Although they were sometimes perceived by priests as “Young Christian Wreckers”, the YCW in Australia was “a powerhouse for energising needed and effective Christian activities in those parishes” where it was adopted, writes, Jim Madden in his 2012 book “Eucharistic Blues: Reviewing the Mass Exodus,” published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
“Through the YCW many young people developed a genuine Christian mentality by internalising the beliefs and values of their faith,” Madden writes. “They developed their acceptance of what the Church believed and practiced because it really became what they had convinced themselves that it was what they believed and practiced.
“Their living faith and their association with the clergy made them valuable assets to have around parishes, not just for when they were members of the YCW but for the rest of their lives. Some members tried to further their apostolic endeavours through entering a seminary, monastery or convent and others became faithful spouses and caring parents in loving and fruitful Christian marriages.”
Madden also credits YCW pioneers of the implementation of the decrees and decisions of Vatican II.
YCW leaders “were conspicuous among the people who were willing to undertake many of the new ministries these decrees implied,” he says.
The movement’s doctrine was based on an image of the Church “as the Mystical Body of Christ.”
“This doctrine emphasised the communitarian nature of the Church and the responsibility of everyone to actively engage in the work of spreading the gospel message.
“It carried the message that all members were part of the crew of the good ship ‘Church’ and had a vital role to fulfil”
In particular, “the Church was not like a big bus being driven to heaven by the bishops and priests on which lay people were passengers simply paying their way.”
On the contrary, via Cardijn’s YCW method “young people would be trained to see, judge and act in a Christian manner.”
Nevertheless, a perceived “similarity to Marxist methods” made some bishops and priests “suspicious of the movement and its aims”
Other critics of the movement felt that “by considering the meaning of the gospels and their application to life, (YCW leaders) were making their own religion.”
“This implied that they were forsaking the authority of the Church in religious matters and replacing it with their own authority,” Madden notes.
“Perhaps there was even a sneaking fear that if the movement became widespread and captured the hearts and minds of the majority of young people of the day that the clergy and the hierarchy could become redundant,” he notes.
Nevertheless, “in parishes where the movement was adopted and fostered by clergy, especially younger priests, it became a powerhouse for energising needed and effective Christian activities in those parishes.”
“The primary value of the movement was in the formation of its members,” Madden concludes.
Patrick Keegan, president of the YCW International Bureau, during the late 1940s and early 1950s, delivered this speech at the opening of the YCW Interntional Congress held at Braine l’Alleud, near Brussels, Belgium on 5 September, 1950.
The YCW International exists. We have come from different parts of the world, because we are resolved to sustain, assist and make possible everywhere the complete development and liberation as Christians and as workers, of all the young workers of the world.
It is a privilege for me to welcome 450 delegates, and others from countries in the world. There has been great sacrifice to enable all of us to come here. In one factory the workers collected money to send their delegate. It is therefore with great emotion that I welcome you here, in the name of the International YCW, and I would now like to present the delegates of the different countries:
Since the last international Conference in Montreal in 1947 we have made great progress throughout the world. We have seen the rise of the YCW in new countries. Three important examples of this are:
1) Germany, which brings to the International the pledge of the cooperation of the millions of young workers of this nation;
2) The USA, bringing to the International YCW a promise of the support of the working youth of the new world.
3) Japan – In this country we see the life of our movement bringing to the International that promise of deep and profound contact with the young workers of the East.
We see now in the great continents of India and Africa the transition from agrarian and simple conditions, to the beginning of a highly concentrated industry. One hears and reads of thousands of young people leaving their tribes for the first time in their life, and entering with a simplicity unknown to the Western World, a system in which they are looked upon primarily in terms of production. The barbarities carried out during the rise of industrialism in the western countries are now shamefully repeated in countries where industrialisation is just beginning.
