Eugene was no stranger to opposition and to being publicly condemned for political or ecclesiastical reasons. His personal moral behavior had never been doubted or questioned, so this first public calumny cut deeply into him.
I was careful to try and understand all those who persecute me with such vengeful anger, because I pardon them with all my heart. If it were not for the resulting scandal, I think the good God would give me the grace to go and thank him for the humiliation which weighs upon me and which the Cross my Saviour bore to Calvary helps me to bear.
That is sufficient for Good Friday! This time I can say that I have been crucified. May it really have been on my Saviour’s Cross! That sweetens all the bitterness.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 13 April 1838, EO XIX
Because the unfounded accusation made against Bishop Eugene had caused such a public controversy, the person involved was found guilty and sent to prison. Five years later, on his deathbed, he wrote to the bishop acknowledging that all his calumnies had been false and begging Eugene’s forgiveness and prayers.
“Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”