Cardijn & the world of labour and technology

There is an opportunity to bring awareness of See-Judge-Act and the insights of Joseph Cardijn into our world of Labor and Technology. We are entering a new era—emerging Technology, particularly AI, will impact Labor regardless of your collar color or if you even wear a collar. As the old saying goes, “That ship has sailed” We are into the era of the autonomous revolution. The question today is how well-educated people become to understand & manage Technology as a society. We need to begin thinking about culture and societal phase change. The See-Judge-Act method gives us a framework to understand better the reality we are facing. It is now for us to innovate-educate-collaborate

Using the See-Judge-Act methods to innovate-educate-collaborate will focus on the core issues we face as a society, the constraints we encounter, and what actions we need to take to manage the constraints and collaborate for the greater good of humanity. Let’s consider where we are as a society and look at history. We see similarities between the early 1900s and the rise of labor unions in the US and European labor organizations during the life of Joseph Cardijn. What was at the heart of the matter was humanity. Think of Catholic Social Teachings and the historical development of the encyclicals to provide insights into our thinking.

Do we understand what it means to be human and the difference it makes? Today we are in the depths of the autonomous revolution; unlike its predecessor, the industrial revolution, this one won’t span 200 years. The World Economic Forum predicts AI will alter or eliminate 27% of what we consider a job over the next five years. IBM is replacing 7,800 jobs with AI and robots driven by AI.

What do Blackrock, the Business Roundtable, and the World Economic Forum share? Surprisingly they are coming in line with labor social teaching and ethics. Not 100%, but they see the cause/effect of emerging technologies on society. 

They’ve all endorsed stakeholder capitalism and corporate social responsibility. Look at the writings of Pope Francis to gain a perspective in our thinking about stakeholder responsibility. Remember that we now live in a time where only thinking about shareholders is insufficient. 

Using the See-Judge-Act methods, we can collectively focus on FOUR main areas: People, Planet, Purpose in Life, and the overall Prosperity of all human beings. 

Using the See-Judge-Act method, we start by looking at our current situation and asking “what is happening” in our local areas and our economic world. Ask ourselves how to identify the problems we see and where the GAPS are in our collective understanding of the greater good. We then collectively and collaboratively think and develop Enablers to fix the issues and close the gaps. But understanding the solution’s impact and benefits becomes essential in our modern times. The resolution and benefits must be for the greater good of all humanity and the planet.

Keep your eye on a guy named Ilya Sutskever from a technology company called Open AI. He is the collective brains behind the launching of AI and surrounds himself in his work at Open AI with philosophers, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, etc., besides engineers. The Valley, once again, is starting to look more like it did 50 years ago than what it looked like in the late 90s and early 2000s. The companies are only all expressing concerns about the cause/effect of societal phase change with proper guardrails in place.

More than ever, we will experience societal disruption like we have never seen in past revolutions. This is an excellent opportunity for Catholics and Labor to innovate, educate, and collaborate with society for the greater good. We have a chance to draw more and more people into the fold with an understanding of how Catholic social teachings with Labor can provide the leadership and oversight necessary to create the essential guardrails in society as we did in the early 1900s and through the “New Deal Era.” 

It is a time for Catholics & Labor to engage in public discussions about the digital capacities and infrastructures affecting our work and what it means to be human. To provide the critical analysis of dynamics such as digitization, automation, mobile computing, surveillance, the gig economy, pre-care, care work, crowdsourcing, outsourcing, etc., and what is necessary to manage the growth of Technology in society.

Catholics and Labor together can bring a deep and contextual analysis to society by asking: Whom are the workers being left out of the story? How is Labor fundamentally connected to systems of inequality based on, for example, race, class, gender, and sexuality? And does Technology enable disparities, and how Catholics and Labor can help correct the advances? 

We must let society know that we understand how Labor and technologies are rooted in political economies, legal systems, state regulations, and social ideologies—significantly beyond the US and Europe, particularly in the Global South. This will show the world and those traditionally viewed as “suburban independents” that the future is brighter with the Catholics and Labor working collaboratively.

How are different groups shaping Technology from the ground up with grassroots initiatives? And where do we need to involve Labor and the party in helping form the message? Catholics and Labor should aim to provide a space for a nuanced, multidimensional, and research-informed conversation. This will draw in younger, college-educated, and skilled trade voters. In doing so, we tie together discussions sprinkled across various disciplines, creating a cohesiveness platform for analyses of the meaning of work and an anchor for future debates.

