Sunday, 13 August 2017

From Teilhard to Omega

Ilia Delio (editor), From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating and Unfinished Universe, 2014 Orbis Books, New York

This book is edited by Sr Ilia Delio, a Franciscan sister who has given up wearing religious dress, as these American sisters seem to do. I have not read any of her other books, but I have heard she is not very orthodox. This book itself is a collection of essays reflecting on the implications of the thought of Jesuit thinker Teilhard de Chardin in various fields- theology, ethics, philosophy and science.

Being very interested in the concept of Sophia and Sophiology, I appreciated Kathleen Duffy's essay on how Sophia can be found in Teilhard's thought, particularly in his poem 'The Eternal Feminine.' She writes:

"Teilhard's eternal feminine embodies the spiritual power of matter as the feminine aspect of God's nature embedded in all of creation and captures Teilhard's profound understanding of what is occurring in the cosmos. The eternal feminine has many prototypes- Beatrice of Dante's Divine Comedy, Goethe's Eternal Feminine, Sophia of the Wisdom literature, and the Virgin Mary to name but a few. Like each of these prototypes, Teilhard's eternal feminine personifies the cosmic unifying and spiritualizing force at work in creation; like Wisdom, she is at play in creation and delights in its every facet; like Dante's Beatrice, she is a guide for the journey into God."

Duffy provides us with her own poem, "Sophia," which is an updated version of Teilhard's Eternal Feminine poem, incorporating a panoramic view of contemporary scientific cosmology.

There are many insights in this book and they offer some very fresh perspectives on Teilhard de Chardin, but there is a worrying modernist agenda thoughout. Most of the writers suggest that the categories and concepts of traditional Christian theology are inadequate in the wake of evolutionary science and cosmological developments. They do not specify how exactly theology needs to change. These seems to be the methodology of the modernists in today's Catholic Church; avoid expressing outright heresy or disagreement with magisterial teaching, but continually harp on the need for unspecific changes.

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