Did some web investigation on Anthony de Mello SJ, yesterday. A friend has been including quotes from him occasionally in her email messages, and became curious about de Mello as a person. De Mello’s writings, in the form of stores, parables, and zen-like koans, are not at all what one would expect from a Jesuit priest. Certainly not the usual “God-Father-Son, Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the blessed Catholic saints”, as well as “thus saith the Pope” balderdash. Very ‘eastern/universal’ in their wisdom. Have noticed that de Mello has become widely quoted in recent years and pops up where you would least expect him.
Born in 1931 in Goa, Anthony de Mello, S.J. was a Jesuit Priest from India and director of the Dadhana Institute of Pastoral Counseling in Poona, India. De Mello insisted that spirituality is the most practical thing in the world — to experience the happiness that belongs to you and which surrounds you daily; to eliminate unwanted suffering from your life; to understand the most basic of all life's questions: "Who am I?"; these couldn't be more practical and these are the substance of spiritual pursuit.
He challenged people to encounter the God behind all the words, concepts and religious formulas. Though he was a Jesuit, he even went so far as to point out the capacity of 'religion' to interfere with our relationship with God. This brought him considerable criticism from various quarters, including the Vatican. He died in 1987.
A Google Search of “Anthony de Mello” resulted in a return of over 100,000 pages!
Concerning his book “One Minute Wisdom”:
Each spiritual anecdote is a conversation between the Master and his disciples.
The following is from the Introduction of the book:
"The Master in these tales is not a single person. He is a Hindu Guru, a Zen Roshi, a Taoist Sage, a Jewish Rabbi, a Christian Monk, a Sufi Mystic. He is Lao-tzu and Socrates. Buddha and Jesus. Zarathustra and Mohammed. His teaching is found in the seventh century B.C. and the twentieth century A.D. His wisdom belongs to East and West alike. Do his historical antecedents really matter? History, after all, is the record of appearances, not Reality; of doctrines, not of Silence.
"It will only take a minute to read each one. You will probably find the Master's language baffling, exasperating, even downright meaningless."
As DeMello says of his work: "This, alas, is not an easy book! It was written not to instruct but to Awaken. Concealed within its pages (not in the printed words, not even in the tales, but in its spirit, its mood, its atmosphere) is a Wisdom which cannot be conveyed in human speech. As you read the printed page and struggle with the Master's cryptic language, it is possible that you will unwittingly chance upon the Silent Teaching that lurks within the book, and be Awakened and transformed. This is what Wisdom means: To be changed without the slightest effort on your part, to be transformed, believe it or not, merely by waking to the reality that is not words, that lies beyond the reach of words.
"If you are fortunate enough to be Awakened thus, you will know why the finest language is the one that is not spoken, the finest action is the one that is not done and the finest change is the one that is not willed."
The Fragrance of the Rose
The disciples were absorbed in a discussion of Lao-tzu’s dictum:
Those who know do not say;
Those who say do not know.
When the master entered,
They asked him what the words meant.
Said the master, "Which of you knows the fragrance of a rose?"
All of them indicated that they knew.
Then he said, "put it into words."
All of them were silent.
"How shall I get liberation?"
"Find out who has bound you," said the Master.
The disciple returned after a week and said,
"No one has bound me."
"Then why ask to be liberated?"
That was a moment of Enlightenment for the disciple,
who suddenly became free.
Now curiously, in both Google searches it immediately becomes evident that a vast number of the pages were from the Vatican denouncing Father de Mello and pointing out that his writings [many published books, which have become very popular] DO NOT carry the Vatican’s, specifically that Catholic-Nazi Ratzinger’s, approval. Seems that Fr. de Mello is seen by the ‘Church’ as somewhat of a heretic. Didn’t toe the Vatican line. Stepped outside their rigid box. Horror of horrors, he thought for himself, and actually expressed it. Anyway these official Vatican Notifications denouncing his writing were to be found in English, Latin of course, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Polish. . . well, you get the picture.
NOTIFICAZIONE DELLA CONGREGAZIONE PER LA DOTTRINA DELLA FEDE SUGLI SCRITTI DI PADRE ANTHONY DE MELLO, SJ , 22.08.1998
With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved the present Notification, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 1998, the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.
+ Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Prefect
. . . . . “and can cause grave harm”. Yeah sure, god forbid that the congregation should actually begin thinking, and worse still that they should question the BS that the church has been selling for the last 2,000 years.
From another web site:
De Mello censure reflects Vatican misgivings about Eastern thinking
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
“Nobody can be said to have attained the pinnacle of Truth,” Jesuit Fr. Anthony de Mello once wrote, “until a thousand sincere people have denounced him for blasphemy.”
By that standard, Aug. 23  brought de Mello a bit closer to the mark, as the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith condemned the works of the Indian Jesuit -- known for his attempts to bridge Eastern and Western spirituality-- for “relativizing” faith and thus leading to “religious indifferentism.”
In the United States, reaction has consisted largely of puzzlement among de Mello supporters, both as to the content and the timing of the statement, and alarm among publishers.In India, meanwhile, Jesuit officials have suggested that the Vatican action may have been prompted by writings published after de Mello’s death, which do not fairly represent his thinking.
In a July 23 letter, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger alerted the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences to the impending declaration. He also asked the bishops to try to withdraw de Mello’s books from circulation, or to ensure that they’re printed with a notice indicating they may cause “grave harm” to the faith (NCR, Aug. 28).
Seems to me that it is all about the Catholic Church’s centuries year old struggle to retain control and little by little that control is being lost as people do begin to think for themselves, as more and more sources reflect a view of the ‘Spirit’ which is beyond the rigid confines of the Church.
Well I may, or may not agree, with all that Fr. de Mello has written, but he has certainly become MY patron saint. May even put a picture of him next to my favorite statue of Buddha. Both of whom were merely men, human beings with a larger view of the possibilities of the human spirit. Much larger, evidently, than the Vatican is capable of envisioning.