Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (September 1, 2014): Religion and Spirituality


“I was having a comfortable glass of beer with a lieutenant who is a friend of mine, and observing with curiosity the Spanish mission who were loading one another with congratulations around their cups of tea. Our conversation gradually turned to the moral life; and then I saw that my companion was a fervent disciple of the ‘religion of the spirit’. His attitude is this: he believes in our Lord, he reads the gospels constantly, he offers up to God all his actions as so many prayers . . . but he wants no dogma, no ritual, no ‘organized religion’. He’s above all that . . . I tried, without much success, to show him how contradictory his attitude was . . . I pointed out to him that the dilemma is becoming more and more imperative: either integral Catholicism or agnostic liberalism. . .

[W]hile I was talking about ritual and practice and external institutions . . . I couldn’t help feeling the attraction of this apparently more spiritualized form of religion, of a religion that seems to be contained entirely in the heart and will. . . It was then that I remarked that I was behaving just like Isocrates, who killed the spirit of Athens by trying to separate it from its political basis. And I reminded myself, fitting to my case, of this truth . . . that the emancipating spirit of the Church is indissolubly bound up with its existence in an organized body, whatever may be the vulgar corruptions and inconveniences inherent in this incorporation, Vatican intrigues or repository trash. . .  And even if my friend wasn’t convinced, I at least felt more certain in my own mind”.

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Making of a Mind; Letters from a Soldier-Priest, 1914-1919 (p.143) (from letter to Marguerite Teilhard dated November 6, 1916)

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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