The anti-religious sentiment that had exploded in the July Revolution, had incited certain hotheads to destroy the public crosses in the towns where missions had been preached in previous years. These missions always concluded with the erection of a Cross in a prominent place as a reminder of the mission. (Cf. http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=568 and http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=570 ).
Some of these crosses also contained symbols of the Bourbon kings – and in many cases, it was this cooperation between “throne and altar” that the protesters were objecting to.
Oh! how concerned I was at Mass this morning with all these profanations which have been done to the cross of our divine Savior. The hairs on my head bristled on hearing of these infamies. It is worse than in the other revolution. Be it God’s will that this may not draw down in response a comparable malediction on our unfortunate country!
Some of the civil authorities, including in Marseilles, had asked the priests to remove the crosses and hide them so as to avoid them being destroyed by angry protesters. Eugene had strong feelings about this:
As for me, I would consider myself an accomplice of this sort of apostasy if I consented, as they have done in several places, to the removal of the lovable sign of our redemption. The Catholics by virtue of their beliefs have the right to raise up this cross, the worthy object of their adoration and no one can lawfully take it away from them.
In my opinion, there is a greater scandal in the benevolent compromise between the civil and religious authorities whereby the image of Jesus Christ is clandestinely made to disappear from the midst of his people, than in the profanation perpetrated by a horde of evildoers who smash it to pieces. I doubt that they have had the courage to propose this odious confiscation at Marseilles, but I would not swear that it was the same at Aix.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 13 September 1830, EO VII n 363
In fact, the city authorities had made this request to Bishop Fortuné in Marseilles. He had refused to give in, and the local population of fishermen and harbor workers protected the huge mission cross when attempts were made to destroy it. It remained safe and continues to hang at the Calvaire to this day.