Y.C.W. is a movement with vision — the vision of an enthusiastic Catholic youth leading the youth of Australia to the cause, of Christ the King,” said His Grace the Coadjutor-Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., in an important address on the Young Christian Workers to members of the Hierarchy and clergy at a Y.C.W. conference last week. Archbishop Simonds is the Episcopal chairman of the movement. Represented at the conference, besides the four Victorian dioceses, were the dioceses of Maitland, Wilcannia-Forbes, Wagga Wagga (N.S.W.), Toowoomba, Townsville (Queensland), Adelaide, Port Augusta (South Australia), Hobart (Tasmania) and Perth (WA).


“The rising tide of paganism,” continued his Grace, “is not destined to engulf the Church of God, for we can see that the Holy Spirit is already brooding anew over the modern chaos to produce a new human world. The most significant inspiration of the Divine Spirit in our days is that by which He has reawakened in the Church the consciousness that the apostolate of Christ’s Kingdom is not a reserved occupation of the clergy, but is the normal radiation of Christian life by every member of the Body of Christ. The Y.C.W. is youth’s response to that awakening.

“It is an authentic movement of Catholic Action. It has merited many striking eulogies from Pope Pius XI., who, among other things, did not hesitate to say: ‘We have given the definition of Catholic Action and that definition has been perfectly interpreted by the Young Christian Workers.’

“To organise a similar apostolate amongst Australian youth is our high purpose and privilege. I am sure you feel with me that your presence here to-day is destined to become historic, for you are helping to enkindle an apostolic flame in the minds and hearts of young Australians, that will undoubtedly be glowing with its brightest intensity in future years that we shall not live to see.


“The part which the priest has to play in Catholic Action is a very important one, but, at the same time, it is a delicately adjusted role. Pope Pius XI. applied to the chaplains, or ecclesiastical assistants of Catholic Action, the words of the Psalmist: “in manibus tuis sortes meae.” That is the. reason why this conference has been convoked, for I realise that the fate of the Y.C.W. in Australia in its initial stages will be largely in the hands of the clergy. In outlining the role of the priests, the Pope said: ‘The ecclesiastical assistants should be the soul of the associations, the sources of energy, the inspirers of the apostolate, the representatives of episcopal authority.’ These are, of course, normal priestly activities. But the Holy Father was careful to add that the direction of the responsibility of the associations must be left to the” laity. As ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God your function will be to form the leaders and members of the Y.C.W. in a thoroughly Catholic spirit, and to give general guidance to the technique of the apostolate according to the directions of the Hierarchy. But the work of the apotolate and the management of their groups are the responsibility of the youth themselves.


“The spiritual formation of the leaders and members is by far your most important work. It is therefore fundamentally important that every ecclesiastical assistant should have clear ideas upon the nature of the lay apostolate, and its relation to the Mystical Body of Christ. The call to Catholic Action is not just a new technique to meet present difficulties by adding lay curates to the clergy because of deficiencies in their ranks. Catholic Action is essential to the very life of the Church. The laity’s right to participate in the apostolate has existed from the beginning, but its importance and its responsibilities are being revealed in a fresh light in modern times. It is a direct consequence of their membership in the Mystical Body of Christ; and the authentic sign of this right is the indelible sacramental character impressed on their souls in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Though all the sacraments confer sanctifying grace by which, in St. Peter’s thrilling words, we become partakers of the Divine Nature, three of the sacraments imprint on the soul an indelible character. According to St. Thomas’ beautiful teaching, this character received in the sacraments is actually the character of Christ, or as the word implies, an express image of the beautiful soul of Christ our High Priest, indelibly impressed on the soul. Its triple form indicates the member’s rank in the Mystical Body, and the degree in which he has been admitted to share in the priesthood of the Divine High Priest. “While, therefore, sanctifying grace incorporates us into the Divine Life of Christ, the sacramental character is the seal of our incorporation into the powers of Christ, in particular his priestly powers. This participation in Christ’s priesthood by sacramental character is not a mere passive one. It enables the baptised member to become a co-offerer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, directly and personally. It confers on the confirmed member the right and the duty of teaching, admonishing and strengthening others in their duty to God. Whilst through the character of Holy Orders the ordained priest becomes so closely identified with Christ that he is able to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice and confer the sacraments in the person of the Divine Redeemer. Confirmation is therefore the sacrament of Catholic Action; indeed, St. Thomas does not hesitate to call it a quasi ordination. It does not, of course, incorporate the recipient into the administrative and teaching authority of the Hierarchy, but it entitles him to be formally invited to assist in the apostolate. So when he receives this commission he acquires no new rights beyond those already given by the character of Baptism and Confirmation.


“It will be your chief function to inspire your leaders with’ a profound realisation of their dignity as members of the Mystical Body, and to fire them with an enthusiasm for Christ their Leader, and for His holy cause in which they have a personally responsible interest. They must know their Leader intimately, for to know Him is to love Him. Therefore, the prayerful study of the Gospel, which puts before them the fascinating personality of Christ, and which teaches them His spirit and His standards of judgment and action, is an integral part of the formation of Y.C.W. leaders. But since the Christian priesthood has two great functions, the apostolate for souls and the liturgical worship of God, it follows that those who are called to share in the apostolate must also actively share in the liturgical worship and prayers of the Church. Both Pius X and Pius XI insisted that the formation of the leaders will not be complete until they have acquired an intense supernatural spirit, that must be drawn from its ‘foremost and indispensable fount, which is liturgical – worship.’ It is also important, of course, that as they are being made more vividly conscious of their incorporation into the Church’s apostolate and worship, they should also grow in loving appreciation of the unique relation which the Blessed Mother bears to the Head and the members of the Mystical Body, and the providential part that she exercises -in the apostolate as the Mother of Divine Grace.


