Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke on the Catholic “Man-crisis” and what to do about it

The state of men in the Catholic Church is a subject seldom touched upon nowadays, where women are screaming out for their own new found ‘rights’. Yet it is evident that when men start leaving the Church, perhaps finding the messages preached from the pulpit becoming increasingly de-masculinised, and parishes often run solely by women (who will sometimes even boss around the parish priest), the whole structure of the Church is left lop-sided. Our illustrious Cardinal Burke once more highlights where some of these problems lie and how we should overcome them.

From Matthew James Christoff of the New Emangelization Project – Drawing Men to Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church


Recently, I had the great honor to have an audience with His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke to discuss the state of Catholic men in the United States.

Here is the full transcript:

Matthew James Christoff of the New Emangelization Project: Your Eminence, we are delighted and blessed to be here with you. Today, we are here to talk about the state of Catholic men in the United States and how we might draw more men into the New Evangelization. Maybe to start, how would Your Eminence describe the state of men in the Catholic Church today?

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke: I think there has been a great confusion with regard to the specific vocation of men in marriage and of men in general in the Church during the past 50 years or so. It’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.

Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men; the importance of the father, whether in the union of marriage or not; the importance of a father to children; the importance of fatherhood for priests; the critical impact of a manly character; the emphasis on the particular gifts that God gives to men for the good of the whole society.

The goodness and importance of men became very obscured, and for all practical purposes, were not emphasized at all. This is despite the fact that it was a long tradition in the Church, especially through the devotion of St. Joseph, to stress the manly character of the man who sacrifices his life for the sake of the home, who prepares with chivalry to defend his wife and his children and who works to provide the livelihood for the family. So much of this tradition of heralding the heroic nature of manhood has been lost in the Church today.

All of those virtuous characteristics of the male sex are very important for a child to observe as they grow up and mature. The healthy relationship with the father helps the child to prepare to move from the intimate love of the mother, building a discipline so that the child can avoid excessive self‑love. This ensures that the child is able to identify himself or herself properly as a person in relationship with others; this is critical for both boys and girls.

A child’s relationship with their father is key to a child’s self‑identification, which takes places when we are growing up. We need that very close and affirming relationship with the mother, but at the same time, it is the relationship with the father, which is of its nature more distant but not less loving, which disciplines our lives. It teaches a child to lead a selfless life, ready to embrace whatever sacrifices are necessary to be true to God and to one another.

I recall in the mid-1970’s, young men telling me that they were, in a certain way, frightened by marriage because of the radicalizing and self-focused attitudes of women that were emerging at that time. These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women. These divisions between women and men have gotten worse since then.

Everyone understands that women have and can be abused by men. Men who abuse women are not true men, but false men who have violated their own manly character by being abusive to women.

The crisis between man and woman has been made much worse by a complete collapse of catechesis in the Church. Young men grew up without proper instruction with regard to their faith and to the knowledge of their vocation. Young men were not being taught that they are made in the image of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These young men were not taught to know all those virtues that are necessary in order to be a man and to fulfill the particular gifts of being male.

Making things worse, there was a very fluffy, superficial kind of catechetical approach to the question of human sexuality and the nature of the marital relationship.

At the same time, in society, there came an explosion of pornography, which is particularly corrosive for men because it terribly distorts the whole reality of human sexuality. It leads men and women to view their human sexuality apart from a relationship between a man and woman in marriage.

In truth, the gift of sexual attraction is directed toward marriage, and any kind of sexual union belongs properly only within marriage. But the whole world of pornography corrupts young people into believing that their sexual capacity is for their own entertainment and pleasure, and becomes a consuming lust, which is one of the seven capital sins.

The gift of human sexuality is turned into a means of self‑gratification often at the expense of another person, whether in heterosexual relations or in homosexual relations. A man who has not been formed with a proper identity as a man and as a father figure will ultimately become very unhappy. These poorly formed men become addicted to pornography, sexual promiscuity, alcohol, drugs, and the whole gamut of addictions. Also, in this whole mix…am I talking too much?

