“Since the pleroma is the kingdom of God in its completed form, the properties attributed to it by Scripture must be regarded as specially characteristic of the entire supernatural organism, even if they are to be found only in an ill-defined form in any particular preparatory phase of beatification. Secondly, in no other reality is the physical and personal action of the theandric Christ made manifest to us by revelation more than in the Church triumphant. When we try to sum up the Church’s teaching and the thought of the saints on the innermost nature of beatitude, we find that in heaven both Christ and the elect must be regarded as forming one living whole, disposed in a strict hierarchic pattern. Each elect soul, it is true, possesses God directly, and finds in that unique possession the fulfillment of his own individuality. But, however individual this possession of the divine, this contact, may be, they are not obtained individually. The beatific vision, which illuminates each of the elect for himself alone, is at the same time a collective act performed by the whole mystical organism at once ‘per modum unius potentiae’ (as one single force).”
Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (2002-11-18). Christianity and Evolution (Harvest Book, Hb 276) (Kindle Locations 146-155). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
Dear Mr. Ockham,
I was googling for an informed response by a supporter of Teilhard to von Hildebrand’s scurrilous attack on him in “A False Prophet.”
My interest stems from an article in the current National Catholic Register (an ultramontane U.S. newspaper now owned by EWTN). In his attack on the spirituality of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious—women “without mooring in the heart of Christ and the Church”—one Dan Burke refers to “the incongruous musings of a questionable paleontologist [sic] (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin),” with Teilhard’s name hyperlinked to the von Hildebrand piece.
My Google searches on that topic were unsuccessful. However, Google did reward me with a link to your website.
As it happens, I’m currently dealing with Teilhard’s vision in “And There Was Light,” the chapter on the finality of the Cosmos in my book-in-progress, “Reimagining the Last Things: Heaven is a Civilization.” It had only the quote from Pope Benedict: “It’s the great vision that later Teilhard de Chardin also had: At the end we will have a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living Host.” Now, thanks to you, I not only have a ready store of material from Benedict and others but the added bonus of your interpretations. Thank you.
Leo, thank you for the kind words. Yes, Pope Benedict has long been an admirer of Teilhard de Chardin. I was actually introduced to Teilhard de Chardin when I was reading Benedict’s “Introduction to Christianity”. While others (e.g. Cardinal Henri de Lubac) did the theological groundwork to incorporate Teilhard’s vision into mainstream Catholic theology, Pope Benedict had both the intellectual gravitas and status within the Church to put to rest any lingering doubts. Pope Benedict even went so far as to take Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the Noosphere and place it as a central component of the Catholic Liturgy. Unfortunately, with regard to Teilhard some people have not read or choose to ignore what Benedict has said about him.
Can you please send me a link to the National Catholic Register article? I have not been able to find it. Interestingly, I sat next to Dan Burke at a conference dinner just over a year ago (I am sure he does not remember me). From that meeting I developed a deep respect for him. He is a deeply humble and spiritual person. I admire his work at Catholic Spiritual Direction (http://rcspiritualdirection.com/), (even if some of his co-bloggers ignore the Magisterium and are anti-Teilhard de Chardin). Even though I do not always agree with Dan, I definitely respect him.
Your book sounds fascinating. I look forward to reading it. Do you have a date when it will be available?
We are truly one in Christ and that thought is so awe-some for me as I think of it every time I’m at Mass and the host and wine are consecrated. It is as though I feel the Holy Spirit falling on the body and blood of Jesus and enveloping everyone in the world. Teilhard expresses so well ideas and feelings for which I don’t have the language.