Yvon Beaudoin narrates the events that Eugene was connected with as a seminarian in Paris and the Roman cardinals, who had been stripped of their insignia and who were only allowed to wear black cassocks:

In June 1810, Napoleon exiled to the provinces, stripped them of their purple and confiscated the goods of at least thirteen cardinals who refused to attend his marriage to Marie-Louise, archduchess of Austria. Eugene worked in conjunction with several seminarians to replenish the coffers of these confessors of the faith. In a June 19, 1810 letter to this mother, he wrote:

The Emperor, after imprisoning the Pope, exiling the Cardinals, dispersing them in pairs in different towns of the Empire, stripping them of their insignia as Cardinals and confiscating all their property, has turned his attention to the Congregation of St. Sulpice which he drove out of the seminary… (EO XIV n 70)

The Pope steadfastly refused canonical recognition of the bishops appointed by Napoleon. Many sees remained vacant. In 1811, the Emperor summoned the bishops of France and Italy to an imperial council with a view to legislating that canonical recognition could be granted by the metropolitan or the dean of the bishops of a region. The council held only one plenary session, the session of June 17, at which Eugene was present as one of the masters of ceremonies…. The bishops resisted the views of the Emperor and he dissolved the council on July 10.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    More and more I come to understand why Eugene so very often spoke about the Church, this church that he loved so much. I pause for a moment to think of Jesus – the Church – the Body of Christ and how this is ‘Trinitarian’ in nature.

    Eugene was still a young seminarian and he gave himself over to serving in ways that he could; caring for the Abbé Émery when he was removed from the seminary by Napoleon. He helped to raise monies for the ‘black’ cardinals (and I cannot help but think of how demoralizing it was for those cardinals. Not only did Napoleon strip them of any signs of what they were but also their properties. Then he split them up and sent them to live in separate places, trying to break down their spirits.) Eugene translated and wrote and helped (by my understanding of it all) with the ongoing daily life of the seminary.

    Eugene stood up to what was being done to the Church by Napoleon and it must have taken great courage to do as he did. These small things (that were rather big) that he did came from his heart. He was in a way standing at the foot of the cross, with Mary (oddly enough this would be the place where he would invite Henri Tempier to come to and join him).

    With all of this I am oddly surprised at how my thoughts come together and I imagine and express them – with familiarity as if I am connecting dots that are not there. And yet there is a connection.

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