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)

Canon Cardijn Visits Germany

THE Young ChristianWorkers of Germany held their first national conference at Mannheim. Already before the conference, a number of informal contacts had been established with the Jocist movement in Belgium and France.

The visit of Canon Cardijn, founder of the Jocists Young Christian Workers, was undoubtedly an important factor in the work of re-education and reorganisation and gave German Catholic youth leaders a valuable opportunity of learning from experiences made in the outside world and of breaking through the isolation in which they have been living for many years.

Beginning his German tour at Cologne, Canon Cardijn, after a long conference with Cardinal Frings, addressed the Young Christian Workers of Cologne in St Michael’s parish hall He explained the nature and character of the Jocist movement which now exists in 52 countries throughout the world and described his impressions and experiences on hjs trip to Canada, the, United States,) Central and South America, which he undertook in 1946 at the express request of Pope Pius XII. ‘”


Accompanied by Fr. Sink, diocesan director of Catholic Youth, Fr. Cardijn visited the national headquarters of the Catholic Youth of Germany, at Altenberg near Cologne, the big industrial city of Essen where he addressed a large group of Young Christian Workers from Essen, Muehlheim-Ruhr and Oberhausen, Hardenhausen, Paderborn, and Aachen.

Everywhere his lectures were followed by a lively discussion in which the young Germans expressed their eagerness to cooperate with the Jocist movement. Fr. Cardijn was also told repeatedly about the great anxiety created among the young workers by the programme of deindustrialisation, whose full scope and consequences are not yet clearly realised everywhere.

The Y.C.W. of Germany have not yet been given their final organisational form. They will probably be established as a specialised section inside the Catholic Youth of Germany, whose headquarters are at Altenberg.


Canon Cardijn Visits Germany (Advocate, Wednesday 9 July 1947, page 21) (Trove)

Catholic Action and French Resistance

Furnished Spiritual Inspiration for Struggle, Says French Leader

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

CANON CARDIJN Founder of the J.O.C.

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


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

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

Important Appointment to Fulfil Direct Wish of Holy Father

Ecclesiastical Assistant, National Secretariat of Catholic Action.


THE appointment of the Rev. C. Mayne, S.J., to a newly-established Chair of Catholic Action at Corpus Christi Seminary, Werribee, Victoria, is 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.

The words, “It is your chief duty, Venerable Brethren, and that of your clergy to seek diligently, to select prudently and to train fittingly lay ajJbstles . . .,” might not at once attract the full attention of the casual reader. In fact,-they open whole new worlds of activity and influence for the average priest.


Since the beginning of official Catholic Action in Australia, the lay leaders have set themselves to gain the confidence of the priests and work in the most complete co-operation” with them. The manner in which this co-operation is to be exercised, of course, was not clear at the beginning. While there are certain fundamental principles that hold true in all cases, the exact amount of direction which the priest will need to give in a lay movement depends, to a great extent, on the type of movement as well as on the age, sex and degree of education of the members. Nevertheless, this work has been undertaken with the greatest good-will on both sides.

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” then 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 these 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 las a member of an official Catholic Action movement set up by the Bishop.”


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 societies—much 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 leaders.

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 people, 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 an 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.”‘

Catholic Action does place in the hands of the priest its members to a very high degree. It says to him, in effect:

“Here are the pick of the people in the parish. You, as our Ecclesiastical Assistant, are, to some extent, a Master of Novices. It is for you to mould these people in the way of perfection,, to guide them so that they may have not only a Catholic mind, but a more intense knowledge and love of Our Lord, a vivid sense of their important apostolate, and a clear idea of how to make that apostolate a practical reality.” One cannot do better than quote Cardinal Pizzardo: “Given the nature of Catholic Action, it is.clear that the priest, in the exercise of his normal function as Assistant, is and really must be, the soul of his association, the inspiration of good enterprises, the source of zeal and the fashioner of consciences.”

The effects of such close association between the priest and the best elements of 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 leaders 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 priest.


All this, however, as we have said, cannot be achieved easily or without special preparation. For the priest of the future it is part of his normal functions to be a chaplain to Catholic Action movements. Already in many of the seminaries in Australia groups of students in their senior years have been meeting in order to prepare themselves for this new and difficult role. Groups of young priests have been coming together to discuss the problems of spiritual formation for their lay collaboration. They have been writing and publishing their own special bulletins for this purpose. Yet even more than this is required.

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 experience of three decades of Catholic Action in Europe and America is available to us in Australia. There is a wealth of splendid literature on the whole great question of the means by which the priest may set alight the fire of apostolic enthusiasm in the hearts of Catholic men and women. It will now be possible to tap these rich resources more fully.

The new professor, Rev. 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. He comes to his new position with already practical experience in the running of groups of leaders and of movements, and is thus thoroughly aware of the actual problems which young priests will have to encounter in this field.

VERY REV. W. P. HACKETT, S.J., Ecclesiastical Assistant, National Secretariat of Catholic Action


Chair of Catholic Action at Corpus Christi (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 2 April 1942, page 17) (Trove)

Peter’s Pence and Catholic Action

His Grace the Archbishop of Sydney, Most Rev. Dr. M. Kelly, has issued the following Pastoral Letter to the clergy, religious and laity in connection with Peter’s Pence and Catholic Action, which was read in the churches of the Archdiocese on Sunday last.