We use the See-Judge-Act methods to bring about solutions that drive fairness across generations. Provide equality of opportunity for all and not just the few. In the age of autonomous Technology, the See-Judge-Act method, when used properly, provides fairness to those in society who are currently prevented from participating in the entire economy generated by the new technologies. Pope Francis has called us to understand better what inclusive capitalism means to everyone. Go and read

As we start to use the methods with the appropriate questions we ask, we also MAP the actual steps that characterize the negative experiences we are sensing and feeling as a group. I suggest learning more about Hassle Maps, which have been used in marketing programs that will have applicability to our efforts. To learn more, see

God is using us–He needs us to accomplish His work. This is cause for great joy. Without our help, God cannot bring about the miracle that He intends to effect in each one of us through us but not without us.” ~ Louis J Putz CSC


Richard Pütz


Field Engineer / Pexels

The ‘seamless garment’ woven by Merton, Cardijn and Day

A ‘seamless’ garment is woven between Thomas Merton, Joseph Cardijn, and Dorothy Day. Their lives n the 20th century have laid a foundation for us in the 21st century to bring the Kingdom of God here and now. For living and making real the Sermon on the Mount.

All three individuals were known for their spiritual insights and their commitment to social justice. Merton was particularly interested in the relationship between contemplation and action, and he believed that true spirituality should lead to engagement with the world and a commitment to social change. Day lived the practice daily as an American journalist, social activist, and campaigner in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry, and homeless. Cardijn lived and taught his lifelong dedication to social activism and working toward improving the working class, students, and families.

The Christian Workers Movement was a Catholic organization that emerged in the early 20th century in Europe. The movement aimed to promote labor’s dignity and support workers in their struggles for better wages, working conditions, and social justice. The movement was influenced by Catholic social teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, and an understanding of the common good for the greater good of humanity, which is all about social justice.

All three individuals were promoters of the goals of the Christian Workers Movement and believed that the movement represented an important expression of Catholic social teaching. They saw the movement as a way for workers to organize and fight for their rights, and they believed that the movement could help to create a more just and equitable society.

Merton wrote about the Christian Workers Movement and saw the movement as an important example of how faith could inspire social action. Cardijn believed the movement represented a powerful expression of the social gospel, emphasizing social justice’s importance and the church’s role in promoting social change.

Overall, Day’s Living the Christian Workers Movement demonstrates a commitment to social justice and the belief that spirituality and social action are intimately connected.

They saw the movement as an important example of how faith could inspire social action. They believed the movement had much to teach us about the relationship between contemplation and action.

As we enter a new era of emerging technology, what is now called the autonomous revolution, once again, we will experience the effects on workers, not only blue-collar but white-collar and no-collar workers. Once again in history, the rise of emerging technology will challenge us to think about what it means to be a human and the difference it makes.

I have mentioned before in my classes that the ratio to use is 1/3 to 2/3, meaning humans will work in jobs, careers, etc., somewhat similar to today over the next twenty years but will work 2/3 less time in the role or job. And 1/3 of the job functions today for humans will not exist, but new ones will.

Now think about the societal phase change that brings to our understanding of the value of humans. The economic system will drastically change; why? Because it has to, just as it has over the last two revolutions, we as humans have endured. The concept of a single measurement of a company’s success will change. Begin to think about measurements such as people, property, planet, and purpose in life. And this is where the critical thinking of See-Judge-Act will be necessary, and we need to be ready to engage.

Begin to think of the implications of practicing religion within the context of emerging technology and the cause/effect of artificial intelligence. Think what a parish, a diocese, a learning community, and a faith community, our communities as members of the Jocist methods, will look like with this technology. How will it change, and how fast? What will the field of medicine become and law? Think of the implications not just on science, jobs, and careers but on literature, art, music, entertainment, movies, learning, and education. How will politics change? Will we govern in the same manner? Our understanding of the Jocist methods will reach new levels of involvement in helping the world endure societal phase change.

We will hear more and more about AI and autonomous technology in the news because emerging autonomous technology is becoming marketable. (That is a whole post by itself ) And all who work on this are aware of the societal phase change that occurs; the more people get educated, the less fear there might be in their hearts and minds.

The question is, will we as humans drive society to create the necessary guardrails? Keep in what it was like when automobiles first hit the road, and we had no driver’s ed, signs or directions, etc.; all that came about because of the societal phase change, and many paid the price. Can we do better this time around in an emerging revolution?

Richard Pûtz


Thomas Merton,/ Jim Forest / Flickr / CC BY NC ND 2.0

Dorothy Day / Wikipedia

Joseph Cardijn / Joseph Cardijn Digital Library

What is praxis?

Reflection on Praxis: “Theology without action is the theology of demons.”

“What is praxis” is a question I often hear from students. During my career in technology, I taught a comparative religion class, usually at a community college, and I did this if I was based in Chicago, Silicon Valley, or Texas. I taught this class full-time before entering technology, and I found the community college environment much more engaging. Students were older, working during the day, and struggling to make ends meet.

Our discussions of Praxis in various religions came from the student’s hearts, guts, and daily lives. In many religions, Praxis involves taking action in life and is practiced especially concerning ascetics and liturgical life. Praxis is the basis of the understanding of faith and works in many religions of the East, including Eastern Christians. There is no separation. I often would mention in class the dictum of Maximus the Confessor: “Theology without action is the theology of demons.”