To these young workers, the YCW sends its message of confidence and hope. In this Study Week, there will be special sessions where the methods of the YCW will be studied in relationship to its expansion in these countries. Our responsibility in these areas where working people now feel and desire freedom is very great. We have a great responsibility as delegates of the YCW of our country at this International Conference. The main purpose of this Conference is as follows:
1) The study of the situation of the young worker in the world, and how best the YCW in each country can bring a solution. This means that we must know clearly the fundamentals of our great movement, and be prepared to study the adaptation of methods of the YCW to different countries and different continents.
2) To create and strengthen a solid, deep unity, friendship and solidarity between the YCW of the different countries. To reinforce the unity between national YCWs in order that in every country we may better solve the problems and needs of the young workers which now are not only on a national plane, but also on an international plane.
3) As a result of our studies to prepare a Manifesto which will be presented to international institutions, organisations and anywhere else where the needs of the working youth must be represented and studied. From this Conference thousands more of the young workers of the world must be assisted to understand their vocation and mission in the world of work.
At the base of all our work we place ourselves with a childlike simplicity at the service of Christ’s Church, knowing clearly that there is no true solution to the young workers unless that solution be totally Christian, totally apostolic – taking its mission from the Church of Christ’s apostles, and giving itself completely to the redemptive mission of Christ’s Church.
We know very well that the YCW International exists. Therefore it is with great joy, pride and confidence that I wish to greet one of our friends who, during these days of work, represents among us the authorities of the ILO, which itself is so interested in the problem of the working youth in the world today. The real International depends for its strength on every member, on every leader in each local section in each country. There is no International YCW if there are no local sections of young workers who work with all their effort to transform the environment of their neighbourhood, the environment of the work; and be of service to their comrades – the young workers of their districts.
When we look at the YCW International, we must see very clearly that its future hope rests in the local sections – rests in the local leader and the members who carry out the repeated, deep, slow and humble work of penetration in their own environment, in their factories, in their neighbourhoods. The strength of the YCW International rests on the leaders of our local sections, giving their comrades that profound service that springs from our mission of charity.
The union of our International does not lie in words, large meetings, or in an administrative staff alone – but it exists in the spirit of the YCW – a spirit that knows no frontiers. It exists in each member end leader in the local section being profoundly conscious that all young workers, without a single exception, regardless of their colour or race, are called to be sons and daughters of God. It exists in their work, and in their action to transform the situations of life that in any way contradict this profound and vital truth.
Therefore as a result of our work at this International Conference, we must return to our countries, intending to found and to build more local sections where the young workers of our districts will discover the meaning and purpose of their life.
To conclude: the International YCW springs from the desire of each national YCW to come together and place their efforts on an international plane; because the problems of the young worker are no longer national, but international. By its very nature, the YCW could never remain confined to any- one country, and during this study week we must discover the best means in spite of all language difficulties, to bring to the young workers of the world a message of liberation, a means to discover their vocation and mission; a movement which will answer their needs and answer the real problems of their lives. Each one of us, having the spirit of pioneers, will use this study week to do everything to further equip us to win, to recruit and to make new apostles of the young workers of our countries.
From our meetings this week, we must go out consumed with a desire to bring the message of Christ to all the young workers, bearing in mind that we are responsible before God and the whole working class to bring to each young worker a sense of his value, his dignity and his vocation.
In spite of all the difficulties in our own countries, in our local sections – this meeting here is a proof that the YCW will not fail in its mission to the young workers of the world.
France’s University Formation Group (GFU), which allows young men to combine secular and seminary studies, is celebrating its 50th anniversary, La Croix International reports.
This is a made-to-measure pathway for students who wish to become priests but without abandoning their existing studies. It was launched fifty years ago this year under the auspices of France’s Mission Ouvrière (Worker Mission) and the Catholic Action movements.
“At that time in 1967, the number of seminarians was in free fall and the bishops had decided to close down the minor seminaries,” recalls Fr Emmanuel Goulard, superior of the GFU seminary.
“The seminary was therefore founded as a place of discernment and initial formation for students while they continued their university studies,” he explains.
