“By now, no one would dream of saying that [Teilhard] is a heterodox author who shouldn’t be studied” — Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman (July 2009).
As shown yesterday, the thoughts of Teilhard de Chardin are an important component of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s view of the Eucharist and the Liturgy. In future posts, we will discuss that Teilhard’s theology has been part of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s broader view of Christianity theology. Today, we will focus on Pope Emeritus Benedict’s application of Teilhard’s theology during his pontificate, primarily as part of Benedict’s extraordinary record on the environment.
In 2009, during a Vespers service, Pope Emeritus Benedict was commenting on the relationship between God, creation and humanity, citing Teilhard de Chardin. John Allen of National Catholic Reporter summarizes the speech:
“Toward the end of a reflection upon the Letter to the Romans, in which St. Paul writes that the world itself will one day become a form of living worship, the pope said, “It’s the great vision that Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.
“Let’s pray to the Lord that he help us be priests in this sense,” the pope said, “to help in the transformation of the world in adoration of God, beginning with ourselves.””
I disagree with John Allen’s characterization of the controversy over Teilhard. I believe there is no major controversy in theological circles, only in the communication of this theology to the broader Christian audience. Pope Emeritus Benedict’s comments show the integration of Catholic theology between God, humanity and the obligation to care for creation.