Matthew: No, no. [laughs]

Read the rest of this wonderful interview on this important subject here.

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16 Responses to Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke on the Catholic “Man-crisis” and what to do about it

  1. I absolutely agree with Cardinal Burke on the crisis of manhood in Western society and the critique that the Church has not sufficiently addressed it (even if I may disagree on the causes of the crisis). I applaud Cardinal Burke for raising this issue. In the United States, there are some bright spots. For the last three years, I have been involved with That Man is You! (TMIY), a Catholic program organized by Paradisus Dei, that focuses on the formation of men as husbands and fathers. According to the Paradisus Dei website:

    “That Man is You! is an interactive, multimedia men’s program focused upon the development of authentic male leadership. Over the course of three years, That Man is You! successively considers men in their relationship to God, to their spouse and to their children.”

    If there is anyone in the United States interested in learning more about TMIY or anyone outside the United States interested in starting similar, I encourage you to check out the website and video below:

    W. Ockham

    (Don’t worry Kathleen; this is not a Trojan Horse 🙂 The video on the site includes endorsements by Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Chaput among others)


  2. kathleen says:

    Thank you William – I see it is no “Trojan Horse” indeed 😉 but a healthy and wholesome Catholic programme aimed at giving men an awareness of how important their masculine qualities are to raising a Catholic family… and of course in all areas of the Church today and always. The Faith is a gift and it is wonderful to see so many men discover (or rediscover) the ‘pearl of great price’ in the USA through this programme.

    You say you disagree with Cardinal Burke on “the causes of the crisis”…. May I ask you what you would say were the causes then? It seems to me that he absolutely hits the nail on the head in pointing out where each and every cause lies. (This is just a question asked out of genuine curiosity, nothing more! 🙂 )


  3. Kathleen, thank you for the invitation to address Cardinal Burke’s diagnosis. The question and answer deserve more time than I am able to devote at the moment, but I hope to do so tomorrow.

    W. Ockham


  4. reinkat says:

    Good, pertinent post. I look forward to Mr. Ockham’s response. I agreed very much with the Cardinal, would love to hear more input. But I think television played, and continues to play, a huge part in this area, influenced by political correctness in all things.


  5. A friend once said, “It takes strong and courageous men to support and stand up for women, but it also takes strong and courageous women to support and stand up for men.”


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  7. [Note to Moderators: The response is longer than I anticipated and a bit long for a comment. If you deem it appropriate, feel free to include in a post, as well any responses you may have]

    Kathleen, at. al:

    Apologies about the delay in responding. Life intervened.

    At the outset, I would say that there are a number of areas where I agree with Cardinal Burke. I definitely agree on his core notion that modern Western society has not adequately addressed the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs of men. Values such as primacy of the love of Christ as manifested by qualities of service to wife, children and neighbor (in the broadest sense) are often given short-shrift. The role the father plays in the formation of children is critically important; all too often in modern Western society, fathers are viewed as mere economic units rather than models of love and service. Programs such as That Man is You! (the one I mentioned above) are examples of how the Church is stepping in to fill that gap. It is noteworthy that TMIY was founded and is run (both financially and operationally) entirely by lay people. While TMIY certainly has the support of the clergy, TMIY is a great example of how, consistent with Vatican II, the Catholic Church is an organization that encompasses all of the baptized and how the Holy Spirit is can move individuals to do great things.

    I also agree with Cardinal Burke on a couple of the causes he cites. First, the primary cause of societal decay is consumerism and materialism, which degrades human beings and all of God’s creation to merely economic products units. As Cardinal Burke stated:

    “The culture has become very materialistic and consumer-focused, the pursuit of which has led father, and often the mother, to work long hours. The consumer mentality has also led to the idea that children’s lives had to be filled with activity: school, sports and music and all kinds of activities every night of the week.”

