It’s not the Church, exactly; it’s the fashions in who speaks for the church.
The work of biologists and astronomers “had no more ardent supporter” than Jacques Maritain (1882-1973), but
Although he was a giant of twentieth-century philosophy and (according to Pope Paul VI) a seminal influence on the Second Vatican Council, Maritain’s stock among Catholic thinkers was already in sharp decline at the time of his death. Deal Hudson has argued that the cause of this seemingly inexplicable neglect was the scathing critique of Teilhard de Chardin in one of Maritain’s last books, The peasant of the Garonne (1967). Teilhard was an icon of post-Vatican II liberal theology, and Maritain’s dismissal of his philosophy as “one more Christian gnosis … like all gnoses – a bad gnosis” did not sit well with what Maritain referred to as Teilhard’s’ “enraptured ecclesiastical retinue.”
What Maritain objected to was Teilhard’s “purely evolutive conception where being is replaced by becoming and every essence … vanishes.” Maritain had no objection to the theory of evolution per se …
– George Sim Johnston: Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution (Our Sunday Visitor, pp. 136-37)
“No objection to the theory of evolution per se ” … But most of the Expelled could say that! They hate what Darwinism has done to the theory, and that’s what got them expelled.
(Note: Etienne Gilson had no use for Teilhardianism either, though he tried to be fair about it.)
To this end, he suggested that the Earth in its evolutionary unfolding, was growing a new organ of consciousness, called the noosphere. The noosphere is analogous on a planetary level to the evolution of the cerebral cortex in humans. The noosphere is a “planetary thinking network” — an interlinked system of consciousness and information, a global net of self-awareness, instantaneous feedback, and planetary communication. At the time of his writing, computers of any merit were the size of a city block, and the Internet was, if anything, an element of speculative science fiction. Yet this evolution is indeed coming to pass, and with a rapidity, that in Gaia time, is but a mere passage of seconds. In these precious moments, the planet is developing her cerebral cortex, and emerging into self-conscious awakening. We are indeed approaching the Omega point that Teilhard de Chardin was so excited about.