Rorate Caeli

The "Spirit of the Council" nightmare that never ends:
Teilhard de Chardin is what passes for "New Evangelization" in top Roman university

(Please see additional note at the bottom of this article)

Certain events are by themselves highly symbolic... The "cosmic nightmare" of one of the most bizarre pseudo-theologians of the 20th century, and its most dated religious thinker, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, was celebrated with a major conference, on November 9-10, in the Society of Jesus's own Pontifical Gregorian University, dedicated to finding a role for him and his ideas in the "new evangelization".

Italian journalist and commentator Francesco Agnoli could not believe his eyes either, and so he wrote the following in opinion  daily Il Foglio on November 8.


On November 9-10, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, a large conference will be held, with the title “Today’s Anthropological Challenges – a reading of Teilhard de Chardin for a renewed evangelization, 50 years after the Second Vatican Council.” [Full program for the conference here.]

Almost by chance, I have had before me for some days now a number of texts by this Jesuit, who in certain milieux is presented as a man of great faith and, at the same time, an outstanding scientist. While others brand him as a very bad scientist, and an excellent heretic. Well, in order to try and understand something of this, I will start off by quoting a few of his reflections.

First, let us have a look at the scientist: “Under the weight of converging evidence collected by notably diverse men, I see the possibility of another hypothesis growing: that the Chinese are ‘held-back’ primitives, ‘infantile’ and their anthropological substance would be inferior to ours… Moreover, their mass emanates an insuperable power of leveling and ‘dissolution’. Among them, all that tends to elevation is brought down immediately to zero. Everything that lives for long amidst them is psychologically diminished and enfeebled[…] Neither the Christian approach of love for all men, nor the human hopes of an organized society, must make us forget that their ‘human level’, is not, perhaps, homogeneous? If such is the case, it would be necessary to find for the Chinese, as for negroes, a special function that is perhaps not (because of the biological impossibility) the same one as that for whites”.

Frankly, reading one who speaks about “anthropological substance” and similar nonsense, it is difficult not to agree, even a bit casually, with the very negative judgment on Teilhard’s scientific knowledge by his contemporary, the French biologist Jean Rostand.

Let us turn now to the priest and the theologian whom we should trust for “a renewed evangelization”. From the same work (Unpublished Letters, 1926 – 1952, Il Saggiatore), Teilhard claims to some friends that “our modern vision of God” is opposed to a “rather Fundamentalist encyclical” (he is referring to Humani generis of Pope Pius XII) as well as to the Dogma of the Assumption of Our Lady.

Here it is necessary to open a little window into the French priest’s theological concepts, as he does not hesitate to present himself as the man that Rome ought to listen to in order to truly understand and finally arrive at the “destination of Christianity”.

Two Catholic thinkers, E. Gilson and J. Maritain, without allowing themselves to be deceived by “the beautiful vocabulary”, the “Great Fairy Tale” , the “pathetic neologisms” and the fanciful visions of the Jesuit (“The Cosmic Christ”, “Omega point of becoming”, etc.) do not hesitate in defining Teilhard’s doctrines as “Teilhard’s gnosis” and “theology-fiction”. Maritain, in particular, reports a significant passage from one of his [Teilhard's] letters to Leontine Zanta: “You know already what is dominating my interests and my inner preoccupations and it is the effort to establish in myself, and to spread all around me, a new religion (call it even improved Christianity), in which the personal God ceases to be the great Neolithic master of the past to become the soul of the World that our religious and cultural era cries out for”.

New Religion”, “soul of the World”: how can this be linked to the doctrine of a transcendent Creator Who became Incarnate in order to save man from sin?
Again Teilhard writes in 1953: “That which makes Christianity alive is not the sense of Contingency of creation, but that of a mutual developing of the world and God”. In light of this and a thousand other declarations of an evidently pantheistic flavor, it is difficult not to agree with Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, according to whom the Jesuit identifies Jesus Christ with the cosmos, mixing pantheism and evolutionism in a metaphysical way as well as with Hegelian themes such as “without the world God is not God.”

