Shhhh! Don’t tell Beans about the Monitum against Teilhard

From Massimo “Beans” Faggioli today:


What Beans doesn’t understand is that the Pontifical Council for Culture (soon to be extinct) recognizes that there is a Monitum against Teilhard!

Perhaps this news (and tweet) will alert others who should know that it exists.

And by the way, if the Monitum were inert anyway, as so many liberals claim, why would the PCC draw attention to it and ask that it be revoked?


Don’t tell anyone, especially the libs.  As they stagger drunkenly once again into their celebratory conga line – which looks a bit incongruous in their Mao Suits – they draw more attention to the fact that the strange Jesuit’s writings contained

“such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine”.

If they were ambiguous then and seriously erroneous then… they still are.

In 1981, when the same Council observed the 100th anniversary of the Jesuit’s birth, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reminded everyone about the Monitum and said that it was still in force.

Oh yes, Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit.


Yes… this isn’t exactly a surprise.

If it’s twisted and a little weird, it’s sure to garner full-throated support from certain corners.

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  1. de Chardin. Probably the most vile and deadly heretic of modern times.

    [I’ll take that as a “No” vote.]

  2. Sawyer says:

    What are the chances that a monitum will be issued about the writings and speeches of Fr. James Martin, S.J.?

  3. Nathan says:

    Um, aren’t the works of Teilhard de Chardin essentially the avacado-colored appliances of theology? Has anyone read him in the past 30 years? Do you have to wear a leisure suit to open them up?
    In Christ,

  4. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I was actually quite surprised Benedict XVI cited de Chardin somewhat extensively in some homilies and subsequently in one of his books that I read.

  5. Gregory DiPippo says:

    (Teilhard) can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself. The Phenomenon of Man cannot be read without a feeling of suffocation, a gasping and flailing around for sense. There is an argument in it, to be sure — a feeble argument, abominably expressed — and this I shall expound in due course; but consider first the style, because it is the style that creates the illusion of content, and which is a cause as well as merely a symptom of Teilhard’s alarming apocalyptic seizures.

    The Phenomenon of Man stands square in the tradition of Naturphilosophie, a philosophical indoor pastime of German origin which does not seem even by accident (though there is a great deal of it) to have contributed anything of permanent value to the storehouse of human thought. French is not a language that lends itself naturally to the opaque and ponderous idiom of nature-philosophy, and Teilhard has according resorted to the use of that tipsy, euphoristic prose-poetry which is one of the more tiresome manifestations of the French spirit. …

  6. iamlucky13 says:

    I’m not familiar with him. From a search I see a lot of commenters considered the intended meaning of much of his writing ambiguous. Pope Benedict XVI spoke favorable at one point about aspects of his writings, but given that he did not appear to have been interested in lifting the monitum, I guess that was only limited aspects of it.

    Is anybody able to summarize briefly a couple of the mentioned serious errors for the rest of us?

  7. Aquinas Gal says:

    I don’t get why the Pontifical Council for Culture is involved–why would it even be under their umbrella? They’re not the CDF …

  8. Unwilling says:

    In my opinion, the Monitum is needed at least as to form. More fascinated by the empirical sciences, he was swept up in a materialistic mysticism and was led astray into theological error. But I understand he obeyed his superiors in silence. So, I would not judge him an evil will. Of course, his writings did great evil and I am sorry to hear anyone even remembers him/them. I’ve just said a Credo and Ave for him.

  9. DavidR says:


    From your mouth to GOD’s ear.

  10. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The good news is that most young people have never even heard of the guy, and couldn’t care less about him.

    Atra etc.: Benedict XVI was a synthesist, so he loved to quote people he disagreed with — whenever they said something he could agree with. Some of his enemies were not amused by this, while others seem to have become more friendly or respectful. So yeah, it’s not surprising that he would quote some parts of Teilhard de Chardin that weren’t wrong.

    iamlucky13 — De Chardin was a paleontologist, and tried to become a theologian of sorts. He conflated Christians becoming more like Christ through living in Him, and the evolution of humanity and improved technology, into the idea that all humanity would evolve into being Christ over time, as a natural process. (But in a Star Trekkish “everybody evolves into a higher hive being and disappears in a flash of light” way.) His idea was called “The Omega Point,” and a lot of dumb stuff in the Sixties and Seventies derived from it. He meant well, I guess, but it didn’t work out.

    OTOH, if you ever wondered why Gene Roddenberry was so interested in people evolving into higher beings and disappearing in a flash of light, now you know about De Chardin.

  11. As one trained in the Thomistic Tradition, I have nothing to say in support of Teilhard, and certainly nothing in support his now proved involvement in the Piltdown Man hoax. But that might just be because I am a Dominican.

