Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Trappist facility, Gethsemene Abbey, located in Kentucky, was permeated by the ecumenical spirit after Vatican II, and in conjunction with the work of one of its best-known members, Thomas Merton.
Merton (1915-1968) was a contemporary of Martinist Bishop Louis-Marie-Francois Giraud (1876-1950), though there is no evidence they ever met.
Meister Eckhart was among those who influenced Merton's life, near the end of which Merton claimed that he wanted "to become as good a Buddhist as I can." Did he study the Buddhism of the Theosophists, one wonders? The Buddhism of Olcott and Leadbeater? In any case, Merton was an influential member of the New Age movement. Quite an accomplishment for a Trappist monk!
Merton's story was once included in the new American Catechism, but was subsequently removed at the request of the bishops. His syncretism proved to be too much to allow.
Merton founded an interfaith movement with the famed Berrigan brothers that formed in protest to the Vietnam War, and which may have brought him to the attention of the FBI. Whether it did or not, Merton is noted on the FBI website as a draft protester.
Thanks to Susanna for providing these interesting links.