.- The ecumenical Community of Taize issued a statement last week denying its founder, the late Brother Roger Schutz, underwent a “conversion” to the Catholic faith, saying instead he entered “progressively into a full communion with the faith of the Catholic Church without a ‘conversion’ that would imply a break with his origins.”
The statement denies a story in the French newspaper “Le Monde,” which the Taize Community said was based on a rumor spread “by Catholic traditionalist circles” and that “misrepresents his true intentions and defames his memory.”
The Taize leaders point out that the Bishop Emeritus of Autun, Raymond Seguy, has clarified his statements to Le Monde, telling France Presse: "I did not say that Brother Roger abjured Protestantism, but he showed that he subscribed fully to the Catholic faith."
“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,” the statement notes.
It goes on to explain that in 1972, “the bishop of Autun at the time, Armand Le Bourgeois, simply gave him Communion for the first time, without requiring any other profession of faith from him besides the creed recited during the Eucharist, which is held in common by all Christians. Several witnesses were present and can attest to this.”
“Brother Roger's step was not understood by all, but it was welcomed by many: by Pope John Paul II, by Catholic bishops and theologians who celebrated the Eucharist in Taize, as well as by Protestant and Orthodox Church leaders with whom Brother Roger patiently built up trust in the course of many years,” the statement indicated.
“Those who at all costs want the Christian denominations each to find their own identity in opposition to the others can naturally not grasp Brother Roger's aims. He was a man of communion, and that is perhaps the most difficult thing for some people to understand.”