IF I KNEW THAT ONE OF OUR MEN WAS IN THE WRONG I WOULD NOT HAVE WORDS STRONG ENOUGH TO CONDEMN HIM

We have seen the newly-consecrated Bishop Eugene’s understanding of the dignity of the episcopacy as successors of the apostles – which gave a particular relationship between priests and bishops, and between bishops themselves. He refers to this in his response to Bishop Arbaud’s complaints about the Oblates at ND du Laus.

Will it be said that two Bishops do not agree when it is a matter of the Church’s interests, the honor of the priesthood and the rights of justice and fairness? If I knew that one of our men was in the wrong, I don’t say in the respect and submission that is your due, but even in the esteem only that your dignity and virtues require, I would not have words strong enough to condemn him, and I would be ready to demand that he make all the amends that you would require.

The Oblates had not been disrespectful of the Bishop, and their conduct had been irreproachable.

Thanks be to God, however, there is no question of that, and in the annoyance that your correspondence gives me, I have the consolation of finding in it the assurance that you are satisfied with everyone’s conduct.

The problem was that someone had complained that the Oblates were too lenient with penitents in the confessional

It all comes down to a few vague allegations, evidently exaggerated, that some secret enemy communicated to you.

Letter to Bishop Arbaud of Gap, 20 February 1833, EO XIII n 81

A diplomatic way of getting his point across while calming the waters!

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One Response to IF I KNEW THAT ONE OF OUR MEN WAS IN THE WRONG I WOULD NOT HAVE WORDS STRONG ENOUGH TO CONDEMN HIM

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Bishop Eugene’s understanding … of the dignity … a particular relationship between priests and bishops … between bishops themselves.” It would seem that once we surrender to God and are then placed in a particular roles as called by God we are able to receive particular graces to help us in our roles. I have seen this happen – with parents, teachers, leaders (i.e. the Pope, Founders and Superior Generals and yes Bishops) and with people in all walks of life who know their dignity. Those graces are there for all of us when we respond to God’s call and say yes no matter the state of life or role that we play. We need only surrender ourselves to God to receive the graces.

    I wonder if sometimes our own fears, wants and needs for being in control, for being loved by all, for being a ‘perfect’ person or example, the best leader, etc., etc. – I wonder how often these can cause us to react and strike out at another rather than to respond. I am looking at Bishop Arbaud with that – I am looking at myself.

    Eugene was a diplomat, he knew how to ‘be’ with people – but even more than that – he loved. There was no arrogance within him as he replied, no need to try to lessen or trample on the other. He waited before writing a reply to the Bishop – so that he could be calm and ‘respond’ rather than react and I believe he availed himself of the graces that God had given to him. Pray for me Eugene that I too might surrender so to avail myself of the graces waiting for me.

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