Beloved in Christ,

Being by the inestimable gift of Divine Grace living members of the Catholic Church, that is, of the Mystic Body of the Divine Redeemer, we contribute according to our means towards the support of our Pastors, including the Supreme Pastor, who, as Successor to St. Peter, governs the entire Church in Faith, Morality and Discipline. So, year by year, we collect ‘Peter’s Pence,’ fixing for our offering the Feast of St. Peter in Chains. This will prove acceptable to our recently elected Pope — His Holiness Pius XII. — as it was to each of his predecessors in our own days, Leo XIII., Pius X., Benedict XV., and Pius XI. God’s blessing enables us and Sunday, August 6, will be the date for offerings.

The Lay Apostolate of Catholic Action, promulgated by Pope Pius XI., is sought for by his Successor, as needed in all grades of society domestic, industrial, civil and international. Let us assure the Holy Father of devoted and practical co-operation. Three things are required: —

1. A full and accurate knowledge of the Apostles’ Creed, of the Commandments of God and of the Church, of the Seven Sacraments, of the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary; also instruction on the approved practices of piety, particularly the hearing of Holy Mass, and Devotions to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar — reception of Holy Communion, Processions, Visits, etc.

2. Membership of Particular Groups for study and educational proficiency; co-operation in Catholic activities, reunions, etc., under the guidance of the Clergy, and according to the Papal Encyclicals.

3. Organisation of a Parochial Union to assemble now and then, as will be found useful. All upholders of ‘Catholic Action’ are expected to join this Parochial Union. Membership of any other approved Association is no hindrance, but rather a desirable qualification. This postulates a Diocesan Secretariate from the start. All will look to and uphold it.

Fundamental Points.

To the studious we recommend as fundamental doctrine the Syllabus of Condemned Propositions issued by Pope Pius IX. Therein Rationalistic errors, Secular State Supremacy, etc., are clearly defined and repudiated. Pope Leo XIII. and each succeeding Pope manifested conspicuously that the divinely predicted ‘light of the world and salt of the earth’ (Matt. v. 13:14) ever enhances the Chair of Peter in its teaching upon religious belief, upon Gospel morality and upon Ecclesiastical discipline. In the first century the Apostle of the Gentiles instructed Titus in the following terms: ‘For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men: Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world. Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak and exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.’ So Pope Pius XI., in his first Encyclical, sets forth as a primary consideration to procure the Peace of Christ we must establish the Reign of Christ.

The Reign of Christ will be understood best by His parables and public teaching. In the Sermon on the Mount we read: ‘No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment, why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of those. And If the grass of the fleld, which is to-day and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying. What shall we eat: or, What shall we drink, or Wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all those things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all those things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice: and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. vi. 24-33.)

The Good Shepherd.

The Kingdom of Christ is in this world but is not of this world in riches, honors and pleasures. He declared: ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep. And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring. And they shall hear my voice: and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself. And I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John x, 11-18.)

The Clergy are called by God as ‘other Christs’: let us then embrace the favor accorded to us by the institution of a Lay Apostolate through Catholic Action. We shall by the grace of God take particular cognisance of our flock — both individually and by families. According to the actual classifications, childhood, youth, manhood and womanhood, we have to watch the dangers consequent upon Original Sin, and all scandals to faith and morals. In families we should by every means foster piety and edification, and we should by prayer and instruction promote immediate regeneration by Baptism, the taking of the name of a Patron Saint, good books and Catholic news papers to the exclusion of books, periodicals and pictures offensive to Faith and Morals. Parents and teachers are to prevent scandals at any cost. ‘Whosoever shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me: it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand scandalise thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy foot scandalise thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter lame into life ever lasting than having two feet to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire : Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. And if thy eye scandalise thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. (Mark ix., 41-47.)

To Our Religious Communities we tender our tribute of surpassing esteem and indebtedness for edification in the following of Christ and for our provision of Catholic schools. To them the greatest share of blessings is promised: ‘Amen, I say to you that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house or brethren or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold and shall possess life ever lasting.’ (Matt. xix. 28-29.)

Self-Denial of inordinate affections for riches, pleasures and honors; also privations and sufferings are to be patiently accepted in the performance of duty as wisely chosen instead of self-indulgence, because the Cross of Christ Himself will be thus shared in, and the peace of Christ secured to mind and heart even in ‘this valley of tears.’ By the Cross and by it alone, borne in the cause of holiness and in union with the Divine Saviour and all the Saints can the children of Adam regain the happiness of Heaven. In the cause of Catholic Action let us one and all devotedly hear the call of One True Church.

Your devoted Servant,

MICHAEL, Archbishop of Sydney.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney,

July 30, 1939.

P.S.: This letter is to be read on Sunday, 30th of July. The Peter’s Pence offerings are to be collected on Sunday, 6th of August, and sent to St. Mary’s Cathedral Vicariate at once for transmission to Rome. t M., Abp. Syd.


Peter’s Pence and Catholic Action (Catholic Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1932 – 1942), Thursday 3 August 1939, page 31) (Trove)

Catholic Social Action During 1936-1937


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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