Catholic Action

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Catholic Action was the name of many groups of lay Catholics who were attempting to encourage a Catholic influence on society.

In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-ordained members of religious institutes, e.g. a nun or lay brother.

Contents

They were especially active in the nineteenth century in historically Catholic countries that fell under anti-clerical regimes such as Spain, Italy, Bavaria, France, and Belgium. Adolf Hitler ordered the murder of Erich Klausener, head of a Catholic Action group in Nazi Germany, during the Night of the Long Knives. Catholic Action is not a political party, although in many times and places this distinction became blurred. Since World War II the concept has often been eclipsed by Christian Democrat parties that were organised to combat Communist parties and promote Catholic social justice principles in places such as Italy and West Germany. [1]

Adolf Hitler Leader of Germany from 1934 to 1945

Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He rose to power as Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and later Führer in 1934. During his dictatorship from 1933 to 1945, he initiated World War II in Europe by invading Poland on 1 September 1939. He was closely involved in military operations throughout the war and was central to the perpetration of the Holocaust.

Erich Klausener German politician

Erich Klausener was a German Catholic politician who was killed in the "Night of the Long Knives", a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from 30 June to 2 July 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Catholic Action generally included various subgroups for youth, women, workers, etc. In the postwar period, the various national Catholic Action organizations for workers formed the World Movement of Christian Workers which remains highly active today as a voice within the Church and in society for working class Catholics. [2]

The World Movement of Christian Workers is the Catholic Church's officially recognized association for Catholic workingmen and women. It is a member organization of Vatican's Conference of International Catholic Organizations. The World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW/MMTC) does not have individual members but is a federation of various national movements. The affiliate in the United States is the Catholic Labor Network. In the UK, it is the Movement of Christian Workers.

History

The Catholic Action movement had its beginnings in the latter part of the 19th century as efforts to counteract a rise in anti-clerical sentiment, especially in Europe. [3]

A variety of diverse groups formed under the concept of Catholic Action. These would include: the Young Christian Workers, the Young Christian Students; the Cursillo movement, RENEW International; the Legion of Mary; Sodalities; the Christian Family Movement; various community organizing groups like COPS (Communities Organized for Public Service) in San Antonio, and Friendship House in Harlem, an early influence on Thomas Merton. [3]

The Young Christian Workers is an international organization founded by Rev. Joseph Cardijn in Belgium as the Young Trade Unionists; the organization adopted its present name in 1924. Its French acronym, JOC, gave rise to the then widely used terms Jocism and Jocist. In 1925, the JOC received Papal approbation, and in 1926 spread to France and eventually to 48 countries.

Jeunesse Étudiante Chrétienne

Jeunesse Étudiante Chrétienne (JEC) is a worldwide group of young Christian students. The movement also goes by the name YCS in English or JEC in Spanish.

Cursillos in Christianity is an apostolic movement of the Roman Catholic Church. It was founded in Majorca, Spain, by a group of laymen in 1944, while they were refining a technique to train pilgrimage Christian leaders.

Examples

Around 1912, as a curate in a parish in Laeken, on the outskirts of Brussels, Joseph Cardijn, who dedicated his ministry to aid the working class, founded for the young seamstresses a branch of the Needleworkers' Trade Union. [4] In 1919 he started the "Young Trade Unionists". In 1924, the name of the organization was changed to "Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne", the Young Christian Workers. [4] JOC grew rapidly throughout the world; its members were often known as "Jocists" (the movement was often called "Jocism"). By 1938, there were 500,000 members throughout Europe; [5] in 1967, this had increased to 2,000,000 members in 69 countries. [6]

Joseph Cardijn Belgian Roman Catholic cardinal and founder of the Young Christian Workers

Joseph Leo Cardijn was a Belgian Roman Catholic cardinal and the founder of the Jeunesse ouvrière chrétienne (JOC) [Young Christian Workers]. Cardijn was best known for his lifelong dedication to social activism and working towards the improvement of the working class; since his ordination he made a particular focus of his life the effort to evangelize and bring the core messages of faith in the Gospel back to the working class, whom he believed were neglected. He was not wrong in that assessment since old schoolmates working in the mines and mills believed the Church had abandoned them, which prompted Cardijn to found a social movement dedicated to this task despite the opposition that it faced.

A fruit of the contemporary Catholic Action movement, the International Catholic Union of the Press UCIP was founded in Belgium in 1927. A year later the Organization Catholique Internationale du Cinéma ( OCIC) came into being in The Netherlands, and the Bureau Catholic International de Radiodiffusion (BCIR), in Germany. It became Unda in 1946. These professional Catholic lay associations, working in the world of the professional media, wanted to unite their efforts against the secularization of society. On the one hand, they were aware that the press and the new media of radio and cinema were contributing to secularization. On the other hand, they also believed that by engaging in the secular media, they could use them as a new means of evangelization. Efforts had to be made to evangelize the secular mass media, or at least to insert the values of the Gospel into them. As a result of the merger of the Catholic media organizations OCIC and Unda, a new organisation was founded in 2001 in Rome called SIGNIS. [7] In 2014 the Vatican suggested that SIGNIS should also integrate the members of the former International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP), which a few years earlier had lost its recognition by the Holy See as an official Catholic organization.

Australia

The National Civic Council is an Australian Catholic Action group formed in 1957 out of the Australian Catholic social studies movement under the leadership of B.A. Santamaria. Precursors to the NCC were active in the Australian Labor Party, but were expelled from the party by less conservative members during the 1955 Labor Split. The expelled members of the party went on to form the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) and the subsequent Democratic Labor Party. [8]

Chile

In Chile, Catholic Action was the name of a nationwide youth movement. Under the aegis of Saint Alberto Hurtado it was responsible for the founding of the Chilean Trade Union Association. [9] [10]

Italy

Azione Cattolica is probably the most active Catholic Action group still around today. Catholic Action was particularly well suited to Italy where Catholic party political action was impractical, firstly under the Anti-Clerical Savoyard regime from 1870 until about 1910 [11] and later under the Fascist regime which prohibited independent political parties.

The present association Azione Cattolica was founded in 1867 by Mario Fani and Giovanni Acquaderni with the name of Società della Gioventù Cattolica Italiana (Italian Catholic Youth Society), then reformed during the Mussolini regime when the association was structured into 4 sectors and was called Azione Cattolica. [12] [13] [14]

Catholic Action in other countries

Catholic Action was organised in many other countries, including:

See also

Notes and references

  1. Tom Truman, Catholic Action and Politics (London: The Merlin Press, 1960).
  2. "World Movement of Christian Workers", Zenit, September 10, 2006
  3. 1 2 Nieli, Bruce. "A return to Catholic Action", US Catholic, June 30, 2015
  4. 1 2 "Canon Joseph Cardijn", Catholic Authors
  5. iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (26 September 1938). "Time magazine article from 1938". Time.com. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  6. iPad iPhone Android TIME TV Populist The Page (26 September 1938). "Obituary in Time magazine, 1967". Time.com. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  7. Peter Malone (ed.), The Emergence of SIGNIS (Brussels: 2009).
  8. James Franklin, "Catholic Thought and Catholic Action: Dr Paddy Ryan Msc.," Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society (1996) 17:44-55 online.
  9. Ana Maria Bidegain, "From Catholic Action to Liberation Theology: The Historical Process of the Laity in Latin America in the Twentieth Century" (paper #48 Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, 1985)
  10. Brian H. Smith, The Church and politics in Chile: challenges to modern Catholicism (Princeton University Press, 2014)
  11. For example in the encyclical Custodi di quella fede Pope Leo XIII asked Catholics to become more involved in forms of Catholic Action away from the "Masonic" state: "Masonry has confiscated the inheritance of public charity; fill the void, then, with the treasure of private relief." Para 18, Custodi di Quella Fede
  12. Gianfranco Poggi, Catholic Action in Italy (Stanford University Press, 1967)
  13. Albert C. O'Brien, "Italian Youth in Conflict: Catholic Action and Fascist Italy, 1929-1931." Catholic Historical Review (1982): 625-635. in JSTOR
  14. Kertzer 2014, p. 55-56, 101-102, 125=126, 158-169.
  15. http://www.accioncatolica.org.ar/
  16. Scott Mainwaring, The Catholic church and politics in Brazil, 1916-1985 (Stanford University Press, 1986)
  17. Mark Biondich, "Radical Catholicism and Fascism in Croatia, 1918–1945 1." Totalitarian movements and political religions 8.2 (2007): 383-399.
  18. http://www.accioncatolicageneral.es/
  19. Jones, Anny Brooksbank (1997). Women in Contemporary Spain. Manchester University Press. ISBN   9780719047572.

Sources

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