In the ongoing smear-campaign against Eugene an article of Martin-Lazare had been published on July 10 in the anti-religious Sémaphore newspaper. It claimed that Cardinal Pacca, who was the Pope’s Secretary of State, had written to the Bishop of Icosia to reprimand him for how terrible his administration of the diocese of Marseilles had been.
Eugene writes to Henri Tempier, who was Vicar General of the diocese:
However absurd the article you have forwarded to me may be, I wouldn’t have thought it wise to leave it unanswered. You had the evidence that the writer was a police connection, since you had in truth received a letter addressed to me from Cardinal Pacca and only the police could have given him this information.
The author of the article had been informed of a letter arriving from the Cardinal and used the opportunity to invent a malicious story about its contents. Eugene proposed:
But by letting it be known that the content of the letter was full of kindness, as are all His Eminence’s letters, you would be laying a charge of flagrant calumny against the article’s worthless author, and so that everyone might have the opportunity of learning the truth, after having read it to the Gazette, you would deposit the original at the secretariat in the Bishop’s Palace with instructions to show it to all who want to see it.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 13&14 July 1835, EO VIII n 522
Eugene’s life and actions had always been a witness to the words of Jesus: “The truth will set you free” – John 8:31.