This was a specifically French innovation that has continued to develop over the course of the last half century.
There were around one hundred such students during the early 1980s when Lille vicar general, Fr Bruno Cazin, who is also a medical doctor, took this path.
Now there are seventeen GFU students across France with four or five new students beginning the program each year.
Fr Cazin, a specialist in hematology [the study and treatment of blood], is convinced that the pathway continues to offer great value.
“It was while working in a hospital that I really came to understand Christ and the Gospel and that is why I stayed,” he explains.
“The GFU pathway also allows students or young professionals to test their vocation by sharing the daily life of people.”
To sum up, an extra muros seminarian fully combines seminary and student life until, after completing their engineering, philosophy or other secular studies, begin the classical theological studies leading to the priesthood.
Founded with YCW members from the Raiwaqa neighbourhood in Suva, the group made a strong impact during its time.
“Back in the late 1980s, Rootstrata was ahead of its time with hard hitting songs that encapsulated the feelings of unemployed and dejected youths looking for a way out of their predicament in the notorious suburbs of Raiwai and Raiwaqa,” wrote Ernest Heatley at the Fiji Times.
The lyrics of the group’s hit song, People of the world unite, shows strong YCW – and Bob Marley – influence.
“Your life is worth more than all the gold,” Freddy sings in a phrase that echoes Cardijn’s famous axiom that “every young worker is worth more than all the gold in the world.”
Founded in 2002, the Joseph Cardijn Foundation and the CAJ (YCW) movement in the German Diocese of Würzburg are raising funds for the Uvikambi Centre including a carpentry school and a tailoring workshop in Mbinga in Tanzania. The centre includes guest rooms, a school of carpentry, meeting rooms, a restaurant and a contact point for local people.
“The focus of the funding has always been on the projects of the partnership with the Uvikambi, the Catholic Youth Association in Ming- dia, the partner province of the diocese of Würzburg,” says Andrea Karl, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Joseph Cardijn Foundation.
As well as financing the salaries of local teachers, the Foundation and the Wurzburg CAJ supply toolkits to apprentices who complete their training.
“Young people who have completed their apprenticeship there have already received a toolbox or a sewing machine, depending on their training,” Andrea added.
“As well as in the city of Mbinga, we have been able to launch further projects through our activities in smaller municipalities in the diocese.
“These include a fishing project on the Malawi Sea, for example, which has been running for almost 20 years.”
The Uvikambi local group initiated the fishing project, to improve the lives of fishermen on the Malawi Sea.
“People, for example, are buying nets together to improve living conditions in the Community.” The nets were initially too big, so small fish could not be caught. This is why the Foundation co-financed new networks.
“In 2006 I went to Tanzania for the first time. I wanted to know about the situation there and the development policy situation,” explains Andreal. The effects of globalization were already becoming visible.
“Many big companies are fishing on the Malawi Sea. And there is a huge area on which brown coal is mined. Tanzania has many valuable raw materials in the soil,” Andrea noted.
With a donations coming to around 2000 to 2500 euros per year, there is already a lot going on in Tanzania.
“We pay attention to making donations meaningfully and sustainably, and we are thus in a constant reflection process,” Andrea explained.
The project organisers also evaluate the local contribution to the project.
A donation of 50 euros provides for the purchase of a fishing net, while 100 euros is enough for the construction of a dug-out boat.
For further information, please contact:
Joseph Cardijn Foundation, Treibgasse 26, 63739 Aschaffenburg, Germany
Bank account: Ligabank Würzburg, IBAN DE30750903000003011240, BIC GENODEF1M05
At the First International Congress of the YCW in 1935, Cardijn delivered his classical “Three truths” talk setting out the “Truth of faith,” the “Truth of reality,” and the “Truth of method” on which the movement was based.
He went further in 1950 at the International Congress held in Brussels, where he delivered a series of in depth talks, including “The doctrinal foundations of the YCW,” which further developed his “three truths” concept, which we present here.
