Yes, it is time and I have believed, ever since deeply studying his ideas, that he should be made a Doctor of the Church.

This article from NCR is excellent, and makes the case.

Philadelphia — Naming Jesuit Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin a doctor of the church — or at least removing the “warning” from his writings — would give the Jesuit scientist and philosopher more legitimacy in the church, his supporters say. And two separate petitions to the Vatican aim to do just that.

At a meeting of scientists and church leaders from around the world in November, members of the Pontifical Council for Culture unanimously approved a petition asking Pope Francis to waive the “monitum” against Teilhard de Chardin’s writings that has been in effect since 1962.

Teilhard’s work was only published after his death in 1955, because of disciplinary measures from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the Holy Office) during his life. The popularity of his books Human Phenomenon and The Divine Milieu led to the monitum, or warning, in 1962 for “ambiguities and indeed even serious errors.”

However, scholars from the Pontifical Council for Culture said this past fall that while some of his writings may be open to constructive criticism, his “seminal thoughts” and “prophetic vision” have been “inspiring theologians and scientists,” America magazine reported.

They also noted that four popes — Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis — had made explicit references to his work, including a mention in a footnote in Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”

Meanwhile, a Sister of St. Joseph in Philadelphia has been gathering signatures — more than 1,200 so far — for a petition asking Teilhard to be named a doctor of the church.

“I think he deserves it,” said Sr. Kathleen Duffy, professor of physics at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and director of its Institute for Religion and Science.


Editor’s Note: Learn more about the petition to make Teilhard a doctor of the church.


The designation “doctor of the church” honors individuals, usually theologians or scholars, whose teaching or thought has greatly benefited the church. The title has been bestowed on 36 people so far.

Duffy believes Teilhard’s attempts to bring together theology and science have a particular relevance for the church and the world today and that his ideas about “evolutionary Christianity” can provide hope in what many see as a chaotic time.

 “There is a scientific theory of chaos that says you can’t have any new creation without disequilibrium,” said Duffy. “But we can’t just sit back and say, ‘God will take care of it.’ There has to be some motivation on our part.”

Teilhard, who read the Christian Scriptures through the lens of the evolutionary story, took the process of how the universe came about (“cosmogenesis”) and projected it into the future, where increasing complexity would call for increasing unity (“Christogenesis”), Duffy explained.

“He had the big picture and could see eons ahead where everything was converging,” she said, adding that this convergence would require people to come together with an increased love of God and neighbor. “So even when we’re discouraged, Teilhard de Chardin can give us hope in chaos.”

Retrieved February 14, 2018 from https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/time-rehabilitate-teilhard-de-chardin