    I was surprised, however, when taking the first course taught at GTU by an Eastern Orthodox teacher, in fact the bishop of San Francisco (ca. 1983), to hear him say: “Teilhard, well he is wrong about human origins, but exactly right about the end of the world.”

    I would love to hear the Eastern Orthodox readers of this blog, as to whether their bishop expressed the actual belief of the Orthodox Church. Is Teihard’s eschatology really yours?

  12. Mike says:

    The same Modernist “new theology” infuses both Teilhard’s heterodox speculations and the post-1962 wanderings whose causes were identified, and consequences foreseen, by Garrigou-Lagrange, Pius XII and John XXIII. Arguably the authentic spirit of Vatican II, Teilhardism has crippled liturgy and catechesis for generations, at the cost of God alone knows how many souls—for whose eternal damnation we will bear a share of the responsibility if we continue to cavil at this Hell-spawned Gnostic nonsense.

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    My understanding is that De Chardin was involved in Piltdown (he found a canine that was connected to it, in a pit to which he was directed by Charles Dawson, who was later proved to have faked age on bones). But there doesn’t seem to be any proof of him being involved in the fraud, except as a dupe.

    I would be interested to see any proof, as a brief Internet search has not produced anything but accusations.

  14. DelRayVA says:

    During my college years I took a seminar class on Teilhard. Having taken seriously his writing, especially The Divine Milieu and The Phenomenon Of Man, I found myself drifting into Universalism, and denying Original Sin. Realizing I couldn’t stay in the Church and deny Original Sin, I chose to stay in the Church. Working my way backwards, I found that at the core of my problem was Teilhard’s “Omega Point,” and his “Radiant Energy” of the Incarnation. No where does the Cross come into his soteriology. Ignoring the Cross but preaching the effective Universalism of the Omega Point led to denial of Original Sin. I ultimately had to reject Teilhard to remain in the Church.

    Teilhard does not reject the Cross, he just makes it irrelevant. I recall that he was saddened in his lifetime that people saw in his writings a rejection of the Cross as necessary for our salvation, but he was never able to effectively explain how it fit into his Soteriology.

  15. The Astronomer says:

    While I was living in NYC in the early 1990’s at One Lincoln Plaza on Broadway and w63rd on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, there was an elderly lady living there whom I later found out was one Teilhard’s female ‘associates.’ Her name was Rhoda Hoff, the nom de plum of Rhoda de Terra, the wife of Helmet de Terra, a scientific associate of Teilhard who worked with Teilhard in India, Burma and Java. Teilhard died in her NYC apartment in 1955. She passed away in 1999.

    Small world…

  16. iamlucky13 says:


    Thank you for the summary. The Star Trek comparison is amusing, and concerning, if apt.

    Following that, and a quick skim of some information on “the Omega Point,” I tried a search for his name, Arthur C. Clarke, and Heinlein, and wasn’t surprised to see a bunch of discussions suggesting he was an influence on both of them (this sounds very similar to the ends of A Space Odyssey and Stranger in a Strange Land).

    I don’t have time to learn much in detail about his ideas and the CDF’s warning about them, but out of curiosity, I dropped by Fr. Martin’s Facebook page to see if he clarified what specific matters he thinks Fr. de Chardin has been wrongly criticized about and why the Church is wrong. Unsurprisingly, he did not, nor did any of the commenters to his post, who merely gushed with praise about how he opened their eyes without saying anything of substance. [without saying anything of substance… yep. That sounds right.]

    The Facebook visit wasn’t a total waste, however. I had a good chuckle at the poster who characterized Fr. de Chardin as “a victim of the terrorarchy.”

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  17. David says:

    A good opportunity to remember the great Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, stalwart protector of Roman orthodoxy.

  18. eymard says:

    It is timely indeed that Teilhard’s name is coming to the surface, like Tennyson’s Kraken. And by Beans & Fr. Martin, dispelling any doubt about where they stand.

    I can only say with the utmost encouragement, if not urgency, to read von Hildebrand’s Trojan Horse in the City of God from 1967. The final 33 pages are devoted exclusively to a refutation of Teilhard. He had first met him at a dinner, only knowing of him from glowing recommendations by de Lubac and de Solages.

    I’ll defer to the extraordinary man himself to tell the story of that first meeting:

    “Teilhard’s lecture was a great disappointment, for it manifested utter philosophical confusion, especially in his conception of the human person. I was even more upset by his theological primitiveness. He ignored completely the decisive difference between nature and supernature. After a lively discussion in which I ventured a criticism of his ideas, I had an opportunity to speak to Teilhard privately. When our talk touched on St. Augustine, he exclaimed violently: ‘Don’t mention that unfortunate man; he spolied everything by introducing the supernatural.”

