He doubted. He plumbed the depths trolling all the way to the bottom and concluded that there is no other way but the Church despite her flaws. We are on a journey, a process of evolution or involution with her. Once met and more clearly understood, he defined the layers of not only spiritual development, but its union with the development of matter – one unable to fully exist without the other. And yet he fully acknowledges, ” …the Pope and all the assembled Bishops are powerless to tell us exactly all that there is in Christ. Christ (His life, knowledge of Him) has been a part of the deposit of the whole Church (priests and laity) for all ages.” But he doesn’t deny the role of the Church:
“…the more I become aware of certain failures on the part of the Church to adapt herself, of a loss of vitality, the more I recognize how incompetent I am and how ill-qualified to take upon myself to give a definitive appreciation of her in general or, of you prefer the word, her axial character. The Church represents so powerful a channeling of what constitutes the moral and sublimating life blood of souls, a conduit so deep into the whole of man’s past – in spite of certain accidental and ephemeral lapses from generosity, she has so marked a degree of faculty of encouraging human nature to develop itself fully and harmoniously, that I would feel guilty of disloyalty to Life if I tried to free myself from so organic a current as the Church provides.” (On My Attitude to the Official Church)
He goes on to say further:
“Everything in that current is not of my taste, but everything has a certain flexibility and I can see nothing outside it that sorts better with tendencies and hopes I feel.”
And for others on the quest:
“As for other, those who already possess the dominating intuition of the Universal, I am convinced that we can not do more useful work for the Kingdom of God than by encouraging and confirming them in their vision.”
Teilhard saw the Church as a stabilizing force through the centuries, but not so rigid that she didn’t allow for flexibility or growth. She is there actually as a foundational support for the unity that will be required of matter and spirit not only individually, but as a world.
The comfort this brings me that the root of my faith can feel free to grow deep and strong anchored in a foundation that although certainly not perfect, is perhaps perfect in its strength and stability. Dogma may be able to be embraced as the pillar of the foundation defining its structure, but not necessarily its core or perhaps current as Teilhard may put it. The Church is a vehicle for unity without which we can never fully evolve.