Pope John XXII recognised See Judge Act

50 years of Mater et Magistra

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra, which in its turn recalled the 70th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s groundbreaking social encyclical Rerum Novarum on the condition of the workers.

Few today, however, will remember that it was Joseph Cardijn who proposed the writing of this encyclical to Pope John during an audience he had with the Pope in March 1960. At the pope’s request, Cardijn prepared a twenty page dossier of ideas and suggestions for the envisaged encyclical.

Fourteen months later on 15 May 1961, even Cardijn was surprised when Pope John published Mater et Magistra which specifically adopted the famous See – Judge – Act method that he had championed throughout his life.

“There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice,” Pope John wrote (Paragraph 236) in the encyclical.

“First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgement on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what in the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: look, judge, act.”

Acting upon Cardijn’s inspiration, Pope John thus specifically incorporated the “See – Judge – Act” method into Catholic social teaching and practice.

We are happy to note that the international media gave a good coverage to the statement of CCI on ‘SEE JUDGE ACT-50 years of Catholic social practice’.

Call to declare Cardijn ‘Doctor of the Church’



In the 50th year of the Church incorporating the SEE JUDGE ACT method in its social teachings, CCI celebrates 10 years of its endeavour to promote Cardijn’s vision, spirituality and methodology.

On this occasion, we call upon those who have been trained under Cardijn movements to join us in our efforts to stake the claim before the Church to declare CARDIJN as a Doctor of the Church.

Cardijn indeed saw himself as a teacher and educator of young workers. Fifty years after Mater et Magistra, we can see clearly today that he was also a great teacher of the whole Church.

As we celebrate the half century of the “See – Judge – Act encyclical”, we renew the call made in 1998 by former leaders of the International YCW for Cardijn to be recognised as a “Doctor of the Church”.


Cardijn Community International

20 May 2011

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