Conscious and responsible

The Sillon movement of Marc Sangnier developed a definition of democracy as "the social system that tends to maximise the civic consciousness and responsibility of everyone".

This dossier compiles my efforts to document use and references to the term over the years from the time of the Sillon, particularly in the speeches and writings of Joseph Cardijn, and in the Church's social teaching, from Pius XII to John XXIII, Vatican II, then in Paul VI and Pope John Paul II.

As this dossier shows, the words "conscious" and "responsible" are often coupled together and developed in various ways.

It is my contention that the words "conscious and responsible" are a signature of the Sillon in a similar way to that in which the term "contemplation in action" has become identified with Jesuit spirituality although apparently coined by Jeronimo Nadal rather than by Ignatius himself.

Stefan Gigacz