“This whole formation will require long and-patient effort, but I am happy to be able to announce that his Grace the Archbishop has already taken a step which is of. prime importance in the task of training. A property with extensive grounds has recently been purchased at Cheltenham, where selected . groups of leaders will be able to spend each weekend in a course of training and direction uncler one of the chaplains. This action of the Archbishop in setting up for the Y.C.W. leaders a novitiate, that will be the powerhouse f spiritual and intellectual energy of the movement, is destined to have a profound nfluence on the future of its apostolate.


“Side by side with the spiritual formation of the militants goes your responsibility f general guidance in the technique of the apostolate according to the directions of the hierarchy. The special field of the apostolate of the Y.C.W. is that vast mass of Australian youth whose lives are, for the most part, cast in an environment that is either coldly indifferent or actively hostile to the Christian spirit. The Y.C.W. is not just another defensive club that aims at segregating its members and sheltering them from the corrosive influence of their environment. It is a militant and apostolic movement that is determined to take the offensive by penetrating into the environment of the workers, and impregnating its movements and activities with the spirit of Christ.

“Its organisation is first of all developed on parochial lines, for the parish is the canonical unit of spiritual life. But when its spirit has been captured by leaders and groups, it will then grow by division, in order to regroup itself into specialised movements. These will bring the apostolate into the special environments peculiar to groups of workers in factories, workshops or professions. Particular groupings according to common interests or environments form an essential part of Catholic Action and this is the next big development of th6 Y.C.W. which must be organised. But the Holy See has strongly insisted that the specialised movements must always retain a unity, for this is indispensable to Catholic Action. The Y.C.W. will fulfil this function of unity for all the future specialised movements of youth that will develop according to the different industrial or professional environments.


“We have opened this conference with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice in honour of the Holy Spirit, to Whom this fair land of ours was first dedicated as the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost. Only the irresistible power of the Divine Spirit can rechristianise the mass of Australian youth, and we wish to offer the Y.C.W. to the Holy Spirit as a willing instrument in that gigantic task. You who generously offer to co-operate in that work of the Holy Ghost must bring to it an enthusiastic optimism that springs from profound confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit and the efficacy of prayer and work in His Name.

“Each morning we ascend the altar in those conditions of tranquillity and spiritual security that belong to the priesthood. It is especially in those moments of grace that we must have compassionate thought for that vast mass “of Australian youth which the voracious industrial machine drags each morning into its inhuman vortex, and after a day of soulless service to the machine is cast out again each evening into homes or places of amusement from which the spirit of Christ has been mostly excluded. More than once the great Heart of our Divine Master was so moved to. compassion at the sight of a crowd fainting with physical hunger, that He gave them miraculous bread. He is surely more deeply moved at the sight of the spiritually starving youth of to-day, and even more anxious to multiply through, the hands of His modern apostles the spiritual bread that endureth unto life everlasting.’ “During the present year the Episcopal Committee for Catholic Action requested me to undertake the direction of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, which promises to develop into one of the most fruitful activities of the lay apostolate. It was thought fitting that the first conference called to organise the movement on national lines should be a conference of members of the Hierarchy and clergy, whose duty it will be to guide the beginnings of this important movement. I have therefore profound pleasure in bidding you a cordial welcome to the conference, and I express my sincere gratitude for your presence.”


130 Priests Attend Y.C.W. Conference (Advocate, Thursday 28 October 1943, page 7) (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)

Catholic Action and Vocations…

A fear, which has been expressed, that “Catholic Action” may hinder vocations to the religious state is considered in the following article by Rev. W. P. Hackett, SJ., ecclesiastical assistant to the National Secretariat of Catholic Action. Fr. Hackett shows that, far from hindering vocations, the lay apostolate, as the Holy Father has remarked, has proved a fruitful seed plot for vocations.

P EOPLE sometimes feel a little uneasy about modern movements— such as the Grail, the. J.O.C., the Rural Movement and other Catholic Action bodies. They fear that these new developments may hinder vocations.

In fact, some people here in Melbourne have told me quite definitely that seminaries and religious Orders, particularly Orders of nuns, were suffering. I am glad to be able to reassure such people.

Both here and elsewhere these movements have fostered vocations. In fact, some of the results are startling. It must be very consoling to the Sovereign Pontiffs to know that not merely are the laity helped by these movements, but, as a result, the number of vocations has enormously increased.

It is interesting to note that the Holy Father himself foresaw this result, and used it as an argument for a more general adoption of Catholic Action.


“And here,” he declares, “Our thoughts turn gladly to that Catholic Action so much desired and promoted and defended by Us. For by Catholic Action the laity share in the Hierarchical Apostolate of the Church, and hence it cannot neglect this vital problem of priestly • vocations.

Comfort has filled Our heart to see the associates of Catholic Action everywhere distinguishing themselves in all fields of Christian activity, but especially in this. Certainly the richest reward of such activity is that really wonderful number of priestly and religious vocations, which continue to flourish in their organisations for the young.

This shows that these organisations are both a fruitful ground of virtue and also a well-guarded and well-cultivated nursery, where the most beautiful and delicate flower may develop without danger. May all members of Catholic Action feel the honour which thus falls on their association.

