1964: Cardijn: Start from life

This extract forms part of one of Cardijn’s written submissions to the Lay Apostolate Commission at Vatican II. Refer here to the Decree on the Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem, §29.

Do not separate natural, temporal, professional, family, political formation from religious and spiritual formation (and vice versa). Make a clear distinction between teaching and formation for life, but never separate them; teaching is a monologue, formation is a dialogue. Do not separate the content or the matter from the formation, from the method or the manner of giving it: the method could be arbitrary and begin from certain “a prioris”, it must start from life, the real, the facts: see, judge, act.

Formation must link and unite all aspects of life. Above all those which are specific to lay people: family, professional, social, political, moral, national, international, religious, apostolic, missionary. It must be given throughout the whole of life but above all during the age of education for life, choice of life, vocation: from 14 to 25 years, to be able to form adult, authentic apostles, in true life, the true milieux and problems of life.

It must be given above all to young (male and female) workers, distanced from their family environment, displaced, in continual contact with strangers, non-Catholics, non-Christiand: so that they will be able to conduct themselves as adults, apostles and missionaries.


Joseph Cardijn, Note 22 – De laicorum formatione ad apostolatum, 1964 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)