Father Teilhard de Chardin is in the center of the group

In 1962, the Vatican gave a warning, officially a “minotum” to the writings of nonconformist Father Teilhard de Chardin because of his discovery of “Peking Man” in the 1920s.  It does seem odd that they waited until the Jesuit was dead and forty years after the discovery that this proclamation was issued but it left a black mark on his name and works.

Since then four popes have questioned the warning, the latest a fellow Jesuit, Prop Francis,  being at variance with Catholic teachings.  There is a thought within the Catholic Church, akin to the Father’s own, that this is not as much a problem for the Church’s teaching but a scientific validation.    But Peking Man is not the only thing that Teilhard wrote that was at variance with Catholic teaching and so the question would everything be lifted or just those things relating to the anthropological discovery.

             Who was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin?

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born on May 1st, 1881  at the family estate in Auverge where an ancient but extinct volcano dominates the landscape.  He was their fourth of the couple eleven children. His mother, Berthe-Adele Teilhard de Chardin, was the -grandniece of Francois-Marie Arouet — Voltaire.

The long extinct volcanic peaks of Auvergne and the forested preserves of this southern province left an indelible mark on Teilhard. In his spiritual autobiography, The Heart of Matter, Father de Chardin writes about the environment 

   Auvergne served me both as a Museum of Natural History and as the wildlife preserve. Sarcenat in Auvergne gave me my first taste of the joys of discovery to Auvergne I owe my most precious possessions: a collection of pebbles and rocks…

(translated in Claude Cuenot, Teilhard de Chardin, Baltimore, 1938, p. 3.)

March 10, 1937, New York Times

During his five years at boarding school, Teilhard  read Thomas a Kempis’s Imitation of Christ.   It was to be his greatest influence and near graduation; he wrote his parents of his desire to become a Jesuit.  He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Aix-Provence in 1899, but just two years later, in 1901, an anti-clerical movement rose in France & the Jesuits and other religious orders were expelled.  He and his order found refuge on the English island of Jersey off the Channel.

His timeline is  at the American Teilhard Association site.  Download Father-Teilhard de Chardin‘s chart here.

During these years he conceived the vitalist idea of the Omega Point, or the  point to which all of history is progressing.  As the  Bible points to Christ as the Alpha and Omega, the One for whom, through whom, and to whom are all things (see Romans 11:36), Teilhard reasoned then the Omega Point is  more than Christ (a rather blasphemous thought)  and the end human end-point.  

His based his thoughts on on Russian crystallographer, Vladimir Vernadsky’s,  concept of the noosphere, or a sphere a pure reason — a mystical point  where “the mental sheathe “above and discontinuous with the biosphere”  one with  the Omega Point (again a secular thought outside of God).  This affected Carl Jung who believed this was the great “collective unconscious” by which his archteypcal theory fits in.

To explain this contradiction, Teilhard de Chardin wrote in the Risen Christ, his work would only win the faith of the doubting scientists if he embraced the theory of evolution and showed how it fit into the Divine plan.     Teilhard knew  that “evolution” and “creationism” were separate issues, but  as a theologian could not separate them and wanted to  show that logic, science, and faith were one.

Forbidden to work on more philosophical treatises, Teilhard was in Peking when on December 2, an archaeological expedition discovered the smooth dome of a skull at Zahedan near Beijing. One of the team, Pei Wenchung, took the skull to Peking where Davidson Black and Teilhard de Chardin examined it. Black verified the hominoid nature of the skull based on a single tooth, and Teilhard de Chardin established the geological era the cave was inhabited.

Peking Man

Black and de Chardin postulated that Peking man was extinct hominin of of Homo erectus, Later excavations yielded several skullcaps and mandibles, facial and limb bones, and the teeth of about 40 individuals. Evidence suggests that the Zhoukoudian fossils date from about 770,000 to 230,000 years ago.

Peking man is characterized by a cranial capacity averaging about 1,000 cubic cm, though some individual skull capacities approached 1,300 cubic cm—nearly the size of modern man’s. Peking man had a skull flat in profile, with a small forehead, a keel along the top of the head for attachment of powerful jaw muscles, very thick skull bones, heavy browridges, an occipital torus, a large palate, and a large, chinless jaw. The teeth, while modern, has canines and molars that are large, but the enamel of the molars is wrinkled. The limb bones are indistinguishable from those of modern humans.

During the next ten years of excavation five almost complete skulls, three of them adult, and dozens of other complete jaws and isolated teeth fragments were discovered at the site. Later antropologists identified these fossils as Homo Erectus and remain one of the largest findings of that classification. The original fossils disappeared in 1941 during World War II, but excellent casts and descriptions remain.

From here, he made a trip across America, travelled to Central Asia with the famous Yellow Expedition sponsored by the Citroen automobile company and then up the Yangtze River into the mountainous regions of Szechuan. Having enjoyed this, he joined the Yale-Cambridge expedition under Helmut de Terra in India and von Koenigswald’s expedition to Java. In 1937 they awarded him the Gregor Mendel medal at a Philadelphia Conference for his scientific accomplishments. That same year he went with the Harvard-Carnegie Expedition to Burma and then to Java with Helmut de Terra.

This extensive field work made Teilhard recognized as a pioneering geologist.

                                           Father’s de Chardin’s Map

We have rectified Father Teilhard de Chardin to 11 Scorpio 50, an embassy ball where the emphasis is on the practical values of life and the place where civilization exhibits itself in its individual framework for display. The Keyword is Display. It gets the reversed symbol of a demand for special privilege. The ascendant is supportive of Teilhard’s life work (sextile) and trine to its Lord (Mars in Pisces), both good signs of a happy and productive life.

His Part of Fortune, where we find the riches of life is in the eleventh house. This is the brotherhood and fraternity of Jesuit monks to which he belonged and who despite their chastisement of his philosophical works were supportive of him.

The sixth house dominance is striking: we have six planets here and we see that his life was one of service given and service received. This preponderance gives the native a keep penetrating mind, highly observant nature, a neat and orderly method to both life and his work and a conscientiousness to follow things through. Unfortunately, it makes the native skeptical, fussy and rather petty, but it is a superb setup for a geologist and things belonging to the earth.

His nodes are also helpful to his career. The North Node ruled by Júpiter is found in Sagittarius and shows how his rise was through hard work and not academic study and the South Node associated with Saturn is conjunct his Moon at 20 Gemini 40 in the eighth hose literally his bringing to light dead things buried and forgotten.

Finally he has another preponderance that of conjunctions, which supports his eleventh house fraternal riches as his working relationship with fellow archaeologists/explorers went smoothly. As the Virgo preponderance hints, he was a charming and charismatic man and people flocked to him, and he was generous and good-natured with them. It makes for fluid and reciprocal relationships.

Teilhard’s Lines

  •  the Line of Vitality semisextile.  This line is how a person exerts his personality over his environment.  Father Teilhard was not a risktaker but relied on other’s advice and encouragement.
  •  the Line of Efficiency sextile.  This line is how a person exerts his personality towards goals.   Again, Father Teilhard built upon others work instead of reinventing the wheel.
  • the Line of Motivation is conjunct. Here Teilhard used his resources well.
  • the Line of Culture (also called the Line of Social Significance)  is square.  This line is how a person exerts himself over his fellows. In this aspect of his life, Here Teilhard struck out on his as he was very ambitious and so would be a tireless worker to that end.