Teilhard de Chardin: Model of Ambiguity for a Future Pope

Peter Kwasniewski, PhD

To a degree not yet as widely recognized as it should be, Pope Francis – Jorge Bergoglio, S.J. – is showing himself to be an admirable disciple of his Jesuit forerunner Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955), the Piltdown paleontologist and “Omega Point” mystagogue, who exercised an enormous influence on the young Jesuit Turks of the twentieth century. Gerard M. Verschuuren, in his new book The Myth of an Anti-Science Church: Galileo, Darwin, Teilhard, Hawking, Dawkins – just released by Angelico Press, and worth reading for many reasons, but above all, because of the superbly written chapter on this controversial figure – tells us:

His greatest stature was reached when he became almost an oracle and icon to many of what a twentieth-century Jesuit should be. Teilhard had become their role model. In spite of ecclesiastical admonitions regarding Teilhard-the-Ideologue, his ideas kept spreading in the Society of Jesus. Not only has his way of thinking infiltrated – or infected, according to some – the thinking of Jesuits, but it would also become a major element of thinking in other Catholic groups. Many Jesuits and other theologians have adopted Teilhard’s evolutionary approach… In what follows, I am more interested in pointing out the striking parallels that emerge between him and his confrere, Bergoglio…Read it all

The Teilhardian Vapor. Thomist philosopher Etienne Gilson wrote to de Lubac, “The ravages he [Teilhard] wrought, which I have witnessed, are horrifying…” More

Progressivist Theology, What It Is.

Can this be true?

Monitum Regarding the Writings of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office

On June 30, 1962, the Holy Office issued a monitum (warning) regarding the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin. In 1981 the Holy See reiterated this warning against rumors that it no longer applied. Following is the text of both the monitum and the 1981 statement:


“Several works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, some of which were posthumously published, are being edited and are gaining a good deal of success.

“Prescinding from a judgement about those points that concern the positive sciences, it is sufficiently clear that the above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine.

“For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.

“Given at Rome, from the palace of the Holy Office, on the thirtieth day of June, 1962.

Sebastianus Masala, Notarius”

Communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy See (appearing in the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano, July 20, 1981)

The letter sent by the Cardinal Secretary of State to His Excellency Mons. Poupard on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin has been interpreted in a certain section of the press as a revision of previous stands taken by the Holy See in regard to this author, and in particular of the Monitum of the Holy Office of 30 June 1962, which pointed out that the work of the author contained ambiguities and grave doctrinal errors.

“The question has been asked whether such an interpretation is well founded.

“After having consulted the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which, by order of the Holy Father, had been duly consulted beforehand, about the letter in question, we are in a position to reply in the negative. Far from being a revision of the previous stands of the Holy See, Cardinal Casaroli’s letter expresses reservation in various passages—and these reservations have been passed over in silence by certain newspapers—reservations which refer precisely to the judgement given in the Monitum of June 1962, even though this document is not explicitly mentioned.”

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