Referring to the studies of Claude Tresmontant’s “Le Père Teilhard de Chardin et la Théologie”, to the discreet conversations with Gilson and some writings by Cardinal Journet, Maritain continues that, regarding other truths of the Faith, Teilhard “extrapolates a pseudo-theology and a pseudo-philosophy from scientific language;” he does not fully accept the concept of creation; evolution, a work of matter, originates the soul, and not the work of God; he defines the Incarnation erroneously as an “immersion in the multiple;” he unites the world and the Incarnation in an essential bond, denying the gratuitousness of Salvation; he sets aside the traditional idea of sin; he distorts the idea of the Redemption (to that of a Christ that allows Himself to be crucified in a world which itself is proceeding towards the Omega point); he call upon Christians to the worship progress, “of kneeling before the world” forgetting the existence of evil and the role of Satan in history.

Rome thought in the same way as Maritain and Teilhard was suspended from teaching in 1926. In 1927, the Holy See denied the imprimatur for his Milieu Divin and in 1939 branded as heterodox his L’Energie humaine. Four other measures against his doctrines followed between 1947 and 1955.

Teilhard for the New Evangelization? No, thank you – that is enough already...

[Francesco Agnoli, Il Foglio, November 8, 2012. Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]


From the program of the PUG's conference on Teilhard de Chardin, we read that it ended with a "Holy Mass with readings from the Mass on the World of Teilhard de Chardin" (S.Messa con letture dalla Messa sul Mondo di Teilhard de Chardin) in the University Chapel. 


Mirari said...

"The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host." (Pope Benedict XVI, 24 Jul.09)

In praising Fr. Teilhard this university is merely following the lead of the Holy Father. I like to give the Holy Father and Vatican II the benefit of the doubt, but I cannot find a way to justify the above comments of Pope Benedict.

W. Clanton said...

Mea maxima culpa... . Once upon a time, for a relatively brief period after my conversion to Catholicism, I read a few works by de Chardin given to me by Catholic hipsters.

Teilhard de Chardin... the L. Ron Hubbard of Catholicism.

Roguejim said...

A quick Google search uncovered this bizarre quote which I had read many years ago in Sheen's "Footprints in a Darkened Forest".

Fulton Sheen: “It is very likely that within 50 years when all the trivial, verbose disputes about the meaning of Teilhard's ‘unfortunate’ vocabulary will have died away or have taken a secondary place, Teilhard will appear like John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as the spiritual genius of the twentieth century.”

Ted Maysfield said...

Teilhard deified Evolution and was implicated in the deceptions of the elaborate Piltdown Man evolution hoax.

Jesuit teachers that I know of continue to extol him and spread his doctrines in Jesuit schools.

If I know this, then the Vatican must know, and yet the Jesuits go their merry way free of any effective admonishment or discipline from the guardians of orthodoxy.

Alan Aversa said...

When De Chardin met Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, he told a friend, after Fr. G.-L. left: "This is the man who wants to burn me at the stake!" (reported in The Sacred Monster of Thomism by Fr. Peddicord, O.P.)

"Pius XII's encyclical Humani Generis (1950) completely rejected the Teilhardian position on evolution. Teilhard was furious and he accused the encyclical of exhibiting a 'masochism and sadism of orthodoxy.' The encyclical appeared to require the faithful to 'swallow the truth under its crudest and stupidest forms.' The Church failed to recognize that the theories of relativity and evolution were as critical to understanding God as the constant refinement of dogmas." —Between Science & Religion by Phillip Thompson (p. 74; original source: Speaight, Teilhard, 299.)

De Chardin must disagree that "the whole science of natural and divine things is based" on "the capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas", as Pope St. Pius X wrote in Doctoris Angelici.

Rick DeLano said...

"The Church failed to recognize that the theories of relativity and evolution were as critical to understanding God as the constant refinement of dogmas."

There it is.

At least Phillip Thompson can say it without getting Memoryholed.

Miguel Ayres de Campos Tovar said...

Whenever I open one of his books, I find myself repeating what Saint Anthony said to the possessed: "Behold, he speaks all languages and none, he says all things and nothing". I think this sentence is still the best diagnose we have of the malaise of modern theology.

Maybe one day all the pieces will form a coherent whole inside my poor little brain & I will understand what it is that makes Teilhard de Chardin is so frightfully interesting. On that day I will be very pleased with myself, but probably also recovering from a severe head injury.

For the time being, my opinion of this man is that he is to theology what scientology is to religion, and my wishes for him can be perfectly summed up by Christ's prescription in Matthew 18:6. How the Pontifical Gregorian University can see in him anything other than banality dressed in eccentricity is beyond me, and the fact that there are at least three Church-sponsored associations dedicated to the preservation of his memory I can only interpret as a particularly depressing sign of the times.

