Quotations about Eric
In his passing, the Franciscan family lost a brother, a teacher, a mentor, and a joyful spirit. His profound and eloquent words were always accompanied by his shy smile and quick wit. For those who were blessed to have known him, there was everywhere evident the example of a playful scholar whose life reflected in a most transparent way his faith, hope, and love.
How can we assess such a man? It is true to say that his love for Teilhard was so great because they shared the same vision. For all his Jesuitness there was a Franciscan love of the world in Teilhard and this, together with his concern for the future, was deeply shared by Eric. Although by his training Eric was first and foremost a Church historian, his grasp of theology was such that listening to him speaking on theology one would never have known that it was not his first specialisation. He wore his immense learning lightly and was concerned that it had relevance for our own day. It was never learning for the sake of it. art.132 p.1 From review dedicated to him.
Our respect for his memory should lead us to remember what he stood for. In an excerpt from the talk that he gave at the First Transdisciplinary Forum he spoke about his vision for the future leading to a man who would become love and prayer: Homo sapiens amans et orans as he described him.
Eric didnt simply observe things or become aware. He became involved... Many might lament the divisions within the Christian Church, the inequality in society, in particular the position of women in the Church. But Eric championed the ecumenical movement and the inter-church dialogue. He championed the cause that sought to investigate the ordination of women in the Church, he was a strong advocate for the permanent diaconate. He was concerned that the Franciscan Order in particular should be occupied with the marginalized in the Church (as they are styled) the divorced, the homosexual, and so on. It wasnt for Eric to sit in judgement of these people. No, he recognised their right within the Church, and from within the Church he tried to help them.
Perhaps Eric was ahead of his time. He certainly was a man of vision but not his own vision. Eric would be the first to repudiate that suggestion. Erics vision was of Christ, and as far as he could so, Christ seen through the eyes of St Frances of Assisi. This vision brought a unity and dignity to all creation, a conviction that creation was a brotherhood of all men, and then the sun and the moon, the fire and the water and mother earth as all members of the family of God, all groaning together awaiting the revelation of the children of God. It was this, I am convinced, that led Eric to his fascination with Teilhard on the one hand and his regard for mother earth and interest in ecology on the other. Without his Christian faith and apart from St Francis, Eric would be totally incomprehensible. It was because of the strength of his faith that he was able to bring so many new and challenging aspects of Christ to the fore in his writings, his lectures, and in the talks and conferences that gave so much inspiration and delight to so many of those who were privileged to hear him.
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