HERE i refer to some comments in a blog entry i made. A response by Paul Smith said "... the article by Pierre Sourbès in L'Indépendant wasn't entirely a damp squib because amongst other inaccuracies it concluded that Saunière did not discover a treasure, but that his wealth originated from the selling of masses". Smith continues: "Journalist Pierre Sourbès considered the whole story and concluded that the explanation for Saunière's activities lay in the trafficking in masses and nothing else. An interesting fact – ... during the 1960s in the Tour Magdala – there existed religious journals and magazines containing their advertisement supplements showing Saunière's advertisements for masses".
He got all this information from the original Sourbès article where Sourbès wrote: “It is never much fun to debunk a legend, but without wanting to dishearten the nocturnal pickaxe-wielders we should recall that Saunière paid his suppliers in legal tender not in medieval doubloons and jewels, that he received a very large number of postal-orders, and that after his sudden death no trace could be found of his ‘treasures’ in the lavish home that he bequeathed to Marie, his maid. We also need to remember that the rich bindings in the library-tower actually enclosed collections of La Semaine de Suzette, Veillées des Chaumières and other edifying publications, which contained a block advertisement saying ‘Poor curé stuck on a mountain-top in the Corbières seeks masses to celebrate’ (Pauvre curé de campagne exile sur un piton des Corbières, demande messes à célébre). So another treasure-mystery disappears in a puff of smoke.”
I responded genuinely HERE asking about this "new fact" which 'suddenly appeared' - "that - during the 1960's in the Tour Magdala – there existed religious journals and magazines containing their advertisement supplements showing Saunière's advertisements for masses. Examples of magazines given are: La Semaine de Suzette, & Veillées des Chaumières for example. Apparently the adverts contained block advertisements saying ‘Poor curé stuck on a mountain-top in the Corbières seeks masses to celebrate’.
I asked: "Hmmmmm - really? Did the journalist really see these magazines? Or was this just journalistic licence? Was it conceivable that Pierre Sourbès was just repeating hearsay? Had he really read or seen these advertisements for himself? Why has no other researcher found copies of the adverts? The Semaine de Suzette was a child's magazine for girls, published in France from 1905 to 1960, famous for having revealed the character of Bécassine. It doesn't sound like the type of magazine Sauniere would solicit masses from".
Smith then responded disingenuously [a meaning which suggests someone who is making a point for deception, not being truly honest or sincere or transparent, of which i feel Smith is guilty] HERE. I had asked where all the examples of the adverts Sourbès referred to could be found, and why would La Semaine de Suzette appeal to Sauniere for the advertising of his masses? Its a girls magazine after all!
Smith wrote: "A reference to Bérenger Saunière in La Semaine de Suzette N° 4 of 28 February 1907 in relation to requests for postcards was discovered in 2011 by French researcher, Jérôme Choloux". But here is the rub - we WERE NOT talking about requests for postcards!!! We were talking about adverts claiming that "La Semaine de Suzette, Veillées des Chaumières and other edifying publications, ... contained a block advertisement saying ‘Poor curé stuck on a mountain-top in the Corbières seeks masses to celebrate’ (Pauvre curé de campagne exile sur un piton des Corbières, demande messes à célébre)".
In other words, there is no evidence at all of what Sourbès was claiming. So why - in turn - should we believe him? Do we think, when writing in 1967, that he had seen these adverts in the collections found in the Tour Magdala? Of course he hadn't. If he had he would have published an advert or two or given a reference, or instead, said what it really was advertising for- POSTCARDS. We know Sauniere collected postcards and also published his own set.
It is definitely pertinent to question this idea that the whole source of Sauniere's finances came from trafficking in masses. Here's why:
1] At the time of Sauniere it was acceptable for priests to traffic in masses because their salaries were so low. But the fee to be charged for a mass only ranged from 0.5 to 1 franc per mass. And why did Sauniere "specifically target certain congregations (at least, those specific congregations that became the principal donors) - he must've had some extraordinarily convincing argument, because they sent him (this little insignificant priest in the back of beyond) more money than [was] allowed - on a monthly basis - for the number of masses he could possibly be allowed to say, according to Canon Law?" This would suggests the donors were allowing him to knowingly break Canon Law?