I. A Truth of Faith
The Mission of the Young Workers in the Working Class
1. Each young worker and working girl has an eternal destiny. They are human persons. Not machines, not slaves or beasts of burden; they are the sons, the collaborators, the heirs of God. They are made to the image of God. This personal characteristic is sacred and inviolable; it gives to each young worker a personal dignity: the young worker is an end, an absolute in himself. One cannot respect God if one does not respect the human person.
2. This truth is universal and applies to every race, every people, every country, every age. is the lever, the motor, the stimulus of every civilisation and all human progress.
3. This eternal destiny does not begin after death. It becomes incarnate in time to flower out in eternity. From the very moment of his conception in his mother’s womb, the future young worker finds in this destiny the source of his rights to life, to education, to protection, to health, to justice. Far from being a philosophic justification or an opium, a cause or a pretext for escape, for resignation, it is the foundation of all deproletarisation, the guarantee against all violence, the inspiration of all liberation.
It gives to each young worker a vocation, a personal mission, which transforms his life into a collaboration with God, with all men, for the achievement of the divine plan in the work of creation and redemption, Created by God, redeemed by Christ, the young worker is their necessary collaborator, but freely, wilfully, through love. Not a starveling of the earth, but a responsible citizen of the City of God and of the city of men.
4. This vocation, this mission of the young worker, gives to his work, to his profession, a human and divine value. Work is not a shameful thing, a “come down”, a punishment, but a service, a ministering to his personal fulfilment and that of humanity. Without work there can be nothing: no humanity, no civilisation, no religion. This vocation demands a regime of work which excludes the exploitation and proletarisation, and which guarantees a collaboration in justice and equity.
5. This personal vocation is expressed in the family vocation and mission of each young worker. This vocation is fulfilled in the working class family which ensures the complementary vocation of the spouses and of the parents of the young worker and young working girl, with a view to the procreation and education of children. Without families, there can be no children, no citizens, no priests, no apostles.
6. This personal vocation makes clear the communal vocation and mission of each young worker, which is incarnate in every working class community, professional and local. The young worker is the first and immediate apostle and collaborator of his comrades, his companions, his neighbours. This implies a community of life, of destiny, of mutual aid, of friendship, of brotherhood. The young worker must not be an escapist, but an internal ferment, inseparable from the community in which he lives.
7. This personal vocation makes clear the mission, the vocation of the working class, which comprises all working class families and communities, in which all are united together and feel their responsibility for the transformation of all environments of life and regime of work, bearing the aspirations toward a full emancipation of the working masses of the world.
8. This vocation, this mission of working youth and of the whole working class, is their own irreplaceable vocation which inspires a conception of life, a spirit of life, a manner of life. This conception, this spirit, this manner of life must be acquired, especially between the ages of 14 and 25, between school and marriage, through a properly adapted education.
9. This vocation, this mission is essentially religious, apostolic, and missionary, and gives to each young worker, to each working class family, to all working class communities, to the whole* working class an apostolic responsibility which demands a training, graces, union with God, with Christ, with the Church.
10. The Church spreads throughout the world this essential truth concerning the destiny of each young worker and of the whole working class. By its doctrine and its grace, by its apostolate and its organisation, it enables this truth to become a living reality in the world and in history.
The State, national and international institutions, working class and employers’ organisations and the economic regimes must place this truth at the basis of their achievements, with a view to the progress of national and international communities.
11. This vocation, this mission of the young worker and of the working class will decide the future of humanity and of the Church.
II. A Truth of Experience:
A Flagrant Contradiction,
N.B. – This point of the lesson must be presented in a much more concrete form than point 1; in particular, it will be necessary to recall in all that follows, some of the facts and problems noted in the preceding lesson; “The Situation of Working Youth in the World”, in order to give a factual basis to the remarks that follow.
The various enquiries made at the occasion of the International Conference show once again the flagrant contradiction in 19$0 which exists between the plan of God and the tragic situation of the young workers and of the working class in the world.
