IT WOULD BE THE DEATH OF ME AND I WOULD BE A MARTYR TO IT

In the coming entries we focus again on the long-standing difficulties that Eugene had been living through, not only with the government but also with some clergy in the diocese. We have noted that in Marseilles, as the Vicar General of Bishop Fortuné, he had had to be the disciplinarian to rectify many situations which were not correct on the part of some priests. Some were very vociferous in their condemnations of Bishops Fortuné and Eugene, and used the anti-religious newspaper the “Sémaphore” as the vehicle to make their grievances and calumnies public.

Eugene confides to Father Courtès:

Goodbye, my dear son, you see that I’m always the same. Abuses shock me, afflict me wherever I come across them, but that doesn’t result in their abolition and when that holy man M. Duclaux said one day before the whole seminary that God had raised me up to put the Church’s drooping discipline on its feet again, he might have added that in the little world I move in it would be the death of me and I would be a martyr to it. Goodbye.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès. 4 June 1835, EO VIII n 517

(NB Please note that the word “abuse’ as used by Eugene in the 19th century referred to priests who were not living up to the rules and regulations of their priestly commitment or the rules and practices of the Diocese of Marseilles. Eugene’s use of this word does NOT have the tragic connotations that it has in today’s usage)

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to IT WOULD BE THE DEATH OF ME AND I WOULD BE A MARTYR TO IT

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Sadly what happened to/with Eugene was not only confined to him or his time. Today we see and hear of atrocious attacks on some who dare to stand up and disagree or speak out about the many different abuses of power in our time; not just within the Church but in our workplaces, our governments, in some of the popular business practices. It would seem that quite often truth and differences in opinion, practices, cultures, gender, and faiths seem to threaten others in our world. Differences can be deemed to be threatening to others are not welcomed or tolerated by many.

    I look at Eugene and as so often happens I am reminded of Jesus and how he was also persecuted and put to death, becoming a scapegoat for so many. That came about by the abuses of many who were in positions of power and learning. I am sometimes reminded of how Eugene was overly affective or how he suffered from some kind of emotional illness. But there most definitely was a personal vendetta against him by some in power and they actively searched for ways to persecute him.

    It seems that differences can often signal fears within our own egos and threaten us all. Many times I have commented on how some practices are ‘just not right’ and the reaction, the response that I hear back is along the lines of ‘well that’s common place today and that’s just how the system works’.

    I sit and look at my own self – what is it that threatens me, my habits, my way of living? How often have I secretly thought that ‘my way’ is the one right way’ to be or to do? What do my attitudes towards others look like – for intolerance does not always have to be vocal, in the press or scrawled on banners.

    Today Eugene reminds me how necessary it is to be ‘always’ open to the truth, to search for that truth and then to live it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *