Continuing with his August 25 1835 letter to Fr. Tempier, Eugene shares both his struggle with what is going on in France with the Church and cites more reasons why he is not inclined to write to the king to receive an appointment.

“So once again it is my justifiable conclusion that nothing else is required of me but to remain in my present state, recognized as such by the Government, to which I don’t refuse to take the oath, if it asks for it, as suffragan or vicar general of my uncle, since I have always had it as one of my principles, although it didn’t want to believe it, that the ministers of the Church are established for the spiritual order only, that they must submit to what God permits, maintain peace by the influence of their holy ministry, shun letting themselves be the instruments of any party whatsoever, be they legitimists or republicans, as that would be to compromise the Church, the defence of whose interests is their principal duty.” (537:VIII in Oblate Writings Letter To Father Tempier, at Marseille )

Yes indeed this speaks to me.  Eugene wished to serve almost as an advisor, to run things in a way from behind the curtain rather than up front – perhaps to stay out of the limelight as that has been the cause of great distress and pain for him certainly since he became Bishop of Icosia.  And it looks as if he also didn’t want to become involved in the politics of it – his job was God and the Church – even though it appeared that the Church had abandoned him at that time.

I find myself wanting to hurl blame and fault with those who were the hierarchy of the Church at that time – for it seems at times as if it is similar in a way to what is going on now almost 200 years later.

Here I am – one who has been given so very much – all unasked for – it comes simply because God loves me and I know that.  Yet I sin again and again.  They seem to be never ending these weaknesses of mine.  It can be a struggle sometimes not to judge, not to give in to self righteousness, not to give in to impatience, not to count the number of times another does anything different from how I live.  If I start to take the side of the far right or the far left, of a political party – if I put those above my morals and beliefs – well then my actions become accountable to them rather than to myself or God.  There can never be a convenient time for me to turn off my beliefs or morals, to shut down my heart or to turn my ears from hearing the cries of the poor.  Who am I accountable to?  Certainly not to politics or to fashion or other such things.  I must speak the words of my heart and listen to the hearts of others.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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