These enquiries show:
– the ignorance of the young workers concerning their eternal destiny and their temporal mission.
– the contradiction between this mission and their conditions of housing, work, and life.
– the lack of preparation of the young workers before their entry in work.
– the abandonment in which all young workers find themselves on entering work, when they are lonely, isolated, far from their family and their teachers.
– the disastrous influence of this ignorance, this opposition and this isolation.
– the powerlessness of the young worker in the face of the system which rules the economic life and even the thought of the modem world: capitalism, “liberal economics”.
– the disastrous consequences for the young workers, for working class families, for the working class, for humanity for the Church; proletarisation, general indifference, despair, revolt, war.
– the irresistible influence of the great idealogical talents which are at present moving the masses; materialism, naturalism, existentialism, nationalism, communism, etc.
On the other hand, those enquiries have also shown something of the great living riches of working youth today in many countries: generosity, thirst for liberty, for justice, sincerity, sense of international brotherhood, etc.
These positive characteristics need further careful study, and will serve as starting points for the building of the true solution to the problem: the YCW.
III. A Truth of Method:
An Internal Solution
1. The achievement of the personal, communal, and family destiny of each young worker is conditioned by a number of efforts which must be made by the young workers themselves, so that they may train themselves, unite themselves, and support themselves in order to discover and to achieve together their own proper personal and collective mission in the uplifting and deproletarisation of the working class of the world. This personal and collective effort is especially necessary from 14-25 years, from school to marriage; before that time it is impossible; afterwards it is too late. It must coincide with the age at which human beings become persons.
2. This effort of the young workers in the discovery and achievement of their mission and the development of their personality, instead of being directed toward an individual trend, must be done from the inside, for the transformation of the environments of life, by those who belong to those environments of life, efforts of the young workers, to establish justice and charity in their environment of life; efforts to animate and develop the workers movement; efforts to create a human and Christian atmosphere in these environments of life, and thus make them more suited to their providential destiny.
3. This effort of working youth for its personal education and the transformation of the environments of life, demands and creates the reforms in social, economic, political, and cultural institutions; it is the condition and the guarantee of the success of those reforms. The latter are most urgent and necessary in a society which needs to learn how to respect the dignity of human personality in each young worker, without distinction of class, nationality, religion or race, and which has to seek to create a real and efficacious collaboration within the world of work, on the national and international plane.
These “external” reforms will be all the more efficacious if they are based at the same time on the efforts at self-education of the young workers themselves, who are trying to assume their own responsibilities toward their environment. Without that realisation by youth and the working class of their dignity and responsibility, all external reforms will be insufficient to solve the working class problems.
b. The YCW aims at achieving this organised effort of the young workers themselves who “between themselves, by themselves, and for themselves” are trained and exercised with a view to a permanent apostolate in the working class movement and in view of the uplifting of the working class which will remove proletarian conditions from the world.
5. The Church must inspire, guide and sustain the organised effort of the young workers, which must teach them and help them to achieve not only their personal vocation, but also their apostolate within the working class and the working class movement, for the total rechristianisation of their life, their environment of life, and their institutions of life.
The State, public institutions, and private organisations must support the organised effort of the young workers and assist an effective collaboration for the training and protection of working youth.
Returning to Rome following his trip to Colombia, Pope Francis warned that political leaders need to see climate change and its effects in making their decisions.
While we are flying, we are pass near Hurricane Irma which, after causing dozens of deaths in the Caribbean, is now heading towards Florida where there are millions of displaced people. Scientists think that ocean warming makes hurricanes more intense.
“Is there a moral responsibility of those political leaders who refuse to cooperate with other nations by denying that this climate change is man-made?” a journalist asked Pope Francis as his plane passed near Hurricane Irma, which caused dozens of deaths and massive devastation in the Caribbean over the weekend.
