Anthony de Mello
(4 September 1931, Bombay, British India - 2 June 1987, New York, United States) was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. An internationally acclaimed spiritual guide, writer and public speaker, de Mello hosted many spiritual conferences. See below for the names of these programs which are available on audio CD and film. He traveled to many countries to study and later to teach, most notably Spain and the United States.
One can actually listen to a live de Mello Conference, "Wake Up to Life", the only full-length Conference he ever allowed to be recorded. Listeners across the globe, have found the program to be life-changing. It also includes many principles of psychology and psychotherapy; both of which de Mello practiced in his life. His main objective in the program is "Awareness", waking up and being present to reality; which means one can be happy, loving, and real right now.
The few talks which he allowed to be filmed, such as "A Rediscovery of Life" and "A Way to God for Today," have inspired many viewers and audiences since being released; and have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of tv watchers throughout the United States, Canada, and Central America; in colleges, universities, Newman centers, and communities. De Mello established a prayer center in India. He died suddenly in 1987. His works are readily available and additional writings were published after his death.
In 1998, some of his opinions were condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, wrote for the Congregation:
- 'But already in certain passages in [his] early works and to a greater degree in his later publications, one notices a progressive distancing from the essential contents of the Christian faith. ... 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.'
His quite controversial paradigm for Catholic dogma is mainly because many of his ideas were influenced by Thai Buddhist teacher and founder of monasteries Ajahn Chah - who, some say, was a kind of teacher to him. Despite the Church's condemnation, his works are popular especially among those interested in Ignatian Spirituality.
Some editions of his books have since been supplemented with the insertion of a caution:
- 'The books of Father Anthony de Mello were written in a multi-religious context to help the followers of other religions, agnostics and atheists in their spiritual search, and they were not intended by the author as manuals of instruction of the Catholic faithful in Christian doctrine or dogma.'