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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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