Let them be persuaded that in no better way than by this work for an increase in the ranks of the secular and regular clergy can the Catholic laity really participate in the high’ dignity of the’ ‘kingly priesthood,’ which the Prince of the Apostles attributes to the whole body of the redeemed.” No one who fully understands Catholic Action is surprised. If you explain

the full beauty of the Apostolate and the priesthood to able young men it is but natural that many, aroused by the wonder of participating to some degree in the Apostolate and sharing in the royal priesthood, will be eager to become full apostles and to become candidates for the full priesthood.

This wave of vocations is found in many places simultaneously. From the early days of the J.O.C. and similar organisations there were numerous vocations. It was not long before the J.O.C. was being assisted by chaplains who had themselves been, once upon a time, workers in these young workers’ movements. Similarly, from the Women’s Youth Federations and other girls’ organisations, such as the Grail, there came a splendid increase in vocations to women’s communities.


Perhaps the most striking development has been in Spain. The following extract from the “Catholic Herald,” February 6, 1942, shows that “more than 1000 of the 100,000 members of the Juvantud Catholica, the Catholic Young Men’s Organisation of Spain, have entered the seminary within the last two years. Among them is Manual Aporici, who for seven years has acted as national president of the youth groupings.”

Of the 1000, the majority are aspirants to the diocesan clergy. In this way will be carried out the idea of Angel Herrera, Catholic Actionist and journalist, who gave up his career to become a priest.

“Catholic Action will only then be properly understood when it has as ecclesiastical assistants priests who themselves have worked in the ranks of Catholic Action.” Here in Australia, though Catholic Action is still in its infancy, there have been many vocations. A large number of former members of the Campion Society have either been ordained or are studying for the priesthood.

The present chaplain of the Campion Society in Melbourne is a former Campion member, the Rev. Vincent Long, O.F.M. In one year alone six members of the Campion Society in Sydney left to take up religious life. Several of those who attended the Quests at “Tay Creggan” have already joined religious Orders; others have enrolled themselves in the ranks of the Grail.

This is good news, and a movement which produces such results is obviously a valuable one. When a Pope speaks about Catholic Action as Pius XI. did—”not without inspiration,” he says more than once—we others must take notice. Moreover, if we apply the test Our Lord gives, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” we must take even more notice.


Amazing and widespread as this byproduct of Catholic Action is—for its main work is to influence the laity themselves—no one need be surprised. One of the chief means used by Catholic Action is to get people of all sorts to appreciate all the splendour and reality of Christ’s kingdom.

It is no wonder that this fuller realisation produces such striking results. Apart from these considerations, it must be obvious to every thinking Catholic that the hold we have on the principles of religion should be tighter than ever before.

Mere passive acceptance of religion is not enough. Indeed it is a negation of true religion, which is meant to be dynamic, to do things, to help others, to give service, to perform the various works of mercy. When we see concerted action being taken to draw the youth away from the Church we must make greater efforts than ever to safeguard our youth, which is coming into maturity in the midst of a cataclysm.

Everyone, priest or layman, who would not give ready obedience to the words of command issued from the Vatican incurs a tremendous responsibility. Yet some people allow doubts about the meaning or methods of Catholic Action to produce partial or total paralysis. They neither do anything, nor encourage others to do anything.

If only they grasp the fact that a movement which produces so many vocations must be, in some special way, blessed by God, good results should follow even in places where hitherto no massed movement of Catholic Action has been set on foot. In Australia in the past few years the inspiration of priests, the energy of laymen, have given rise—under the direct leadership of the Bishops—to a number of flourishing organisations of Catholic Action.

These have not sought publicity because they wished first to test their methods and lay sound foundations; consequently, the Catholic public does not fully appreciate what is being done.


Now there is for all farmers the National Catholic Rural Movement; for all girls the National Catholic Girls’ Movement; for all young workers the Young Christian Workers; for adult workers the Nationaf Christian Workers’ Movement; for students in colleges, the Young Catholic Students’ Movement— and so on.

There are few members of the Catholic community for whom an appropriate organisation does not exist or is not being built up. All these are capable of enormous expansion; all have programmes and other literature available for those who wish to join them; all offer magnificent opportunities for apostolic energy.

Information about these movements will be sent to anyone who applies to the Australian National Secretariat of Catholic Action, 379 Collins-street, Melbourne, or to any of the diocesan organisers in the various dioceses.

The lay leaders of these movements are themselves well aware of the need to stimulate vocations among their members and take every opportunity in this direction. At meetings, and during retreats, arranged for Catholic Action bodies, priests are able to depict the beauty and dignity of religious life to highly sympathetic auditors.

Thus the words of the late Holy Father, spoken in a Consistorial Allocution nearly ten years ago, hold true of Australia to-day: “On this Catholic Action, God Himself, by sure signs and in proof of His approbation and love, has seemed to bestow a sweet smile, since in its midst —that is to say, among its different organisations, to which we are -becoming more and more attached—He has mysteriously and abundantly sown the choice seeds of eccfe^iastical vocations.”



William Hackett SJ, Catholic Action and Vocations... (Advocate, Thursday 3 September 1942, page 21) (Trove)

Chair of Catholic Action at Corpus Christi College

[Condensed from an article by V. Rev. W. B. Hackett, S.J., Ecclesiastical Assistant, National Secretariat of Catholic Action.]

‘THE appointment of the Rev. C. Mayne, S.J., to the newly established Chair of Catholic Action at Corpus Christi Seminary is the subject of an announcement of major importance made recently by the authorities of the college.

It is a matter of keen satisfaction that the College, in making the appointment, is fulfilling the direct wish of the Holy Father that seminaries should provide adequate training for Priests to assist them in their later work as Chaplains of Catholic Action.

