Saturday, November 27, 2010

Catholicism & Waldorf Education

Can a Catholic take elements from Waldorf, Steiner, Anthroposophy, into a Christian home? And can Catholic Homeschoolers use the Waldorf education method with confidence?

On further study you'll find that Anthroposophy is profoundly Christian in its essence - in fact Rudolf Steiner said that the whole purpose of Anthroposophy was to elaborate the Christian Mystery. It is entirely consistent with the prologue of the Gospel of St. John, and its description of the condescension of the Creative Word.

Even though there are some Christian/Judaic elements in the Waldorf curriculum, you'll find that Anthroposophical doctrines are not taught.

The most famous Catholic to study Rudolf Steiner was none other than the young Karol Józef Wojtyła who later became Pope John Paul II. In 1938, when Karol Wojtyla set out from Wadowice for Cracow to enrol at the prestigious Jagellon university, he soon became the friend of a certain Kotlarczyk, the creator of the Rhapsodic Theatre. He was a disciple of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy.

Karol Wojtyla adhered to this esoteric doctrine as a young student and never repented of it. After becoming Cardinal Archbishop of Cracow, he wrote an introduction to the book of Kotlarczyk, his master and friend, “The Art of the Living Word”.

As part of the Anthroposophical group in Poland he was working with the art of speech and Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Dramas:

"they said he was a young man aged 21 in the year 1939, and he was part of an Anthroposophical group in Poland who were working especially with the art of speech formation and among other things they were working with various scenes from Rudolf Steiner's Mystery Dramas, and this young man, it was around about 1939, was one day walking down the street and a lorry(truck) drove into him and as a result of this accident had an experience of Christ in the Etheric and helped him to recover. And after this experience this young man went and joined a Roman Catholic priest seminar which was of course at that time under German occupation, was an underground seminary, he joined the seminary and became there a priest. Later he became Bishop in Cracow and this young man who was a part of this Anthroposophic group then later went to Rome became Pope John Paul II."

The famous anthroposophist who became a Catholic, Valentin Tomberg, wrote the book Meditations on the Tarot, which was foreworded by Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the National Catholic Reporter, Richard Knopf said: The book begs not only to be studied cover to cover, but also to be savored, meditated upon and assimilated into one's life. Fr. Thomas Keating, American Cistercian monk and popularizer of a practice named 'centering prayer', called for it to be a fundamental Christian text.

Pope John Paul with Meditations on the Tarot on his desk:


Note: Photo is reversed- see watch on right hand.

Pope with Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar- a big fan of the anthroposophicly influenced Catholic, Valentin Tomberg

There are many Catholic anthroposophists, Pietro Archiati being a quite well known one (he was expelled by the Society). He studied philosophy and theology and worked for many years as a Catholic priest.