Religion: Teilhard in the Trenches

In August 1915, a Catholic priest serving as a lowly stretcher-bearer with a French infantry regiment was cited for displaying "the greatest self-sacrifice and contempt for danger" during a ruinous battle. But there is no mention of the honor in the cheap school notebook in which, during the same week, the priest began keeping a diary "to force myself to think, to observe, to be precise."

By the end of World War I, those knapsack-carried notebooks of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin contained the essence of many innovative theories, including his central concept of human evolution progressing toward an "Omega point," an...

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