Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The continuing enigma of Brother Roger

I am very interested in this report from Zenit. My one question: Is this a road open to others? Which of course leads to two other questions: If not, why not? and if so, under what conditions?
Cardinal Kasper also addressed continued uncertainty about Brother Roger's relationships with the Catholic faith.

He explained that when the religious received holy Communion publicly at Pope John Paul II's funeral, this was nothing new, as he "received Communion on many occasions."

Roger Schutz, pastor of the Reformed Church, "already from his youth nourished his faith and spiritual life from the sources of other Christian traditions, thus crossing over certain confessional limits. His desire to follow a monastic vocation and, with that intention, to found a new community with Reformed Christians, says much about this search," the cardinal explained.

With the passing of the years, he continued, "the faith of the prior of Taizé was enriched with the patrimony of the faith of the Catholic Church. According to his own testimony, referring precisely to the mystery of the Catholic faith, he understood certain elements of the faith, such as the role of the Virgin Mary in the history of salvation, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharistic gifts and the Church's apostolic ministry. In response, the Catholic Church accepted his access to Communion."

Brother Roger "received Communion on many occasions from the hands of John Paul II, who had a bond of friendship with him since the time of the Second Vatican Council, and who was familiar with his journey in the Catholic faith," Cardinal Kasper affirmed. "In this connection, there was nothing secret or concealed in the posture of the Catholic Church, either in Taizé or in Rome."

Cardinal Kasper recalled Brother Roger's words at a European meeting of young people in Rome in 1980, in which he "described his own path and Christian identity," stating that he had found his identity "reconciling in himself the faith of his origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking communion with anyone."

"In his conscience, he had entered into the mystery of the Catholic faith as one who grows, without the need to 'abandon' or 'break' with what he had received or lived before," said the cardinal. He added that "out of respect for the journey of faith of the prior of Taizé, it would be preferable in his case not to apply categories that he considered inappropriate for his experience and that, moreover, the Catholic Church never wished to impose on him."

Friend of Popes

The cardinal also highlighted Brother Roger's personal friendship with the most recent Popes.

"On one hand, the prior of Taizé felt very close to the Bishops of Rome, in their concern to lead the Church of Christ on the path of spiritual renewal, Christian unity, service to the poor and witness of the Gospel," he said. Brother Roger also felt "profoundly understood and supported by the Popes in his personal spiritual journey and in the direction that the young Community of Taizé was taking."

The desire to "act in harmony with the thought of the Bishop of Rome was for him a compass in all his actions," Cardinal Kasper concluded. "He would never have implemented an initiative that went against the opinion or will of the Pope."

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