ANXIOUS TO MAINTAIN THE GOODWILL OF OUR BISHOPS FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF THEIR FLOCKS

The Roman approbation of the Oblates meant that we were free to accept any candidates regardless of the opposition of the bishops. Yet, Eugene found it important to act in unity with the local bishop and to respect his wishes. Writing to a priest from the diocese of Digne who wanted to join the Oblates, he made this sensitivity clear.

Since our Society has been approved by the Church, it enjoys the same privileges as the Company of Jesus, but it uses them sparingly for the same reasons. Anxious to maintain the complete goodwill of our Bishops for the greater good of their flocks, we accept only those men whom they are willing to give up.
It is not up to me to decide whether they can oppose the vocation of those whom the Lord deigns to call to the religious state: the Popes have given their decisions about that. As for ourselves, we submit with exasperation to any refusal, even the most unforeseen: since they employ us continually for the salvation and sanctification of souls in their dioceses, it would seem to be right that they furnish us with the means of doing good work.

Letter to a priest of the diocese of Digne, 22 July 1827.,EO XIII n 61

Instead of standing on his rights and making a scene, Eugene acted on the principle of unity with the chief pastor of the diocese. Our aim was, and continues to be, that of service to the local church by assisting her ministers in our outreach to those whom the local church structures do not manage to reach. What counts in the long run is not our feelings and pride but the good of those whom we serve.

 

“In essentials, unity; in differences, liberty; in all things, charity.”   Philipp Melanchthon

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One Response to ANXIOUS TO MAINTAIN THE GOODWILL OF OUR BISHOPS FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF THEIR FLOCKS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    At first this morning I thought of my own experiences with the Church – both good and bad – but she is my church and I am a part of her. I thought of how it is sometimes a struggle to separate her from some of those who have led her. But I have gone around, moved over to the shoulder of the road and continued on before stepping back into the lane – wanting never again to leave the road I am on for another but to find a way of travelling on it, with the rest of my brothers and sisters.

    And I look a round, even now almost 200 years after Eugene wrote this letter that for some (and I am thinking in particular of some of my Oblate brothers) who must ‘work around’ some of the powers that be to continue to be servants of the Church and the people – it can be such a thin wire of a line that they must walk and yet they find ways and words to do that without having to make it a war with winners and losers. If it becomes a war of that sort then we all lose.

    I really do like what Philipp Melanchthon said; “In essentials, unity; in differences, liberty; in all things, charity.” I had to look up who he was and he was 400 years before Eugene but he could have been talking about the Oblates and their way of living even today – community based on a specific way of living and being, and the freedom coming from a shared mission and in and above all things – charity, charity, charity. Living and being out of love, love, love.

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