Our love for the Church inspires us to fulfil our mission in communion with the pastors whom the Lord has given to his people; we accept loyally, with an enlightened faith, the guidance and teachings of the successors of Peter and the Apostles.
CC&RR, Constitution 6
In December 1825, Eugene was in Rome to ask for the approbation of the Church for the Oblates and was received by the Pope:
I have seen the Pope, not at a great distance, as the other day at St Peter’s, nor for a few moments, but close enough to touch and for more than a good half hour; that says little, for when I recapitulate all that was said on both sides, I am tempted to believe that it took nearly an hour to cover everything.
Eugene stressed how he was,
struck by the appearance of the Pontiff, whom my faith showed immediately as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, I became attentive only to the charm and the goodness of his face… It would be impossible for me to relate to you all that was said, still less to describe to you the goodness, the pleasant manner and courtesy of the sovereign Pontiff…
You should have seen with what interest he listened to the succinct narration which I made to him of the good operated by our missionaries…
You would have been touched, my dear friend, to see, while I spoke, how this holy Pontiff raised his eyes towards heaven, then joined his hands and bowed his head on them clasped together, glowing with gratitude and thanking God with all his heart.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 December 1825, EO VI n 213
As a result of the personal intervention of the Pope, the approval was granted:
My dear friend, my dear brothers, on February 17, 1826, yesterday evening, the Sovereign Pontiff Leo XII confirmed the decision of the congregation of Cardinals and specifically approved the Institute, the Rules and Constitutions of the Missionary Oblates of the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, and accompanied this solemn act of his pontifical power, with most admiring words for those who happily form this Society from which the head of the Church indeed expects the greatest good.
When the whole matter was concluded, Eugene stressed the responsibility of our response:
From now on how can we not be overwhelmed with gratitude towards God and, looking seriously at ourselves, not attach ourselves still more to the Society which has just obtained such convincing proofs of the protection of the Lord, to whom we now belong in quite another manner since, in the hierarchical order, it is by her that we are attached to the supreme Head of the Church who is our supreme guide.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 9 March 1826, EO VII n. 229
“Leadership rests not only on outstanding ability. It also rests on commitment, loyalty and pride. It rests on followers who are ready to accept guidance. Leadership is the ability to direct people and – more important – to have those people accept that direction.” Vince Lombardi