So one fine morning I made my decision. It was the 20th, vigil of Saint Thomas, and having obtained the loan of the carriage of Mgr. the Dean, I arrived in full dress at the Vatican. The first person I met at the papal apartments was a certain prelate, one of those they call here “de mantellone”, that is to say, of inferior rank but always near the Pope to serve him as private secretary. This good man, a little awkward at his trade, advised me to retrace my steps because it would not be possible to see His Holiness that day; that I could not have chosen a worse day, that it was the last of the audiences of the year, that the Cardinals were coming in crowds, the Ministers and goodness-knows-who-else, hence I must put off my visit until the first days of the new year.
I soothed him a little and to be accommodating, he told me to come back the second day of Christmastide, then on the Eve, and finally the day following that at which we were. That did not suit me at all. I have since concluded that, thinking I wished to get in to see the Pope by his intermediary, he saw no way of introducing me that day. He was wrong, I had not the slightest wish to enter by the back door.
The moment this good man disappeared, Mgr. Barberini arrived; I went up to him and explained my position, reproaching him somewhat for having grieved me by his forgetfulness. A little embarrassed by my gentle reprimand, of which he acknowledged the justice, he prayed me to enter the salon and, in my quality of prelate [ed. he was Vicar General of Marseille], I went without ado into the apartment which is next to the study of the Pope, where Cardinals, Bishops and other Prelates, as well as Ministers, wait their turn to enter the presence of the Holy Father.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 December 1825, EO VI n 213
In his personal diary, Eugene was harsher in his judgment of Mgr Barberini who had promised to arrange the appointment for him, but had forgotten:
however Monsignor Chamberlain did not take the trouble to let me know, as he had agreed with Monsignor d’Isoard. When I saw this good master, Monsignor Barberini, I was not surprised at his carelessness; he is as useless as one can imagine; which does not stop him from being a good priest. I told him politely that, seeing he had forgotten me and not being able to defer any longer my appearance before His Holiness without incurring some reproach, I had come without any notice to beg the Monsignor to kindly alert the Holy Father, as soon as the ministers had left, that I was in his antechamber.
Roman Diary, 20 December 1825, EO XVII
“The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.” Pope Francis I