Having survived the confirmation saga, Eugene faced another one regarding the first communion of some of his congregants a couple of months later. As always, he wrote to the pastors asking for their permission to proceed with the first communion of those from their parishes. In the past each pastor had answered individually to give his consent. This time, however, the climate had changed and Eugene received a collective reply which was condescending and gave him a biting lecture on the rights of parish priests.
Leflon describes Eugene’s reaction:
“Nevertheless, regardless of how valid his reasons were, they deserved to be expressed in less fiery language. In the first angry flames it sent up, his Provencal fire blinded him to the realization that lack of restraint and tact can compromise even the best causes:
I had to read the signatures on your letter twice before I could convince myself that the pastors and rectors of Aix were capable of such a malicious acknowledgement of a courtesy I was willing to show them.
You should have reflected. Gentlemen, that in the courteous and considerate letters I wrote you, I was not asking for any personal favor nor did anything force me to make a request which did not concern me personally; that it was, therefore, the height of folly for you, on this occasion, to give me a lecture whose language was as intemperate as the lecture itself was uncalled for; it would have been more fitting, had you thanked me for the care I wish to take of a precious part of your flock which was beyond the reach of your crook but which, through my solicitude, has returned to the fold and, with the help of Divine Grace, remains there.
It was for you to decide whether or not you would willingly grant the permission I asked of you in behalf of the children I have in¬structed. Nothing further was necessary. Whatever else you added can be regarded only as a personal insult, which is as unfitting for you to allow yourselves as it is unfitting for me to endure without expressing my complete indignation.
Letter to the reverend pastors and rectors of Aix, 4 July 1817, Leflon II p. 56-57.