When the late Holy Father made his famous appeal to the Priests of the world to encourage and support Catholic Action, he well realised the momentous nature of the work he was confiding to them and the tremendous burden he was placing on their already heavily-laden shoulders.

To most people in this country, Catholic Action is, at their first acquaintance with it, a new and rather bewildering science. Its purpose—the winning of the world to Christ through the activity of lay-folk—is clear enough. It is the questions of technique and of organisation that are, at the beginning, somewhat baffling. For those in charge of such movements a good deal of study and experience is necessary before the full wealth and complexity of a Catholic Action organisation becomes revealed. Pope Pius XI was well aware of the difficulties in the past, and he was constantly asking and praying that he “should be properly understood” when he spoke of Catholic Action. Each of us is in danger of twisting the Pope’s words to suit our own particular views and prejudices. We think of the things we would like to see done and describe those as Catholic Action. Even more often we think of the particular things we want done instead of thinking of the movement which is to do it. Catholic Action is a movement, an institution, an organisation, and one of the simplest definitions of a Catholic Action work is that it is “something done by a person as a member of an official Catholic Action movement set up by the Bishop.”

A Special Work.

At any rate, Catholic Action is definitely not something which one can take up and handle efficiently at five minutes’ notice. This applies to the Priest as well as to the layman. It is a different type of organisation from the older Catholic societiesmuch wider in its scope, using more modern methods and concerned with the penetration of the environment rather than with spasmodic good deeds.” Moreover, each movement of Catholic Action tends to develop its own distinct technique and approach. The things that will interest young girls of seventeen are widely different from those which one must place before farmers or lawyers. Young workers are attracted by ideals which will not appeal directly to groupings of married women. Yet the Parish Priest may have to deal with half a dozen different organisations—giving to the leaders of each a spiritual formation adapted to their own environment, advising them on the most suitable methods, warning them of pitfalls and taking a personal interest in the


It is not only a question of time for a Priest who has already aS much as he can handle, particularly under war conditions. It is not merely that he must give up more of his energy to the training of leaders of organisations which he has not hitherto had to consider. There is the point that the training of leaders, particularly the training of youth leaders, is a special study. , ‘ . , .

He is obliged to go deeply into their daily lives: to discover by patient enquiry the conditions in offices and factories, the popular types of amusement, the views on social affairs. He has to understand thoroughly the psychology of young pebple, to draw out what is best in them with patience and courage, and—instead of merely inculcating general principles —to be rigidly and constantly realist in his approach. The training of youth is a work for experts, and the Priest is asked to make himself expert in half a dozen different directions. This he cannot achieve quickly. . ,, ,

For it should be insisted on that Catholic Action asks more of the Priest than does any .other Catholic body. With a confraternity or sodality, the Priest has merely to attend regularly a general gathering and give ah instruction. On the_ other hand, “Catholic Action,” as Pius XI wrote, “says to each of its Ecclesiastical Assistants in regard to the share entrusted to each, ‘My lot is in Thy hands.'”

Priest and People.

The effect of such close association between the Priest and the best elements in his laity must be of the highest value. In his Sunday sermons he has to appeal to a large and diffused audience and can use only general terms. In his discussions with his lay readers in separate movements he can give them a more precise and practical formation exactly suited to the needs and difficulties of the members. What is even more important, he is able to make direct use of the enthusiasm and ability of his best parishioners and through them extend, to an unprecedented extent, the influence which he can exert in the parish. Through them he can reach corners of the parish which time and other duties normally prevent him from approaching. Each trained lay leader becomes, as it were, a bridge over which the Priest can come to the people and the people can come to the


The Australian Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Action in its recent statement declared, “We have been particularly gratified to notice the attention which has been given in recent years in the Ecclesiastical Seminaries to the instruction of students for the priesthood in the principles of Catholic Action.” Now the appointment of a special Professor of Catholic Action will provide a systematic and permanent means of carrying out the wishes of the Holy Father and of the Bishops. The new professor, Father C. Mayne, S.J., has not only studied deeply the authorities who have spoken and written about this vast subject, but has, himself, been closely in touch for some years with the lay leaders of the various Catholic Action movements throughout Australia.


Chair of Catholic Action at Corpus Christi College (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 10 April 1942, page 13) (Trove)

Growth of Australian Catholic Action

Here, in a digest of the second part of Rev. J. G. Murtagh’s recent article in the New York “Commonweal on “Australia Comes of Age,” is a lively sketch of the growth of Catholic Action in Australia, particularly as seen in the Campion and affiliated societies in Melbourne. At the risk of embarrassing certain modest Catholic laymen well known to many of our readers, Fr. Murtagh’s quick pen-pictures, drawn for readers in the United States, are reproduced in condensed form. Fr. Murtagh, assistant editor of “The Advocate,” is at present studying at the Catholic University, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

THE International Eucharistic Congress, held in Sydney in 1928, was followed in the ‘thirties by a remarkable outburst of ecclesiastical and lay initiative, which reached its climax in the midst of war, with the recent announcement by the Hierarchy of the unification of Catholic Action in the Commonwealth.

The lay movement had its origins in the Campion Society, founded in Melbourne in 1931 by a young lawyer as an educational and cultural discussion group movement for university graduates and undergraduates.

Following an historical approach, the society was deeply influenced by Belloc and Dawson and expanded in a three years informal group life of reading and discussion over the general field of Catholic literature.

The centre of the movement was the Melbourne Catholic Library (30,000 volumes), which is situated in the heart of downtown, with a cafe nearby and a hotel around the corner. The society was a seeding ground for lay apostles and soon began to flower.

