|Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin S.J.|
The second concern the cardinal raised was the subject matter of recent LCWR assemblies, publications and programs. He said that the CDF mandate was criticized as “unsubstantiated” when it spoke of religious “moving beyond the Church or even beyond Jesus.” That is hard language that probably sounded “harsh” to many faithful religious, he said, and he emphasized that the CDF does not call into question “the eloquent, even prophetic, witness of so many faithful religious women.” However, he continued, “the issues raised in the assessment are so central and so foundational; there is no other way of discussing them except as constituting a movement away from the ecclesial center of faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.” Cardinal Müller explained that, for the last several years, the CDF has been concerned about the LCWR focusing attention on the concept of conscious evolution. He said that since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the 2012 LCWR assembly on the topic, every issue of the LCWR newsletter has discussed conscious evolution in some way. “We have even seen some religious institutes modify their directional statements to incorporate concepts and undeveloped terms from conscious evolution,” he added.
Apologizing for sounding blunt, the cardinal continued: “The fundamental theses of conscious evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.”Cardinal Müller said he is concerned that “such an intense focus on new ideas such as conscious evolution has robbed religious of the ability truly to sentire cum Ecclesia (think with the Church and embrace its teachings).” He also expressed concern that the religious hearing and studying this topic may not discern these divergences from the faith and the LCWR does not present counterpoints that explain Church teaching.
“The assessment is concerned with positive errors of doctrine seen in the light of the LCWR’s responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life,” the cardinal continued. “I am worried that the uncritical acceptance of things such as conscious evolution, seemingly without any awareness that it offers a vision of God, the cosmos and the human person divergent from or opposed to Revelation, evidences that a de facto movement beyond the Church and sound Christian faith has already occurred.”