Study was one of the ways in which the Oblates prepared themselves for evangelization. Eugene had been consulted by one of the seminarians as to the use of a particular book of moral theology. It was by a theologian, Concina, who was known for the rigidity and severity of his views. Eugene had agreed, but with further reflection, he realized what this meant for scholastic Brother Pons, who was “inclined to embrace opinions that are far too rigid.” He immediately wrote to him to stop using this book and to turn to the moral theology of Alphonsus Liguori which was based on the redeeming love of God
It was wrong of me, my dear Bro. Pons, to allow you to nourish yourself with Concina being, as you are, inclined to embrace opinions that are far too rigid. Concina will never be the author for our Congregation. Doctrinal uniformity being prescribed for us, we take it especially from the surest authors and prefer to derive from those whom the Church has recognized as having reached heaven a teaching quite contrary to that for which you have taken a liking.
Liguori, Blessed Liguori, who is going to be canonized, has been adopted by us as the doctor with whom we ought to be more in agreement. The Jesuits and some other Congregations are still more exclusive than we; I am content for the moment with the term I have employed; so, my dear Bro. Pons, let Concina lie in the stacks of the library and take Liguori in order to moderate the severity of the opinions that you have adopted too lightly.
You can console yourself for this separation by the thought that you are advancing along the right path, by following in the footsteps of saints. I was hoping to tell you all this viva voce; but my conscience prompts me not to leave it until tomorrow, since I’m at fault in giving consent upon too little reflection.
Adieu, dear son, I bless you.
Letter to Alexandre Pons, 28 January 1830, EO VII n 342
“To put into practice the teachings of our holy faith, it is not enough to convince ourselves that they are true; we must love them. Love united to faith makes us practice our religion.” Alphonsus Liguori