Fr. Tempier asked, at the beginning of 1826, for dimissorials for the ordination of Brothers Martin and Richaud. Bishop Arbaud replied, in the month of March, that these persons, native of Gap, ought to take the engagement of returning to the diocese if they left the Society or if the latter withdrew some day from Notre Dame du Laus.
I do not understand the conduct of the Bishop of Gap; I trembled when I saw the concession you are inclined to make to him. Can you really think of doing this? We cannot do it in conscience, you have not yet imbued yourself with what we are, we cannot do it.
Now that the Oblates were approved by the Pope as a religious congregation, they had a status that no bishop could touch or change.
In no instance are you allowed to lose members of the Congregation. If these members leave the Society, let them rightfully enter his diocese; but supposing that we withdraw from his diocese, which we certainly do not have the intention of doing, we would not thereby have the right to make those members leave the Society who would by chance be the diocesans of this Bishop. Limit yourself then to tell him that, in future, if he is opposed to men of his diocese entering our Society, we will not receive them; but that those who are already members of the Congregation cannot make a declaration which would be entirely null in law as being contrary to the vows approved by the Church, which assimilates them to all the other members of the religious Congregations which are in the Church and from which the Bishop certainly would not have any idea of exacting such a declaration. It would be contrary to all canon law.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 April 1826, EO VII n 235
Today our Rule of Life echoes this in Rule 7d: “Faithfulness to our Oblate vocation must guide us in our missionary enterprises and in accepting pastoral assignments.” CC&RR
Our dealings with the local bishops are guided by a contract between him and the Oblates: “The acceptance of a new Mission and the approval of general contracts between a Province and a local Ordinary pertain to the Superior General in Council.” CC&RR, Rule 7e