Examining the possibility of joining Fr. Favre’s missionary group with the Oblates, Eugene, the experienced missionary preacher, was critical of the approach to some practical methods of this group. The Oblates concentrated on preaching the love and invitation of the merciful God to conversion. Yet, Eugene remained open to the possibility that God was asking the two groups to join forces.
They rise at four o’clock, make an hour of oraison, say their Masses and confess until nine o’clock. At nine begins the first exercise of the mission, that is to say, an examination, unbelievably cold and insipid, done from the pulpit by a missionary on a commandment of God. Mass follows; at the Gospel, another missionary goes up to the pulpit to preach a sermon, after which the Mass is completed and they retire until two o’clock when they begin another exercise.
A missionary then proceeds with catechism by interrogating a child trained to reply properly; the questions and answers follow one upon the other very rapidly. This is what, of all these gentlemen do, pleases me the most. When three o’clock sounded, the catechism finished and a conference began. I assisted at that of yesterday and the one today.
M. Favre himself gave it. Alas! how bad it is! I cannot conceive how they keep it up. It was the complement of the sermon of this morning which was excessively bad. In these conferences, which are truly dialogues that are silly, they repeat without ceasing. When I say repeat, I mean the same idea, the same words. Today, for example they spoke of all the sins that one commits against every commandment. They did at each commandment the same enumeration: two sins per day make fourteen per week, sixty per month, etc., per year, per ten years, per twenty years, etc., and so on . After the commandments, they reviewed those one makes by the senses, by the body, by the mind, in childhood, in youth, in mature age, in old age, always calculating by addition and multiplication, using always the same expressions, without bringing in the least feeling. Oh! how bad it is! I could stand no more.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 June 1826, EO VII n 248
“We need discernment in what we see and what we hear and what we believe.” Charles R. Swindoll