Tomasso Bernetti was born at Fermo (Italy) on December 29, 1779. He followed his uncle, Cardinal Brancadoro, to Rheims when the cardinal was conveyed to France (1809-1814) by order of Napoleon. Highly regarded by Cardinal Consalvi (1757-1824) and by Leo XII, pope from 1823 to 1829, who entrusted him with several missions, especially to Vienne and to Paris. Created cardinal in 1827, he was secretary of state 1828-1829 then as well at the beginning of the pontificate of Gregory XVI from 1831 to 1836. He died at Fermo on March 21, 1852.

In the month of July, 1833, when Bishop de Mazenod was summoned to Rome by Pope Gregory XVI under pressure from the French government which was miffed because a French citizen was elevated to the rank of bishop without the authorization of the governement, the Bishop of Icosia had at least three meetings with the secretary of state and wrote him four letters in September-October 1833. He wrote him four letters in 1834 about his plans for defending himself in court when they deprived him of his French citizenship and his pension as vicar general.

In a letter dated July 21, 1852 to Cardinal T. M. Joseph Gousset, archbishop of Rheims, Bishop de Mazenod wrote that he enjoyed the favour of Cardinal Bernetti and, in a letter to Cardinal Barnabò on December 10, 1860, he added that he had counted Bernetti, like several other roman cardinals, as being among his friends.

For the details about Bishop de Mazenod’s relationship with Cardinal Bernetti, Secretary of State, see the article: Icosia.

Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.