    This is absolutely true. I am as guilty as anyone in that regard as I do work long hours, I am fortunate to have a solid income but all too often my identity is wrapped up in my career. My children are busy every night with school and activities. We simply do not spend enough time together as a family. We have taken steps to mitigate this sins. I try to have breakfast every morning with my children so we can talk. I try to model an active faith life. My wife who is highly educated (Law Degree, Masters Degree) is a stay-at-home Mother to be able to spend more time with our children. However, modern Western society puts tremendous pressures on the family. TMIY is an example of how the Church can provide spiritual and practical support for men navigating these dangers.

    Second, I agree that the state of catechism teaching and theological literacy among Catholics is poor. As an example, there are still those who continue to believe that Teilhard de Chardin is outside of mainstream Catholic thought despite definitive statements from authorities such as Pope Benedict XVI, St. John Paul II, Cardinal Henri de Lubac, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, etc. :-). In addition to poor education and theology, there remains lack of attention on the spiritual life, both practices within the community such as the Eucharist, Penance and Divine Office and personal prayer such as rosary, contemplation and lectio divina.

    Unfortunately, despite some of the good and insightful comments made by Cardinal Burke, as a whole the interview has not been helpful in promoting Christian evangelization. I strongly disagree his statement that “the radical feminist movement” (whatever that is; Cardinal Burke never defines the term and seems to use it as a pejorative bogeyman) “strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men”.

    This statement at the very outset of the article is not only inflammatory, it is blatantly incorrect. Cardinal Burke loses credibility with that statement. Not to mention the deep irony in at least half a dozen articles I saw that juxtaposed Cardinal Burke’s call for an increase in masculinity with his wardrobe.

    Contrary to Cardinal Burke’s claims, the Church has been at least as slow in responding to the needs of women as it has been to men. The same causes of a materialistic, consumeristic culture and lack of theological education apply to women as well as men. However, women are often affected more deeply as they are often treated as sex objects in mainstream advertising and culture; women are often viewed as mere objects to serve the needs of men. The Church has a lot to say about inherent human dignity, especially the intelligence, the courage, the compassion that women have but it has not sufficiently done so. Indeed, actions in the United States such as awkward investigation of the LCWR and incorrect comments by the USCCB about mainstream theologians such as Elizabeth Johnson contribute to the narrative that the Church is hostile to women. Cardinal Burke’s comments that the Church has actually focused too much on women are laughable and unbecoming of a Cardinal.

    Women face tremendous pressures of balancing career and family that are uniquely different from the challenges men face. Moreover, they are awash in a culture that treats them as sex objects and a Church that is seen as hostile to their needs. We need more people in the Church, both women and men clearly speaking about these needs, not implicitly belittling them as Cardinal Burke has done.

    In summary, I agree with some of the points Cardinal Burke makes. Unfortunately, these valid comments are drowned out by his inflammatory and inaccurate comments about women and the headlines his interview has generated is both inaccurate and harmful to the Church.

    Peace in Christ,
    W. Ockham


  8. kathleen says:

    William, whilst I thank you for the trouble you have taken to respond to my question, I must say that I reject, strongly, some of the things you state here.

    First of all, I find it really surprising that you do not seem to know what “the radical feminist movement” is, saying that Cardinal Burke does not “define the term”!!! He doesn’t need to of course; such a definition would be redundant to traditional Catholics who know only too well what this anti-male, anti-life, anti-Catholic Church, and totally un-feminine Movement is all about. Just for starters, don’t you have the belligerent, aggressive FEMEN groups in the US? These extremists have staged hundreds of foul and shocking attacks on churches, clergy, faithful laity and holy shrines over here in most European countries. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the “radical feminist movement” (even those who are not members of FEMEN) stands for women’s ‘rights’ or anything even closely resembling the good of women. In fact it is exactly the opposite; they pour scorn on everything surrounding the beauty of femininity in women. It is also a blatantly prideful movement… and is not the sin of ‘pride’ always at the root of all evil?

