By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 24, 2005

Cardinal Kasper plays hostess with the consecrated host. The New York Times approves.

TAIZÉ, France, Brother Roger Schutz pursued many ecumenical dreams in his long life, but in death one of them came true: At a Eucharistic service celebrated Tuesday by a Roman Catholic cardinal for Brother Roger, a Swiss Protestant, communion wafers were given to the faithful indiscriminately, regardless of denomination.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Vatican's council for the unity of Christians, who celebrated the Mass, said in a homily, "Yes, the springtime of ecumenism has flowered on the hill of Taizé." Beyond religious divisions, Brother Roger also abhorred the division between rich and poor. "Every form of injustice or neglect made him very sad," Cardinal Kasper said.

So what, boys and girls, do we learn from that stunt? That the Eucharistic discipline of the Church is unjust? Discriminatory? Out-moded? Or that, if you're a bishop, you're free to use the Body of Christ as an emblem of hospitality when it suits your sense of the occasion, regardless of what the recipient happens to believe about the object plunked into his hand?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 19 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Barb Kralis - Aug. 25, 2005 11:53 AM ET USA

    special ops sacerdos: In sincere due respect to you, Father, Cd.Ratzinger and Brother Roger have known each other for years. I suspect is was an accident, clarified later by Joaquin Navarro Valls. Cd.Kasper and Cd.Ratzinger have been at opposit ends, also for many years, and true to form, Kasper did not dissappoint. What timing God has! October 2005 will find all world bishops meeting in Rome to discuss the Eucharist. Among topics on the agenda will be 'unworthy reception.' We wait and we pray

  • Posted by: Art Kelly - Aug. 25, 2005 1:07 AM ET USA

    About a year ago, I attened a funeral in which the priest made it very clear that the only persons who could receive Holy Communion are practicing Catholics who have been to sacramental Confession recently (to preclude non-Catholics and lapsed Catholics from receiving Communion). How could Cardinal Kasper not know this? If the NY Times report is true, then the Church needs a new head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity--someone who understands the LIMITS of ecumenism.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 11:46 PM ET USA

    From the pen of "Brother Roger", "Now here in Taizé I see goodness breaking through, in the community life of the brothers, in their calm and discreet hospitality, and in the prayer. I see thousands of young people who do not express a conceptual articulation of good and evil, of God, of grace, of Jesus Christ, but who have a fundamental tropism towards goodness." Why give Christ to those "who do not express a conceptual articulation...of Christ"?

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 24, 2005 9:37 PM ET USA

    avemaria: Let's give the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, some credit, as announcements about Holy Communion (similar to the one I posted earlier) are made at Masses that he offers. In fact, I heard that this happened at WYD this year. As for Br. Roger, I don't even know what Br. Roger looked like -- but he did wear a monastic-style habit, so I would not know to deny him Holy Communion if he approached me at Mass. As for Cdl. Kasper, his words/deeds regularly show glimpses of traitorism.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Aug. 24, 2005 8:03 PM ET USA

    Dear Fr., Your solution is both pastoral and prudent. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Aug. 24, 2005 7:26 PM ET USA

    If, as the Times says, he is giving "wafers" to all comers, what's the big deal? Who cares? If, on the other hand, he is distributing the Body and Blood of Christ, then we must all, in charity, pray for his immortal soul.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 6:44 PM ET USA

    Pier Giorgio is right. At most of our local parishes there is a statement made at almost every wedding and funeral Mass about who should or should not approach the Communion stations. If the NYT story is true, this is a great scandal. Unfortuanately, it is what I have comen to expect from our episcopal leaders/

  • Posted by: Barb Kralis - Aug. 24, 2005 6:32 PM ET USA

    Cd.Kasper, the friendly ghost, was not the first to give Holy Communion to Taizé 'Brother Roger.' Go to this link: to witness Cd. Ratzinger giving Holy Communion to 'Brother Roger' at Pope John Paul II's funeral. False ecumenism? Scandal to the many faithful? Dialogue replacing 'conversion' by those who obstinately denied the one true faith? Taizé does not recognize the Real Presence, does not recognize the Pope as head of all Christians. Why?

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 24, 2005 5:51 PM ET USA

    Is Kasper a Roman Catholic? As a parish priest, especially at funeral Masses when half the folks might not be Catholic, I make this simple, direct announcement: "If you have not made your First Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, you may make a spiritual communion with the Lord Jesus at this time, either remaining prayerfully in your pew or coming forward to receive a blessing from the priest." If folks want more catechesis about the Truth of Church Teaching, they can see me after Mass.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 5:40 PM ET USA

    We can complain all we like about this atrocious act of Cardinal Kaspar. Who is actually going to take him to task? Who is going to accost him for his progressive ecumenism. It would seem that holding on to the truth is not part of this man's method! Jashu

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 2:53 PM ET USA

    Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: iube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinae maiestatis tuae; ut, quotquot ex hac altaris participatione sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni beneditione caelesti et gratia repleamur.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 2:53 PM ET USA

    Andy K, if you are calling the Eucharist an "earthly thing" and implying that it is not "heavenly", then I think we all understand your position better.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 2:09 PM ET USA

    Andy, the rules of the Eucharist can be imposed very easily. In Russian Orthodox churches, they have "bouncers" that stand in front of the line and question each person before they receive, and they DO turn people away. I witnessed this myself. However, I don't think that's appropriate either. But you can at least stop much of the abuse by turning away from receiving in the hand and with the cup. A great remedy, even if temporary, would be intinction. Even better would be traditional style.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Aug. 24, 2005 1:06 PM ET USA

    is it true? the new york times and the truth are not on friendly terms.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Aug. 24, 2005 12:17 PM ET USA

    Canismater, You write, "The policies of the Church are more strict on handling the candle money and the collection than they are for the Eucharist. So, where is our treasure?" Our treasure is to be in Heaven, not in earthly things, if I recall rightly. Why does the Church not have stricter controls over the Eucharist? Possibly because, unfortunately, they cannot be enforced as easily. The Mass for Bro. Roger's funeral was neither pastoral nor prudent. A service would have been.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Aug. 24, 2005 11:25 AM ET USA

    You need not ask each individual who comes up whether they are Catholic or are properly disposed. Before Holy Communion or in the program a statement can be made that because of sad divisions we are not able to offer Holy Communion at this time...we can all pray that these divisions might cease the we all be one, etc. One might question why a funeral Mass was offered for a non-Catholic...why not just a funeral liturgy outside of the Mass? wasn't named as such-it sure looked like a funeral Mass

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 10:45 AM ET USA

    Can I have your credit card numbers and your bank account numbers Andy K? Common…don’t discriminate against me just because I have no right to them. The policies of the Church are more strict on handling the candle money and the collection than they are for the Eucharist. So, where is our treasure?

  • Posted by: Andy K - Aug. 24, 2005 9:32 AM ET USA

    Or, do you ask each man who comes up: Are you of the proper disposition to receive the Holy Communion within the Catholic Church? Is this what the Cardinal was to do? H.E. Kasper's quote seems to be taken way out of context. His homily reflects what Br Roger did, not a condemnation of the protections of the Eucharist the Catholic Church has. I recall St. Paul writing something along the lines of "Receive the body of Christ worthily." This now is a matter between God and those who did or not.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 24, 2005 9:21 AM ET USA

    Cardinal Kasper has some problems with his orthodoxy to say the least. Mostly, it's all about Cardinal Kasper. He's a showboater and an obnoxiously annoying human being. So much in the general mold of so many prominent fools these days. After a bit, it all grows tiresome and banal.