The Taizé Community -- the death of Br. Roger

Frère Roger has entered the life of eternity

During the evening prayer on Tuesday 16 August, in the midst of the crowd surrounding the Community in the Church of Reconciliation, a woman - probably mentally disturbed - struck Brother Roger violently with knife blows. He died a few moments later.

This was very shocking news when I first came to know of it yesterday. And it comes amidst the events of World Youth Day too. Br. Alois, who was chosen by Br. Roger eight years ago to succeed him, has left the WYD in Germany for Taize.

As some have speculated, it is possible that the Holy Father would head to Taize after the WYD. After all, Br. Roger is likely personally acquainted with the Pope (Correction: I cannot verify if they were friends as mentioned previously, but certainly the Pope has great admiration for him.)

He was at the funeral Mass of JPII and received Communion from then Cardinal Ratzinger. (Update: Wikipedia suggests this was accidental.)

Extensive coverage of Br. Roger's passing at this blog.

Even the Times of London carries a glowing obituary.

The History of all Christian Denominations

What is the History of Your Church?

By Nick Teo

Church Year Established Founder Where Established

Catholic 33 Jesus Christ Jerusalem

Orthodox 1054 Schismatic Catholic Bishops Constantinople

Lutheran 1517 Martin Luther Germany

Anabaptist 1521 Nicholas Storch & Thomas Munzer Germany

Anglican 1534 Henry VII England

Mennonites 1536 Menno Simons Switzerland

Calvinist 1555 John Calvin Switzerland

Presbyterian 1560 John Knox Scotland

Congregational 1582 Robert Brown Holland

Baptist 1609 John Smyth Amsterdam

Dutch Reformed 1628 Michaelis Jones New York

Congregationalist 1648 Pilgrims and Puritans Massachusetts

Quakers 1649 George Fox England

Amish 1693 Jacob Amman France

Freemasons 1717 Masons from four lodges London

Methodist 1739 John & Charles Wesley England

Unitarian 1774 Theophilus Lindey London

Methodist Episcopal 1784 60 Preachers Baltimore, MD

Episcopalian 1789 Samuel Seabury American Colonies

United Brethren 1800 Philip Otterbein & Martin Boehn Maryland

Disciples of Christ 1827 Thomas & Alexander Campbell Kentucky

Mormon 1830 Joseph Smith New York

Methodist Protestant 1830 Methodist United States

Church of Christ 1836 Warren Stone & Alexander Campbell Kentucky

Seventh Day Adventist 1844 Ellen White Washington, NH

Christadelphian (Brethren of Christ) 1844 John Thomas Richmond, VA

Salvation Army 1865 William Booth London

Holiness 1867 Methodist United States

Jehovah's Witnesses 1874 Charles Taze Russell Pennsylvania

Christian Science 1879 Mary Baker Eddy Boston

Church of God in Christ 1895 Various churches of God Arkansas

Church of Nazarene c. 1850-1900 Various religious bodies Pilot Point, TX

Pentecstal 1901 Charles F. Parkham Topeka, KS

Aglipayan 1902 Gregorio Aglipay Philippines

Assemblies of God 1914 Pentecostalism Hot Springs, AZ

Iglesia ni Christo 1914 Felix Manalo Philippines

Four-square Gospel 1917 Aimee Semple McPherson Los Angeles, CA

United Church of Christ 1961 Reformed and Congregationalist Philadelphia, PA

Calvary Chapel 1965 Chuck Smith Costa Mesa, CA

United Methodist 1968 Methodist and United Brethren Dallas, TX

Born-again c. 1970s Various religious bodies United States

Harvest Christian 1972 Greg Laurie Riverside, CA

Saddleback 1982 Rick Warren California

Non-denominational c. 1990s various United States

How did this phenomenon come about? All stem from Jesus, but yet all so different...

Intoxicating Chant

Having read Michael's blog, I must confess to having a similar sickening or nauseous feeling when I was singing for the usual Novus Ordo Mass on Saturday.

It has been slightly more than a week since the helter skelter of preparing for my role in the Schola Cantorum, the trepidation of blowing the one chance that "friends and family" had to experience the beautiful Tridentine Rite after a space of thirty years.

I am not sure whether it was the adrenalin of preparing for the huge task of chanting the various propers (call it post production blues) or was it the sense of reverence and mystery in the chant that we rendered. I really missed singing chant at Mass. I wouldn't go so far as to criticise the current repertoire we have for Mass, to the extent that it has no value. I am more of the view that chant and the Mass really were meant to go together. The music at Mass is supposed to lift the minds of the people of God to the things of heaven, to lead them to the vision of this celebration "on the altar of the world".

Current repertoire seems more like a filler for happenings at Mass, like giving the congregation something to do when the priest is preparing the gifts, or for people to sing something when they are done with their thanksgiving after communion.

I read with interest on the
criticisms of hymnals by OCP publication, and I note that my parish will be purchasing the next year's Breaking Bread, if no good reason can be given for other hymnals. Thus lies the tremendous task ahead of justifying the purchase of either GIA, Collegeville or Adoremus hymnals. Can someone help to give a thorough and unbiased account of the best choice of hymnals to purchase for the parish? (the article I read, I suspect, would not sit very well with the liturgical music committee of my parish)

On another front, I would soon be trying to introduce chant into a Saturday morning Mass. A proposal will be made to my parish priest as soon as my Graduale Romanum is delivered. Meanwhile, I must think of which chants to introduce and at what pace.
Hopefully, the more mature crowd which attends that Mass would be more receptive to chant.

