A Good Film on Teilhard de Chardin Now Available

Recently, I watched a new movie on Teilhard de Chardin.*  It was very well done and devoted a lot of time to the story of Teilhard, including his important relationships with women in his life.  And also how much he suffered from his treatment by Rome and his Jesuit Order which forbade him to publish any of his books in his lifetime. 

Just ten people attended his funeral in New York (including two Jesuits).  But because he had left his manuscripts to a lay woman and not his Order, just four months after his death his first book came out, The Phenomenon of Man.  And then others.  He has come gradually to be recognized as the great scientist, mystic and soul that he was.

Sister Jose Hobday, my Seneca friend, told me how when she taught at the Jesuit seminary near Teilhard’s grave ten years after he died, she told the novices one day, “tomorrow is the feast day of Teilhard’s death, so let’s go to his grave to commemorate him.”  They responded, “Who is Teilhard?” 

Grave of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the Jesuit cemetery at the Culinary Institute of America, former Jesuit Novitiate in Poughkeepsie, New York, USA. Wikimedia Commons

Teilhard’s significance was large at Vatican II and Pope Francis cited him in Laudato Si.  Of course he was a great influence on Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and Creation Spirituality.  After all, it was he who resuscitated the “Cosmic Christ” concept lost in great part during enlightenment Christianity.   

In my major study on that topic, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, I include his observation that “this third nature of Christ (neither human nor divine, but cosmic)—has not noticeably attracted the explicit attention of the faithful or of theologians.” 

Sadly, Teilhard did not live to see his books published or interact with people reading them.  His passion was to marry religion and science once again.  Evolution—“that magic word” as he put it.

Yaling Wu from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences read an excerpt of ‘The Mass on the World’ (La Messe sur le monde) by Teilhard de Chardin. Video by eRenlai Ricci.

He brought alive important concepts of “noosphere” and “omega point” and the “divine milieu.”   His passion for ritual–his “Mass of the Earth”– paved the way for our “Cosmic Mass.”  

One lesson from the movie was how significant his work as a scientist was, especially his work on the Peking Man that had just been discovered in China.  

In his long exile in China (including being under house arrest during the Japanese occupation in WWII), he helped develop a generation of Chinese paleontologists—so much so that a statue stands of him in China to this day.  

To be continued.

* https://www.pbs.org/video/teilhard-visionary-scientist-pt9dc1

See Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance, p. 77.

And Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, pp. 161f., 185, 321, 363-373, 381, 390, 425, 442, 448.

And Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake, Natural GraceDialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science . 

And Matthew Fox and Brian Swimme, Manifesto for a Global Civilization.

Banner Image: The history of nature from the Big Bang to the present day, shown graphically in a spiral with notable events annotated. Every billion years (Ga) is represented by 90 degrees of rotation of the spiral. Image by Pablo Carlos Budassi with the help of the evolutionary biology researcher Professor Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, on Wikimedia Commons.

When did you learn of Teilhard de Chardin?  Has he played a role in your spiritual journey?

Recommended Reading

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

Natural Grace: Dialogues on Creation, Darkness, and the Soul in Spirituality and Science 
by Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake

Natural Grace, a 208 page inspired dialogue between theologian Matthew Fox and scientist Rupert Sheldrake, unites wisdom and knowledge from unconventional angles. Considering themselves heretics in their own fields, Matthew and Rupert engage the conversation from postmodern and post-postmodern perspectives, deconstructing both religion and science—while setting the foundation for a new emerging worldview. Having outgrown the paradigms in which they were raised, both Fox and Sheldrake see it as part of their life missions to share the natural synthesis of spirituality and science rooted in a paradigm of evolutionary cosmology.

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9 thoughts on “A Good Film on Teilhard de Chardin Now Available”

  1. Avatar

    I was fortunate to learn of Teilhard in college 50 years ago. I was drawn to his vision and in a way he’s been with me ever since in my unfolding spiritual journey.
    One note on yesterday’s DM: Matthew Fox, even if you never wrote another word you’ve created an archive that’s a deep well of blessings for all of us. With love ????

  2. Avatar

    I became aware of Teilhard de Chardin through a few of the books by Ilia Delio, a Franciscan female theologian and director of Center for Christogenesis (several of her video talks are available on YouTube Subscriptions under this title of her center). Her most recent book which I plan to buy is “The Not-Yet God: Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Relational Whole” (2023). It was the works and mystical ideas of Carl Jung that inspired my forty year career as a clinical social worker until I retired in 2015. I continue to study and be inspired by the mystics, including Teilhard de Chardin, on my spiritual journey.

