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Taize, intercommunion, and respect for the deceased

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 29, 2005

At the funeral for Brother Roger of the Taize community, at which Cardinal Walter Kasper presided, everyone-- Catholics and Protestants alike-- received Communion.

How could that be justified, in light of the clear Church teaching against intercommunion?

Many observers remarked that Pope Benedict himself, during the funeral for Pope John Paul II personally administered the Eucharist to Brother Roger, who was a Protestant.

So then there's some special rule for Brother Roger and Taize?

Not quite, according to this Catholic News Service story. When the then-Cardinal Ratzinger gave Communion to Brother Roger, it was essentially a mistake. Neither the Pope nor Brother Roger sought to change the Church's practice.

Despite his ecumenical passion, Brother Roger, a minister of the Swiss Reformed Church, did not believe in shared Communion, and it was not practiced at the services in Taize.

So whoever authorized the Communion-for-all policy at Brother Roger's funeral (Cardinal Kasper?) was flouting the wishes of the deceased. The conduct of the funeral was guided not by Catholic teaching or Taize practice, not by the example of Brother Roger or the directives of the Vatican, but by that familiar ecumenical monster: the Least Common Denomination.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: 123456 - Oct. 12, 2005 6:57 PM ET USA

    Better late than never. Late last month, George Weigel reported thoroughly on the falsehoods in the original New York Times story underlying this second-hand report of shared communion at Bro. Roger's funeral. In keeping with long-established practice at Taize, ONLY Catholics received the Eucharist; others 'received' so-called 'blessed bread' from a separate table, NOT consecrated hosts. In fact, the mistake at JP II's funeral was just that, viz. a mistake, and a singular one.

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - Aug. 29, 2005 3:17 PM ET USA

    When Jesus fed the 5000 + on the mountainside it was "come and get it" for everyone. He gave them bread. The situation was different at the Last Supper and the Bread He gave was no longer bread at all ... but His very Body and Blood. Mistakes happen ... and heretics never rest. Kasper was a scandal under the last pope and he remains one under to this day. Pope Benedict knows what is going on ... what he will do about it is anyone's guess.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 29, 2005 9:47 AM ET USA

    I don't quite understand the story. Why was he wheeled up? Why, if BXVI knew it was Brother Roger, didn't he just give him a blessing? Seems easy enough to me. Sure it's awkward to deny someone Holy Communion but it is far less awkward when that someone knows the reasons he is not to receive.

  • Posted by: Canismater - Aug. 29, 2005 9:40 AM ET USA

    Wait, wait: .so, you're Brother Roger and the Cardinal approaches you with Communion. He knew the deal, we know he respected the rules in his community, he gotta say no. Unless he was received into the Church. Some people are talking about a meeting with JPII last year in which he was secretely received into the Church. Brother Roger apparently said he has embraced "the fullness of Christianity". http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/04/no_panzer_pope.html True?

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