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Warning Regarding the Writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin

by Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office

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    Document Information

  • Description:
    Warning from the Holy See regarding the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin. Issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office on June 30, 1962.
  • Larger Work:
    Monitum Issued by the Holy See
  • Publisher & Date:
    Monitum issued by Holy See and letter from L'Osservatore Romano, July 20, 1981, Vatican City, Italy, June 30, 1962 and letter July 20, 1981

On June 30, 1962, the Holy Office issued a monitum (warning) regarding the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin. In 1981 the Holy See reiterated this warning against rumors that it no longer applied. Following is the text of both the monitum and the 1981 statement:

Admonition

"Several works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, some of which were posthumously published, are being edited and are gaining a good deal of success.

"Prescinding from a judgement about those points that concern the positive sciences, it is sufficiently clear that the above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine.

"For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.

"Given at Rome, from the palace of the Holy Office, on the thirtieth day of June, 1962.

Sebastianus Masala, Notarius"

Communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy See (appearing in the English edition of L'Osservatore Romano, July 20, 1981) "The letter sent by the Cardinal Secretary of State to His Excellency Mons. Poupard on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin has been interpreted in a certain section of the press as a revision of previous stands taken by the Holy See in regard to this author, and in particular of the Monitum of the Holy Office of 30 June 1962, which pointed out that the work of the author contained ambiguities and grave doctrinal errors.

"The question has been asked whether such an interpretation is well founded.

"After having consulted the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which, by order of the Holy Father, had been duly consulted beforehand, about the letter in question, we are in a position to reply in the negative. Far from being a revision of the previous stands of the Holy See, Cardinal Casaroli's letter expresses reservation in various passages—and these reservations have been passed over in silence by certain newspapers—reservations which refer precisely to the judgement given in the Monitum of June 1962, even though this document is not explicitly mentioned."

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