Edited by Edmondo Cesarini
|Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
|A “classical” Christian facing TdC
|Jesuit, scientist, unheard prophet
|Square halo of TdC
|Poetry and Mysticism in LoC
|The affective dyad
|TdC and R. Panikkar
|TdC and s. Bonaventure
|TdC and D.Bonheffer
|TdC and P.A. Florenski
|TdC and Th. Merton
|TdC and s. Francis
|TdC and Mohammed Iqbal
|TdC and Sri Aurobindo
|TdC and p. Corradino
|Evolution: some scientific aspects
|Cosmology and evolution
|Evolution, noosphere, synchronicity
|The World’s Liabilities
|The difficult life
|Theodicy of TdC
|From misfortune to grace
|Loss of contemplation
|Coping with change
|New theological paradigm
|A pastoral ministry to be renewed
|Approach to education in LoC
|E-volution and e-ducation
|The morality of movement
|Love and being
|Misericordes sicut pater
|Social and political implications
|TdC’s political thinking
|TdC’s utopian prophecy.
|TdC and federalism
|“Le gout de vivre”
|The work of growth
|Ecotheology in TdC
|For an ethics of evolution
|From the noosphere to the cristosphere
|Noosphere and eschatology
Teilhard and Rome
On November 6, 1948 Father Teilhard de Chardin left Rome after spending the month of October there cordially housed in the Jesuit Generalate House in Borgo Santo Spirito. He had come there to present the manuscript of his The Human Phenomenon and apart from a few visits to St. Peter’s, the French Embassy to the Holy See, and the Gesù Church, he had been working intensively on making notes and minor corrections to meet the critical needs of the reviewers. The work was not approved. His state of mind we can infer from a vehement statement collected by Father D’Ouince; “Basically I agree that the Church (like every living reality after a certain time) is going through a period of “mutation” or “need for reform.”…..However, this fundamental gesture I believe that only Christianity can make, starting from the extraordinary reality of its Risen Christ. I am convinced of this.
It is from a new Christology, extended even to the organic dimensions of the new universe, that the faith of tomorrow is destined to emerge. That said, I see no better means for me to concur in realizing my predictions sze than to work…..in sincere attachment to that Phylum whose development I await……Unquestionably he passes through Rome, at this moment in history, one of the poles-the main ascending pole-of what I call in my language “the hominization”…….ecco, in my opinion the “main experience” that I will bring back from my stay here and which alone was worth the trip.” By this he does not mean that he left without hope for his expectations so much so that in March 1955 he will conclude his important essay Le Christique with this sentence:“It is enough for Truth to appear just once, in a mind, so that nothing more can prevent it from invading and igniting everything.”
In fact, soon after his death, his ideas began to circulate, from Paris to all of Europe, North and South America, China, etc., and study and reflection groups sprang up that sought inspiration and light from his worldview. This choice to continue the deepening of his insights by structuring into Associations is not dictated simply by organizational needs, but is inspired by the idea that reflecting and acting together is to be preferred to individual action. the attitude of collaboration is always productive, enriching: it not only proves useful, but is absolutely adherent to the organic needs of life itself.
The Teilhardian Associations were able to embrace the statements we find in the essay L’atomisme de l’esprit:”The more man appropriately associates himself with other individuals, the more, by synthesis effect, he becomes immersed within himself, becomes aware of himself, and thus personalizes himself. And, on the other hand. the more the collectivity is enriched with elements that through it have become more personalized, the more it “humanizes,” personalizes itself, and lets the Omega point shine through.
Teilhard left Rome on that distant November 6, but I would argue that Teilhard in Rome “is there.” Proof of this is the text we present here, the result of the work of the meetings, spiritual retreats, publications, and participation in conferences, of a group of friends interested in Teilhard.
But Teilhard is also there in high places. I remember with excitement when I went to meet Card, Paul Poupard at his home in the Vatican asking and getting him to come and speak to us about Teilhard at the Conference we were about to hold at the Gregorian University. Which he then did with much benevolence and participation. And I still hear the voice of John Paul I who in the Year of Faith greeted us in a focused way during an audience we were taking part in. Immediately afterwards I wrote to thank him for the greeting and received in return the letter I wish to share with you.
In thanking the authors and editors of this book, I wish it a good circulation and that it may inspire many with the key attitudes of Father Teilhard’s thought: to observe the past in order to intuit the future, to believe in the way in order to see God shining through it so that. we come to make explicit, especially in such difficult times as we are going through, a spirituality that is relevant to each of us and our brothers and sisters.
Annamaria Tassone. “Past President” of the Italian Teilhard de Chardin Association.
In 2011, some Roman friends who had attended a conference on “Teilhard de Chardin and St. Francis” in Assisi decided to continue to meet periodically to deepen their understanding of the Jesuit-scientist’s thought, and – within the limits of their abilities – to disseminate it.
The beauty of the environments where they had the opportunity to meet – the Benedictine abbey of St. Anselm at the Aventine and later Villa Malta, the headquarters of Civiltà Cattolica-probably contributed to the group flourishing: the group grew, activities diversified, meeting moments multiplied, some conferences organized, spiritual meetings experienced.
Overall, a number of texts have been produced on TdC: articles, reports, conferences…. In this book we have collected a number of them, divided by “thematic cores,” also to give a record of the work done.
These are texts of different academic level and cultural origin, but they express the reflections, questions, and research of Christian faithful of good culture, variously also engaged in social and ecclesial spheres, faced with the challenge of the “theological paradigm shift” represented by the Jesuit scientist’s thought.
