Pope shocked at slaying of Taizé's Brother Roger

Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday that he is shocked and saddened at the slaying of Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the Taize community and one of the world's leading ecumenical figures.

Brother Roger, 90, was stabbed three times in the neck by a Romanian woman during an evening prayer service at the Taize community's headquarters in eastern France on Tuesday evening local time. He died soon afterwards. Authorities arrested the woman, 36, who was said to show signs of mental instability.

A visibly moved Pope Benedict, in impromptu remarks during his weekly general audience yesterday, said he had been given the sad and "terrifying" news that morning.

It was all the more shocking, the Holy Father said, because he had received a "very moving and very friendly" letter from Brother Roger the previous day.

The pope said Brother Roger had written to explain that for health reasons he could not join the pope for World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, Germany, but would be there spiritually.

"He writes that from the bottom of his heart he wants to tell me: 'We are in communion with you and with those gathered in Cologne,'" the pope said, quoting from the letter in French.

"In his own hand, he writes that 'our community of Taize wants to walk in communion with the Holy Father,'" the pope said.

Brother Roger had met several times with Pope John Paul II, who briefly visited Taize in 1986. Pope Benedict personally greeted Brother Roger when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he celebrated Pope John Paul's funeral Mass in Rome in April.

For many of the pilgrims attending the papal audience, the news also came as a shock. Hundreds of thousands of people, especially youths, have visited the ecumenical monastic community of Taize or participated in its activities.

The pope did his best to comfort them.

"In this moment of sadness, we can only entrust to the Lord's goodness the soul of his faithful servant. We know that from sadness ... will be reborn joy," the pope said.

"Brother Roger is in the hands of eternal goodness and eternal love and has arrived at eternal joy," he said.

Brother Roger, a native of Switzerland and a minister of the Swiss Reformed Church, founded the Taize community in 1940 with three companions. It grew to eventually include more than 100 Anglicans, Lutherans, evangelicals and Catholics from more than 20 countries.

Pope shocked at slaying of Brother Roger, ecumenical leader (Catholic News Service 17/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

Taizé Paris meeting draws 80,000 -- wide ecumenical support (CathNews 30/12/02)

Pope, Leaders Shocked by Murder of "Brother Roger" (Reuters/Epoch Times 17/8/05)
Christian leader stabbed to death (BBC 17/8/05)
Pope: Just yesterday I received Frere Roger's moving letter (AGI 17/8/05)
Frčre Roger Shutz of Taizé is assassinated (AsiaNews.it 17/8/05)
Pope saddened by the death of "Dear Brother Roger" (AsiaNews.it 17/8/05)
Taize Religious Community Founder Slain (Associated Press/Beliefnet 17/8/05)
Pope shocked at slaying of Brother Roger, ecumenical leader (Catholic News Service 17/8/05)
Founder of Taizé community murdered, Pope Benedict expresses grief (Catholic News Agency 17/8/05)
Taize founder killed (Catholic World News 17/8/05)
Pope, at audience, mourns Brother Roger (Catholic World News 17/8/05)
Violent death of Taizé founder Brother Roger stuns church leaders (Ecumenical News International 17/8/05)
Catholics and Protestants Mourn Taizé-Founder (idea 17/8/05)
Brother Roger, Prior of Taize, killed by a mentally disturbed woman (Missionary Service News Agency 17/8/05)
Brother Roger killed…one of his letters 2 (Missionary Service News Agency 17/8/05)
After killing of brother Roger…first reactions 3 (Missionary Service News Agency 17/8/05)
After killing of Brother Roger…4 (Missionary Service News Agency 17/8/05)
After killing of Brother Roger: The 'Maison de Dakar', open doors to Muslims (Missionary Service News Agency 17/8/05)
Taizé founder stabbed to death (swissinfo 17/8/05)
Taize's founder stabbed to death (The Age/Australian Associated Press 17/8/05)
Woman stabs pastor to death at service (Reuters/Courier-Mail 17/8/05)
Christian world mourns stabbed Taizé leader (London Times 17/8/05)
Murdered Taizé leader was new age pioneer (London Times 17/8/05)
A Great Witness Of God - Pope Benedict XVI remembers Brother Roger (Vatican Radio English Features 17/8/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Taizé Founder, Brother Roger, Slain (Zenit 16/8/05)

Pope apologizes twice for being forgetful (Reuters 17/8/05)
Pope forgets to bless pilgrims (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo 17/8/05)
Vatican Radio to produce radio theater on Pope Benedict XVI (Catholic News Agency 17/8/05)
Texas lawyer presses lawsuit against Pope Benedict (Catholic World News 17/8/05)
Pope seeks immunity over sex abuse suit (Associated Press/Sydney Morning Herald 17/8/05)
Benedict XVI General Audience - text (17/8/05)
Pope's General Audience (Vatican Radio English Features 17/8/05, audio - requires Real Player)
Christianity Isn't Just "Dos and Don'ts," Says Pope (Zenit 16/8/05)
Faithful Urged to Bring God Into Public Life (Zenit 16/8/05)
Pope Notes Plight of the Divorced-and-Remarried (Zenit 16/8/05)
Benedict XVI on Youth, the Faith, and More (Zenit 16/8/05)

18 Aug 2005