Those responsible for the various Oblate communities were very young and full of zeal and innovative ideas. Eugene corresponded regularly with each of them to encourage and guide them. He did, however, condemn any abuse of power when decisions were made without consultation.
It’s a peculiar thing; I am always amazed to see that as soon as one of our men is named superior in a particular community, he sets himself up as the sole master, he arranges everything, orders everything as he sees fit, without making the least effort to ask my advice or to consult the men the Rule appoints as his councillors. In this way our local superiors assert their independence far more than the Superior General who never acts without hearing the men around him.
In insisting on consultation with him, Eugene was not acting as a controlling busybody but as Superior General. The nuance is important because it is connected with the charism given to the Church by the Holy Spirit, of which the Superior General is the custodian. Hence all decisions regarding religious community life and mission had to be made in the light of the charism.
They don’t do this deliberately, rather they are letting themselves be influenced, imitating the fashion, I would nearly say, followed in other places, and that is how abuses set in. It’s about time to correct all this, and since this won’t come about of itself, as it ought. I am going to see to it myself.
Letter to Casimir Aubert, 18 May 1836, EO VIII n 572