Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Legacy of Eugenics and Racism Cannot be Ignored

DT author John Slattery published an important piece over at Religion Dispatches today on the Jesuit paleontologist mentioned during the Royal wedding sermon, Teilhard de Chardin:

After Bishop Michael Bruce Curry delivered his sermon at today’s wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, many observers around the world wondered, as one headline put it, “Who was the Jesuit priest mentioned during the Royal Wedding sermon?” On Twitter, many of those familiar with the work of that Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, expressed surprise and joy at the inclusion of a figure whose work had had a warning, or “monitum,” placed on it by the Catholic Church in 1962. Others swooned over one of the quotes mentioned by Bishop Curry: “If humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.”

In fact, a movement has been underway to resurrect, as it were, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as a renewed foundation for theological reflection. According to a November report in America magazine, Pope Francis is already considering removing the “warning” attached to Teilhard’s historical writings, and more recently the National Catholic Reporter reported on an online movement to name him a “doctor of the Church.” Recent scholarly research, however, should cast doubt upon any such movements, as Teilhard’s positive influence may not be able to overcome his commitment to and employment of a philosophy of eugenics and social Darwinism…

Read the rest of his essay at Religion Dispatches!

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