The Capitular Vicar of Aix had ordered the priests to celebrate a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving on the anniversary of the July Revolution of July 1830 (“the three glorious days”). Having suffered the persecution of the Church by the government brought in by that revolution, Eugene was outraged! He congratulated Father Courtès for having refused to celebrate.

I approve your attitude of reserve. It is a difficult situation; but with coolness and calculation you will win through in spite of everything, but you must be careful never to sacrifice principles.
Thus it would have been necessary to run the risk of seeing the church closed rather than sing a High Mass in thanksgiving for one of the greatest crimes committed since the world began, whose immediate consequences have been to throw Europe and the entire world into commotion
It would have been an evil act, a sin, a huge scandal, a sacrilege, a profanation, a monstrosity. So I am not surprised that the clergy of Aix did not heed this unjust command, as you are not bound to obey when superiors command a sin.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 27 July 1831, EO VIII n 398

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    What ways do I find in my life to side-step edicts such as the clergy received in Aix? I live in a free society but always there is within me the need or the desire to be regarded highly by others, the desire to be on the winning side, the desire to deflect pain or suffering. All those secret, weak ways of being that are hidden within me; they are a part of my brokenness; they are a part of me and they live in the darkness of my fears. What would I have to give up to allow them to live actively and consciously in my life?

    I have spent my time this morning not crowing over the times when I refused to give in to something that was not right, not celebrating any kind of self-righteousness stance that I have taken throughout my life but rather experiencing a small sadness within myself; for there have been times, big and small when I have given into secret fears and needs to be bigger than I am and the resulting emptiness – well I look at it now and it was a death.

    Would I end up like the clergy in Aix, would I have the strength to stand up to the Capitular Vicar and not run/flee the situation? I would love to say yes but there is that small niggle of fear and sadness within me, when I know I have not always been strong and stellar in my reactions.

    I think for a moment of Jesus, of Jesus on the cross and of the people there around him. Would I be with his mother and family, standing in horror and sorrow, or would I be with the crowd that helped to put him there, jeering and laughing to somehow make me feel better than, more powerful than, Jesus and his family? Where would I stand and what would that look like?

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