Friday, 20 February 2009

Taize and Brother Roger...

There was some interesting conversation regarding 'Taize' while in Rome and I came across this information regarding Brother Roger's reformed background which I thought might be interesting if people are still processing what they thought.


Roger was born the ninth and youngest child of Karl Ulrich Schütz, a Protestant pastor from Bachs in the Zürcher Unterland (Zürich Lowlands) in Switzerland, and his wife, Amélie Henriette Schütz-Marsauche, a French Protestant woman from Burgundy.
From 1937 to 1940, Roger studied Reformed theology in Strasbourg and Lausanne, where he was a leader in the Swiss Student Christian Movement, part of the World Student Christian Federation.

In 1940, he rode a bicycle from Geneva to Taizé, a small town near Mâcon, about 390 kilometres (240 miles) southeast of Paris. Taizé was then in unoccupied France, just beyond the line of demarcation to the zone occupied by German troops. For two years Brother Roger hid Jewish refugees before being forced to leave Taizé. In 1944, he returned to Taizé to found the Community, initially a small quasi-monastic community of men living together in poverty and obedience.

From a Protestant background, Brother Roger undertook a step that was without precedent since the Reformation: entering progressively into a full communion with the faith of the Catholic Church without a “conversion” that would imply a break with his origins. In 1980, during a European Meeting in Rome, he said in St Peter’s Basilica in the presence of Pope John Paul II: “I have found my own identity as a Christian by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone.”


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting piece of information, of which I was aware, but not in so much detail. I 'm still convinced that it is impossible to combine both the protestant and the Catholic faiths, because of several major doctrinal differences... If we gloss too easily (and in my opinion to naively) over these differences, we are really saying that Luther exagerated, and thousands of protestants (especially in France and Italy) who were tortured and killed for their faith have died in vain...
What do you think of that?
Just a few thoughts to add fuel to the discussion...! :) :)

Greetings, and all the best for your work!


Gordon said...


I am no expert on Taize - but the emphasis as I have read about it is not a 'combination' but a finding of 'mutual respect and understanding of each other' - whether Brother Roger died in vain when he was murdered I guess we will need to wait and see. It is tragic that people died for their faith whether they be Catholic or Protestant, I guess the context history in the UK would show that Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell in particular did their best to redress the balance giving the Catholics a jolly good beating all in the name of God! I wonder if that is where the context of the history of predominantly Catholic countries is so different and leads to differently held positions.

Thanks Anne-Florence.

Anonymous said...

Not to try a fraternel reconciliation would mean that my protestant family would have died in vain.

Taize is one of those encounters where we can show that Christianity is made of people who look for that reconciliation beyond all theological differences, differences which are a real burden for those who want to prouve that God is a loving Father.

The Salvation Army, non-sacramental, is able to help toward this rapprochement because of the deep personnal relationship, it proclames, we can have in God and with the whosoever.
Infortunately, our teaching on Holiness, having lost its credibility among us, has reduced us for the moment to a church looking for its identity especially in Europe.

To be a Catholic all my youth has given me the opportunity to share with them the wonderful possibility given to all, to have a personnal relationship with Jesus-Christ but also to recieve "the blessing of a pure heart".

Recieve it, Live it, share it and you will see the difference it will bring among Catholiques, Orthodox, Protestants, Calvinists and Evangelicals.

It may not change their Church but it will change them as individual

Because of Christ

Major Jacques ROUFFET