|Teilhard de Chardin|
I've read many books by Fulton Sheen and watched a number of his old TV shows from Life is Worth Living. Much of what he's written is beautiful, insightful, and thought provoking. But one thing completely baffles me -- his fulminating admiration for Teilhard de Chardin.
What got me thinking about this was a sermon I listened to from Pentecost Sunday contrasting the "Apostle of Rome," St. Phillip Neri, and Chardin, the "Apostle of Modern Thought," Chardin's story is creepy to say the least.
In his writings he describes an encounter in the desert with "The Thing" that sounds similar to the encounter Mohammed had in the desert with an angel, a dark angel for sure! As described, the event bears NO resemblance to any encounter with Christ any saint has ever described. I'm even curious as to whether the "companion" Chardin mentioned was a "spirit guide." Here's how Father described it in his sermon contrasting Chardin's bizarre encounter to the mystical union between St. Philip Neri and Jesus:
Teilhard de Chardin in one of his early compositions as well as his last book (which was autobiographical), mentions a mystical encounter through which he had experienced early in his career. He writes: “The man [that is, Chardin himself] was walking in the desert, followed by his companion, when the Thing swooped down on him. Then, suddenly, a breath of scorching air passed across his forehead, broke through the barrier of his closed eye lids, and penetrated his soul. The man felt he was ceasing to be merely himself; an irresistible rapture took possession of him . . . . And at the same time the anguish of some super human peril oppressed him, a confused feeling that the force which had swept down upon him was equivocal (vague, ambiguous), turbid (confused), the combined essence of all evil and all goodness . . . . ‘You called me: here I am,’ says the Thing; ‘I was waiting for you in order to be made holy,’ it went on to declare. ‘And now—I am established on you for life, or for death. . . . He who has once seen me can never forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with himself.’” To which Chardin replied: “O you who are divine and mighty, what is your name?” Clearly, he was not really a scientist after all, but a sort of mystic being led by a spirit guide. ...but not from above!!...Chardin is the guru of the New Age, another indictment against his philosophy. In a series of articles on Chardin, Professor Walter Veith, describes the Jesuit's spirituality:
St. Philip received an outpouring of the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost... Chardin, the spirit of his so-called “cosmic christ.” They are not the same. As St. Robert Bellarmine says: “For every heresy speaks wonderfully about Christ, yet does not preach the true Christ, but another which it invents for itself.” The effects of each spirit prove the veracity of this claim!
As both a Jesuit priest and a scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin sought to bring together elements of the Christian faith with the theory of evolution. The result was a departure from both Christian doctrine and evolutionary science.
Teilhard’s views deeply influenced the New Age world. In fact, as Gary Kah tells us, “Chardin is one of the most frequently quoted writers by leading New Age occultists.”Among the views he promoted which were condemned by the Church at the time (his books were restricted until after Vatican II) was his theory of the "cosmic Christ," described by Veith:
The universal Christ, or Maitreya, is not Jesus Christ but rather a New Age Ascended Master who is said to come and lead all religions into unity. This universal Christ is an attempt to steal the glory from the true Christ, Jesus. Here are Teilhard’s thoughts on the matter:
...a general convergence of religions upon a universal Christ who satisfies them all: that seems to me the only possible conversion of the world, and the only form in which a religion of the future can be conceived (emphasis added).ii
I believe that the Messiah whom we await, whom we all without any doubt await, is the universal Christ; that is to say, the Christ of evolution.iiiChardin was a pantheist, a philosophy at complete odds with Catholic doctrine of a personal Savior who loves each of us individually. Pantheists believe that man, like other material creation, is just one manifestation of God. Instead of man being made in the image and likeness of God; he is just one part and must become one with the universe. Chardin's nature-babble permeates the environmentalist nonsense of our day. Here's what Veith writes:
The view that the universe and God are identical, or that nature is God, is a New Age belief that Teilhard supported in these words:
"My approach...would be...to narrow that gap...by bringing out what one might call the Christian soul of pantheism or the pantheist aspect of Christianity."iv
"I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe."vWhat exactly does it mean and what does one do to become "one with the universe?"
Anne Roche Muggeridge in her book, The Gates of Hell: the Struggle for the Catholic Church (1975), writes about the unity between Marxism and Tielhardianism:
...the irresistible evolutionary process of humanity has been opportunely bolstered for the Catholic left by Teilhard de Chardin's "evolutionary Cosmos" process theology. Neither Marxism nor Teilhardianism has room for the concept of original sin and the fall of man, therefore, no need for a belief in individual redemption. Both are deterministic and progressive, both hold that change is always for the better and man and society perfectible.This is the man that Fulton Sheen praised to the skies in his 1967 book, Footprints in a Darkened Forest:
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.Yikes! Was Sheen a victim of the idiocy following Vatican II? Could this brilliant man really not see and understand why Church authorities condemned Chardin's writings? Chardin is the epitome of the "I'm okay, you're okay" new age culture that finds solace in crystals and incense instead of God. Chardin seemed to believe that as long as we identify with the universe (and recycle) we will all merge back into the throbbing primordial soup of life on Judgment Day where we become sucked into God. (This reminds me of nothing more than Sartre's existential nausea and Screwtape's relishing the fact that he may be given Wormwood to eat after that unfortunate apprentice devil loses his "patient" to God.)
My admiration for Sheen has taken a nose dive. I've been stupid myself in the past. I'm embarrassed to admit that I once even thought Rod McKuen's driveling poetry was worth reading. But I didn't have either the education or intelligence of a Fulton Sheen.
I'll continue to research Sheen's enthusiasm for a man who was clearly a fan of the occult. I hope Sheen changed his mind about Chardin before his death in 1979. It's amazing that a priest who says he made a Eucharistic holy hour every day of his ordained life could be so deceived by a Jesuit who may very well have been possessed by the devil.
For more on Chardin, I recommend Hugh Owen's article on the Kolbe Center website, Teilhard de Chardin: False Prophet of a “New Christianity” And remember the words of St. Paul, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." (Galatians 1:8)