Via Media

Via Media

Brother Roger slain..

Founder of Taize slain:

That article says it was a man who stabbed Brother Roger during a liturgy, but the wires cited at Whispers in the Loggia say it was a woman. Quite sad…

More here.

The statement on the Taize site:

In its sorrow, the Taizé Community thanks all those who are supporting it by their affection and their prayer. On the morning of 17 August, after Brother Roger’s death, the following prayer was read in the church:


“Christ of compassion, you enable us to be in communion with those who have gone before us, and who can remain so close to us. We confide into your hands our Brother Roger. He already contemplates the invisible. In his footsteps, you are preparing us to welcome a radiance of your brightness.”


There are questions below as to whether Brother Roger had converted to Catholicism, since it was said that he received Communion at Pope John Paul II’s funeral. We had a discussion of that here, and evidently this post is coming up on searches that people are doing on Brother Roger today, for there are several new comments.


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Mark Shea

posted August 16, 2005 at 11:18 pm

This is *so* sad. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of Christ, rest in peace.
And may the Lord not count this sin against his murderer.

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Tim Ferguson

posted August 16, 2005 at 11:23 pm

Requiem aeternam, dona ei, Domine

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St. Peter's Helpers

posted August 17, 2005 at 12:39 am

As I rejoice on the occasion of the WYD in Cologne, this comes as sad news that is somehow linked to my own WYD experience for I had the opportunity to visit Taize on my way to WYD 97 in Paris.
May the Lord grant Brother Roger eternal rest.

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posted August 17, 2005 at 6:18 am

How tragic. May his Memory be eternal!

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A Holy Fool

posted August 17, 2005 at 7:04 am

May the Lord grant Brother Roger eternal rest and peace with him. I grieve with all from Taize and throughout the world that knew him for this terrible loss.
And may the lord–and all of us–forgive this man or woman that has taken his life.
A tragedy.

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posted August 17, 2005 at 7:44 am

It’s sad for us. It’s sad for that woman, who must definitely have some issues.
For him, on the other hand — there are definitely worse ways to go to Jesus than as a sudden martyr, in church, after a long life in God’s service.

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posted August 17, 2005 at 8:41 am

Taize prayer CDs today as a meditative prayer for Brother Roger…
“Songs and Prayers” collection is my favorite.

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Der Tommissar

posted August 17, 2005 at 10:34 am

Was Brother Roger Catholic? It seems like there was never a straight answer on that one. Did he convert? Or am I mixing him up with someone else in the Taize community?

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posted August 17, 2005 at 10:42 am

Brother Roger was a Protestant.
The poor man, to die like that. Stabbed in the throat 3x! He didn’t have a chance. :(
Let’s pray for him as he finally encounters his Master.

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posted August 17, 2005 at 11:10 am

Was Brother Roger Catholic?
Brother Roger was a Protestant.

I don’t think it’s as clear and categorical as that. He may have been a Protestant in the same sense that Soloviev was Russian Orthodox – a member of a Church that on paper is not in communion with Rome, but desiring communion and practicing it personally. And since he was publicly offered Communion at the papal requiem, I think that some authorities must believe the Catholic Church can call him her own.
Whatever the case, I saw nothing in his faith that was deliberately un-Catholic anti-Catholic which would necessitate labling him as “Protestant”.
Although I have heard rumors that he formally converted – and even rumors that he was ordained.

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F. C. Bauerschmidt

posted August 17, 2005 at 11:29 am

A priest who works in Rome told me that the story he heard is that back during the pontificate of Paul VI Br. Rodger spoke with the Pope about being formally received into full communion and the Pope told him he could do more for the cause of Christian unity by remaining as he was. If this is a true story, it presents an interesting patradox: remaining outside of full communion with the See of Peter out of obedience to a request from the successor of Peter.

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posted August 17, 2005 at 11:48 am

1. A priest friend of mine which is quite involved with Taize told me that Frère Roger had converted to Catholicism some years ago but wouldn’t want to get publicity about that.
2. An article -in Spanish- about the same issue.

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Der Tommissar

posted August 17, 2005 at 3:08 pm

A priest who works in Rome told me that the story he heard is that back during the pontificate of Paul VI Br. Rodger spoke with the Pope about being formally received into full communion and the Pope told him he could do more for the cause of Christian unity by remaining as he was.
Would a person be bound by obedience to do what is asked in such a situation? Personally, I doubt seriously Pope Paul VI ever did such a thing. But let’s say that he did, how far could obedience be taken? If Christian unity is a prime good, is keeping someone from that unity evil?

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posted August 17, 2005 at 4:30 pm

May he rest in peace.

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Dr Peter Kalve

posted August 23, 2005 at 3:35 pm

I think we should also recognise – as Benedict XVI did – the significance of what may well prove to be the last, most beautiful letter Brother Roger wrote, which Pope Benedict received on the day of Brother Roger’s death.
Speaking at his weekly audience at Castel Gandolfo on Wednesday 17th August the Pope said:
‘We have spoken at the same time of sadness and joy. In fact, this morning I received very sad, tragic news.
During vespers yesterday afternoon, our beloved Frère Roger Schutz, founder of the Taizé Community, was stabbed and killed, probably by a mentally disturbed woman.
This news has affected me even more because precisely yesterday I received a very moving, affectionate letter from Frère Roger. In it he wrote that from the depth of his heart he wanted to tell me that “we are in communion with you and with those who have gathered in Cologne.”
Then he wrote that, because of his state of health, unfortunately he would not be able to come personally to Cologne, but that he would be present spiritually with his brothers.
At the end, he wrote in this letter that he hopes to come as soon as possible to Rome to meet with me and to tell me that “our Community of Taizé wants to go forward in communion with the Holy Father.” Then he wrote by hand: “Holy Father, I assure you of my sentiments of profound communion. Frère Roger of Taizé.”
At this moment of sadness, we can only commend to the Lord’s goodness the soul of this faithful servant of his. We know that from sadness, as we just heard in the psalm, joy will be reborn.
Frère Schutz is in the hands of eternal goodness, of eternal love; he has attained eternal joy. He invites and exhorts us to be faithful laborers in the Lord’s vineyard, also in sad situations, certain that the Lord accompanies us and gives us his joy.’
This search for communion with the Pope, expressed throughout Brother Roger’s ministry as Prior of Taize, and afterwards in his final years, was well known by the Vatican. Brother Roger remained a deeply close friend of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, as well as with Mother Theresa, and it was as “our beloved brother” that the then still Cardinal Ratzinger shared the depth of Christ’s love with Brother Roger, in giving him the Blessed Sacrament at the papal funeral Mass they both attended.
Yes, there are legalistic positions that can be taken. There are laws on the sharing of sacraments. But I feel sure and confident that Brother Roger did not present an issue of scandal, that in his soul he was at peace then, as I pray he is now.
Incidentally, it wasn’t Paul VI, but John XXIII who is said to have suggested Brother Roger should remain as he was…..

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