    I do not agree either when you say that “the Church has been at least as slow in responding to the needs of women as it has been to men”, if by this you mean that these “needs of women” imply they should be more ‘involved’ in doing the things that are designed solely for men.
    Catholic women are not downtrodden or disregarded in any way (and there are plenty of things that both men and women can participate in together anyway, whilst others simply can not be) but this, I’m afraid, is the great mistaken view that many liberals in the Church today hold to.

    As a traditional Catholic woman (and I am no shrinking violet, I can assure you), I can say with certainty that we are often the first to stipulate that we do not want women taking over the sanctuary!! Ask St. Jean d’Arc, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila… and closer to our time, Mother Angelica, Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, apologist Barbara McGuigan, journalist and speaker Joanna Bogle, etc. etc., if they ever found being members of the female sex was an impediment to fulfilling their ambitions to live and spread the Faith!
    Really William – fancy giving the name of the hard-line feminist Elizabeth Johnson as an example of how women are “disregarded”! Can you not recognise that many of this woman’s radical views and unorthodox teachings are wrong and a danger to the Faith? All the bishops did was to denounce these – as so they should.

    I’m sorry, but it is ridiculous to say that “women serve the needs of men”… Women are happy to serve the needs of God and His Bride, the Church! It is a blessing to be asked to give a hand to help here and there. Besides, no woman is forced to fulfill any “need” if she doesn’t want to. (Men could just as well say they “serve the needs of women” in the many maintenance and organisational jobs they do in the church that women generally prefer to avoid.) And take note: the priest (a man) serves the greatest needs of all the faithful, both men and women.

    Then there is this from you: “there are still those who continue to believe that Teilhard de Chardin is outside of mainstream Catholic thought”! Indeed we do – very much so; we not only “believe” this, we know it, for we can see for ourselves that Chardin grew to reject pretty well everything the Church teaches. All the evidence of his life of increasingly pantheistic-thinking in his spoken words and writings, proves he was the perfect example of a Modernist! He was adopted as the idol of the New Age Movement, not because he was an orthodox Catholic priest (of course), but precisely because his ideas echoed the New Age ideas so perfectly that role all religions into one, with no fixed doctrines or dogmas.
    But yes, Teilhard de Chardin had been ordained a Jesuit priest, and in a lifetime of proliferous writing it is not surprising that he may have written some things (especially in the early days) that could be quoted by the Popes and theologians you mention. However, in his own words he also said such appalling, heretical and brazen things as: “I am essentially Pantheist in my thinking and in my temperament”, and “I do not think God should be worshipped” and “Very definitely there was no Adam and Eve and no Original Sin”!! By the time of his death he had completely lost his faith, according to some who knew him well – hardly surprising when one looks at the evidence!

    Finally, I find your criticism of one of the Church’s most outstanding cardinals both offensive and erroneous.


  9. I am aware of the sense in which Bill used the term ‘Trojan Horse.’
    However the old use of that term describes the method and tools used by the foe from without, to introduce chaos and mayhem to those within.
    Despite what he say, I suggest that Bill has used these pages to deliberately introduce his Trojan horse of erroneous and modernist propaganda, surreptitiously into the body of Christ in a manner similar to those ‘enemies’ of old.
    He is a child of all that is wrong with Vat II.
    Bill should be given free rein on this site. It wont be long before he reveals his true colours.
    Teilhard de Chardin? give us a break. He was a fraud and everyone, except Bill, knows it.


  10. kathleen says:

    “Teilhard de Chardin? give us a break. He was a fraud and everyone, except Bill, knows it.”

    He most certainly was Geoff!
    Unfortunately I don’t think William Ockham [Bill] is the only one who is unaware of how fraudulent, and downright subversive to the True Faith, the utterances of this Modernist priest truly were, or how he cunningly managed to charm and hoodwink an amazing number of followers! Part of his success must be attributed to the ideal times he lived his Modernist-cum-New Age ‘bubble’ (especially in his later years) in an ambience of a liberal build-up, a bubble that finally burst in the immediate crazy aftermath of Vatican II – thus spewing out its errors far and wide.