One group formed a branch of the Catholic Evidence Guild. Others began writing for the press and speaking for the Catholic Hour broadcast.

Another group founded the Australian “Catholic Worker,” while the debating halls of Australian universities, too, echoed to the Chester-Belloc dialectic, for from ’32 to ’37 Campion men captained the Melbourne ‘Varsity debating teams. In their visits to the various capital cities, they discovered other groups of young Catholics beginning to shoulder the troubles of the world, notably the Catholic Guild of Social Studies in Adelaide.


In 1934, at the National Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne, a conference was called of student bodies from all (States of the Commonwealth. Appropriately, the theme of the Congress was “The Blessed Eucharist and Catholic Action.” The convention resulted, among other things, in the formation by Campion leaders of an unofficial clearing house for ideas on Catholic Action.

Half a dozen members and one of their chaplains prepared a joint pamphlet, entitled “Prelude to Catholic Action,” stressing formation instead of organisation, which had a wide circulation, and groups of Campion inspiration began to spring up in cities, country towns and most unexpected corners e£ the continent. At the same time, the Campion Society established contact with the outside world and began to build up knowledge of what was being thought and done in other countries.

English ideas filtered in through the press, notably the “Catholic Herald,” the “Weekly Review” and “Blackfriars,” to mention only the more influential.

The society was in touch with Rev. Fr. Kothen of the J.O.C. and the “Action Populaire” in France. Thus the “Dossiers” and “Cahiers” and the rich, inspiring literature of Jocism began to exert its influence on the movement.

Of American influences, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin have ;been, perhaps, the greatest, for the American “Catholic Worker” inspired ;a like venture in the South Seas.


The foundation of the “Catholic Worker” was an event of profound importance for the future of Catholic social policy in Australia. The writer, a Campion chaplain, was present on that summer evening late in January, 1936, when the first “pull” was drawn, wet, “”blotchy and technically rather primitive, from an over-worked press in a small suburban printery in an industrial suburb, and eagerly scrutinised by the first Campion “Catholic Worker” group.

The edition was bundled up and despatched by the writers. The .first copy was sent to Pope Pius XI. and another to Joseph Stalin, Moscow! And when the job was done and the hour very late, the boys drank a bottle of wine and said a decade of the Rosary.

So began the Australian “C.W.,” inspired, it is true, by its elder brother in America, but differing in origins, policy and organisation. It was founded, with the permission of Archbishop Mannix, as a free organ •of lay opinion and propaganda for .social justice.

It grew almost overnight into a national monthly of 50,000 copies. The first consignment to Adelaide was preceded by a telegram which read as follows: “Five hundred Catholic Workers’ arriving Adelaide railway station.” The police were advised and extra men were detailed for duty!

The Australian “C.W.” is not a centre of a “movement” along Mott-street lines. There are, as yet, no breadlines, houses of hospitality, farming communes, nor organised counsels of perfection.

But there is plenty of round-table discussion, for the paper is co-operatively edited and written (without pay and after work) by a group of laymen, with the object of giving the Australian worker a concrete programme of Christian social action, on the lines of the encyclicals.

To-day, it is conducted by a central committee of 24 men, with an inner council of members of at least two years’ experience, to preserve continuity of policy. Its criticism of modern policy is expressed in the dialectic of Belloc’s “Servile State” and its policy is summed up in its slogan, “Property for the People!” Its conclusions are its own, nor does it commit the Church or the Hierarchy. In 1937 it received the Apostolic Blessing of Pope Pius XI.


When the Fourth Plenary Council of the Hierarchy of Australasia met in September, 1937, the Bishops recognised and commended the “Catholic Worker.” They also implemented a memorandum on ^Catholic Action, submitted by Campion leaders, urging the establishment of a National Secretariat and a period of experimentation and formation of leaders, so that Catholic Action should not be superimposed from above but should be an organic growth from below, following the principle of specialisation according to milieu.

The founder of the Campion movement, Frank Maher, was appointed director, and B. A. Santamaria became his assistant. Educated by the Christian Brothers and the Jesuits, Maher is a lawyer, who is attracted more by the cosmic conflicts of history than by the legal battles of the Bar.

A neat, suave and restrained personality, who prefers compromise to conflict, his tact and diplomacy have been a prime factor in the lay development of the ‘thirties. By contrast, his assistant, Santamaria, is a miniature tornado of ideas and energy. Australian-born, he followed ‘ a brilliant law course, but sublimated a zest for politics in a social apostolate.

His initiative and flair for journalism left their mark on all Campion activities, while in recent years his powers of oratory, leadership and organisation have been turned to building the Australian Catholic Rural Movement, perhaps the most important field of Catholic Action developed under the Secretariat. Starting from small beginnings about four years ago, it now has groups, centres and regions scattered up and down Australia, and is federated as a national movement, with its own newspaper, “Rural Life.”

While English, French and Belgian ideas have had no little influence in other fields of the Australian lay apostolate, American and Canadian ideas have been the major inspiration in the Australian rural movement.


Among other founders of the Campion Society, which included a convert parson and a former seminarian, was Denys Jackson, an English convert from Liverpool, who came to Australia on an exchange system as a teacher of history, settled permanently, married, after proposing by cable to his future wife in England, and, after winning a university prize essay on “Catholicism and Reconstruction,” began free-lancing for Catholic newspapers, became the best Catholic editorial writer in the Commonwealth and an authoritative commentator on world affairs.

