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Monday, August 31, 2015

Carl Jung: If the Reformation is a heresy, I am certainly a heretic too.




To the Rev. H. L. Philp

Dear Mr. Philp, 26 October 1956

Thank you very much for calling my attention to this new concoction Christian Essays in Psychiatry.

The idea that I convert people, as it were, to the new denomination "Jungianism" or better "Jungian Church" is sheer defamation.

I know a considerable number of people that have converted to the Catholic Church after they were analysed by myself.

A smaller number of Catholics that had become indifferent to the Church before felt completely out of it and adopted the standpoint more or less similar to mine, which I regard as a sort of left-wing Protestantism.

I am definitely inside Christianity and, as far as I am capable of judging about myself, on the direct line of historical development.

If the Pope adds a new and thoroughly unhistorical dogma to Catholicism, I add a symbolic interpretation of all Christian symbols.

At least I am trying to.

If the Reformation is a heresy, I am certainly a heretic too.

There is nothing to be done about it, as once it was a heresy even to suggest that the earth turns round the sun.

It is of course a thorn in the flesh of the churches that I do not belong to any of the recognized sects.

Looked at from a strictly Catholic point of view I make very heretical statements indeed; but there are plenty of reformers that have done the same thing, including the present Pope, declaring the dogma without the slightest apostolic authority and without the consent even of his own Church, which has emphatically resisted any such declaration during at least the 600 years of its early history.

The absolute number of conversions having taken place under my direct or indirect influence is insignificant in comparison with that of the people returning to their original faith, including Parsees returning to their fire-temple, Jews appreciating again the deep significance of their own religion, Chinamen and Hindus understanding again the meaning of their forgotten Taoism and their religious philosophy.

These facts have even prompted my critics to accuse me of a particular lack of character and even of betrayal of my Christian faith.

They all want me therefore to confess my definite belief in certain metaphysical statements and complain bitterly that I do not comply with their wishes.

The trouble with them is that they don't want to think about their own beliefs.

Whereas I am insisting, with certain Fathers of the Church, that we ought to think about religious matters and that the way to the cognition of God begins with the cognition of oneself.

As nearly everybody does, they also want to circumvent this odious task of self-cognition.

But, I am afraid, we don't get anywhere by remaining blind in this respect.

I consider it downright immoral to shut one's eyes to the truth about oneself.

Thus far I am a Protestant in my soul and body, even if most of the Protestant theologians are just as childishly prejudiced as the Catholic priests.

I am busy dictating answers to your questions, but I am not yet
Through.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 334-335.