Eugene was away from Marseilles, but was involved in giving all possible support and advice to his uncle the Bishop in his war against the laws preventing the Church’s influence on religious education.
But I would wish to be at Marseilles to arrange everything with the Bishop and yourself, I would like to be there also to watch out for the dangers that you indicate to me
Letter to Henri Tempier, 24 June 1828, EO VII n 304
Bishop Fortuné wrote many letters rallying the Bishops of France to act collegially in their responses. Eugene’s influence was recognizable in many of these. Leflon explains:
“Certainly the bishop’s letters, the result of collaboration, betray hands other than his own beneath his personal signature. … taken as a whole, they sometimes bear the more concise and more distinguishing stamp of the uncle, and at other times, the more prolix, cumbersome, involved and disorderly style of the nephew.” (Leflon 2, p 302)
Trying to downplay Bishop Fortuné’s opposition, the Prefect attacked Eugene and Tempier’s influence:
The prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhone department, time after time, pointed out and deplored the provoking uncooperativeness of the Bishop of Marseilles. Each time, however, he was careful to excuse the “octogenarian prelate, who was of a kind and peaceful nature,” by imputing Fortune’s “extremist measures” to the young priests of his entourage “whose zeal far outstrips their good judgment”; particularly his nephew who controlled him. Villeneuve- Bargemon was by no means mistaken in attributing a preponderant influence over the mind of the aged bishop to Father de Mazenod; however, rather than accept without any reservation the common opinion that the vicar-general completely dominated his feeble negative uncle, the prefect should have used, particularly in the affair of the ordinances, at least a minimum of discernment. Justice, as well as wisdom, demanded it. (Leflon 2 p 300-301) a