Would you mind if I make a proposal, based on the experience with which I am most familiar, namely the experience of priests who have lived out and practised the formation of lay people for their apostolate by means of the Jocist method? This method has received the most formal approvals from Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII. It was solemnly praised by Pope Pius XII during the JOC World Rally at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome on 25 August 25, 1957: “Your method,” said the Holy Father, “can be summed up by the well-known formula ‘see – judge – act.’ Your initiatives at local, regional, national and international level, enable you to contribute to the extension of the Reign of God in modern society and to spread the teachings of Christianity in all their rigour and originality.”
a. Above all, the JOC assists young workers to SEE for themselves the problems of their own lives and the lives of all others, including their personal, family, professional and civic lives at local, regional, national and international level. It teaches them to see with the eyes of faith, to discover their divine and human, temporal and eternal value as well as to discover and appreciate the Church’s social doctrine in relation to these issues more deeply. It teaches them to see the link between this social doctrine with the religious doctrine of the Church in all its sources and all its expressions in such a way as to enable them to gain a just conception of it, a synthesis and a mystique based on the deep sense of the mission and responsibility of each and everyone.
b. The Jocist method then assists them to JUDGE real situations and acts, including their lacks, the causes of these lacks by confronting them with the Church’s doctrine and with the divine value and mission of each person; it assists them to judge how it is necessary and possible to redress these situations and acts and how one could influence them by means of personal, collective, private and public initiatives at a doctrinal level as well as a practical level.
c. Lastly, the Jocist method teaches people to ACT as a person, and as a Christian and apostle, both personally and collectively; the person who is formed will be active, acting in his own life (which will be transformed) and within his or her own milieu; he or she will become a militant regarding the problems of the present world that he encounters, including its needs, errors and possibilities. And he thus acts whether in and by their own organisations or in and as part of other organisations both already existing and yet to be created.
These three phases – see, judge, act – are inseparable; they develop a way of thinking, inspire action and provide a deep education.
In this way, apostolic formation provides not just a theoretical education, but also and above all a practical, concrete apprenticeship, which, as the Holy Father said in the speech cited above, forms both the leaders and members that society and the Church need.
Joseph Cardijn, 15 December 1960, Note for the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate
Joseph Cardijn, Note 3, Reflections and Suggestions (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)