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Brother Roger’s Murder Evokes Shock, Dismay

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Written by Basil on 08/18/2005 11:24 AM. Filed under:

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Update: Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia prays for the repose of Br. Roger’s soul

Guardian Unlimited: Taize Religious Community Founder Slain

Though I did not know Frere Roger personally, I find myself shocked beyond words to learn of his murder — and during vespers, no less. Other, abler writers have competently noted his life history and related the Roman Pontiff’s dismayed reaction. Bishop Seraphim (Sigrist) has published a characteristically poetic elegy for Br. Roger’s passing.

Though ecumene means something different to the Orthodox East than it does to Western Christians, so numb to schism and theological argument, still my heart felt the motivation behind Taizé and Br. Roger’s life and mission. With his unwavering emphasis on love to the exclusion of all other considerations (so typical of French Christianity after the war — one calls to mind St Mary Skobtsova of Paris), he worked for unity among Christians. For decades, the Taizé Community he founded continued to attract youth looking for a faith whose talk walked, an amazing feat in any age but particularly for recent generations so preoccupied with style rather than substance.

His unerring commitment to love as a lifestyle makes the news of his murder so bizarre and shocking. The Pope, as a symbol of so much entirely unrelated to his person, one can almost imagine being cut down — but this fragile, soft-spoken monk? The thought refuses to be formed in my mind.

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Last but not least, I am dumbfounded to learn that Madonna falling off a horse and P. Diddly dropping the “P” make headlines on Google News, but the senseless murder of one of the world’s most influential religious leaders does not.

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2 Responses to “Brother Roger’s Murder Evokes Shock, Dismay”

  1. Johanna Says:

    Have you ever seen the Werner Herzog film from the 1970’s called The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser? A very similar kind of tale…actually one of my favorite films that had a huge symbolic impact on my life at an early age…a story of a simple gentle man who was brutally murdered by a narrow-minded culture that was threatened by his very guilelessness, & that did not understand what & who he was at all.

    Antimony in action as a principle of life…

  2. Basil Says:

    Johanna, I have not seen it, but I will add it to my list of foreign films to search out. (They are quite difficult to find unless one knows where to look, which I unfortunately do not.) Someday I will find all three Krzysztof Kieslowski films in the Trois Couleurs trilogy, rent them, and watch them in succession. To date, I’ve only seen bits of Bleu.