Christian Identity is Not a Wall of Defense

(This is Neil.) I will only post a couple of times this Holy Week. Here, I would like to share some just-posted words from a Taizé meeting of 300 young people in Arezzo, Italy this past November. These very beautiful – and challenging – words come from the Bishop of Arezzo (whom I believe to be Gualtiero Bassetti) before Friday prayers at the Church of St Domenic. They force us to ask ourselves whether our Christianity is “a wall of defense against everything that creates insecurity” – part of a sadly predictable “logic of confrontation,” or an authentic following of Jesus Christ.

Here is Bishop Bassetti:

My dear friends, I am happy to pray with you this evening. The reason for my joy is twofold: because I have been linked to and fond of Taizé and its founder Brother Roger since I was young, but above all because I believe that through these days the human and spiritual richness of Taizé can further enrich this local Church.

I believe that Brother Roger has shown us a road that, while relevant in a special way to the ecumenical progress of the Churches, offers precious gospel indications that go beyond the ecumenical realm to illuminate the road of the Church in the way it recognizes itself and relates to others.

The specificity of Brother Roger’s ecumenical journey consists in the fact that he became reconciled with the Catholic Church without breaking communion with the Protestant Church. This is a route whose conformity with the Gospel is disarming, which overcomes and transcends differences and theological and canonical difficulties while understanding them and not denying them. This is a road that Brother Roger lived out in his own existence and which found a tacit—yet visible and authoritative—acceptance among Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics. It is a road that has become the heritage of all Christians because there is no doubt that only the productive communion of all Christians can provide the reason for their Hope. And the world today especially needs Hope to live!

Brother Roger shows us that we do not discover our Christian identity by erecting it as a wall of defense against everything that creates insecurity, but on the contrary we find it by reconciling ourselves in our differences with the force of witness and hospitality according to the Gospel. Woe to us, Taizé tells us, if we look for our own Christian identity in the logic of confrontation; then all we will find is reasons for confrontation and increased insecurity.

Happy those who, trusting in the Lord Jesus, find themselves and their Christian identity in the non-violent search for communion and peace with all! Happy the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Happy the gentle, for they will inherit the earth!”

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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