The influence of French thought, particularly Charles Maurras, gives him a certain monarchist slant of mind and a definite contempt for demagogy.

A striking figure, unexpected in dress and somewhat Chestertonian in style, Jackson, a specialist in history, is at home with the Caesars, Charlemagne, St. Louis, the Stuarts and Napoleon and has become something of a legend, for his voice is known to thousands who have never seen him—the great radio audience which settles down every

Sunday night to hear his weekly commentary, presented as “The Onlooker” from the Catholic Hour, 3AW, Melbourne. Another foundation member, who had, however, no influence on the movement, was Frank Quaine, a bril-

liant French scholar of Melbourne University, who found himself so spiritually unattuned to Australia that he went to live in France, wrote articles for the royalist press, and took part in the retreat from Dunkirk, escaping safely to England on a destroyer.

Of profound importance in the history of the movement has been Kevin T. Kelly, a chubby dynamo of physical and mental energy, son of a railroad worker, an ardent democrat and radical Labourite, whose torrid oratory has been heard from public platform, university rostrum and soap-box.

One of the keenest minds thrown up by the society, Kelly was the founder of the Catholic Evidence Guild and is, perhaps, the best brain in the Catholic social movement.

He simultaneously served in a Government department, worked his way through college, studied the Catholic Revival, maintained a worldwide correspondence and hammered but a policy of social Catholicism and introduced the fundamental methods of Jocism.


The climax of the movement which began with the first Campion group in 1931 was the unification of Catholic Action by the Hierarchy in October, 1941. It set the seal of approval on the work of the Secretariat, established by lay initiative in 1938, a work which has already produced abundant good in the public life of the Commonwealth. The national scheme of child endowment (family allowances) which became law early this year and went into operation in July, by which every mother of a family receives one dollar per head per week for every child after the first, was due in no small measure to the united Catholic voice, led by the Secretariat of Catholic Action and expressed in its statement on social justice of 1940.

Recently, Dr. H. V. Evatt, Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs in the present Government, paid a tribute to Catholic Action and its 1941 statement, entitled “Justice Now.”

Speaking of the wider distribution of wealth and property in a national broadcast, Dr. Evatt said: “I think I can make the point clearer by citing ‘Justice Now,’ an official research study of the Australian Secretariat of Catholic Action. I am not a member of the Catholic Church and, therefore, I feel a special duty to pay a tribute to the value of this study.”


Meanwhile, the war birds are loose in the Pacific and Australians are experiencing for the first time the fear and exhilaration of armed conflict at their doors. There is complete unity among her people and the Labour Prime Minister, John Curtin, has announced new emergency measures, “the first instalment of a complete revision of the whole of the Australian economy and domestic life.”

And so Australia, the terra australia incognita which eluded discoverers, puzzled geographers and grew to nationhood in detachment and loneliness, has yielded up her splendid isolation before the silver wings of ocean fliers and has emerged into the full light of history. What the future holds no man can tell.


Growth of Australian Catholic Action (The Advocate, Thursday 26 March 1942, page 15)

Canada’s Young Christian Workers

The amazing success of the Jocist movement in Canada, which has won the praise not only of Bishops and clergy, but also of Cabinet Ministers, judges, police chiefs, mayors, and newspapermen, is the almost incredible work of Rev. Henri Roy, O.M.I., and of two now famous Jocists—Julien White and Gabrielle Filion.

DESCRIBED by the London “Catholic Herald” as one of the most remarkable stories it has ever published, this account of the Canadian Jocist Movement was written by Norman F. Gotro, a young Canadian soldier serving in Britain.

Since any story of the Canadian Jocist Movement is a story of its founder, and for eight years its Director-General, the Rev. Henri Roy, O.M.I., this particular narrative begins where he began, back in 1930.

Shortly after his ordination in 1930, he was sent to the Church of St. Pierre, in Montreal’s east-end. This district was one of the roughest in Canada’s metropolis and typical of any slum sector.

Poor homes, poor people, poor youths; shady women, numerous pool halls and small beer houses and dirty little cafes poked into walls and corners; streets narrow, mean and dark; cats, dogs and rats; refuse, broken fences and littered sidewalks; policemen pounding their beats in pairs, and police “prowl” cars more active here than elsewhere—in short, all that makes up the community of that great army of poorly-garbed, underpaid people known as “slumdwellers.”


To say Fr. Roy was restless is to put it mildly; he burned, first with rage at the condition of his people, then —as he viewed the vast demoralisation of the young people—he became fired with a great desire to do something to alleviate their misery, to give them their chance for the future. He sought ideals; oh, yes, other pastors and zealous priests had tried, his superiors informed him; all sorts of “societies,” “clubs,” “associations,” had been founded, but to no avail.

Soon his was a familiar figure—in the pool halls, small cafes, on corners, in public parks, along the waterfront and near the railroad yards.

Always, his companions were the sons of labourers, youths clad in patched clothing, hungry, hard-boiled. Always, the conversations were the same; he seemed to be for ever asking questions.

But Fr. Roy strove to conquer the leaders of the little neighbourhood gangs. To him, “the biggest bully and the loudest mouth” was not to be condemned: such a person was a “chief and must, be won at all costs.

He conquered some of these gang-leaders and, finally, one day he gathered a handful of these—of both sexes—into the basement of St. Pierre’s Church.

He convinced the early leaders that speed was not important; what was important was the necessity for a solid foundation for a new movement (not a” club or society) for the young workers to be organised by them, led by them, directed by them, with, the most democratic principles and the highest of ideals.


