Mario Zaninelli’s lecture at Genzano

     Sunday June 26 2016, in the morning, Mario Zaninelli, scientific coordinator of our Associazione Thomas Merton Italia, took a lecture titled Teilhard de Chardin and Merton: a spiritual confluence  during a meeting that took place at Genzano (Rome), at the Assumption monastery, with the subjet  Evoloutionary ethics: from a morality of the obedience and perfection to the ethics of the responsible commitment and perfectibility  promoted by Italian Teilhard de Chardin Association.

     Mario Zaninelli’s speech went into the content of two Merton’s essays about Pierre Teilhard de Chardin into the volume Thomas Merton –Love and living, edited by Naomi Burton Stone and Patrick Hart: The Universe as Epiphany and Teilhard’s Gamble. In the first we can notice a deep understanding of the French palaentologist’s spiritual view, basically outlined in his two books The Divine Milieu and The Phemomenon of Man. Teilhard speaks as by a scientist’s detachment and by a contemplative’s fervour, he was the first Catholic scientist who let meet the scientific vision of the contemporary world with the Christian mistic. Merton points out that it wasn’t possible to mediate, by rationality only, Science and Religion and that during the times cloudy compromises were found only. The essay develops around five respects, particularly:

  • The Problem of Christian Humanism. Here it’s realized the misleading view of a disembodied Christianity, denying our faith is an escape from the world;
  • The Divine Center. Here it’s supported the entire view of the human person, as Saint Paul said that everything sums up itself in Christ;
  • Creativity. There isn’t opposition between action and contemplation, because they complement each other helping the Christian action to fight the evil in the world;
  • The Divinisation of Passivities. Life must be lived and not accepted merely. Merton explains the Teilhard’s ‘ passive realm’ concept;
  • For Those Who Love the World. The scientist and the priest speaks as a mistic, that is by the language of the Patristic wisdom.

In the second essay Merton speaks largely about the Henry de Lubac’ s book The Religion of Teilhard de Chardin, esteemed a summa of the spiritual doctrine of the French palaentologist. He points out that is thought doesn’t conflict with Catholic tradition.