  3. Avatar

    I found Teilhard de Chardin in 1990 the same year I found you, Matthew, Thomas Merton and John O’Donohue. It was the summer after my divorce. I was in search of the divine masculine!!
    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank one of our readers for this wonderful gesture:

    Dear Ellen Kennedy,
    Lynne has made a gracious $100 donation to Matthew Fox Legacy Project in honor of Ellen Kennedy.
    Message: Ellen, I am so grateful that you introduced me to Matthew’s Daily Meditations, as well as to Sacred Dance. Both have greatly inspired my spiritual life! Lynne G.
    Warm regards,
    Matthew Fox Legacy Project

    Ellen Kennedy, DM Team

  4. Avatar

    When I was in high school in the mid-sixties, the nun who taught us religion would rave about some guy named Teilhard de Chardin. Of course, all of us 16-17 year olds would roll our eyes and zone out. Years later (probably in some of your writings Matthew) I heard that name again and was struck by lightning. Even though I have since left the Church, I still love the Mystics, and Teilhard, John O’Donohue, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard and others are the foundation of my Spirituality. I so wish I could talk to that nun now (who I think left the convent after I graduated) to tell her that what she tried to teach us was never lost.

  5. Avatar

    “Certificate of Membership, American Teilhard Association for the Future of Man, Inc, Box 7, White Plains, NY, states “Edythe Q. Caro is a member for this year.” In the 1980s, I attended gatherings at the Riverdale Center for Religious Research, directed by Thomas Berry, who introduced me to Teilhard’s philosophy, and met John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, and Sr. Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm (Blairstown, NJ). There, I transcribed a series of taped interviews on healing spiritualities, including one by the late Haudenosaunee elder, Lorraine Canoe-Kanaratitake. Each of these remarkable people influenced me spiritually and intellectually. In Oct. 2018, I visited Teilhard’s grave at the Jesuit cemetery, Hyde Park, NY. On my long path, I continue to be inspired by Teilhard’s message, your books and DMs, and Brian Swimme’s Cosmogenesis, among teachings by other elders, shamans, and mystics. Thank you. Edythe Ann Quinn, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of History.

  6. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew, for sharing this magnificent film on Teilhard. I first learned of him through Richard Rohr and then you. I hope that everyone will watch the film and will weep, as I did, at the cruelty and torture he endured from the Church, not even allowing his dead body to return home. So many have suffered as he did, including you. But his great spirit endured, he was surrounded by loving and supportive friends, and his integrity and faith never stopped. Thank God that he listened to his Jesuit friend and left his papers with a friend. There is such divinity in his face and in all of his works. One of the ironies of his life was that he was honored by the Chinese, who if anything, would have been Buddhists, Taoists, or Communists, or all three, and dishonored by his Church during his lifetime. Thank God also that the Jesuits have seen the light and that the Pope holds his work in high esteem. It kind of proves his understanding of evolution.

  7. Avatar
    Corrie van den Bosch

    Matthew, thank you for the link to the film on Teilhard de Chardin. I watched and will watch it again. I found it a moving presentation of this amazing man, Jesuit, priest. I have read some of Teilhard’s works and read much about him and even more of what he has inspired in evolutionary theology/spirituality and what it means to become a cosmic being, as Christ is. The tragedy is that Teilhard didn’t live to see the fire within him spread to many parts of the world, even while much of the Church prefers not to know. Teilhard’s gift has been and continue to be a key to my growing appreciation of who I am and who God might be in our amazing evolving life of the Cosmos and how I celebrate and live that in relation to every fellow being in the Universe.

  8. Avatar

    Thank you for the movie! I fell in love with Teilhard’s work as a college freshman in 1968, and was so grateful to get to take the upper division seminar with Fr. Austin Fagothey at SCU in 1970 spring quarter. I majored in philosophy because of him. He inspired a lifelong recognition of meaning and coherence in science and theology and the life of faith and loving service. His self-discipline and trust in God through the silencing by his superiors in the order provided a clear and compelling witness. Most of us have to suffer grave self-doubt, but he knew the true mystical love of God. He has continued to inspire me and goad me, and to model true hope.

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