A YEAR OF ANGUISH FOR THE FOUNDER

Yvon Beaudoin continues the narrative.

“In consequence Bishop de Mazenod renounces his action and keeps as much as possible out of the public eye. Even so he does preside at some religious ceremonies in Marseilles and conducts some pastoral visitations in the diocese of Avignon. Even this is too much.

Paris is kept informed of everything and the Government takes the steps necessary to force him into leaving the country, striking out his name from the electoral list, as an alien. The Bishop of Icosia comes to know of this step at the beginning of September 1834, and, without delay, he lodges afresh appeal against this decision; at the same time he informs the French bishops of the persecution he is suffering. He also writes to Rome to explain the reason for his re-opening the case notwithstanding the representations previously made to him.

Bishop Capaccini immediately replies, in the name of the Pope, that he must again renounce his action. The prelate’s letter even contains some expressions that would lead one to think that the Pope is not pleased.”

Yvon Beaudoin EO 8 pages XXV-XXVI

Eugene wrote to the Pope through his Cardinal Secretary of State:

However since His Holiness does not wish me to make use of the supportive declarations of the Bishops, I renounce it. And furthermore: the pain with which the Holy Father views the continuation of the process brought against me and the desire I have to abstain from anything that could displease him, determine me to desist from my appeal, come of it whatever God wills; all the lawyers I have consulted guaranteed me a successful outcome; by my desisting, I am submitting to an iniquitous judgment rendered against me and to the baneful consequences it may have, but neither the advantages promised me, nor the drawbacks I have to fear could make me hesitate when it is a question of the will or even of a mere desire of the Head of the Church. I will inform the French Minister without delay of my desisting and then he will no longer have any pretext for evading the appeals of Your Court. It remains only for me to entrust myself to the benevolence of the Holy Father into whose hands alone I place my interest and my honour.

Letter to Cardinal Thomas Bernetti, Secretary of State, 19 November 1834, EO XV n 174

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One Response to A YEAR OF ANGUISH FOR THE FOUNDER

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is as though the government was just waiting to pounce. There were those who were watching Eugene only with the aim of catching him doing something wrong; if necessary they would make-up stories in order to feed and support their position. Seemingly they wanted to see only the bad.

    Even worse for Eugene was the seeming abandonment by his beloved Church. They would not support him and in fact demanded that he not do anything to clear his name and stand-up to the lies. He was being persecuted and the papal authorities seemed only intent in protecting their comfort and standing with the French government. How easy it would have been for Eugene to give up and become hopeless. I am reminded of his statement of who he was when he wrote to his mother following his ordination – “I am a priest” he wrote and then later he took vows – the vows of obedience and perseverance. He could only turn to God.

    It happens today in our current time and in our own part of the world. I think of the many here at home who are treated as less than human because of their race, their culture, their religion, the amount of money they make, the kind of jobs they hold – the list is endless. Seemingly today, anyone can make statements of untruth, lies – with impunity. There are always those who will side with the seemingly most powerful – willing to hear and believe wrong about others if it can somehow build them up or bring them more power; those who are fearful of losing their own places and ways of comfort; those unwilling to ‘rock the boat’ or be seen as ‘trouble-makers’.

    What part do we ourselves play in circumstances such as the one Eugene was involved in? What might it look like when we see another being abandoned, shunned, jailed or persecuted unjustly? Is there ever a time when blind silence is acceptable? Perhaps some of us have experienced what it is like to give witness to something or someone and to feel as if we are being punished because of our stance. Perhaps we know someone who has experienced the anguish that Eugene lived through. Do we simply stand silent and wait to see who is victor? What will be our response?

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