In the American Nuns debate with the Vatican, the role of French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Conscious Evolution” is causing Roman Catholic Church officials to take notice:
To many ears, “conscious evolution” probably sounds like a squishy catchphrase picked up after too much time in a New Age sweat lodge, and that’s pretty much how Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, views it.
The German theologian bluntly told heads of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious last month that the principles of “conscious evolution” — that mankind is transforming through the integration of science, spirituality and technology — are “opposed to Christian Revelation” and lead to “fundamental errors.”
That’s tough talk, and Mueller warned them that if the nuns persist in pursuing such dangerous ideas, Rome could cut them loose…
Teilhard argued, for example, that creation is still evolving and that mankind is changing with it; we are, he said, advancing in an interactive “noosphere” of human thought through an evolutionary process that leads inexorably toward an Omega Point – Jesus Christ — that is pulling all the cosmos to itself.
“Everything that rises must converge,” as Teilhard put it, a phrase so evocative that Flannery O’Connor appropriated it for her story collection. This process of “complexification” — another of his signature terms — is intensifying and Catholic theology could aid in that process if it, too, adapts.
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