2] Corjan de Raaf also said: "Did anyone ever wonder why Saunière received all his mass requests in alphabetical order? Rather odd don't you think? The priest literally copied an annuaire (the Yellow Pages of the age) to fake a justification for all the money he received. Yes Saunière put adverts in papers, but not the hunderds or thousands that are claimed. I have been a fanatical document searcher for many years and never have I come across one of these adverts".
3] HERE Mariano Tomatis reports about the sentencing of Sauniere in the trafficking of masses by his Bishop & Church:
ATTEMPTS TO APPEAL (1910-1911) - Given his expertise in the Vatican, Dr. Huguet chose an alternative defensive strategy: instead of an appeal, the lawyer suggests to Sauniere to ignore the deadlines set by the court of Carcassonne; & in the meantime, [they would] contact the Holy Congregation of the Council of Rome for the annulment of the sentence. Sauniere perhaps not entirely convinced that this maneuver [would work]; the deadline for submitting the appeal goes, and only three days later, on Nov. 30, 1910, Sauniere sent a letter in which he is appealing. But it is too late: November 28 the judgment had become final and enforceable. On 5 December, the local weekly La Semaine Religieuse de Carcassonne announces to the faithful that Sauniere was stripped of priestly functions and could no longer celebrate mass (1). On December 11, number 13 of the local magazine The veilles des Chaumières, there appears an advertisement signed by Sauniere in which he is advertising for a mass for 1 franc. The priest will deny ever having sent the ad to the magazine - and in fact the operation has the air of a maneuver of libel against Sauniere". This seems related to something raised in his trial - where Sauniere feels someone [who is] against him in the pages of Les veilles des Chaumières , refers to "an advertisement which was totally foreign"; in a later article published in La Semaine Religieuse de Carcassonne, written without even summoning him to clarify it: Sauniere said "I was first and foremost a priest, I would have asked the civil court to exonerate me - they would have certainly granted [this?]. I preferred to keep silent and suffer, preferring to wait for a [exoneration?] to come from Rome that I am confident will be granted'
4] As Corjan de Raaf reported: " Curiously enough, although hords of researchers have been looking for it for a long time, no-one has ever found an advert in any magazine of paper from Saunière in which he requests money to say mass. Nor has there been found one written request to any of his benefactors. Saunière received money from neighbouring priests. For example Sarda, the Chaplain of Rennes-les-Bains (where Henri Boudet was the priest) donated almost 1,500 francs to Saunière between 1899 and 1902. The money also came from convents and monasteries from all over France. It included places like Chartres and Lourdes. Not the places you would think need a mass said by the priest of a tiny dusty village on a far away hilltop in the Languedoc. Jerôme Choloux has counted the known, requests for masses Saunière received and plotted them on the map of France. Most come from Paris with over 300 requests. The rest comes from all over France. Perhaps it is here we have the real enigma of Rennes-le-Château. From his own records we can see that Saunière received requests to say no less than 110,000 masses for which he was sent 100,000 to 125,000 francs in the post. The amount was a fortune by all standards in those days. At the same time it can no means account for all of his excessive spending. Less than 20% of Saunière’s income came from mass traficking. Where he got the rest is the core of the Mystery of Rennes-le-Château".
5] A fascinating book by Franck MARIE - called 'Rennes-le-Chateau - Critical Studies' - published in around 1977 - reports on the 'traffic in masses' allegation. Marie wrote:
"Sauniere was booked for trafficking in masses, that is certain! Descadeillas has brought various evidences in his book Mythologie du Tresor de Rennes, such as those provided by the many mandates and Receipts received at the Post Office in Couiza. Also Mrs Hughes a native of Couiza [originally a housekeeper in Brazil before 1914], sent a friend a local newspaper article on the Mass intentions in favour of the Abbe Sauniere ... yet this position is opposed by Count Yves Maraval, who quoted one day a surprising statement - [this was that] his grandfather the Count Fondi de Niort, General Counsellor of Belcaire was an intimate friend of Monseigneur de Beausejour, [& the Monseigneur] ...spent one month each year at the Chateau de Niort-sur-Sault. Monseigneur Beausejour frequently said he condemned Sauniere for mass trafficking, but he did not believe it!"
"Little Rose – Thanks for Bleuette: she has already received. Little Rose asks all little girls with a charitable streak to send any postcards which they may have in duplicate, or any others, whether franked by the post-office or not, to Abbé Saunière, Curé of Rennes-le-Château via Couiza (Aude). This appeal is for religious good works”
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.