Like a bird on the wire

Joseph Cardijn on the cover of the French magazine La Vie in 1957. (Courtesy of The Cardijn Institute)

This essay recounts my experience as a chaplain to the Young Christian Students (YCS) in Australia in the 1970s when it radicalised in response to the Second Vatican Council and cultural upheaval in the West.

The YCS, an international student movement, is based on the teachings of Joseph Cardijn, a Belgian priest from a working class background. In the 1920s, Cardijn founded a social movement to empower and uphold the dignity of young factory workers that spread across the world. YCS adapted his concerns and methods of formation to secondary students.

The essay has been written in response to a request by the Cardijn Studies journal, an Adelaide based publication. I used an interview format to make the text more accessible and readable.

Full text here: Like a bird on the wire.

See also: A shorter version of the one above; a less historical reflection on my experience as a chaplain to the Australian Young Christian Students (YCS) in the 1970s.

I timed the essay to coincide with the Australian church’s plenary council 2021-2022. The council’s agenda includes assessing how well the church is living up to the promises of the Second Vatican Council, which included elevating the laity to a new level.

Full text here: YCS in the 1970s – young laity in search of vocation.