Pulex said...

In 1981, the Holy See still maintained the condemnation of certain Teilhard's ideas:

However, the head of CDF still was card. Seper.

Matthew Rose said...

Definitely not a crisis in the Church. Nothing to see here, folks.

JTLiuzza said...

And to think I only recently added to my daily Rosary intentions that modernism be completely and publicly eradicated from the Church.

LeonG said...

Thank you Mirari. I keep stating Teilhardism and pantheism are the same and it is through this papacy convergence is moving forward. Indeed, at the expense of Sacred Tradition comes liberal modernist "living tradition" through which the church becomes subsumed to a one world religion. Is it not time Traditionalists woke up? The Latin Mass is next on the list of items to be perennialised. You do not believe this? Watch this space.

NIANTIC said...

When it comes to the Jesuits, the termites have infested the building and the patients are running loose in the asylum.
Sadly, not only the Jesuits.........

Donnacha said...

Nothing that happens at the "PUG" is a shocker to me. Aside from some of the things being taught there, when I was a student there in the early '90s, only one of my S.J. professors who wore clerics. The rest were in either dungarees or leisure suits!

Picard said...

A traditional priest from France - Fr. R. Arnette, my spiritual "father", not a member of any society, but a diocesan priest and dead for some years now - once told me that he met Teilhard and heard him speaking at a conference or in a speach and afterwards Abbe Arnette (I think he was a seminarist then) with some other seminarist asked Teilhard or better: accused him in stating that obviously original sin has no place in his system.

And Teilhard? He did not deny it!!

Jim Paton said...

"a true cosmic liturgy"

From the Pope himself!

It's just so happens that I've got a space suit and some balloons handy. All I need now is some of that "traditional" party spirit and away I go...

New Catholic said...

The notion of a "cosmic liturgy", or of the adoration by all saints and angels of the Most Holy Trinity along with the absolute dominion of the Risen Lord over the entire Cosmos (i.e. Universe), is not problematic by itself, and is quite recurrent in good authors.

Teilhard's pantheistic overtones and embarrassing pseudo-scientific blather are something else entirely.

If I Had a Heretic Hammer said...

If this isn't a crisis, then what is???

Mirari, sorry, but no. No need to give anybody the benefit of the doubt. That may have been commendable in 1966, but not today. We know all we need to know. In fact, we know all too much.

Kirk said...

The following by today's greatest essayist - Theodore Dalrymple - will help us understand the likes of TdC:

EnemyOfSatan said...

When one understands that TdC was straight from hell, one goes far in understanding TdC and his embrace by Conciliarists.

It was no accident that Malachi Martin devoted a whole chapter in Hostage to the Devil to a priest whose possession was precipitated by absorbing the books of TdC.

Finally, it's very disturbing to see the TdC seemingly endorsed by both Benedict XVI and Fulton Sheen.

sacerdosinaeternum said...

The good news is that the Gregorian is the only place that continues to propagate this nonsense like that of Rahner. Dated indeed and destined for certain death.

OKC Catholic said...

The Holy Father is a "fan" of St. Maximus the Confessor as was Teillhard, i.e. "the cosmic liturgy." Many here might think Maximus sounds pantheistic in his known writing, "Nothing is empty of the Holy Spirit." Maximus also believed in universal salvation as did St. Gregory of Nyssa, and yes so did Teilhard it would seem. I have only read 2 of Teilhard's books, Divine Milieu and The Phenomenon of Man (the former I liked, the later was boring) so I am not really qualified to make an argument about him but I will say that he drew a lot of his inspiration from Eastern theology and the writings of Eastern Saints which sometimes may sound a little strange and foreign to us in the West.

JB said...

"You can't get any benefit or enlightenment from thinking about Teilhard. The ravages that he has wrought that I have witnessed are horrifying. I do everything I can to avoid having to talk about him. People are not content with just teaching him, they preach him. They use him like a siege engine to undermine the Church from within (I am not kidding) and I, for one, want no part of this destructive scheme." -- Etienne Gilson

OutsideObserver said...


False optimism is harmful too.

