1956: Seek first

There must always be a double transformation – an interior transformation, to bring about exterior transformation, a human transformation, a Christian transformation; a transformation of minds, transformation of the conception of life, transformation of the conception of the relation between boys and girls, marriage, and so on. Never has the task of the priest had more importance than today, and we will see our priestly responsibility in three ways – our responsibility in discovering the problem in our parish, in our country, in the world, we must first discover to be able to help others to discover.

We must discover the problem; we can help young workers, adult workers, to discover the problem, to solve the problem, to seek the solution. It is always seek, seek, seek everywhere, in every parish, in every country, in all races in the world.

Secondly, we must help the young workers to discover the problem; they are not robots, to whom we say “Do this and do that,” no, they themselves must discover the problem but through us, we must help them to discover the problem.

Thirdly, we must build the movement; our priestly responsibility is to make the discovery ourselves; we must See, Judge and Act, helping the young worker to discover the problem – they must see the problem, judge the problem, and solve the problem, and be then together, the movement in our parish, in our country, and in all the countries of the world. That is our priestly responsibility; it is not alongside our priesthood, it is our priesthood. It is the essence of our priesthood – Ite et docete – it is for this that we are priests. We are priests, not only to offer Mass, not only to forgive sins, it is our mission to discover the problem of the world, to spread God’s reign in the world., Christ’s reign in the world and therefore, we must more and more seek the true problem, the real problem, the genuine problem; not the false problem, not the imaginary problem. Some priests may say “All means are good.” No! All means are not good! You cannot paint with a hammer. Legion of Mary, Boy Scouts, yes they are all good, but not to solve the problem. We must judge, and we must seek, seek, seek the real problem, the genuine problem, the authentic problem, and then the authentic solution; and we must seek; if we cannot find, working people cannot find; if we don’t believe in a solution, working people cannot believe, and working people cannot come to the Church, cannot realise the apostolate in the Church.

Joseph Cardijn, Quaerite Primum (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)