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