As an aside, I have borrowed a copy of a 1936 Liber Usualis from my parish's music room. No one will miss it for now, cos no one really cares. There are two more copies in there. I may just pass it to my priest for safe keeping. Anyone has any tips to preserve a book that is 80 years old with a damaged spine?

Meanwhile, patience and perseverance are called upon to endure the banality of some music that we sing at the mass.

(In)credible "intelligent design" -- what should science teachers be teaching?

Over at Mirror of Justice (described as "A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory."), the creationism/ intelligent design/ evolution debate gets a mention because of another NYT op-ed, not Schonborn this time but Paul Krugman.

I am 100% with Rick Garnett when he writes:

I suspect that their support does not reflect a considered judgment that "evolution is just a theory" or that "God designed the universe" is "science", but rather a concern that "evolution" sometimes serves not as the fundamental (and fundamentally sound) account of the universe's history and development, but as a kind of religio-philosophical creed. That is, I suspect that most who harbor some sympathy with the Intelligent Design movement have no interest in introducing religion into science classes, but simply in making sure that science is not made into a religion.

Whilst this seems to be a non-issue for us here in Singapore, I think it teaches us some important lessons. Perhaps the most important one is the danger of conflating science with scientism -- where philosophical(typically metaphysical) claims are made that aren't warranted by science.

For more reactions to the Cardinal's op-ed, see these articles at Societas and American Thinker.

Where do the souls of those who died professing other faiths fit in?

I have a question.

Church doctrine teaches us that the Church is made up of the Church Triumphant (those in heaven), Church Suffering (those in Purgatory) and Church Militant (those still on earth).

Where do the souls of those who died professing other faiths fit in? Or do they fit in at all?

Same-sex marriage -- an oxymoron?

The weakness of the public position of those opposing same-sex marriage
by Father Thomas Dowd
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

We had a meeting of our West Island deanery today (a "deanery" is, in our case, a regional grouping of parish priests or other priests working in that region), and the discussion turned — you guessed it — to the topic of same-sex marriage. It was quite freewheeling, and no-holds barred. I love it when that happens.I must admit though, upon hearing what everyone was saying (and I include myself in that), that we really haven't succeeded at articulating our position on same-sex marriage in a way that makes sense to many people. I think of Eric, who posted this message in a comments box some time ago:

A question I always had: Since there are technically a lot of marriages
that aren't "official" from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church (took
place outside, legal-only, Buddhist, etc.), why is so much being made of gay
marriage? Aren't they just one more on the list?

I am Roman Catholic and married, with a child and another on the way.
Apparently, this definition of family is supposed to be threatened by the idea
of gay marriage. We just don't feel threatened. I'm open to the idea that I am
viewing this incorrectly, so if someone could tell us why, that would be

In an age of rampant divorce, cheating, etc. why would we get concerned
that a loving couple would want the same civil (and only civil) rights as
others? I would NEVER want to see legislation to force the church to marry gays
and lesbians, but if it remans a civil matter, aren't they just one more on the

"We just don't feel threatened." I think Eric captures the essence of the attitude of so many Canadians. This point needs to be taken seriously. I remember visiting my parents' parish and hearing my very first homily on the subject. The preacher said, and I quote, "If this goes through, same-sex marriage will destroy the family." The thing was, he never said *how*. I asked him about that in the sacristy afterwards. "Can you connect the dots for me on that one, please? How will it do this? I need for you to show me how legalizing same-sex marriage on Day 1 will lead to the destruction of the family on Day 1000. I'm not saying there isn't a connection. I'm just saying that the connection isn't obvious. So what are the intermediate steps?"

(crickets chirping)

I'm still waiting for an answer. In the meantime, the teacher in me is looking for the necessary pedagogy to be able to provide an answer to honest people like Eric, an answer that will be more than clever rhetoric or an argument from authority. One thing I always admired about St. Thomas Aquinas is that he really understood the points his intellectual opponents were trying to make, sometimes better than they did. And he never shied away from addressing those points square on, with great humility and unassailable logic. It was never ad hominem with St. Thomas.

Nor can it be with us. I do not begrudge those who will defend traditional marriage with their flyers and their bullhorns. Go for it! You are defending a good cause. As for myself, though, I'm a teacher, not a social activist. My charism is to clarify and explain. And so that is what I am going to try and do. Eric, thank you! I hope any answers I can provide can do your question justice.

This article is taken from the web site Waiting in Joyful Hope, , and is © Thomas Dowd, 2004-2005. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of the Waiting in Joyful Hope blog by Fr Tom Dowd.

Good ole Liturgy

Tomorrow night and again on Sat night, there will be two Latin masses celebrated in the Tridentine Rite at the Church of the Holy Cross.

Fri 5 Aug 7.30pm
Sat 6 Aug 8.00pm

The priest is from the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter.

Our very own John Goh will be singing in the schola cantorum.

This is a one-off event, and is not likely to be repeated anytime soon. Please don't miss this wonderful opportunity to experience the Liturgy of 1962.

To get an idea of what it will be like, see the text of the Mass here.

Good Samaritans in short supply

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | 'I kept saying, "Help me, help me." But no one did'

Paul's blog pointed me to this story.

It is something that could have happened right here in Singapore too. And I wonder how I would react under such circumstances. Would I have melted away with crowd? Washed away in a sea of indifference? None of my business?

Honestly I don't know how I'd react, and that scares me.