Archbishop Gauthier, lately Metropolitan. of Montreal Archdiocese, became so interested in Fr. Roy’s-work that he sent him off to Belgium to study the work of Canon Cardijn, whose name was becoming prominent in youth activities in Europe.

It would appear that the Hand of God was guiding Fr. Roy, for he came across a young fellow by the name of Julien White. Julien hadn’t much education and his job wasn’t much either, but he appeared to be fiery and anxious to do something for his fellow young workers.

It was Julien White whom Pere Roy placed in charge of the little movement’s organ, the “Young Worker,” and under this leader’s influence, the paper grew and spread rapidly among the French-speaking people of Montreal. Under Fr. Roy’s watchful eye, he studied hard, and shortly after his first appointment- he became the secretary-general of the movement.

White toured the country and organised sections everywhere. His technique was always the same: observation of the conditions by the query system of the J.O.C. (to ask is to learn); judging the facts just garnered in the light of cold reason and with the Christian spirit; action when it was known what had-to be done.

And it is a well-known fact in Canada to-day that the Jocist method never fails. If White was a great leader, the young women of the movement also had a powerful chieftain in Gabrielle Filion, better known as “Gaby.” She, a poor girl of the east-side, was actually the original leader, in that Pere Roy had chosen her as his first conquest.

To-day, she is almost a counterpart of Fr. Roy, with the same expressions, fire and action. The girls of the movement loved her, and came to her with all their problems.


One of the great works conceived and organised by Julien White with the guidance of Fr. Roy, while the former was still secretary-general of the movement, was the “Service D’Assistance Jociste,” or Jocist Assistance Service. This is known to-day as the Social Services of the J.O.C. All workers in this service are Jocists trained first in the sections and federations of the movements and then in the various departments of the service.

It is composed of the following departments: The Juvenile Court Service, the Police Court Service, the Higher Courts Service, the Prisoner Aid Society, the Shelter for Destitute Youth, and similar set-ups. In the years 1937-38 the Jocist Assistance Service handled some 10,000 to 15,000 cases of juvenile delinquency, police court cases, etc.

Of this figure, it is estimated on the best of authority that only some 2 to 10 per cent, of the young people handled could not be conquered from their wrong ways. Through the Jocist Assistance Service and the local sections of the Canadian Jocist Movement itself, the federations of the organisations were able to; send to the central headquarters in Montreal a mountainous array of data, facts, and figures.

White grasped this and under the ever-present eye of Fr. Roy, and with the help of the two supreme committees, male and female, he composed what is known as “The Jocist Plan to Relieve the Problem of Unemployment Among the Young Workers and Youth in General.” At that time (1936) the Purvis Royal Commission, appointed by the Canadian Government, was sitting in Ottawa.

The purpose of this commission was to enquire into the state of unemployment and labour conditions in general. Fr. Roy took White’s plan to Ottawa and in due course succeeded in having it presented to the commissioners.

Shortly after, they told Fr. Roy that this plan should be called “The Labour Masterpiece.” They went further; many of these facts contained in the White Plan were .placed in the commission’s report and soon, when the Government voted a large sum of money for labour plans, more than one million dollars (£250,000) was set aside for youth!

Thus, the power and influence of Jocism: Julien White and Gabrielle Filion, Pere Roy himself, products of the slums, but this great victory as God’s answer to theirj work and prayers!


But Fr. Roy and White were not blind to the danger of class distinction and early in their team work they strove to build other specialised movements, since Jocism had now become known as “Specialised Catholic Action.”

Through their efforts were born the J.E.C. (Young Catholic Students); J.A.C. (Young Catholic Farmers); J.I.C. (Young Catholic Independents); J.U.C. (Catholic University Youths), and these thrived. The J.U.C. is no longer existent, since the J.E.C. is subdivided into certain groups, which take in primary schools, high schools, and universities.

And it was a young Jocist who became the first leader of the J.E.C. or Student Movement. Alexandrine Leduc, a fiery nineteen-year-old, with Irish and French blood in her veins and speaking both languages fluently, was recommended by Fr. Roy to graduate from her work as a general militant of the J.O.C. into the position of propagandist-general of the J.E.C. Later, Benoit Baril, another Jocist trainee, became president-general, and he, with Miss Leduc, commonly known as “Alex,” are still carrying on to-day. State organisations have helped the Jocist movement in Canada.

In 1938, the Government of the Province of Quebec spent some 66,000 dollars (£16,000 approximately) in direct aid to the central headquarters and set aside a large tract of land for the use of the movement. This was used as a summer camp. The gaining of funds and the land was won through the persistent efforts of the Roy-White team; and the then Premier of the Province of Quebec, Hon. Maurice Duplessis.

At the second general congress in 1939, the Right Hon. W. L. McKenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, sent a lengthy telegram to Fr. Roy, congratulating him on his great work and wishing him continued success for the future. In 1937, there were some 35,000 members of the Jocist movement in Canada. At the 1939 congress, more than 30,000 members from all over Canada and the United States attended, but the actual figures, according to Pere Roy himself, were some 50,000 members in Canada alone, with more in the States, who had been organised by the Canadian leaders.

In November, 1939, Fr. Roy was sent to the New England States (North-Eastern U.S.A.) where in the short space of two months he solidly established and expanded the first American Federation of Jocism and founded the American organ, the “Young Worker.”

There is a central committee which meets on certain occasions to prepare general programmes which are later adapted to a specialised movement’s particular social sphere.

