WASHINGTON (August 18, 2005)– Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed the "profoundest sentiments" of grief following the murder of Brother Roger, founder of the Taizé community, on Tuesday.
In a letter to Brother Roger's designated successor, Brother Aloďs, Bishop Skylstad said the bishops of the United States joined in the expressions of sympathy by Pope Benedict XVI and the worldwide Church.
The full text of Bishop Skylstad's letter follows:
Dear Brother Aloďs,
On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops I would like to express the great sadness that we experienced on receiving the horrific news that Brother Roger Schutz was killed during Evening Prayer on August 15, 2005, in the monastery's Church of the Reconciliation.
Remembering the commitment of Br. Roger and the Taizé community to the ecumenical task, we share this moment of grief with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and the Church throughout the world.
When he visited Taizé in 1986, Pope John Paul II recalled that Pope John XXIII referred to Taizé as "that little springtime." It is our prayer that the community of Taizé, inspired by the vision of its founder Br. Roger, grounded as it was in Christian charity and prayer, continue to be "that little springtime" which, though small, has already brought hopes and has established a deep longing for reconciliation and unity of all disciples of Christ.
We assure you and the community of our profoundest sentiments as we share in your suffering and loss. One with Br. Roger and the community in a firm faith in the Resurrection, we recommit ourselves to the communion to which he bore witness in life and death.