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Vatican shows special sympathy for Taizé, John Allen notes

Catholic World News - August 11, 2010

A glowing tribute to the Taizé community, published today in the Vatican newspaper, shows the Holy See’s special fondness for that ecumenical movement, observes John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

L’Osservatore Romano devoted a substantial portion of the day’s coverage to testimonial by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, honoring Taizé and its founder, the late Brother Roger Schutz. The newspaper also includes tributes from other Christian leaders, honoring the 70th anniversary of the founding of Taizé. The Vatican’s enthusiasm is noteworthy, Allen writes, because Taizé seeks to minimize the differences among Christian believers:

Typically speaking, anything that smacks of syncretism is viewed in Rome as toxic, yet Taizé and its late founder, Brother Roger Schutz, who boldly blend Catholic and Protestant devotions and beliefs, have been wrapped in a warm loving embrace.

Brother Roger, who was killed by an evidently deranged woman five years ago, provoked a lively controversy when he received Communion from the hand of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the funeral for Pope John Paul II. Vatican officials explained at the time that Brother Roger had fully embraced Catholic teachings on the Eucharist. Yet the Taizé founder, a Protestant theologian, never made a public profession of the Catholic faith. At Brother Roger’s own funeral, at which Cardinal Walter Kasper presided, everyone—Catholics and Protestants alike—received Communion.

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