If we look at Eastern Christianity, we see more of the understanding that Jesus invites us to take action in his life. The Eastern lungs of Christianity require not just faith but the correct practice of faith understood by the followers of Jesus. We see less in the Western lung of Christianity for many decades, and my speculation is the West was more busy being an empire ruling the world rather than caring for the habitants of the world. Until the Industrial Revolution, Western Christianity started embracing Praxis’s importance.

In the context of Eastern Christianity, Praxis is not the opposite of theology in the sense of ‘theory and practice.’ Instead, it comprehends what all believers do is considered ‘living Orthodoxy.’

Praxis is strongly associated with worship and liturgy because what one does in one’s life, living the teachings of Jesus and the early followers of Jesus (Patristics), means giving “right glory” or “right worship,”

The two can’t be separated. We see this in the understanding of Richard Rohr and why he named his organization “Center for Action & Contemplation.” You can’t divorce the two.

In the West, with the Industrial Revolution, the writings of Kant, Marx, Leo XIII, and Joseph Cardijn, with the introduction of movements within the West to address the care of people, we see the introduction of “liberation theology” applying the Gospel to that Praxis understanding to guide and govern its daily lives.

Albert Nolan wrote a book called “Jesus Before Christianity” The updated version has a forward written by Helen Prejean. Albert writes in his book, “I did not write about Jesus’ prayer experience. I did write about Jesus, a unique experience of intimate closeness to God.” For Albert, the idea of what Praxis meant was living the intimate closeness to God. Albert was a colleague of Joseph Cardijn and others who sought and fought for justice in establishing the movements of Praxis. For Albert, his life work involved the role of Praxis and the struggle against apartheid in his home country.

More than ever, we need a strong sense of Praxis. If one has any doubts, watch the evening news.

I recommend reading two more books by Nolan, Jesus Today: A Spirituality of Radical Freedom in 2006 and Hope in an Age of Despair: And Other Talks and Writings in 2009.

And as you read these, reflect on the words of Maximus the Confessor: “Theology without action is the theology of demons.”

Richard Pütz

See-Judge-Act: Following the Call

Today’s Cardijn Reflection is by American cultural historian, Richard C. Putz, who introduces the work of his uncle, the late Holy Cross Father Louis J. Putz CSC, a key figure in the development of the Cardijn movements in the USA.

The lesson learned from Louis J Putz CSC is to think about the method of See-Judge-Act as a methodology. Let the technique and experience of following the Call, living the Sermon on the Mount in our lives and society, enter into our movements, daily lives, and organizations that we create to help bring about the reign of God here and now. Hans Kung was “the apostle on the front line” and the brains behind Vatican II, as many had thought. The spirit of Vatican II needs to be revived.

Louis Putz often said, “YOU, the people, are the Church, not the hierarchy.” Louis believed the role of the clergy was to assist the people in leading the Church. 

Let’s look at the foundation of Vatican II. We see the methodology integrated into the documents, especially in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, and Mater et Magistra.

God is using us; God needs us to accomplish the work; this is a great joy. Without our help, God cannot bring about the miracle that God intends to affect in each of us: through us but not without us.” ~ Louis Putz

We learn from Joseph Cardinal Cardijn that the ‘See-Judge-Act.‘ methodology of the Young Christian Workers (YCW), often called JOC (Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne), becomes the necessary steps to the foundation of implementing the Sermon on the Mount. In the US, the methodology is essential for bringing about social justice, restorative justice, and the meaning for Christians to live the teachings of Jesus. It is why Louis worked so hard at developing organizations such as the CFM movement, the YCW, and educational programs in the United States. 

The key being the methodology should be our focus. Think in terms of “Necessary and sufficient.”

The methodology is necessary to create the change(sufficiency) to implement, and we eventually develop organizations to grow the difference in our society. Those organizations have traditionally been the CFM, YCS, YCW, etc. Still, if the Spirit is working, we should see the “change” evolve in a re-birth of those movements and the creation of new directions within our changing cultures.

Think of movements such as.”Cathonomics” (I suggest you might want to read the book Cathonomics by Anthony M Annett) and discover how the methodology is used to change how we as a society think and behave about economics.

It is time for us to take the Call to follow seriously and bring about the reign of God here and now. But first, we must share the methodology of See-Judge-Act with those unfamiliar with the method. Then, let the Spirit work through us all in creating the change and see what evolves to experience the cause/effect in organizations and movements. 

“The apostolate must not be thought of as “religion”; but a life of charity in all phases of daily behavior is the objective to be achieved.” ~ Louis J Putz CSC


Richard C. Putz

Read more

Louis Putz CSC (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Innovate Educate Collaborate (Richard Putz)