Stefano Bonsignore (1738-1826) from Busto Arsizio, diocese of Milano, was appointed bishop of Faenza and Patriarch of Venice upon request of Napoleon. As a member of the Congregation of the Oblati dei SS. Ambrogio e Carlo, he had been devoting himself to the active pastoral ministry – preaching and teaching – for many years. When the French entered Milan in May 1796, Bonsignore supported the new regime following the example of the archbishop Visconti. His loyalty to Napoleon was repeatedly rewarded and in 1806 he was appointed bishop. Pius VII approved his being appointed bishop of Faenza in 1807, but not his being appointed patriarch of Venice in 1811. When Napoleon fell down, the bishop Stefano Bonsignore had to leave Venice and recognize his «mistakes». His humiliating public and general retraction convinced Pius VII that he was sincerely sorry for his «betrayals» and, after one year of suspension, he was restored bishop of Faenza.

(Author: Maurizio Tagliaferri)

Summary ed.28 (II/2010)