Questions Catholics Ask

| ➕ | ➕

More questions...and responses

RSS feed button

Ecumenism Posts

Ask a question now!

Is Taizé a Catholic prayer practice and if not, what are its origins?

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Wednesday 17, February 2021 Categories: Church History,Ecumenism
The Church of the Reconciliation, with its simple music and un-dogmatic ritual, attracted thousands of pilgrims weekly—and still does.

Taizé is an ecumenical movement founded in 1952 by Swiss-born Roger Schütz-Marsauche to recover the fruits of monasticism for Protestants and to promote unity among Christians. Does it have the blessing of the Roman Catholic Church? Most surely, and then some. Taizé’s most recent annual meeting, held virtually, received messages of support from Pope Francis, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and the Patriarchate of Moscow. In addition, the Archbishop of Canterbury, representatives of the leadership of the World Council of Churches, the World Lutheran Federation, and other communions reaffirmed their support.

Why does Taizé enjoy such universal approval? The integrity of its founder certainly plays a large role. Brother Roger, as he was known, was the son of a Protestant minister and Huguenot mother. As a Presbyterian, Roger studied theology until contracting tuberculosis. During his convalescence, he became fascinated by monastic life. Yet his conscience was burdened by the horrors of war. In 1940, along with his sister Genevieve, he bought a property in Taizé, France, to shelter Jews and Christians persecuted by the Nazis. When the Gestapo learned of their efforts, they moved to Geneva. There, Roger joined an ecumenical community and became committed to the path of reconciliation.

After the war, Roger returned to Taizé to establish a quasi-monastic community open to all Christians. The Church of the Reconciliation, with its simple music and un-dogmatic ritual, attracted thousands of pilgrims weekly—and still does. Brother Roger urged young people to trust in God, remain connected to their local churches and to the common good of humanity. Taizé gatherings can be found in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and across Europe.

Brother Roger’s relationship to Catholicism is the source of much interest. A friend of Mother Teresa, he was known to attend daily Mass since 1972, receiving Eucharist from bishops and even two popes: John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It was rumored he’d become a Catholic, but in 1980 Brother Roger clarified: “I have found my own identity as a Christian by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone.” In 2005 at the age of 90, Brother Roger was murdered by a mentally ill woman during a Taizé service. A Catholic cardinal presided at his funeral.

Scripture: John 17:20-26; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 4:1-6, 15-16 


Books: Brother Roger of Taizé: Essential Writings (Orbis Books,2006)

A Community Called Taizé: A Story of Prayer, Worship, and Reconciliation, by Jason Brian Santos (Inter-Varsity Press, 2008)

0 comments  -  Add your own comment  -  Follow my posts  -  Permalink Tags: taizeecumenism

Do the Eastern churches have popes?

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Tuesday 27, January 2015 Categories: Ecumenism,Church History
Pope Francis meeting Patriarch Bartholomew in Turkey Dec. 2014
Pope Francis meeting Patriarch Bartholomew in Turkey Dec. 2014

Not popes, but patriarchs. This answer is embedded in history which is where things always get interesting and make more sense. There were five ancient patriarchates: basically self-governing territories under a chief bishop and his synod. Those five were Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Remember that distances were greater when the whole world operated without technology and on foot or horseback. It was hardly practical for a centralized office to handle every local decision about the universal church, especially as languages and cultural contexts of each diocese were quite different. The law of the church (canon law) wasn't even informally standardized until the Middle Ages. Bishops came together for universal councils in places like Ephesus and Chalcedon for rulings on controversial questions and to resolve major conflicts. But for the most part, the patriarchates ran their dioceses effectively.

The papacy's profile soared after Pope Leo I's reign in the fifth century. Two hundred years earlier, Irenaeus had affirmed Rome as a "more powerful principality" rooted in the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul in that city. Popes before Leo I had also seen the Roman bishop as holding "pastoral care of all the churches." But Pope Leo was the first to declare that the Bishop of Rome assumed the fullness of power conferred on Peter by Christ. To be in communion with Rome, therefore, is to be in communion with all bishops and churches who confess now, have confessed, or will confess the Catholic faith.

Tensions gradually arose between the Eastern patriarchs and Rome over matters of theology, liturgy, and church practice. Authority and governance became a flashpoint, culminating in the Great Schism between East and West in 1054. The Eastern church claimed the name Orthodox, viewing the See of Rome as a "papal church." Eastern and Western leaders excommunicated each other and their constituencies, a ban that wasn't lifted until the time of Pope Paul VI in the twentieth century. Nationhood advanced as a preferred political identity, and increased nationalization of the churches proliferated. Some Eastern patriarchs remained loyal to the Pope including the Armenian, Chaldean, Coptic, Maronite, Melkite, and West Syrian patriarchates. Over twenty unique Catholic rites exist in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church today. The rest allied with the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox patriarchs. They have not been in communion with Rome for almost a thousand years. The dialogue of East and West continues.


101 Questions and Answers on Eastern Catholic Churches - Edward Faulk (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2007)

You Are Peter: An Orthodox Theologian's Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy - Olivier Clement (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2003)

Is there truth in other religions?

Posted by: Alice L. Camille   🕔 Tuesday 23, September 2014 Categories: Church History,Doctrines & Beliefs,Ecumenism

World Religiions1
"In this age of ours, when men (sic) are drawing more closely together and the bonds of friendship between different peoples are being strengthened, the Church examines with greater care the relation which she has to non-Christian religions." So begins a breakthrough document from Vatican II, Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions). This statement released a theological revolution in 1965. Catholicism went on record calling the human family one community sharing a common destiny in God.

All religions seek answers to the great human questions about life, meaning, happiness, death, and mystery. To the extent they arrive at a revelation of the true God, they participate in truth known to the Christian faith. Nostra Aetate notes that Hinduism deeply respects meditation and divine mystery, expressed in stories and philosophies that support the ways of love. Buddhism critiques the present world's inadequacies and proposes disciplines to liberate the human spirit through compassion and mindfulness. Other religions of the world present a "program of life" inclusive of doctrines, moral precepts, and sacred rites. All of these assist human beings in the quest for God and truth and are therefore honorable.

 "The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions." (no. 2) This is a strong proclamation that deserves to be more widely known. It doesn't absolve the Church of its obligation to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, which it regards as the fullness of truth.

 Muslims have a great affinity with biblical religion as heirs to the faith of Abraham. Islam acknowledges one Creator God, almighty and merciful, who chooses to be revealed to humanity. Muslims honor Jesus as a prophet and Mary as a holy woman, and anticipate final judgment and the resurrection of the dead. They practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, all mutually esteemed by the Church.

Judaism is mentioned in Nostra Aetate and a second Council document, "Guidelines on Religious Relations with the Jews." Both affirm the intimate place of the Jewish people in the designs of God, never forsaken by the covenant which binds them for all time. Linked to Christians by biblical tradition; the Jewish leadership of the early church; liturgy, feasts, and ritual formulas—there is no room for discrimination or prejudice against the Jewish community. New global realities make dialogue and understanding between all who seek God a mandate for the future.

Scripture: Acts 16:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 3:7; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Tim 2:3-4

Books: No Religion Is an Island: The Nostra Aetate Dialogues - Edward Bristow (New York: Fordham University Press, 1998)

Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue (Rediscovering Vatican II) - Edward Idris Cassidy (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2005)



Follow Us


Click on a date below to see the vocation events happening that day!