In the previous entry we saw how the talented and enthusiastic Fr Louis Dassy had become involved in archaeological pursuits. It was an honor for him that the academic world valued his competence. Eugene, however, was concerned that this young man would lose focus.
Do not think, my dear child, that I am happy about this honour or that I consider this could bring the least glory or advantage to the Congregation. I say even more: if I did not know as I do your activities and your capacity for work, I would consider this incident as something unfortunate, for you would have turned away from your principal ministry, from that which is essentially proper to your vocation and which you could not neglect without lacking in your duties and offending God.
So I have to come to the conclusion that if you feel you could combine the duties of your new job with those of your vocation, that the research, which you may be able to make, serves rather as relaxation than as activity incompatible with the missions, retreats and studies required by this ministry, then I authorize you to respond to the trust that has been placed in you.
But note well, my dear child, that it is your duty first of all to sanctify yourself by advancing in perfection. You will be devoting yourself ardently to archaeological studies which demand lectures, meetings and plenty of time. Weigh all these on the scales of the priesthood and reflect on the quid prodest. etc [Ed: Matthew 16:26 “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”]
Letter to Father Louis Dassy, 29 March 1842, EO IX n 759