25 August: A day of heritage for the Cardijn movements

posted 25 Aug 2010, 20:25 by Stefan Gigacz   [ updated 26 Aug 2010, 17:38 ]
Cardijn Community International 

Media Statement 

25 August 2010

25 August: A day of heritage for the Cardijn movements 

Today we commemorate several key events in the history of the Cardijn movements. 

First, we remember the 75th anniversary of the opening of the First International Congress of the Young Christian Workers movement from the 25 – 29 August 1935 in Brussels, Belgium, which began with a memorable ceremony at the Heysel Stadium in front of a capacity crowd of 100,000. 

It was at this congress that Cardijn first delivered his famous “Three Truths” speech. 

“Three fundamental truths dominate and illuminate the problem of the working youth of the world,” Cardijn said. 
“1. A truth of faith. The eternal and temporal destiny of each young worker in particular and of all the young workers in general. 
2. A truth of experience. The terrible contradiction which exists between the real state of the young workers and this eternal and temporal destiny. 
3. A truth of pastoral practice or method. The necessity of a Catholic organisation of young workers with a view to the conquest of their eternal and temporal destiny.” 

With the number of the world's young workers, working students and child workers now well past one billion, the passage of time has only accentuated the relevance of Cardijn's truths. 

The 1935 congress was also the occasion for Pope Pius XI's Autograph Letter to Cardinal Joseph-Ernest Van Roey of Malines in which he described the YCW as an “authentic form of Catholic Action” and establishing it as a “public institution” of the Church, according to the Belgian cardinal. 

Today's date also marks the centenary of Pope Pius X's 25 August 1910 letter to the French bishops condemning the “democratic” ideals of the Furrow or Sillon movement of Marc Sangnier and calling on the leaders of the movement to “cede their place” to the bishops. 

Marc Sangnier and his companions did resign as requested by the Pope, leading to the tragic closure of the first lay movement in the Church, and which Cardijn would later describe as the “greatest outpouring of faith and apostolate in France since the Revolution”. 

“It is the privilege and the reward of the sower of the ideal of life to be unable to limit the range of his fertile gesture,” Cardijn would tell Marc Sangnier in 1921.

“The winds of the air and the birds of the sky carry off this seed and deposit it sometimes far away, in a field where the hand of God makes it fruitful and multiplies it,” he predicted. 

And hte Sillon did indeed provide a template for the the Cardijn movements and in fact all organizations based on the See-Judge-Act methodology. 

Archbishop Angelo Roncalli, later Pope John XXIII, would later describe his memories of Marc Sangnier as “the most vivid of my whole young priesthood”. 

Partly through the efforts of Cardijn, the Second Vatican Council would also eventually endorse the Sillon's spirit and methods of raising the “consciousness” and the “responsibility” of each person. 

Let us also recall that today is the feast day of the great medieval French King Louis IX – Saint Louis, reputed for his piety and his concern for justice and the poor, and who died on 25 August 1270. 

All these events form part of the heritage of the Cardijn movements and give special significance each year to the 25 August. 

Cardijn Community International 
58, Chinna Kulandai Main Street, 
Maduma Nagar, Perambur, Chennai, 
600 011, India.

Tel: +91 44 25591290
Fax: +91 44 25581590
Email: cardijncommunity@hotmail.com