This is known as the Association of Canadian Catholic Youth, and is composed of the secretaries-general of all the specialised movements. Judges, police chiefs, mayors, public servants of all ranks, Ministers of the Cabinet—Federal and Provincial—and even hard-boiled newspapermen have heartily recommended and praised the Jocist movement of Canada.

When Jocism began in Canada, the members of the priesthood were sceptical. Only the young priests could see the value of the movement and the English-speaking priests were wont to say that Jocism was all right for French Canada but not for English Canada.

To-day, they have come to realise that if peace is to be brought back to the world—real peace, true peace—the Jocist movement will be the method whereby that peace will be won!

The Bishops, too, were sceptical; some of the French-speaking ecclesiastics were in favour of it, and the English not at all. But they gradually became “educated” to it, and in 1941 most of the Bishops of Canada are solidly behind Jocism, together with the Canadian Cardinal, Cardinal Villeneuve.

As for the Supreme Pontiffs, the late Pius XI. gave the greatest slogan the movement has ever had: “Jocists, you are the glory of Christ!” (To be continued.)


Canada’s Young Christian Workers (Advocate, Thursday 8 May 1941, page 23) / Trove

The Call of Youth

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is
a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain. . . .”— Keats.

THE space of life between boyhood and manhood is a time that is fraught with difficulties, disturbances, and dangers. The years of childhood have passed, and with them their settled feeling of comparative security. Adolescence has come with a breaking away from the old stable outlook on life, with feelings of insecurity and uncertainty born of the vital changes in mind and body. The shelters of childhood are gone —the influence and protection of the school, the absolute dependence on the parents. The youth begins to discover himself; begins to understand that he must now take his place in the world as an independent individual. Before he has attained that measure of moral balance and assurance which would enable him to stand really alone, he begins to walk, by himself, the rugged path of life. Perhaps he totters; perhaps he doesn’t. He is too shy to ask for help, too proud to cry. He longs for somebody’s confidence, but is too diffident to seek it. He is lonely in his newly discovered independence. In his secret thoughts he tries to puzzle out answers to the great questions of life. “He is too self-conscious, to speak, too tempted to move simply with the Sacraments, too perplexed always to see his way.” His character is in the melting-pot, his temporal future is in question, his eternal destiny at stake.

At this critical period in their lives thousands of boys and girls leave our Catholic Schools each year to take up their place in the world. They are thrown among fellow workers and companions who are, for the most part, indifferent, and very often thoroughly demoralised. Paganism flourishes all around them; pagan outlook, pagan conduct; pagan ideas on all the great realities of life, on marriage, on morality, and on religion. Everything about them tends to destroy in them the pure Christian Faith. What they remember of religion from their school days offers them no immediate solution to the problems and difficulties that confront them now. Destitute of effective weapons, they are faced with a destructive and well armed enemy. Is it any wonder, then, that many of these young people drift into indifference, and are even lost to the True Faith.

Australian Catholic Youth is in dire need of help. Something must be done to take up and continue Christian formation where the school left off, A definite effort must be made to so transform working life, that instead of being an obstacle to salvation, it may promote it. “Our young workers,” says Canon Cardijn, “boys and girls, are not mere beasts of burden, nor machines, nor slaves; but children of God, fellow workers with Him and heirs of His Kingdom.” This divine destiny is the sole end of their temporal and eternal life. It does not begin after death; it is embodied in their life here on earth. The sad thing is that our young workers are diverted from this divine vocation, and find it unrealisable in practice.

What is needed is an organisation of young workers in which, among themselves, by themselves and for themselves, they render one another mutual aid and support, so as to make their own lives vitally and actively Christian. By living this full Christian life, and bringing it right into their working surroundings, the members of this organisation would be enabled to face, and solve, successfully all the difficulties with which they are confronted. The Grail is an organisation that answers this need for girls. But what about our young men? Are we neglecting them? It is true, indeed, that the Young Men’s Societies, and the Confraternities, have done much good and useful work. Great credit is due to them. But they do not give a full solution to the problem. Far be it from us to discredit these excellent organisations in any way, but they do not seem to have that active participation in the every day life of their members which is necessary if the young men are to be thoroughly Christianised.

The late Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, gave us the one efficacious solution for this problem. He proclaimed: “The first apostles, the immediate apostles of the young workers will be the young workers themselves.” Those who are the victims of the paganism of their surrounding must themselves become its conquerors. Everybody can help them, but nobody can replace them. They themselves must solve their own problems; and having Christianised themselves, must win by the influence of their lives, their entire surroundings to Christ. Working on these principles, Canon Cardyn, of Brussels, founded an organisation of young workers, to be a movement of young workers for the salvation of young workers. “It would protect them in the beginning of their life, study their whole life, watch over them, solve all their problems, supply the defects in their religious, moral, intellectual and social training. It would establish a band of militants, who would form the others, and through them and with them act on the mass of young workers to Christianise them. It would put a new spirit into them by showing them the incomparable dignity of their vocation as Christian workers and Brothers of Christ the Worker. It would make offices, shops, factories, mines, and streets, places where a young worker could live a decent Christian life.”

This organisation is known as the J.O.C. (Jeunesse Ouvriere Chretienne), Young Christian Workers. It was started in Belgium; in four years it had 70,000 members there. In 1927 it spread to France, and since them to almost every country of the world. It has captivated the enthusiasm of modern youth. Pope Pius XI called it “an authentic form, an achieved type” of that Catholic Action which was the ruling idea of his Pontificate. It has been started in Australia—we publish an account of its Australian beginnings in this issue. It is a movement which demands our sympathy, our interest, and our help. The future of the Church here depends very much on how we answer the Call of Youth.


April 1, 1940.