Is there some philosophical doctrine in Catholicism which does not require to believe in the historicity of Christ, like in Buddhism (you can "believe"/practice Buddhism, but don't believe in Buddha and his historicity)? I ask it because I can believe in symbol or philosophical concepts but not in those Bible stories, they sound absolutely immodern, naive and untrue. I know about Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, but I don't know what is the current status of his doctrine in Holy See.

Also, it's super difficult to me to believe in a soul and anthropomorphic God... And believe in soul makes close death very difficult, you know, hope is a pain, sleep is a rest. Maybe there are some more symbolic or philosophical or mystic concepts in Catholicism for peoples like me? Like there are such ones in Islam and Buddhism?

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    Philosophy, like many other things in this world, changes. The Catholic Church, although accused of Changing, does not change when it comes to it's beliefs. Modern Philosophy emphisis is on the self
    – Marc
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:06
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    You might be interested in the works of E.F. Schumacher, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who took what was true in Buddhism and found extra truths in Catholicism because of it. Specifically, his shorter book: A Guide for the Perplexed. Catholicism specifically avoids religious syncretism (blending of two religions) although it happens quite a bit, especially nowadays in Africa and traditionally in Latin America (and even in Protestant USA) and I'd imagine in communist/buddhist countries this is what you'd get.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


Yes, Catholics must believe in the historicity of Christ.

Is there some philosophical doctrine in Catholicism which does not require to believe in the historicity of Christ

No. This is the heresy of Modernism, whose philosophical foundation is agnosticism.

Pope St. Pius X condemned the following proposition as heretical in Lamentabili Sane (1907):

  1. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.

In Pope St. Pius X's encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis (1907), he writes (§6):

…it is inferred [by the Modernists] that God can never be the direct object of science, and that, as regards history, He must not be considered as an historical subject.

See also Pascendi §§ 9-10, 16-17, and esp. 29-33, and passim.

De Chardin was a heretic censored by the Holy See. cf.:

  • I know that de Chardin works was published after his death. So, I thought that the Holy See allowed, adopted his theory. Do I understand you correctly that this is not so and his theory is heretic even today?
    – RandomB
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 17:31
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    @Paul-AG Modernism is still a very prevalent heresy today. De Chardin specifically upheld the heresy of pantheism (that the universe is God) in writing, e.g., "I see in the World a mysterious product of completion and fulfillment for the Absolute Being himself", which the Holy See censored as heretical in 1948.
    – Geremia
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 0:41

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