Benedict XVI speaks of Brother Roger

“An ecumenism lived spiritually”


Wednesday 17 August 2005. At the end of the general audience at Castelgandolfo, the Pope spoke of Brother Roger’s death

This morning I received very sad, tragic news. During vespers yesterday evening, our beloved Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the Taizé Community, was stabbed and killed, probably by a mentally disturbed woman.

This news has affected me even more because precisely yesterday I received a very moving, affectionate letter from Frère Roger. In it he wrote that from the depth of his heart he wanted to tell me that "we are in communion with you and with those who have gathered in Cologne."

Then he wrote that, because of his state of health, unfortunately he would not be able to come personally to Cologne, but that he would be present spiritually with his brothers.

At the end, he wrote in this letter that he hopes to come as soon as possible to Rome to meet with me and to tell me that "our Community of Taizé wants to go forward in communion with the Holy Father." Then he wrote by hand: "Holy Father, I assure you of my sentiments of profound communion. Frère Roger of Taizé."

At this moment of sadness, we can only commend to the Lord’s goodness the soul of this faithful servant of his. We know that from sadness, as we just heard in the psalm, joy will be reborn.

Frère Roger is in the hands of eternal goodness, of eternal love; he has attained eternal joy. He invites and exhorts us to be faithful labourers in the Lord’s vineyard, even in sad situations, certain that the Lord accompanies us and gives us his joy.

Friday 19 August 2005. Addressing representatives of various Christian confessions, during the World Youth Days in Cologne, Germany, Benedict XVI said:

… I would also like in this context to remember the great pioneer of unity, Brother Roger Schutz, who was so tragically snatched from life. I had known him personally for a long time and had a cordial friendship with him.

He often came to visit me and, as I already said in Rome on the day of his assassination, I received a letter from him that moved my heart, because in it he underlined his adherence to my path and announced to me that he wanted to come and see me. He is now visiting us and speaking to us from on high. I think that we must listen to him, from within we must listen to his spiritually lived ecumenism and allow ourselves to be led by his witness towards an interiorized and spiritualized ecumenism.

Wednesday 16 August 2006. During the general audience at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI mentioned the anniversary of Brother Roger’s death, saying:

“I would like to call specially to mind Brother Roger, founder of Taizé, who was murdered one year ago, on 16 August, during evening prayer. His witness of Christian faith and of ecumenical dialogue has been a precious lesson for entire generations of young adults. Let us ask the Lord that the sacrifice of his life may contribute to consolidate the commitment to peace and solidarity of those who have at heart the future of humanity.”

Last updated: 11 April 2008