The French Protestant Federation

Let us respect the memory of Brother Roger

Following the article in “Le Monde” on 6 September: “Brother Roger, founder of Taizé, had converted to Catholicism”

Brother Roger had stated several times, and written in his last book, that he had reconciled within himself without a break his Reformed faith and the Catholic tradition. Are we able to respect the step he made and not try to reclaim in a confessional sense what he tried to overcome? Some Protestants often want to catholicise him; some Catholics want to see in this a conversion (like a “Hooray! We won!”) where he saw a reconciliation, a communion without a break.

Categorizing what he did not wish to categorize is a convenient way of avoiding letting ourselves be questioned by a step of reconciliation that disturbs us because it calls on us to move. We would do better – according to the Gospel - to try to enter into such a step of healing for our confessional exclusions. Our Christian landscape and our limited mentalities are such that we have difficulty in thinking of reconciliation between the two: if you are Catholic then you are no longer Protestant; and if you are Protestant you are no longer Catholic. This is the institutional and formal reality of our Churches. It is also their sin.

Brother Roger had entered into a step that was post-confessional or to say it differently, of overcoming these confessional splits. That appears unusual to us, it seems to go beyond what we are able imagine, but that was the step he made.

Even if we do not share it, the very least would be to respect it.

Pastor Gill Daudé
In charge of the service for ecumenical relations
of the French Protestant Federation.

Last updated: 7 September 2006