By JOHN GORMLEY
THE advanced ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French scientist who died in New York in 1955, are to be given wider circulation in the British Isles.
Rather than just remain a talking point for intellectuals and the clergy, they are to tiller down to the man in the street through a dedicated core of his Catholic and non-Catholic supporters. A meeting of 340 of them in London last week. decided this controversial Jesuit's views were so vital that permanent offices and a secretariat must be set up to develop them. People came from as far away as Scotland and Wales fur the meeting, which included such authoritative speakers as Tellhard's distinguished biographer, Dr. Claude Cucnot: author and critic, Sir Robert Speaight: the Rev. Michael Bruce and Fr. Thomas Corbishley.
The outcome was the decision to form the Teilhard de Chard:n AssociatiOn of Great Britain and Ireland.
Chaired by Dr. Joanna E. Kelley, the meeting was told that
on the Continent and in America societies were already active in develop'ng• Teilhard's ideas.
.11 he Association will he the first formal attempt in Great Britain to introduce Teilhard's ideas into the political. social, scientific and religious life of the country. For Dr. Cuenca, Pierre de Chardin's personality was that of a priest of enormous gifts and spirituality whose thought was intuitive rather than metaphysical; a man whose ideas "soared towards the sun of his intuition".
Sir Robert Speaight developed the picture of the warm compassionate personality that had attracted so many people to him during his lifetime.
"1 he originality of Teilhard's . thought, he said. caused considerable difficulty during his lifetime and now that his ideas hod free expression they have met criticism bath from scientists and theologians. His vision was so long. and the buoyancy and sweep of his thoughts so broad that it is unlikely that the progress of his ideas will come to rest for long.
For Fr, Corbishley, Teilhard's greatest achievement was that he had once again made the universe Christocentric and that he showed the way to a joyful acceptance of growth and change.
Teilhard's writings were regarded by Fr. Bruce as something that unified into a whole the conclusions that he had developed quite separately as a student of evolution. of international relations and of theology.