Teilhard's thought continues to be well-promoted and represented in Jesuit universities, which still represent the single largest bloc of "Catholic" universities in the whole world. Furthermore, the "Greg" continues to be a reference point of sorts for much of "mainstream" Catholic academe.

Malta said...

Just think Piltdown Man; Chardin was a fraudster and promoter of a hoax.

That such an idiot could be given pride-of-place at any Catholic conference is sad indeed.

Nihil Sub Sole said...

OutsideObserver, sacerdosinaeternum:

Two years ago I received an MA in Theology from a Sulpician school. While de Chardin was not specifically taught (Rahner, Metz, and the like were the staples), during my coursework I wrote a paper where I criticized him based on Neo-scholastic principles. My professor did not appreciate that and had me re-write the paper.

So while de Chardin is too ridiculous to teach, I think he's recognized and defended as part of the whole modernist post-Vatican II structure.

Barbara said...

That paragraph on the Chinese says practically it all - Chardin was influenced by the "superman theories" that formed the Third Reich.

He made things up as he went along that is for sure ...and this is telltale:

“You know already what is dominating my interests and my inner preoccupations and it is the effort to establish in myself, and to spread all around me, a new religion (call it even improved Christianity), in which the personal God ceases to be the great Neolithic master of the past to become the soul of the World that our religious and cultural era cries out for”.

Can't you just see him there straining with all his might to invent his "New Religion"?

Madness and absolutely heretical. How much longer do we ordinary faithful have to put up with this kind of stuff which is an affront to Our Lord to His Church to the Faith and which "emanates" from the most important Pontifical University?

And seeing those Cardinals' names on the programme - mercy on us!

It stinks! It is simply not Catholic...and Teihard gives me the creeps.

HELLO.. is anyone listening? The world is on fire with heresies and wickedness and corrupt governments - and this is what the Pontifical Gregorian University promotes for the New Evangelization?

Come on! We have to be joking - or something worse!

Matt said...

Seriously, anyone really shocked about this? This is so evident why the SSPX is so hated. It exposes all of them to the light of Truth.

This is also evident of where the Church in general is headed (notice no finger-wagging at this guy) and specifically the Jesuits.

wretchedwithhope said...

de Chardin and loads of others...who has yet acknowledged the damage the self appointed saviour against the Church - Freud's apostate the blight of Basil - jung?

Tony said...

It was during my agnostic post-Catholic period that I was enamoured of TdC. I was studying anthropology and found his ideas reinforcing evolutionary theory, and enhancing it with a spiritual dimension. Later I joined a pentecostal/baptist/evangelical group, and eventually rejected him. As someone notes above, he was implicated in some way in the Piltdown Man Hoax, and this reinforced my later rejection of Darwinian theory. I now bracket him with another title which was read with admiration when I encountered him: Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

JFM said...

Of Chardin, Frank Sheed noted after reading him,

"I learned why this scientist writing on theology had fascinated people who had no habit of reading either science or theology. It was the vitality in him… I read the scientific sections of the book utterly gripped, but having no knowledge of my own with which to question them. The theological sections I read with intense interest, but I had enough theological knowledge to question them again and again…
Two gaps in his universe-picture I found myself insistently aware of. I can find no theology of sin in what I read of his, I have been unable to discover what he made of death. Sin and death add up to a considerable part of the human problem."

The Church & I 278

I am not Spartacus said...

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at the Vespers July 24, 2009, in the Cathedral of Aosta

So our address to God becomes an address to ourselves: God invites us to join with him, to leave behind the ocean of evil, hatred, violence and selfishness and to make ourselves known, to enter into the river of his love.

This is precisely the content of the first part of the prayer that follows: "Let Your Church offer herself to You as a living and holy sacrifice." This request, addressed to God, is made also to ourselves. It is a reference to two passages from the Letter to the Romans. We ourselves, with our whole being, must be adoration and sacrifice and, by transforming our world, give it back to God.

The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.

And let us pray the Lord to help us become priests in this sense, to aid in the transformation of the world, in adoration of God, beginning with ourselves. That our lives may speak of God, that our lives may be a true liturgy, an announcement of God, a door through which the distant God may become the present God, and a true giving of ourselves to God.

As to what the meaning of that exhortation is, I have no idea but it sounds odd to me.

At the Consecration - at Transubstantiation - the Host becomes the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus whereas this vision (hallucination?) of Chardin appears to allow for no distinctions twixt host and all that heretofore was thought not Host; that is, a thing can not both be and not be, right?

