BISHOP OF CARCASSONNE: - There are so many exemplars of deceit and greed who have worn the mantle of Bishop or Arch-Bishop. It continues to the present day to say the least but fortunately some of these men of the cloth are being exposed in court and not just in the hiding places of their fine churches where they have conducted all manner of ghastly and abusive acts throughout the ages. Bishop Ussher of Armaugh is one who comes to mind but I will put another place and person forward for your consideration.

Huge amounts of money can be made by priests who recognize rich people lose their faculties as they near death and feel guilty for acts they have been part of in their life. The Catholic Church had instituted celibacy for the express reason of making it so no priest could pass his fortune to any offspring (and they treated illegitimates as if they had no legal standing while also making any adoptees the subject of rumor or charges about sexual impropriety). This meant that the priest or cleric would in fact have to leave his estate to the church. I like reading the reports of Gregory of Tours. Make no mistake about it, there are financial opportunities galore in these spiritual high places, and some of the good priests found ways to circumvent the Church even after the celibacy laws were made. There are two Bishops of Carcassonne that deserve our inspection. It is possible that Saunière was especially gifted in getting old people's money but I doubt he could have raised the amounts he spent and whatever amount he left with his concubine Marie, through such efforts. The first Bishop may have taught Sauniere some things about these illicit affairs and they may have had a public fight to keep attention away from some of their mutual hanky-panky.

"In Sauniere's garden is a statue erected to commemorate the visit of the Bishop of Carcassonne, Mgr. Billard.

Mgr. Billard had an affinity for very rich families, especially the older members of those families. He was brought to court by members of a family from Coursan for having coerced their matriarch into signing over all her belongings to the Bishop. She was declared of 'Unsound' mind. Curiously, Mgr. Billard arranged to have the will signed over to himself as Monsieur Billard, not Monseigneur (Mgr.) Billard. His Notary was from Rouen; where the actual execution of the will took place. (Jarnac, Archives, p. 464 to 468).

Apparently, Billard conducted himself in this fashion with several families and their patrons. It is certainly not inconceivable that Billard may have shown Sauniere how to do this for himself, as well as others. One priest in particular accused the Bishop of Simony and having stolen over 1 Million Francs from the Diocese pension fund. After an investigation by the Vatican, it found that Billard had seriously mismanaged his diocese and was forced to give 200 000 francs to the monastery of Prouille. (Jarnac, Archives, p. 464) He passed away on December 3rd, 1901.

Mgr Billard's replacement, Paul-Felix Beauvain de Beausejour was named Bishop of Carcassonne on May 13th 1902. Mgr. Beausejour found a diocese that was close to ruin due to Mgr. Billard's mismanagement. Mgr Billard had let subordinate priests administer their parishes as they saw fit as long as they stayed out of trouble and did not undermine his authority.

It was 4 years before the newly appointed Bishop asked Sauniere to explain his source of income. Apparently, several complaints had been lodged against Berenger Sauniere locally but their origins were never revealed; and some were simply inquiries into Sauniere's character from other countries such as Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland. (Jarnac, Histoire, p. 193)

The Bishop's first move was to transfer Saunière to Coustouge parish as of January 22nd, 1909. In retaliation, Beranger Saunière tendered his resignation ten days later, on February 1st, 1909.

The mayor of Rennes-le-Chateau complained to the Bishop in a letter dated February 6th, 1909, that Rennes-le-Chateau supported it's priest, Berenger Saunière, and that in the event the priest was moved, the villages of Esperaza and Rennes-le-Chateau would 'desert the Church,' (Jarnac, Histoire, p. 194) Saunière's replacement would be met with empty seats. The Mayor also mentioned to the Bishop that the Presbytery had been leased for another 5 years therefore, his replacement would have to seek shelter elsewhere. He could not refuse the new priest but he could make it so that the outsider would not have an easy time of it. (Jarnac, Histoire, p. 196)" (10)

Author of Diverse Druids
Columnist for The ES Press Magazine
Guest 'expert' at

In The News:

Religion: Too much or not enough?  Spring Hope Enterprise
Why masks are a religious issue  The Conversation US
Religion question on census  Newham Recorder
Religion notes - News  Wicked Local Waltham
MP CM's focus on religious tourism  United News of India
Giving Up on God  Foreign Affairs Magazine

Conserving Water at a Car Wash Fundraiser

If you use a pressure washer during your fundraiser you... Read More

The Right of Passage

The Right of Passage. by Rev. Anthony SmithIsaiah 64:6-64:6 In... Read More

Praying Church or Playing Church?

The western church is seen by the world as anything... Read More

Religion and Social Engineering - Part of an Introduction

Thomas Carlyle is just one of the interesting characters who... Read More

The Warped Psychology of Islam

The London Bombings are just the beginning. Londoners are probably... Read More

Evolution Simplified and Factual

The study of evolution puts into perspective our relative insignificant... Read More

The Kabbalah of Love: Part One

(This is the first article in a new series on... Read More

The Purpose of Our Being

Most people think that there is a higher meaning for... Read More

Your Mission Field At Work

One point many Christian Working Moms who have been interviewed... Read More

Have You Neglected This Righteous Cause Of God?

As believers, we have a responsibility to care for those... Read More

Spiritual Healing or Spiritual Malpractice?

Christians with chronic illness need to know there is a... Read More

The Rapture, A coming Event; Part 2

The Rapture. Part 2.Revelation 3:10-22:19So far we see in looking... Read More

Living Proof: We are Living in the Days of Noah

A familiar phrase used in Bible prophecy is the term... Read More

Biblical Hermeneutics ? Part 3

Instead of being passive consumers of Biblical commentary, we can... Read More

Heroes & Villains in the Quest for Spirituality: 100 Significant Characters of the Hebrew Bible

There are hundreds of named men and women in the... Read More

Why More Priests Need To Train As Fighters (And Why We Dont See Many Boxers In Church)

"Therefore I do not run like a man... Read More

Worship and Praise in Charismatic Churches

This article was in response to an email about someone... Read More

Let Her Be Covered Part Four

Again, let's call attention to our text: "Let her be... Read More

Meaning and Marketing - The Will

You are now inside one of the top theological schools... Read More

From the Heart

1 Corinthians 9:19-9:23From The Heart A Look at Christianity from... Read More

Housing Katrina Victims!

Information many have been looking for!On Franklin Graham's website for... Read More

The Exodus

And the matter of who is doing the abusing is... Read More

Josephs Life?a Series of Coincidences

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the... Read More

The Apocalypse

Revelation 6:2-6:8.I will bring thee down, saith the LORD. ... Read More

Ministry Idea: How to Stop Pre-Marital Sex

... Read More