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Teilhard de Chardin (letter)
Tess Livingstone requests feedback on her book George Pell, and her brief eulogy on Teilhard de Chardin (pp 58-60) certainly calls for it.
Teilhard was adversely affected when, as a 14-year-old college boy, he came under the influence of modernist priest Henri Bremond, who, because of his radical ideas and unorthodoxy, was later asked to leave the Jesuit order and did so.
When the Jesuits et al were expelled from France, Teilhard, at an English seminary, came under the influence of another modernist priest, George Tyrrell, who was eventually expelled from the Jesuit order, and excommunicated by the Church.
Catholicism is the faith that comes to us from the Apostles, but not for Teilhard. Like the Jesuit Karl Rahner, his goal was a new religion.
Teilhard de Chardin was the Picasso of theology and philosophy. Since the multitudes did not comprehend his writings, they had to be profound, and their author a genius.
So thought the gullible; but not all were taken in. I include some views of those not bemused by Teilhard's obscurity.
Pedro Arrupe, former Jesuit Superior General, commented: "Teilhard was neither a philosopher nor a theologian ... had erroneous and ambiguous concepts. He was obscure, changeable, immature, and not capable of clearly expressing himself."
Noted philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in Trojan Horse in the City of God: "It was only after reading several of his works, however, that I fully realised the catastrophic implications of his philosophical ideas, and saw the absolute incompatibility of his theology fiction with Christian revelation and with the doctrine of the Church."
Jean Rostand has said of Teilhard's works: "I have argued that Teilhard did not cast the slightest light on the great problem of evolution." (He was, however, involved in, or taken in by two scientific hoaxes in the evolutionary field.)
Sir Peter Medawar, a Nobel Prize winner, spoke of Teilhard's mental confusion and his exaggerated expression that bordered, he said, on hysteria. He described The Phenomenon of Man as unscientific in its procedure, adding that Teilhard's works in general lacked scientific structure, that his competence in his field was modest, that he neither knew what a logical argument or scientific proof was, and that he did not respect the norms required for scientific scholarship.
STUART J. BLACKWOOD
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 4 (May 2003), p. 15
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