Remembering Pierre Haubtmann, redactor of ‘Gaudium et Spes’

26 August 2021
French priest Pierre Haubtmann. Image: La Vie Catholique/Nouvelles de l'Institut Catholique/Australian Cardijn Institute/Supplied


The Australian Cardijn Institute honours the memory of French priest Pierre Haubtmann, on the 50th anniversary of his death with a webinar on Monday 6 September from 7pm AEST.

The speakers at the webinar will be Mgr Philippe Bordeyne and Clara Geoghegan.

Mgr Philippe Bordeyne, outgoing rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, will soon commence as president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Marriage and the Family at the Lateran University in Rome.

Mgr Bordeyne is also a specialist on Gaudium et Spes, having written his PhD thesis on the significance of the concept of “anguish” in the Pastoral Constitution. He has written a number of articles on the life of Pierre Haubtmann.

Clara Geoghegan, co-director of the Siena Institute and executive secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, will be our respondent.

French priest, Pierre Haubtmann was the chief redactor for the groundbreaking Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the World of Today.

He was close to the Jesuit theologians, Yves de Montcheuil, and Henri de Lubac, who oriented him to the study of the philosopher, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. A man of great erudition, Haubtmann gained doctorates in theology, philosophy and sociology.

Yet he was also a man of action and of the people. Almost as soon as he arrived in Paris, he became a local chaplain to the JOCF (Girls YCW) then in full development. Pressed into military service at the outbreak of World War II, he became a prisoner of war for a short time. Upon his return, he quickly became involved with the emerging Action Catholique Ouvrière (Workers Catholic Action) movement, the adult counterpart of the YCW, becoming a national chaplain in 1954.

He served in this role until the eve of Vatican II when he was appointed media liaison person for the French bishops. A year later, he was appointed a peritus in the commission working on Schema XIII, the draft of the future Gaudium et Spes. During the Third Session in 1964, he was appointed as head of the drafting team.

No doubt it was the combination of his academic training and grassroots movement experience with the Specialised Catholic Action movements that fitted him so well for this task.

Appointed as rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris in 1966 to implement the conciliar reforms, Pierre Haubtmann did not live to see the fruits of his work, dying tragically in a bushwalking accident on 6 September 1971.

To register for the webinar, please visit

For more information, please email Stefan Gigacz at or visit the Australian Cardijn Institute website.

With thanks to the Australian Cardijn Institute.


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