    Pope Benedict’s comment lauding one innocuous quote of Teilhard de Chardin, is not an endorsement of TdC, but only the extraction of a small element that can be applied analogously in support of an orthodox view of the liturgy. Practically everything else of TdC’s philosophical-theology is the sine qua non of Modernism and thoroughly heterodox and even heretical, as when he denies Original Sin and sees the historical circumstances of all world religions moving toward an ultimate Hegelian unity.[This paragraph adapted from a commenter on another blog on the subject!]

    Pius VI in Auctorem Fidei said manifest heretics typically contradict themselves, or make true statements in the mists of teaching their heresies. If heretics sometimes say things that are true or even contradict their heresies, that does not excuse the fact they are heretics.


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  12. ….and Bill makes no attempt to justify his comments about Teilhard de Chardin. May be the penny has dropped. His assertions, about TdC do nothing to help his cause. except perhaps to shoot it full of holes.
    Come on Bill give us something about him that would save him from the un-believable


  13. Kathleen and Geoff:

    I have refrained from contributing further to these comments as I did believe it was productive as the focus has turned away from the substance of Cardinal Burke’s diagnosis towards a different direction. Moreover, I believe it is very unhelpful to the cause of Catholic evangelization to have Catholics disagree in an uncharitable and uncivil manner (unfortunately, I am all too guilty of this and it something I pray for the Lord’s help with).

    However, one of Cardinal Burke’s accurate diagnosis is a poor theological understanding among Catholics. As Bill graciously opened the door for a brief statement on Teilhard, I will humbly accept the offer to contribute to the Church’s formal understanding of Teilhard de Chardin. I will limit my resources to direct statements made by or on behalf of popes (Benedict XVI and John Paul II) and Cardinals (de Lubac, Dulles, Casaroli and Schönborn), along with citations. Of course there are numerous similar statements made by other prominent Catholic theologians but I believe it most efficient to limit statements to those made by successors to St. Peter and the other apostles in senior leadership positions as they are the ones responsible for determining the official teachings of the Church. I accept their teachings and do not substitute my judgment for theirs. In summary, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI said: “By now, no one would dream of saying that [Teilhard] is a heterodox author who shouldn’t be studied”.

    1. Pope Benedict XVI on Teilhard’s thought as mainstream Catholicism:

    “It must be regarded as an important service of Teilhard de Chardin’s that he rethought these ideas from the angle of the modern view of the world and, in spite of a not entirely unobjectionable tendency toward the biological approach, nevertheless on the whole grasped them correctly and in any case made them accessible once again. Let us listen to his own words: The human monad “can only be absolutely itself by ceasing to be alone”. In the background is the idea that in the cosmos, alongside the two orders or classes of the infinitely small and the infinitely big, there is a third order, which determines the real drift of evolution, namely, the order of the infinitely complex. It is the real goal of the ascending process of growth or becoming; it reaches a first peak in the genesis of living things and then continues to advance to those highly complex creations that give the cosmos a new center: “Imperceptible and accidental as the position they hold may be in the history of the heavenly bodies, in the last analysis the planets are nothing less than the vital points of the universe. It is through them that the axis now runs, on them is henceforth concentrated the main effort of an evolution aiming principally at the production of large molecules.” The examination of the world by the dynamic criterion of complexity thus signifies “a complete inversion of values. A reversal of the perspective…

    This leads to a further passage in Teilhard de Chardin that is worth quoting in order to give at least some indication here, by means of a few fragmentary excerpts, of his general outlook. “The Universal Energy must be a Thinking Energy if it is not to be less highly evolved than the ends animated by its action. And consequently … the attributes of cosmic value with which it is surrounded in our modern eyes do not affect in the slightest the necessity obliging us to recognize in it a transcendent form of Personality.”

    Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal; Pope Benedict XVI; Benedict; J. R. Foster; Michael J. Miller (2010-06-04). Introduction To Christianity, 2nd Edition (Kindle Locations 2840-2865). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

    2. Pope Benedict XVI on Teilhard’s vision as a central component of the Catholic Eucharist:

    “And so we can now say that the goal of worship and the goal of creation as a whole are one and the same—divinization, a world of freedom and love. But this means that the historical makes its appearance in the cosmic. The cosmos is not a kind of closed building, a stationary container in which history may by chance take place. It is itself movement, from its one beginning to its one end. In a sense, creation is history. Against the background of the modern evolutionary world view, Teilhard de Chardin depicted the cosmos as a process of ascent, a series of unions. From very simple beginnings the path leads to ever greater and more complex unities, in which multiplicity is not abolished but merged into a growing synthesis, leading to the “Noosphere”, in which spirit and its understanding embrace the whole and are blended into a kind of living organism. Invoking the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, Teilhard looks on Christ as the energy that strives toward the Noosphere and finally incorporates everything in its “fullness’. From here Teilhard went on to give a new meaning to Christian worship: the transubstantiated Host is the anticipation of the transformation and divinization of matter in the christological “fullness”. In his view, the Eucharist provides the movement of the cosmos with its direction; it anticipates its goal and at the same time urges it on.”

    Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal; Pope Benedict XVI (2009-06-11). The Spirit of the Liturgy (Kindle Locations 260–270). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

    3. Pope Benedict’s Statement on Teilhard’s Eucharistic Vision

    “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.”

    — Pope Benedict XVI’s statement at Vespers on July 24, 2009.

    4. Cardinal Avery Dulles on Teilhard’s vision on the Eucharist:

    “In his own poetic style, the French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin liked to meditate on the Eucharist as the firstfruits of the new creation. In an essay called The Monstrance he describes how, kneeling in prayer, he had a sensation that the Host was beginning to grow until at last, through its mysterious expansion, ‘the whole world had become incandescent, had itself become like a single giant Host.’ Although it would probably be incorrect to imagine that the universe will eventually be transubstantiated, Teilhard correctly identified the connection between the Eucharist and the final glorification of the cosmos.”

    Cardinal Dulles’ Speech: “A Eucharistic Church: The Vision of John Paul II” – McGinley Lecture, University, November 10, 2004

    5. Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, writing on on behalf of Pope John Paul II, on Teilhard’s contribution to the New Catholic Evangelization:

    “What our contemporaries will undoubtedly remember, beyond the difficulties of conception and deficiencies of expression in this audacious attempt to reach a synthesis, is the testimomy of the coherent life of a man possessed by Christ in the depths of his soul. He was concerned with honoring both faith and reason, and anticipated the response to John Paul II’s appeal: ‘Be not afraid, open, open wide to Christ the doors of the immense domains of culture, civilization, and progress.

    Letter from Cardinal Casaroli dated May 12, 1981 that was published on the first page of the Vatican Newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano.

    6. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn on Teilhard’s Contribution to Catholic Thought:

    “Hardly anyone else has tried to bring together the knowledge of Christ and the idea of evolution as the scientist (paleontologist) and theologian Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., has done. … His fascinating vision … has represented a great hope, the hope that faith in Christ and a scientific approach to the world can be brought together. … These brief references to Teilhard cannot do justice to his efforts. The fascination which Teilhard de Chardin exercised for an entire generation stemmed from his radical manner of looking at science and Christian faith together.”

    Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith, Ignatian Press (2007).

    I offer this humbly in the spirit of friendship and theological education. You may or may not like the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin, but there is no doubt that his ideas have been endorsed by the leaders of the Church.

    Peace in Christ,
    W. Ockham


  14. kathleen says:

    @ William

    Thank you for your reply… and no, I do not think you have been uncivil at all, or uncharitable either, and it is gratifying to be able to discuss a topic like this (Teilhard de Chardin) with someone with whom I totally disagree and not find myself blasted with insults. 🙂
    Anyway, I usually try to keep my time spent on the internet (including commenting) to a minimum on the Lord’s day, but couldn’t resist coming back to you on this one!

    First of all, how can one deny that Teilhard de Chardin was ordered by Rome time and again (and even by his own Jesuit order) to desist from teaching owing to the wackiness of some of his ideas? The 1962 ‘monitum’, or official warning, placed on his writings by the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office is still in place:

    That Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have quoted from some of his more innocuous writings is, I admit, rather disconcerting, given the clear direction Teilhard de Chardin took away from orthodoxy, but such things have been done in the past, as when Pope Leo XIII praised Origen, (another polemical figure). Besides, Pope JPII, although a great pope in very many ways, also made some bad judgements during his long papacy, especially near the end; e.g. at the Assisi debacle, his failure to listen to advice given to him over the grave sexual misconduct of his friend, Marcial Marciel (founder of the Legion of Christ), etc.

    Cardinal Henri de Lubac was an intimate friend of Teilhard de Chardin… and we all know how love can blind us sometimes, don’t we? 😉
    In a letter highlighting his concerns about Pere Teilhard de Chardin, the renown philosopher Etienne Gilson wrote to Cardinal De Lubac:
    “You can’t get any benefit or enlightenment from thinking about Teilhard. The ravages that he has wrought that I have witnessed are horrifying. I do everything I can to avoid having to talk about him. People are not content with just teaching him, they preach him. They use him like a siege engine to undermine the Church from within (I am not kidding) and I, for one, want no part of this destructive scheme.”

    As for Cardinal Schönborn whom you quote – he is a follower of the largely discredited Cardinal Kasper, and has always bowed too much to public opinion, so it does not surprise me to hear he is an admirer of TdC. Schönborn has allowed some way-out liturgical excesses to take place in Austria… in the futile hope of attracting people to the Church; and he has campaigned in favour of divorced and re-married people receiving Holy Communion, in total defiance of the clear Catholic teaching on this matter.

    And no one can deny the integrity of the great philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand who saw right through the fraudulent ideas of Teilhard de Chardin. Von Hildebrand devotes a long appendix to TdC in his “Trojan Horse in the City of God” after going to one of his lectures, meeting him afterwards, and later investigating his work:
    “Teilhard’s lecture was a great disappointment, for it manifested utter philosophical confusion, especially in his conception of the human person. I was even more upset by his theological primitiveness. He ignored completely the decisive difference between nature and supernature. After a lively discussion in which I ventured a criticism of his ideas, I had an opportunity to speak to Teilhard privately. When our talk touched on St. Augustine, he exclaimed violently: “Don’t mention that unfortunate man; he spoiled everything by introducing the supernatural.” This remark confirmed the impression I had gained of the crass naturalism of his views, but it also struck me in another way. The criticism of St. Augustine, the greatest of the Fathers of the Church, betrayed Teilhard’s lack of a genuine sense of intellectual and spiritual grandeur…”
    Dietrich von Hildebrand then goes on to explain in a detailed way how each and every aspect of Teilhard’s mindset is a total antithesis to all Catholic doctrines.
    “Teilhard’s theories are based in equivocations…”

    You won’t find many devotees to Teilhard de Chardin on our traditional Catholic blog William, for TdC was not a traditional Catholic himself. For goodness sake – he denied Original Sin!! How can anyone who holds to the fullness of Revealed Truth deny this fundamental Catholic teaching?

    God bless.


  15. Many thanks, Kathleen, for your comments on Teilhard and for your reference to Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thinking about him. These have all brought much needed clarity to the confusion in my thoughts about Teilhard.


  16. Oh that the comments above were prefaced by ‘William Ockham’ and not Robert John Bennett. For a split second I thought they had been.
    I agree that it is unhelpful to ‘have Catholic’s disagree in an uncharitable and uncivil manner’. I fear that Bill may have felt that from my comments. I apologise for that and I will try a little harder next time.
    Bravo however to Kathleen…


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