When I had finished speaking, he took up the discourse and spoke for quite a long time himself on this same subject. One would have said that he wished to make excuses for not doing with a stroke of his pen what I well knew is not granted except after long formalities.
“You know,” he said to me, speaking all the time to me in the third person, “what is customary for the Holy See to do. They still do today what they did a hundred years ago.” And then he entered into all the details so that I should know how matters would proceed. “The Secretary of the Congregation will give me a report on the matter, I will choose a Cardinal to examine it, he, in turn, will make a report on the matter for the Congregation, each Cardinal will give his vote, etc.

Having explained the process, the Pope informed Eugene that they were not approving new congregations but would “praise and encourage” them in their good work.

The great number of these requests, which are coming to us especially from France, has made the Congregation adopt a particular mode of approbation, which consists of praising, of encouraging, without formally approving.”

This was not what Eugene had come for and had worked so hard to try to achieve, so, with his Provencal enthusiasm he made his opinion clear:

I was not afraid to manifest to the Holy Father that this mode would not satisfy me, and I dared to hope they would do something more for us.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 December 1825, EO VI n 213


“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”      Charles Spurgeon

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I praise and thank God that Eugene did not ‘give up’, that he stood his ground and spoke his truth. It takes such tremendous courage. I have found myself this morning looking at the Church almost with new eyes. I am not sure that I understand the Pope’s use of the third person, it seems almost like a separation of himself from the Church, or is he using it to infer a ‘communal’ process, not just something that he makes a decision on.

    As it did yesterday, the word trust comes into the forefront. One of my first thoughts on hearing how the Congregation [church] works is “what if they assign this to a Cardinal who for some reason does not agree with it” [read here to a Cardinal who does not see things clearly or who is diametrically opposed to what Eugene is trying to do]. Then what? Even as I write this I realise I am relating this to parts of my own life, to my hopes and wants and desires. I am reacting and speaking out of my own fears, my own experiences, but mostly out of my own fears. I find myself looking deeper at what must surely be a rather large ‘character flaw’. Is my ego so huge that I automatically think that my love and knowledge of God is greater than others, is truer than others? Where is trust of God, and God working through others [in this instance the Church]? Does this mean that I don’t trust God and his perfect love for me? I do trust in God, but maybe not enough? I say the ‘right’ words out loud, but what am I saying silently to myself, to God? And as I move forward in what appears to be trust and continuing to love, have I secretly ‘dug in my heels’ somewhere? The word “immense” comes to me. Immense love, immense hope, immense trust, immense patience, immense acceptance. It would be easier somehow to not think of these things, it would be more comfortable for sure. Amidst the “immensity” I see my smallness. I am not lost in it, simply there.

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