Both Catholic and Calvinist


Dear all:

The following article has just appeared on the Chiesa website. I would really appreciate getting seriously though-out feedback on the contents and implications of this. No cartoon polemics and 5-minute apologetics, please.

I’ve posted a (hopefully very restrained) introduction to the article in

Here is the article stating that the late Brother Roger of Taize was both Catholic and Calvinist.

Was the Founder of Taizé Protestant, or Catholic? A Cardinal Solves the Riddle

Fr. Roger Schutz was both. He adhered to the Church of Rome while remaining a Calvinist pastor. Wojtyla and Ratzinger gave him communion. Cardinal Kasper explains how, and why

**by Sandro Magister **

ROMA, August 25, 2008 – In an interview published on the feast of the Assumption in “L’Osservatore Romano,” Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council for the promotion of Christian unity, solved a riddle concerning the founder of the multi-confessional ecumenical community of Taizé, Fr. Roger Schutz (in the photo).

The riddle concerned Schutz’s relationship with the Catholic Church. Schutz was a Protestant pastor, of the Reformed tradition and of Calvinist origin. After his death – at the age of 90, killed on August 16, 2005 by a mentally deranged woman, during evening prayers and in the presence of 2,500 faithful – the community of Taizé dispelled the notion that he had secretly converted to Catholicism. But the idea of his conversion was supported by various facts: Schutz had repeatedly received Eucharistic communion from John Paul II; he took communion every morning at the Catholic Mass in Taizé; and he was given communion by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself, at the funeral Mass for pope Karol Wojtyla.

(See Link as per Banned Topics)


Here is the continuation and conclusion of the article:

Q: Do you see any links between the ecumenical vocation of Taizé and the pilgrimage of tens of thousands of young adults to this small village in Burgundy? In your opinion, are young people sensitive to the visible unity of Christians?

A: As I see it, the fact that every year thousands of young people still make their way to the little hill of Taizé is truly a gift of the Holy Spirit to today’s Church. For many of them, Taizé represents the first and main place where they can meet young people from other Churches and Ecclesial Communities. I am happy to see that the young adults who fill the tents of Taizé each summer come from different countries of Western and Eastern Europe, and some from other continents, that they belong to different communities of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox tradition, that they are often accompanied by their own priests or pastors. A number of young people who come to Taizé are from countries that have experienced civil wars or violent internal conflicts, often in a still recent past. Others come from regions that suffered for several decades under the yoke of a materialistic ideology. Still others, who perhaps represent the majority, live in societies deeply marked by secularization and religious indifference. In Taizé, during the times of prayer and sharing on the Bible, they rediscover the gift of communion and friendship that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can offer. In listening to the Word of God, they also rediscover the unique treasure that has been given to them by the sacrament of baptism. Yes, I believe that many young people realize what is truly at stake in the unity of Christians. They know how the burden of divisions can still weigh heavily on the witness of Christians and on the building up of a new society. In Taizé they find a kind of “parable of community” that helps to go beyond the rifts of the past and to look towards a future of communion and friendship. When they return home, that experience helps them to create groups of prayer and sharing in their own life-context, to nourish that desire for unity.

Q: Before heading the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, you were the bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart and, in that capacity, you welcomed in 1996 a young adult European meeting organized by the Taizé Community. What do these meetings contribute to the life of the Churches?

A: That meeting was indeed a time of very great joy and profound spiritual intensity for the diocese, and especially for the parishes that welcomed the young participants from different countries. Those meetings seem to me extremely important for the life of the Church. Many young people, as I said, live in secularized societies. It is hard for them to find companions on the road of Christian faith and life. Spaces to deepen and celebrate faith, in joy and serenity, are rare. The local Churches sometimes find it hard to walk alongside the young in their spiritual journeys. It is in this respect that large meetings like those organized by the Taizé Community respond to a true pastoral need. Christian life certainly requires silence and solitude, as Jesus said: “Shut yourself in your room and pray to your Father who is in that secret place” (Matt 6:6). But it also needs sharing, encounters and exchanges. Christian life is not lived out in isolation, on the contrary. Through baptism, we belong to the same one body of the Risen Christ. The Spirit is the soul and the breath that animates that body, making it grow in holiness. The gospels, incidentally, speak regularly of a great crowd of persons who came, often from very far away, to see and hear Jesus and to be healed by him. The large meetings held today are part of this same dynamic. They enable the young better to grasp the mystery of the Church as communion, to listen together to the words of Jesus and to put their trust in him.

Q: Pope John XXIII called Taizé a “little springtime.” For his part, Brother Roger said that Pope John XXIII was the man who had affected him the most. In your opinion, why did the Pope who had the intuition of the Second Vatican Council and the founder of Taizé appreciate one another so much?