    Here I’ll give the subheadings to give an indication of how von Hildebrand utterly dissects the corrupted thought of this dangerous false theologian – but please get the book:

    T was not a careful scientist
    T fails to grasp the nature of the person
    T’s “fusion” of persons is impossible
    T does not recognize the hierarchy of being
    T tries ti eliminate antitheses
    T misunderstands communion and community
    T leaves no place for love
    T misses the difference between matter and spirit
    T forces reality to fit his system
    T implicitly denies man has free will
    T and Christianity are incompatible
    T adapts religion to modern man
    T’s Christ is not the Christ of the Gospels
    T redefines basic Christian doctrine
    T banishes grace and the supernatural
    T inverts the hierarchy of values
    T’s theories are based on equivocations
    T substitutes efficiency for sanctity
    T’s “religion” is worldly
    T’s optimism wins converts to his views
    T claims Catholicism disparages nature
    T accuses Christianity of dehumanizing man
    T’s own theories dehumanize man
    T misses the supernatural aspect of natural goods
    T levels the hierarchy of values
    T’s nature has no transcendent dimension
    T overvalues industrialization
    T does not give the response due to matter and spirit
    T misses the grandeur of conscience and morality

    I believe so much of what we see unfolding has its underpinnings in Teilhard, and von Hildebrand’s theological precision brings the fallacies clearly to us for our great benefit for these times.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    The term, Omega Point (or Omega Set) is a valid term in mathematics, specifically, dynamical systems theory. It refers to the behavior of a variable, x, in a differential equation represented in phase space in the limit as time (t) approaches infinity. The variable, x, can be used to describe the time-evolution of a system:

    Where de Chardin goes wrong, among other ways, is assuming that the Omega Point always goes to infinity. In fact, many types of evolutionary structures are known: the path may decay to a point, it may spiral into a point, like a decaying sine wave, it may spiral outward to infinity, like an increasing sine wave, it may circle around, continuously, like a sine wave, it may have not precisely definable structure, like a chaotic wave that is bounded, but doesn’t have a regular period, the phase structure may bifurcate into two different paths – a classic example being the splitting of society into the morlocks and eloi in H. G. Wells, The Time Machine. Then, there is the whole, predator-prey models of ecology. In other words, the evolution of a society or a person is nonlinear.
    He has no proof for assuming that the omega point for human evolution is asymptotically infinity.

    In fact, in terms of evolution, he has missed a few essential points:

    1. Point mutations occur at random (in natural terms)
    2. Point mutations are selected in terms of survival advantage.
    3. Environments are not evolving to perfection, but heat death.

    It is possible to change evolution by changing the environment. This sort of microevolution is non-controversial in biology. One can change characteristics by modifying the environment. If environmental change is cyclic, so will be evolution. Thus, evolution can get trapped in a cyclic pattern, depending on the nature of environmental change. If the sun, say, emitted more UV radiation every 1000 years, skin color would alternate between light and dark. This evolution doesn’t go anywhere. It is cyclic.

    Ultimately, in the limit of infinite time, due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy, disorder, will increase to its maximum amount and evolution will not be possible. In purely natural terms, man’s end is less than dust.

    This is just another example of the improper attempt to blend science and religion. This is the second time in a few weeks that this improper blending has been brought to mind and it has made me think, even more, that we desperately need to have this done properly. It would completely undercut Modernism. I am willing to start the ball rolling, but I lack the training in systematic theology that would let me make even a small portion complete.

    For example, I can see that it is possible to combine moral acts, a and b, but does a + b = b + a, in all cases? The answer is, no. That means that we can define symmetries and groups that classify moral acts. Likewise, we can define lattice hierarchies of moral acts. In fact, it is possible to rigorously prove that it is impossible to give Communion to the divorced and re-married. Instead of arguing, why doesn’t someone just produce the proof? One would need a theory of universal and general moral acts, but that is not too hard. Then, one merely needs to show that giving Communion to the divorced and re-married swaps a general for a universal condition, which is forbidden because it swaps the nature of the moral act (i.e., substitutes one lattice type for another), and, poof, there is the proof. There is a lot that mathematics, science, and logic can bring to the discussion in order to clarify moral theology, although it will not modify its content.

    In other words, we must drive out bad logic by good logic. The best way to argue with a mathematician is not to beat ones fist or make threats. The best way is to go to the blackboard and write a proof. The best way to argue against a Modernist is to go to the blackboard and write a proof. Accepting or not accepting the proof is irrelevant: the proof is either true or false. Moral theology must be taken out of the realm of opinion as much as possible. Things like mercy must be more precisely defined, otherwise, we will get the sort of opinion-based pseudo-science or pseudo-theology that has developed since the Protestant reaction to Kant (German Idealism) in the early 1800’s, which led, inevitably, to Modernism and the modern crisis in the Church.

    The Chicken

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