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.


Anonymous said...

Wer hat den Beitrag "Catholicism & Waldorf Education" anonym verfasst?

Anonymous said...

Wer hat diesen Kommentar verfasst?

888 said...

The references are all there.

888 said...

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 (1861-1925), the founder of anthroposophy. This esoteric doctrine is meant to « reconcile Science and Religion. It focuses on Man and on his encounter with Jesus, God-Man. In a world in crisis, it should permit the regeneration of individuals and of society by means of a unifying view of the world and appropriate moral, educative, therapeutic and ecological practices… » The goal is not « to incite man to surpass himself, to attain the stature of a superman, it is rather to help man to find himself again and humanity to unite by means of the “ gnosis ” or spiritual science » (Catholicisme, art. Steiner, 65, 445).

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 ”.

888 said...

He became the disciple of Mieczyslaw Kotlarczyk, the founder in Wadowice of the “ Rhapsodic Theatre, ” of which he rapidly became the leading actor.

Now, the one who would become his “ old friend ” was an odd man. He had people call him ‘ the master of the word. ’ The power of the actor, who influenced his spectators by the mastery of his acting and of his text, mesmerised him. Under his supervision, Karol understood theatre as a creative liturgy of which the actor was the demiurge through the prestige of the Word.

In fact, Kotlarczyk was a disciple of Rudolf Steiner. This great connoisseur of Kant, Goethe and Fichte was one of the masters of theosophy at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1913, he founded anthroposophy, which claimed to study spiritual phenomena as science studies physical phenomena. This all took place in an esoteric universe very far from the traditional Catholic faith of the Poles.

For Karol Wojtyla, this enthusiasm was not a simple passing fancy of his youth since, when he became Cardinal of Cracow, he wrote the preface to a work of Kotlarczyk, “ The Art of the Living Word, ” a text that conveniently does not appear in the inventory of his works. If the judges of the process of beatification had deigned to examine our Father’s Book of Accusation, as was their duty, they would have learned where John Paul II had acquired his consummate skill in mastering crowds. “ The master of the word ” had in fact convinced him of the strength of the perfectly mastered word, capable of arousing the sense of fraternity among men and of exalting the power of Man to equal God. “ A group of people of one mind subject to the poetic word assumes an ethical significance  : the significance of solidarity in the Word (sic  !), and of loyalty with regard to the Word. ”

Thus it was originally in Rudolph Steiner, through Kotlarczyk, that Wojtyla persuaded himself of the dignity of Man, meaning his transcendence.

888 said...

"Therefore I arranged, from the outset, that religious instruction should not be included in our school syllabus, but that Catholic religious teaching should be delegated to the Catholic priest, and the Protestant teaching to the pastor and so on.

"In the first few years most of our scholars came from a factory (the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Factory), and amongst them we had many “dissenting” children, children whose parents were of no religion. But our educational conscience of course demanded that a certain kind of religious instruction should be given them also. We therefore arranged a “free religious teaching” for these children, and for this we have a special method.

"In these “free Religion lessons” we first of all teach gratitude in the contemplation of everything in Nature. Whereas in the telling of legends and myths we simply relate what things do — stones, plants and so on — here in the Religion lessons we lead the child to perceive the Divine in all things. So we begin with a kind of “religious naturalism,” shall I say, in a form suited to the children.

"Again, the child cannot be brought to an understanding of the Gospels before the time between the ninth and tenth years of which I have spoken. Only then can we proceed to a consideration of the Gospels in the Religion lessons, going on later to the Old Testament. Up to this time we can only introduce to the children a kind of Nature-religion in its general aspect, and for this we have our own method. Then we should go on to the Gospels but not before the ninth or tenth year, and only much later, between the twelfth and thirteenth years, we should proceed to the Old Testament.

"This then is how you should think of the free Religion lessons. We are not concerned with the Catholic and Protestant instruction: we must leave that to the Catholic and Protestant pastors. Also every Sunday we have a special form of service for those who attend the free Religion lessons. A service is performed and forms of worship are provided for children of different ages. What is done at these services has shown its results in practical life during the course of the years; it contributes in a very special way to the deepening of religious feeling, and awakens a mood of great devotion in the hearts of the children.

"We allow the parents to attend these services, and it has become evident that this free religious teaching truly brings new life to Christianity And there is real Christianity in the Waldorf School, because through this naturalistic religion during the early years the children are gradually led to an understanding of the Christ Mystery, when they reach the higher classes.

"Our free Religion classes have, indeed, gradually become full to overflowing. We have all kinds of children coming into them from the Protestant pastor or the Catholic priest, but we make no propaganda for it. It is difficult enough for us to find sufficient Religion teachers, and therefore we are not particularly pleased when too many children come; neither do we wish the school to acquire the reputation of being an Anthroposophical School of a sectarian kind. We do not want that at all. Only our educational conscience has constrained us to introduce this free Religion teaching. But children turn away from the Catholic and Protestant teaching and more and more come over to us and want to have the free Religion teaching: they like it better. It is not our fault that they run away from their other teachers: but as I have said, the principle of the whole thing was that religious instruction should be given, to begin with, by the various pastors. When you ask, then, what kind of religious teaching we have, I can only speak of what our own free Religion teaching is, as I have just described it."

-Rudolf Steiner