Teilhard de Chardin (letter)

Teilhard de Chardin (letter)

Grahame Fallon

Referring to Tess Livingstone's biography of Dr George Pell, former Archbishop of Melbourne and now of Sydney, Stuart Blackwood (May AD2000) focused on what he called her "eulogy" on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (1881-1955).

As Ms Livingstone recalled, before his ordination in Rome in 1966, Deacon Pell qualified for his Licentiate in Theology with a dissertation presenting "A Bird's Eye View of Teilhard de Chardin in Christology." But Mr Blackwood tells us nothing more about Ms Livingstone's book nor about Archbishop Pell's former and current views of Teilhard's Christology. Instead, he revives remarks that were made years ago to discredit the French Jesuit

Like the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), Teilhard was a mystic or "seer" in the Catholic tradition. As such, he too was "doomed to seem the stranger." For he had sensed what so many other brethren had not "seen" or sensed. That was the real presence and grace of God at the very heart or centre of every form of matter that God the Father had originally made for the incarnation of God the Son - through Him, in Him and for Him (Col 1:16).

St Paul distinguished only between spiritual and unspiritual people (1 Cor 2:14-15). Truly spiritual persons can appreciate the real and relative value of everything within the total "economy" of creation and re-creation or redemption. But unspiritual persons can accept nothing spiritual. They see it all as nonsense. That is why Jesus issued his own "monitum" or warning. "Do not give to dogs what is holy," he said, "nor cast your pearls before swine" (Mt 7:6).

A major problem is that Christian fundamentalists can't or refuse to see that the Prologue to the Gospel of John amounts to nothing less than a re-writing of the story of creation in the light of all that Jesus revealed to us. That is by way of his life, death and resurrection - his ascension from glory to glory from the beginning to the end of time, albeit by way of the Cross.

As Pope John Paul II said in the first words of his first encyclical Redemptor Hominis (1979), the Redeemer of Man, Jesus Christ is also the centre of the universe and of its history. Teilhard's vision embraced the total Christ or what St Paul called the perfect man (Eph 4:13). That is destined to be all mankind and all creation centred upon the real presence and radiant gracefulness of Jesus.

Woody Point, Qld

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