I WILL EXPRESS MY HORROR FOR THE SCHISM INTO WHICH SOME DESIRE TO DRAG THE CHURCH OF SPAIN

Bishop de Mazenod’s “heart as big as the world” was not limited to the missionary zeal of the Oblates sent outside of France. He had a sense of communion with the Church throughout the world, especially in areas where there was suffering. As Bishop of Marseilles he made his diocese aware of these issues and involved them in collecting material help. We come across one example regarding the Church in Spain.

Eugene wrote in his Diary:

Letter from the archbishop of Paris.  He informed me that the minister took offence at the publication he had made of the jubilee by his pastoral letter

Lamirande gives the background:

“The trials which the Church in Spain experienced around 1840 naturally attracted the attention of Bishop de Mazenod. These difficulties had their origin in the political conflict which opposed the regent Maria Christina and the pretender to the throne, Don Carlos. Rome, though maintaining diplomatic relations with Madrid, refused to recognize the Regent. Hence inextricable embarrassments occured apropos of the appointment of bishops, etc. The partisans of Christina carried out copious reprisals against the Carlists: arrests of bishops, priests and monks, discontinuing ecclesiastical salaries, appointing administrators of vacant dioceses contrary to canon law, etc. Gregory XVI denounced these machinations in a consistorial allocution of February 1, 1840. The Government of Spain protested and the Holy Father, in March 1842, replied with an encyclical prescribing the celebration of a jubilee in favour of the Church in Spain.” ( Selected Oblate Studies and Texts,  p. 313)

The French government supported the schismatic Christina and had taken offense at French bishops who promoted the Jubilee. Eugene’s reaction was to be unafraid and to write a circular letter to his diocese:

It does not matter, I will not hesitate, in this matter, to show myself united in thought and will with the head of the Church. I will no less express my horror for the schism into which some desire to drag the Church of Spain.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 26 March 1842, EO XXI

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1 Response to I WILL EXPRESS MY HORROR FOR THE SCHISM INTO WHICH SOME DESIRE TO DRAG THE CHURCH OF SPAIN

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “He had a sense of communion with the Church throughout the world, especially in areas where there was suffering.” It was not until I got involved with the Oblate Studies Program that I became aware of just how true this statement was for Eugene de Mazenod. He loved the Church whom he served throughout his life and beyond as shared his gift of the Spirit with his first companions and down through the ages to our present time through and with the Mazenodian Family.

    We came into being in part because of how the Church was decimated in France following the revolution(s) and because of her suffering. The Preface to the Oblate Rule of Life states quite clearly how Eugene’s heart and spirit repeatedly responded to suffering of his beloved Church. He would not be silenced.

    For him it was no different from what he saw happening in Spain. And again, I am reminded of that same Rule of Life which states: “Our love for the Church inspires us to fulfill our mission in communion with the pastors whom the Lord has given to his people […] We coordinate our missionary activity with the overall pastoral plan of the local Churches where we work, and we collaborate in a spirit of brotherhood with others who work for the Gospel.” (C 6)

    I see Eugene’s spirit alive today in his sons and daughters around the world peacefully protesting governments and urging them speak out against the wrongs committed against humanity and the planet. Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC).

    I ask myself who am I in communion with? If not the Church, then who?

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