CCI Media Release - Opening of Cardijn canonisation cause

posted 21 Jan 2014, 08:29 by Stefan Gigacz
Cardijn Community International

Media Release

17 January 2014

Cause for canonisation of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement

Archbishop AJ Léonard of Mechelen-Brussels yesterday officially launched an ecclesiastical tribunal to enquire into the cause for canonisation of the late Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement.

Postulator for the cause is Belgian trade unionist and YCW alumni, Guy Tordeur, while Fr Felix Van Meerbergen, chaplain in Europe for the Cardijn Community International, will act as vice-postulator.

The first stage of the process will gather Cardijn’s writings as well as testimonies from those who knew him. Five theologians and six historians will collaborate in this work.

Born in 1882, young Father Cardijn began to organise young workers in the industrial suburbs of Brussels from 1912. Originally known as the Trades Union Youth, Cardijn’s movement adopted the name Young Christian Workers in 1924.

In 1925, after Cardinal Desiré Mercier hesitated to approve the movement, Pope Pius XI gave his backing to Cardijn in an event later compared by the theologian Yves Congar to Pope Innocent III’s approval for St Francis’ new order.

The YCW spread like wildfire reaching some 50 countries by 1939, also spawning a series of “specialised Catholic Action” youth and adult movements for students, farmers, professionals and others based on the Cardijn model.

Pope John XXIII’s 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra, explicity adopted Cardijn’s famous “see judge act” method as did the documents of Vatican II where Cardijn was initially a member of Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate and later an expert in the conciliar commission.

In February 1965, Pope Paul VI appointed Cardijn a cardinal and archbishop, enabling him to take part in the Fourth Session of Vatican II as a Council Father.

Speaking of the lay apostolate, Pope Paul noted at the end of the Council that “the good seed planted fifty years by several generous pioneers and particularly a young Belgian priest had truly yielded a hundredfold.”

In 1982, British Cardinal Basil Hume described the Council as a “monument” to Cardijn who died in 1967.


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Contact: Stefan Gigacz,

Telephone: + 33 9 53 30 65 23