A: Every time I met Brother Roger, he spoke to me a lot about his friendship for Pope John XXIII first of all, then for Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. It was always with gratitude and a great joy that he told me about the many meetings and conversations he had with them over the years. On the one hand, the prior of Taizé felt very close to the Bishops of Rome in their concern to lead the Church of Christ along the ways of spiritual renewal, of unity between Christians, of service to the poor, of witness to the Gospel. On the other hand, he felt deeply understood and supported by them in his own spiritual journey and in the orientation that the young Taizé Community was taking. The awareness of acting in harmony with the thought of the Bishop of Rome was for him a kind of compass in all his actions. He never would have undertaken an initiative that he knew was against the opinion or the will of the Bishop of Rome. A similar relationship of trust continues today with Pope Benedict XVI, who spoke very touching words when the founder of Taizé died, and who receives Brother Alois every year in a private audience. Where did this mutual esteem between Brother Roger and the successive Bishops of Rome come from? It was certainly rooted in human realities, in the rich personalities of the men concerned. In the final analysis, I would say that it came from the Holy Spirit, who is coherent in what he inspires in different persons at the same time, for the good of the one Church of Christ. When the Spirit speaks, all understand the same message, each in his or her own language. The true creator of understanding and brotherhood among the disciples of Christ is the Spirit of communion.

Q: You are well acquainted with Brother Alois, Brother Roger’s successor. How do you see the future of the Taizé Community?

A: Although I had already met him previously, it is above all since Brother Roger died that I have come to know Brother Alois better. A few years earlier, Brother Roger told me that everything was planned for his succession, on the day when that would be necessary. He was happy about the prospect that Brother Alois was going to take over. Who could have ever imagined that that succession was going to take place in a single night, after an unthinkable act of violence? What has astonished me since then is the great continuity in the life of the Taizé Community and in the welcome of the young. The liturgy, the prayer and the hospitality continue in the same spirit, like a song that has never been interrupted. That says a lot, not only about the personality of the new prior, but also and above all about the human and spiritual maturity of the whole Taizé Community. It is the community as a whole that has inherited Brother Roger’s charism, which it continues to live and to radiate. Knowing the individuals concerned, I have full confidence in the future of the Taizé Community and in its commitment for Christian unity. That confidence comes to me from the Holy Spirit as well, who does not awaken charisms in order to abandon them at the first opportunity. God’s Spirit, who is always new, works in the continuity of a vocation and a mission. He will help the community to live out and to develop its vocation, in faithfulness to the example that Brother Roger left it. Generations pass, but the charism remains, because it is a gift and a work of the Spirit. I would like to conclude by repeating to Brother Alois and to the whole Taizé Community my great esteem for their friendship, their life of prayer and their desire for unity. Thanks to them, the gentle face of Brother Roger remains familiar to us.


Sounds good, but there are definite differences between classic Catholic theology and 16th century and later Calvinist theology. And I get to link my article :stuck_out_tongue:

Catholicism and Calvinism Contrasted

Calvin : God’s sovereignty determines the will.
Catholic : God’s sovereignty includes free will.

Calvin : Predestination as predetermination.
Catholic : Predestination as infallible foreknowledge.

Calvin : God desires only the salvation of the elect.
Catholic : God desires the salvation of all.

Calvin : God provides grace only to the elect.
Catholic : God provides grace to all, though not all accept it.

Calvin : Christ died only for the elect.
Catholic : Christ died for all men.

Calvin : God predetermines some for hell.
Catholic : Men merit hell by their own wickedness.

Calvin : The elect include all those born-again.
Catholic : The elect are those who persevere to the end.

Calvin : Grace co-opts human free will.
Catholic : Grace perfects the free will that cooperates.

Calvin : Those in grace (born-again) can’t fall away.
Catholic : Those in grace can freely sin and lose grace.

Calvin : The elect will unfailingly persevere.
Catholic : The elect are those who have persevered.

Calvin : The elect are assured of their salvation.
Catholic : Yes, but only God knows who they are.

Calvin : Predestination eliminates merit and guilt.
Catholic : Predestination includes merit and guilt.

The Pelagian heretics held that man alone (apart from God’s grace) is responsible for his salvation. Calvinists start with the opposite premise that God alone is responsible for man’s salvation.

Conclusion: The Calvinist position is consistent with itself, but is not consistent with human experience or the Scriptures. It cannot be reconciled with the cooperation and resistance of free will, sin and virtue, the possible loss of grace, punishment and reward, and the universality of redemption and grace. Calvin’s God is arbitrary and despotic.

The Catholic position is consistent with itself, with human experience, and with the Scriptures. God’s foreknowledge and foreordination of the elect to heavenly glory includes His universal desire and sufficient grace to save all men, our free cooperation with His grace, good works which truly merit heavenly reward, and the real possibility – during this life of testing and pilgrimage – of rejecting grace and salvation and thus deserving the punishments of hell.

Thanks to Jim Burnham who originally wrote this back in the mid 1990s or so, I just edited a bit.

Phil P




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