They present a plurality of voices, different angles of reading perhaps of the same topic, various levels of analysis of certain issues, etc… in some ways it is the testimony of how the group worked in the research on Teilhard de Chardin, dialoguing, confronting each other, proposing reflections, manifesting their experience.
Within the group, needs were also generated for in-depth study of Teilhardian thought, with particular attention to the implications on the future of man that such thinking presents: the current crisis we are experiencing-biological and social-also forces us to reflect on “what lies ahead”: the past and the present valid only as tools for investigating the future. The TdC Center for the Study of the Future of Man is the result of such needs….
The texts are grouped, as mentioned, by “thematic cores” (those that most sparked the interest and reflection of the Roman group), which constitute the following “sections” of the book:
Sec A: A meeting with TdC. The novelty of his thought, even in comparison with other thinkers, his humanity.
Sec B: Evolution. Syntropy, the ‘Attractor, almost a scientific-mathematical theorization of Evolution
Sec C: Evil and Sin. Teilhard’s answer to the fundamental question unde malum?
Sec D: Living Evolution. Contribute to Evolution with our lives, personal, social, political.
Sec E: Metahistorical evolution. Whether Evolution is all included in historical time or even outside of it, in the so-called “Beyond”
In some passages or titling, for brevity or aesthetics of writing, the acronym “TdC” has been used to refer to Teilhard de Chardin (as is often the case in writings)
I would like to sincerely thank all the authors for authorizing the publication of their texts, and sometimes for putting up with my insistence on revising them….
And also, particularly:
Paolo Trianni, who – with difficulty – convinced me to commit to editing the collection of texts published here.
Marco Galloni, always willing to discuss and advise me on the contents of the book.
Ulysses Di Corpo, without whose friendly and dedicated editing work this book would not have been published.
To get in touch with one or more of the authors one can contact the curator of the collection, Edmondo Cesarini,
From the decades-long activity of Roman friends of Teilhard de Chardin, dedicated to the study of his thought, texts have been collected – of different academic level and cultural background – expressing the reflections, questions, and research of Christian faithful of good culture, variously also engaged in the social and ecclesial spheres, faced with the challenge of the “theological paradigm shift” represented by the Jesuit scientist’s thought.
In this limited but very concrete and lived sense, we think-and hope-that this book may be of interest to those who want to learn about Teilhard de Chardin, and contribute to an initial or in-depth
Teilhard de Chardin
A choral book between history, meta-history and science
By Paolo Trianni*
The volume edited by Edmondo Cesarini Un incontro conTeilhard de Chardin (Amazon,2022, €15, on sale atAdista) is an essay that stands out among the many publications devoted to the work and figure of PierreTeilhard De Chardin. This collected volume, in fact, is not a biography, is not an in-depth study of any particular writing of his, and is not even related to the decades-long debate pitting the French Jesuit’s admirers against his opponents. The present essay, as the title also states, aspires to propose an “encounter with Teilhard,” because it is the end result of meetings held on a regular basis where various scholars have addressed and debated different aspects of Teilhard’s work.The texts contained in the volume are therefore varied and of different levels. They express reflections, questions and research prompted by the thought of Teilhard de Chardin and his Christianity that changed the theological paradigm of the 20th century. Precisely because it is an expression of a chorus of authors from different backgrounds, it is not only an academic essay, but also a spiritual and pastoral work, testifying to how Teilhard de Chardin’s theological and ecclesial vision is “lived” as well as “thought.” Cesarini’s collected contributions are organized by “thematic sections.” In the first one compares the figure of Teilhard de Chardin with that of other thinkers such as R. Panikkar, T.Merton, P. Florensky, Aurobindo, Mohammed Iqbal and others.
Particularly insightful is the comparison between Teilhard de Chardin and Floresnkij, two Christian scientific minds who were close in theological sensitivity despite living in far-flung historical and geographical contexts. This section, through the recovery of a journalistic archive from the early 1960s, also documents how Teilhardian thought was received in its first appearance.
In other sections, space is then given to syntropy, the theory of the great mathematician Luigi Fantappiè, a contemporary of Teilhard, who seems to have worked out the mathematical version of the evolutionary conception. The subject of evil and Teilhard’s answer to the fundamental question of “unde malum” is then explored.
The section titled “Living Evolution,” is the most substantial section of the book and in many ways the most significant. The authors consider whether and how Teilhardian evolutionary thought can affect the daily lives of individuals in communities; how it should be taken up in the educational ministry of the church; and how Teilhardian “movement morality” leads to a renewal of the ethics, social and political implications of the evolutionary idea. In conclusion, “creation care”-now called ecosophy-is also dealt with, which is a topic closely related to the process of creation growth.
The section with the theme “Future of Evolution,” addresses various topics including “transhumanism” and its possible Christian declension. Another issue addressed is the little-debated question of whether Evolution is all to be understood in the earthly temporal dimension (history) or even beyond it (metahistory).
Finally, it is worth noting how the book contains an explicit request for the Church’s magisterium to take on Teilhardian thought in pastoral care. It is suggested, in this regard, that the various testimonies attesting to how the Teilhardi evolutionary conception influenced and directed their existence are valued. The editorship contains precisely the introductions of the many authors who contributed to the volume, who are not only academics, but also social and political workers, engaged in pastoral care, entrepreneurs, economists, administrators, scientists and psychologists, explicitly testifying, how the idea of evolution connected to the law of complexity consciousness and the Christ Evolver translates into the social, economic and political scenarios.
*Lecturer at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
The review is from Adista May 28, 2022 – No. 19
An encounter with Teilhard de Chardin
(Amazon, 2022, €15, on sale at Adista)