I find all of this radical talk bizarre and suspicious; its novelty is awkward and jarring and conflating the confected Host with the entire Cosmos renders the Host indistinguishable from a Quahog as far as I am concerned; that is, if everything is Host, nothing is Host.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

Telhard was a fraud, a charlatan. No further questions Yer Honour.

Art said...

Further proof that the smoke of Satan has filled the Church.

Read Fr. Malachi Martin's Hostage to the Devil. Chardin was the instrument Satan used to possess a priest. No doubt he's been used as Satan's entry into other priests.

G.M. said...

Perhaps, Pope Benedict's comments are not an endorsement of TdC, but only the extraction of a small element that can be applied analogously in support of an orthodox view of the liturgy. That being said, however, in the main, TdC's philosophical-theology is the sine qua non of modernism and thoroughly heterodox and even heretical- as when he denies original sin and sees the historical circumstances of all world religions moving toward an ultimate Hegelian unity. A complete refutation of TcD's thought can be found in the appendix of Trojan Horse in the City of God by Dietrich von Hildebrand.

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear G.M. If that is true, then how could the cosmos be a victim; a Host?

Catholic Dictionary
HOST . A victim of sacrifice, and therefore the consecrated Bread of the Eucharist considered as the sacrifice of the Body of Christ. The word is also used of the round wafers used for consecration. (Etym. Latin hostia, sacrificial offering.)

The Cosmos is not a victim offering itself as a sacrifice of propitiation nor can it ever be a victim offering itself become the cosmos is not a Divine Person; Jesus is.

Acreator said...

Teilhard was enchanted by the cave paintings, and his fantasy had no limits about neolithic findings. He had to make his own Theory of Evolution to save his faith. However, what will remain, if the Darwinian theory of Evolution will disappear? That era will come - soon

The Rad Trad said...

Ah, Chardin!

Never have so many words meant so little!

Don said...

I am not spartacus BRAVO!

What kind of talk is this?
{ The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host}

I just don`t get it? SCARY
Jesus Mercy

Picard said...

Pope Benedikt highly praises Teilhard in his work "Introduction to Christianity".

All the post-counciliar Popes were fans of Teilhard and praised him.

Teilhard, Rahner, et Co. are the heroes of the counciliar Church. That´s the situation.

JB said...

Yes that "living host" remark of B XVI really gave me pause. Maybe someone wrote it for him. Teilhard rejected the doctrine of original sin, enough said.

Picard said...


BXVI is full of the ideas of Teilhard - as well as JPII was. Let´s not have any illusions.

And Not spartacus, whilst I am only allowed to say bauxite on some other site here I can argue - and me thinks that my arguing is not so far from yours. But then why don´t you draw the right and only consistent conclusions from your observations.

Read "Introduction to Christianity" and all will be clear!

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Picard. Touche; bauxite indeed :)

And we read, "Intro to Christianity", (yikes) in our Trad Study group a long time ago and while me and thee are in agreement about many things I am incapable of making the same conclusion you have.

David of Glasgow said...

Teilhard de Chardin RIP

Purveyor of science-fiction theology.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

A sloppy helping of rancid science fiction mayonaise on two thick slices of moldy multi-grain Comtean eclecticism. And the slice of ham would be Cdl Ratzinger's lauding of Teilhard as very influential in the writing of Gaudium et spes (in Principles of Catholic Theology).

Eat it up, ye neo-Cath mushrooms.

Benedict Broere said...

All Teilhard de Chardin tried to do is bridging the gap between religion and science, and while doing so he unavoidable entered a domain of thinking beyond orthodoxy, as we always see in the history of innovation. Meanwhile his way of thinking is an inspiration for lots of people around the world and an important building block in the ascending way of understanding ourselves, mankind, in the dynamics of nature and universe. And if man is created after the image of God (Genesis), I would say: thinking is allowed.

Brother G said...

I love the ideas expressed by Pope Benedict about the cosmos and the Living Host. I think anyone mystically and Eucharisticly inclined would. Because TdC is a bad scientist and I don't like many of his theological ideas doesn't mean he doesn't have some value and some truth like Origen, Tertullian, Aristotle or Plato. I say this as someone who doesn't like the writings of TdC and one who doesn't believe in biological evolution.