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British Teilhard Association dissolves due to lack of members

Paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin examines a skull he found in China (AP)

A British association dedicated to Jesuit thinker Teilhard de Chardin dissolved on New Year’s Eve due to falling membership.

The association announced the decision on Twitter on Monday, but added that its website would continue as a newly constituted ‘British Teilhard Network’.

The move comes just weeks after the Pontifical Council for Culture asked Pope Francis to remove the decades-old official warning against Teilhard’s works.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote a series of best-selling theological works in the first half of the 20th Century in which he drew on his studies as a palaeontologist in an attempt to reconcile the faith with evolution.

He became famous for his theory of an “Omega Point”, mankind’s ultimate destination. He saw all of human development in terms of evolution, an upward movement towards a final goal, of which the Incarnation was a decisive moment.

Although many found his works helpful in reconciling their faith with new scientific discoveries, the Congregation of the Holy Office condemned them, writing that they “abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine”.

Pope Pius XII condemned Teilhard’s work as a “cesspool of error”, and the Vatican placed an official “monitum”, or warning, against it.

However, last year the Pontifical Council for Culture voted unanimously to ask Pope Francis to remove the warning, saying “albeit some of his writings might be open to constructive criticism, his prophetic vision has been and is inspiring theologians and scientists.”