Catholic Action – is organization of the laity in the Catholic Church, founded in 1922.
Objective: spiritual and moral renewal of society, working with young people in education and catechesis. Catholic Action is a ministry of the Church, which is a special destination for the laity, which is in close cooperation with the hierarchy of the Church.
Today the movement has about 400 000 members, most of whom live in Italy.
In Poland and Ukraine, the organization was abolished by the communist authorities. Currently, the movement is renewed.
Catholic Action is a ministry of the Church, which is a special destination for the laity, which is in close cooperation with the hierarchy of the Church:
- The Church’s office of the lay faithful, belonging to the fundamental structure of the Church
- The mission of proclaiming the Risen Jesus Christ
- Christianization every aspect of life
- A common front of apostolic action in the Church
- Creation of the Church - not by an external secular type of human activity, but by supernatural means: word, sacrament and service of love
- Vision, evaluation, action - in the spirit of the Gospel
- The rebirth of life according to Catholic principles in the family and society
- The development of life according to the principles of faith
- To grow and strengthen the Christian community
- Deepen the knowledge of Jesus Christ, that Christian has possibility of conscious choice of Jesus Christ as the Lord of life
- Individual apostolate (CIC - should take the form of apostolate of Catholic Action)
- The answer to the trends of secularization, displacement Christian values in the life of society
- A school of social life
The aim of the Catholic Action is to deepen Christian formation and cooperation of its lay members with the hierarchy in carrying out the mission of the Church. Deepening of religious life supposed to prepare members of the Catholic Action to the courageous and competent proclamation on the "Areopagus" of the world, to penetrate in social life with the Gospel values, to defend the statement and the teaching of the Church on public issues, especially where is the risk of the faith and Christian morality. An important task of the Catholic Action is also training activists in social, economic, cultural and political life. (Source: Encyclopedia of movements and associations in the Church)
- Formational work of members in the Catholic aims to develop a mature faith.
- Good qualified people should be involved in the affairs of the Church, taking place in parishes were it need evangelization. Depending on the needs of the parish will occupy those sectors of life that previously lay fallow.
- Members of the Catholic Action are the closest collaborators pastor, dispositional to operate in different areas, depending on the needs that appear.
- Members of the Catholic Action should take place in public life (politics, economy, culture) according to their charisma and opportunities. By being active they should represent Christian values.
- In apostolic work they should developed to join values that exist in the Church and concentrate them around the matter of evangelization, without prejudice to their sovereignty.
Then, the task of the members of the Catholic Action is to create the understanding and joint action of the various movements, organizations, associations without upsetting their charisma and identity.
Catholic Action don’t have own leader and own goals. Its leader is the Church and the realization of the objectives of the Church.
History of the Catholic Action
Catholic Action is an association of lay faithful, which aim is apostleshipbroadly understood. Organizational principles and the idea of Catholic Action were first formulated by Pope Pius X in Motu proportio of 18 XII 1903 and in the encyclical Il fermo proposito of 11 June 1905. However, the father of this organization is regarded Pope Pius XI, who understoodthe Catholic Action as participation of the laity in the hierarchical apostolate of the Church. He gave to association the organizational framework in the encyclical Ubi arcano of 23 XII 1922 and leaves Quae Nobis of 13 November 1928.The purpose of Catholic Action, according to Pius X, was the renewal of Catholic life in families and in society as well as present-day world evangelization.
Catholic Action has reached its full development in the interwar period. Its structure was complex and varied. The bishops of many countries, implementing the papal program, have used for this purpose existing in these countries Catholic associations. In Belgium, France and Canada, an organization of Catholic Action adapted to different social and cultural environments: country, working-people, school, academic. While others countries, including Poland, Spain, South American countries have created the organization of Catholic Action, like the Italian, in four states, they are: men, women, youth male and female. This form of organization was the most faithful implementation of the guidelines of Pius XI.In many countries, numerous, closely linked to the Catholic Action, deferent Catholic associations of: Doctors, lawyers, architects, students, etc. At the end of the pontificate of Pius XI (died in 1939), and especially after the Second World War the Catholic Action was transformed in a powerful religious movement of lay Catholics who still plays an important role in the life of the Church.
In Poland, the Catholic Action was appointed to the existence during the Episcopal Conference in Poznan 28-30 IV 1930 (its statutes approved November 27, 1930, Pius XI). Following the recommendations of the statute created four organizations in whole country, called columns: Catholic Association of Men, Catholic Association of Women, Catholic Association of Young Men`s and Catholic Association Young Women`s. Parishes’ branches of these compounds organized joint Mass, Retreats, academies, meeting, and camps. The Catholic Action has influence by public lectures on religion and action of charity.
An important chapter of its activities was the distribution of Catholic journals and books (issued his own journal called “Catholic Movement” for nationwide coverage and a number of magazines and newsletters of local character). Before the Second World War the Catholic Action in Poland had approx. 750,000 members.
It was certainly a starting point for the awakening of lay responsibility for the Church. Catholics. However, marked the laity supporting role of clergy. With the development of different forms of its activities, in the thirties of the twentieth century crystallized a new concept of apostolate, pointing to their own tasks of the laity in the life of the Church. The activities of the Catholic Action was significant, and that throughout the decades, in recognizing the social, cultural, political and economic needs in every environment and in providing for these needs spiritual and organizational responses. After the Second Vatican Council, along with getting stronger accentuation of the consequences of baptism. and the right duty of apostleship to every Christian, Catholic Action at the level of ecclesial life has taken almost everywhere different task. Has become more open and more involved in pastoral everyday life.
In Poland after the Second World War, Catholic Action has not been revived, and the totalitarian system prevented the free activity of the other associations for the laity. In 1993. Pope John Paul II encouraged the Polish bishops, staying in Rome for a visit "ad limina Apostolorum", to create the conditions to "revived" the Catholic Action. Among the activities of the Polish Episcopate in this regard, particular attention should be paid a pastoral letter on Catholic Action in the service of the new evangelization of March 17, 1995. A further result of reflection and consultation was approved on 2 V 1995 Statute of Catholic Action in Poland. Diocesan Institutes of Catholic Action (DICA) formed in all the local Churches, constantly expanding and strengthening its structure and taking on tasks arising from the current read the "signs of the times" in the Church and the modern world. The primary organ of the association is the Parish Committee of the Catholic Action (PCCA), while the highest is National Institute of Catholic Action (NICA). According to estimates of "Bulletin of the National Institute of Catholic Action in Poland" nr.26 - May 2007 r. Catholic Action in Poland consists of approx. 26 thousand. members gathered in almost 1800 branches PCCA.