Eugene’s two reflections on studies, to the young scholastics, were an echo of his own attitude to studies when he had been a seminarian 20 years before:
If I want to be of some use in the ministry, I still have a lot of studying to do, and it is quite clear that I could not undertake anything in my present state and keep a perfectly clear conscience.
I am well aware that there are priests who are less prepared than myself perhaps and who nevertheless press on, but it is a very great evil. And I think it is the highest form of ignorance when one thinks one knows what one is in fact ignorant of or knows only in a sketchy way.
Letter to his mother, 14 October 1811, EO XIV n 93