“Those who deny this must ask the scientists: they speak very clearly, they are precise,” Pope Francis answered. “The other day the news came out of a Russian ship that went from Norway to Japan and crossed the North Pole without finding ice. From a university, they have said that we only have three years ‘to step back,’, if not, the consequences will be terrible.
“I don’t know if the three years are true or not, but if we don’t step back, we will fall!
“We can see climate change in its effects, and we all have a moral responsibility when we make decisions.
“I think that is a very serious matter. We all have our moral responsibility and politicians have their own. Let them ask the scientists and then decide. History will judge on their decisions,” the pope warned.
Asked why governments are delaying this realization,Pope Francis recalled a biblical phrase.
“A phrase from the Old Testament comes to my mind: man is a stupid man, a stubborn man who does not see, the only animal that falls twice in the same hole. The arrogance and conceit… and then there is the “Mighty Dollar”. Many decisions depend on money.
“Today in Cartagena I started by visiting a poor area of the city. On the other hand, there is the tourist side, luxury, and a kind of luxury without moral measures. But do those who are there not notice this? Do socio-political analysts not realize this?
“When you don’t want to see you don’t see, you look only look at one side,” Pope Francis concluded.
The principal of Cardijn College, Noarlunga, Mr Paul Rijken, has called for an end to bullying following the recent death of an Adelaide girl after alleged bullying.
“Sadly, we learnt of the death of a young girl from the south of Adelaide, Libby Bell of what is alleged and reported as systematic bullying and cyber bullying,” the principal wrote in a blog post.
“This is tragic and our heartfelt condolences are extended to the family.
“Much debate is happening in the media regarding the law, for instance in Victoria, the law was changed in 2011 after a 19-year old Brodie Panlock tragically took her life as a result of serious bullying in her workplace.
“The law became known as Brodie’s law and covers bullying behaviour as criminal and subject to significant penalties such as jail. Our law makers are debating these issues now and are investigating how this might be considered into the future.
At Cardijn and (sister school) Marcellin, we are constantly alert to any form of bullying and harassment and continue to educate our students to feel confident enough to report this type of behaviour.
“Join Us by Saying NO to Bullying!!!” he concluded.
Robert E. Rambusch, a liturgical artist, designer and pioneer in the profession of liturgical design consultation, died May 23 at the age of 93, the National Catholic Reporter says.
After serving in World War II, he became international secretary of the newly formed International Young Christian Students while studying in Paris.
His work significantly influenced the shape of worship in the United States and Canada in a career that spanned more than 65 years, participating in the design and renovation of 24 cathedrals and 400 churches, NCR says.
As a liturgical design consultant, Rambusch developed an open, inclusive process in which the faith community was invited to participate in the sharing of ideas on the image of themselves and the church.
Catholic churches are some of the most difficult structures to design, Rambusch said at a seminar on art and environment for Catholic worship in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1995. The biggest problem, he said, is “to satisfy the fullness of the divinity but [also] the fullness in humanity” or the differences between Christ as God and Christ as man.
A congregation at worship is not people watching events unfold on a stage, he said. Church architects have to design to ensure the active involvement of the congregation in the celebration. “We need a lay-oriented special arrangement that supports their common [worship] as a communal kind of action together,” Rambusch said.
Rambusch worked for more than 35 years at Rambusch Decorating Company, the firm founded by his grandfather, Frode, in New York in 1898. He left in 1984 to found his own firm, Robert E. Rambusch Associates.
Rambusch studied at the Pratt Institute, the University of Toronto with Jacques Maritain, and did post-graduate work at Le Centre de L’Art Sacré in Paris with founder Fr. Marie-Alain Couturier, close associate of the artists Henri Matisse and Fernand Léger. “These studies informed his approach to sacred art and worship spaces. He embraced the principle that religious art cannot develop outside the artistic life of its time,” said his daughter Alexandra Rambusch.
In 1948, he met Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and began a lifelong association with the movement.
He is survived by his son, Rob, and daughter, Alexandra, The Tablet adds.