I am reading New Seeds of Contemplation and am worried about a statement of Merton’s in Chapter 5 which says, “…as long as I am no longer anybody else than the thing I was born of my mother, I am so far short of being the person I ought to be that I may as well not exist at all. In fact, it were better for me that I had not been born.” Anthony E. Clark, in his article of the same name as my question, which I read on Catholic Answers, said that Merton’s early works, of which Seeds of Contemplation, 1949, is one, can be read without concern. However, I felt terribly disturbed at Merton’s comment, and wanted to hear what other Catholics would say. It seems to me that, as early as this book, he is dipping dangerously into Zen beliefs that are not congruent with Catholic theology. Can you help?
The following links should explain what the Church’s position is on Thomas Merton. If you have any further questions, please contact Catholic Answers directly.