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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