Recoiling from the suggestion that he accept to be bishop of a diocese, Eugene appeals to two arguments: he no longer has the energy to administer a diocese, and that he has the responsibility of Superior General of the Oblates.
Clearly your friendship is leading you astray in your hope of making peace all round through the use of a method that would be disastrous for me. My career is over; I have neither the strength nor the flexibility to embark on another where it wouldn’t be long before I were submerged in every kind of sorrow, compensated by precious few consolations.
All my reflections lead me to the conclusion that I cannot in conscience accept a diocese if one were offered me. What a following I would have gathered if I offered the least hint to the contrary! This conviction is so rooted in me that nothing short of a formal command from the Head of the Church would suffice to overcome my justifiable distaste, and then I would be condemned to a most unhappy life, and one which would certainly be cut short on account of the continual violence that I would have to do to myself. To this repugnance are added reasons of conscience which ought to distance me from any diocese, which would necessarily entail a double responsibility for me.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 23 August 1835, EO VIII n 536