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POPXTLAB AOTIOK 592 POPTJLAB ACTION

who had previously been engaged in work among reform and welfare work. On these the Action the poor. His aim was to create a central informa- Populaire could draw for support and sympathy; for tion bureau, library and publishing agency for French these it could act as a central bureau and publishing Catholics who interested themselves in social ques- house; to these it could give new inspiration and tions. The enterprise was launched modestly, very solidarity. The attitude of the Action Populaire modestly indeed, because adequate financial support toward social and economic questions was explained had not yet been secured. A kitchen and a shed, by Abb4 Desbuquois, the director of the institution, remodelled as offices, served to house the handful in a series of articles written in 1912. The funda- of secretaries and editors whom Abb6 Leroy had mental principles of Catholic social action, he de- brought together at Reims. Soon, however, the clared, were to be found in Leo XIII's historic Ency- organization expanded. An entire building, the In- clical "On the Condition of the Working Classes" stitut Maintenon, 5 Rue des Trois-Raisinets, Reims, (Rentm Novarum) and other papal letters: It was in the shadow of the noble Reims cathedral, was the duty of Christians, he bdieved, not merely to taken over as headquarters. By 1912, the central give bread to the hungry, homes to the homeless, office had a staff of sixteen editors — ^ten priests and care to the sick, and alms to the penniless, but also six laymen — and twenty-seven secretaries, besides a to work for the reform of industry and society on a staff of travelling representatives and several hundred basis acceptable to Christian morality, and to strive collaborators in France and abroad. In ten years, for the prevention, as well as the palliation, of social 1903-1912, the Action Populaire distributed about injustice. The aim should be to create employment 1,000,000 pamphlets, 150,000 leaflets, and 60,000 bureaus which would minimize the evils of involun- volumes of Catholic literature on social problems, tary idleness, to build airy and sanitary dwellings It regularly published several series of year-books, in which the dread plague of tuberculosis would not manuals and periodicals. Moreover, it rendered find easy lodging, to organize industry so that in- valuable service as an information bureau. In its justice and avarice woulcTnot prevail ^ to Christianize library was a remarkable collection of social and manners axld morals, to combat irreligion, in temper- economic treatises and official documents, besides ance, and vice. This program would require both , files of some four hundred periodicals. Every year spiritual influence and temporal reforms, such as the the central office at Reims received thousands of organization of industrial unions or suilds, the enact- inquiries, and returned thousands of replies dealing ment of labor laws, and the establbnment of welfare with such diverse but useful matters as how to found institutions. In all such matters, Catholics must a mutual aid society, how to start a Catholic trade remain loyal to the Christian conception of liberty, union, how to organize a co-operative store, where of human rights and duties, of justice and charity, to find authoritative information on the question of if the perilous errors of economic latsser-faire, Maix- social insurance, what kind of a job a young peasant ism. and Syndicalism are to be avoided, girl should try to "obtain when she went to Paris, The value and scope of the services rendered by the what books a Catholic should consult on the prin- Action Populaire as a center for the stimulation of ciples of sociology, what Catholic lecturer could be Catholic social work and for the dissemination of called upon for a speech on the labor problem, etc. Catholic principles as well as of economic and socio- Often the office would send out an expert to help lo^cal information may best be indicated by a de- organize a social service institution. As time elapsed scription of its publications. At the outset, the the A. P. broadened its activities still further bv Action Populaire oegan to publish three thirty-page organizing study courses and conferences, by send- pamphlets or brochures every month, at the popular ing out representatives as itinerant lecturers, and price of five cents. Each pamphlet was a handy by holding social conventions, sometimes primarily treatise on some such question as old-age pensions, for the clergy, sometimes for workingmen, some- labor unions, strikes, co-operation, housing problems, times for lay social workers. The German invasion employment service ^ vocational training, child-labor, of France during the Great War of 1914-1918 made accident compensation. Socialism, factory inspection it necessary for the Action Populaire to suspend its and income taxes. Though they were published at a activities and to seek new quarters in Paris. At nominal price and written in popular style, these the close of the war, however, the organization re- little yellow-covered pamphlets ^were not, as one sumed its activity and established its offices at 188 might be inclined to suppose, the haphazard results Rue de Breinut, Noisy-le-Sec, near Paris. of hasty journalism; they were prepared by eminent The Action Populaire is part and parcel of what economists and sociologists, French and foreign, may be called the Catholic Social Movement. Be- Catholic and non-Catholic. They attained a sur- ginning toward the middle of the nineteenth century prisingly large circulation and their influence was with the isolated, almost sporadic, efforts of men very wide. Other series were inaugurated from time like Ozanam, Villeneuve-Bargemont, and Von Ket- to time as the need appeared. For example, the teler, growing powerfully under the patronage of growth of Catholic social study clubs led the Action Leo XIII, spreading rapidly throughout Europe and Populaire to issue a series of Plans et DocumenU, com- into the other continents, the Catholic Social Move- prising documentary and doctrinal material for the ment has not only awakened in millions of Catholics use of such clubs. Again, when complaints were an active interest in social welfare, but has become heard that the great papal encyclicals a,nd the texts so potent a factor in contemporary social questions of important social laws were not easily available as to attract the interest of non-Catholics, even of except for special students, the Action Populaire

f)ersons bitterly hostile to the Church. It is in the issued five-cent reprints of such documents, in a

ight of this general Catholic awakening to the vital series called Ades Sociaux, In addition, there were

importance oi social justice that the true significance FeuUles SociaUsy or brief summaries in question-and-

of the Action Populaire most clearly appears. When answer form, and Tracts PopuUnreSf mere leaflets

Abb6 Leroy put his hand to the plough in 1903, he for popular propaganda.

found the ground already broken bv Count Albert In 1908 the Action Populaire took a further step

de Mun, Henri Lorin, Marquis de fa Tour du Pin, forward; it bc^an to publish regular periodicals de-

and many another courageous pioneers. Already devoted to social questions. The first was **La Revue

there had sprung up Catholic Workingmen's Clubs, de I'Action Populaire," a diminutive green-covered

Catholic lal^r unions, employers* unions, Catholic magazine, published on the tenth of each month

social study groups, a Young Men's Catholic Asso- and the twentieth of alternate months. Though un-

ciation, and other organizations devoted to social pretentious in form, this little review was exceedingly