Thursday, April 1, 2010

Teilhard de Chardin & the Holy Father

1) Teilhard de Chardin describes the connection between the host and the universe, in a remarkable reflection in his book, Hymn of the Universe.

“I don’t know why it is, but for some time now I have had the impression, as I hold the host in my hands, that between it and me there remains only a thin, barely formed film…

“I live at the heart of a single, unique Element, the Centre of the universe and present in each part of it: personal Love and cosmic Power.

“To attain to him and become merged into his life I have before me the entire universe with its noble struggles, its impassioned quests, its myriads of souls to be healed and made perfect. I can and I must throw myself into the thick of human endeavour, and with no stopping for breath. For the more fully I play my part and the more I bring my efforts to bear on the whole surface of reality, the more also will I attain to Christ and cling close to him.” (pp.53-54)

2) In July of 2009, Pope Benedict mentioned Teilhard:

“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.”

3) Soon after that, July 28, 2009, an article by John Allen, noted the Catholic ecological implications.

“Benedict's brief July 24 reference to Teilhard, praising his vision of the entire cosmos as a "living host," can be read on multiple levels…

“The potential implications for environmental theology, however, are likely to generate the greatest interest among Teilhard's fans and foes alike -- and more than a half-century after his death in 1955, the daring Jesuit still has plenty of both. Admirers trumpet Teilhard as a pioneer, harmonizing Christianity with the theory of evolution; critics charge that Teilhard's optimistic view of nature flirts with pantheism….

“Teilhard, who died in 1955 at the age of 73, was a French Jesuit who studied paleontology and participated in the 1920s-era discovery of "Peking Man" in China, a find that seemed to confirm a gradual development in the human species. Teilhard has also been linked to the 1912 discovery of "Piltdown Man" in England, later exposed as a hoax.

“On the basis of his scientific work, Teilhard developed an evolutionary theology asserting that all creation is developing towards an "Omega Point," which he identified with Christ as the Logos, or "Word" of God. In that sense, Teilhard broadened the concept of salvation history to embrace not only individual persons and human culture, but the entire universe. In short order, Teilhard's thought became the obligatory point of departure for any Catholic treatment of the environment.”