To: Pope Francis
Declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
Teilhard is already, in all but name, justly acclaimed as a Teacher par excellence of the universal Christian Church. Therefore, we ask His Holiness Pope Francis to declare him a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.
Why is this important?
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (1881-1955), priest, geologist, paleontologist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic, was both a distinguished scientist and one of the most influential and visionary thinkers that the Catholic Church produced in the twentieth century. Grounded in the theology of St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist, and St. Ignatius Loyola and informed by the modern scientific discovery of cosmic and organic evolution, Teilhard created a pioneering synthesis of religious and scientific thought that many have found to be profoundly fruitful. His concept of the “noosphere” was startlingly prescient in its anticipation of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and other forms of electronic communication that have truly unified humanity as a single community of thought. He is recognized by many scientists and theologians as one of those whose ideas paved the way for the work of the Second Vatican Council, whose 50th anniversary has just been celebrated.
Teilhard’s synthesis continues to stimulate theological thought, inside the Catholic Church and beyond, including notably the development in recent decades of vigorous scholarly and popular movements of evolutionary theology and creation spirituality. His hopeful eschatological vision continues to inspire people throughout the world. For these reasons, Teilhard is already, in all but name, justly acclaimed as a Teacher par excellence of the universal Christian Church.
Doctors of the Church comprise about three dozen ecclesiastical writers, from early Christian to modern times, who have been honored posthumously by popes or general councils with that title due to the integrity of their faith, eminent learning, and personal holiness. Although those formally designated in the past as Doctors of the Church had previously been canonized, there is no requirement for this in Canon Law. Therefore, we respectfully and earnestly petition His Holiness Pope Francis to declare Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church.