Thomas Merton controversy


#1

Hi folks,

I’m a 52-year-old protestant. I have been fascinated with the monastic movement, contemplative prayer, the mystics, for many, many years.

Last weekend, I visited the Abbey in Kentucky where Thomas Merton lived prior to his death in the 1960s. I really admire him as a spiritual man who asked the deeper questions and came up with many of the right answers.

But, as I understand it, he got into some trouble at the end of his life with the Catholic Church because he got connected with Buddhism.

Since I’m not Catholic, I was hoping I might get some perspectives from Catholics about how Merton is perceived in the Catholic Church today.

Any answers would be appreciated.

                 Blessings, Matthew 25

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#2

He’s not unliked by any means. Some people really like his teachings and his simplistic lifestyle.

Others find him straying too far into Buddhism a problem and don’t read his material because of it.

There isn’t any official teaching one way or the other, he isn’t formally a heretic (from what I understand). Some people just aren’t comfortable with some of what he did/taught.


#3

[quote=Ianjo99]He’s not unliked by any means. Some people really like his teachings and his simplistic lifestyle.

Others find him straying too far into Buddhism a problem and don’t read his material because of it.

There isn’t any official teaching one way or the other, he isn’t formally a heretic (from what I understand). Some people just aren’t comfortable with some of what he did/taught.
[/quote]

I think you really pinpointed the major areas of concern. Great post!

hurst


#4

He is very highly regarded in some circles, I know at St. Bonaventure University they have all of his papers and correspondence and even have a section of the mountain called “Merton’s Heart”. Apparently, this was the area that Merton sat in thought quite often while at St. Bonaventure, and when he died, a heart shaped section of trees simply collapsed. I’ve heard him referenced favorably by orthodox Catholic writers, but it is widely believed that his later work may have ventured a bit too closely to Buddhism and isn’t seen as properly orthodox.


closed #5

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