Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Br. Roger and the Catholic Church

Controversy has arisen over the supposed "conversion" of Brother Roger of Taizé to the Catholic Church. On September 6th, Le Monde published an article suggesting that Brother Roger secretly converted to the Catholic Church, thus implying that his ecumenical stance was built on fraud. Today the Taizé community has responded by publishing four articles on their website, explaining the relation between Brother Roger and Rome and his own ecumenical position.

Do read them, its my conviction that Brother Roger's way is the only way forward for the ecumenical movement. Ecumenism has to happen in persons, not between institutions.

The Taizé Community states: http://www.taize.fr/en_article3864.html
Interview with Brother Alois: http://www.taize.fr/en_article3865.html
Bishop Gérard Daucourt: http://www.taize.fr/en_article3875.html
The French Protestant Federation: http://www.taize.fr/en_article3871.html


WTM said...

I may be a bit behind on the whole thing, but - the last I heard - canon law requires confirmation in the Roman Church (tantamount to conversion by Protestant standards in that "membership" in previous ecclesial fellowships is superceded) before partaking of the Eucharist. From what I gather, this didn't happen in the case of Brother Roger. Is my memory off, or are we seeing a form of Eucharistic administration outside the bounds of canon law?

Patrik said...

Yes, this is the normal way things works. According to the witnesses of both the catholic Church and the Taizé community this did not take place in the case of Br. Roger. He entered into full communion with the Catholic Church without going true any ritual that would be considered a break with his past.

It seems that the Church, represented by popes past and present, no less, recognized the holiness of Brother Roger and felt it was possible to make an exception. There is a loophole in the canon law that allows a bishop to admit a non-member to the Eucharist on special occasions, apparently, this was used in this case. If this is so, we certainly have a precedent of immense weight in this question.

The big question, of course, is if the Catholic Church will recognize Brother Roger as a saint, and if so, if this special ecumenical vision of his will be central in that process.

WTM said...

Very interesting - thanks for filling in the gaps in my knowledge of canon law. But, as to the saint question: are we talking about his being recognizsed as a saint in the sense that all Christians are saints, or in the sense of being enlistedn in the rolls of sainthood of the Romen church? I find it unlikely that the former would be the issue, so it must be the latter. In that case, doesn't there have to be 2 confirmed miracles for this to move forward? Have there been reports that I simply have not heard of?

Patrik said...

I have heard of several reported miracles involving Brother Roger, but the community, no doubt acting upon instructions from Brother Roger himself, has generally tried to keep things quiet. What I have heard has not come from Taizé sources, and I do not recall the details, but I remember thinking about a possible canonisation when reading about it.

I can't imagine that there is no discussion going on regarding this between Taizé and the Vatican, but obviously it is a delicate issue for both parts.

Chris T. said...

I would love to see that loophole used and expanded -- as you point out, actually coming to the Table together, as people, is the only way to achieve any kind of real unity. However, Rome does not seem to understand that central though it may be to Christianity, it's not the beginning and end of the Christian Church. It's truly sad that conversion to the Roman Church is the only way one can be in communion with its billion-plus faithful.