Bérenger Saunière lost his Ecclesiastical Trial 1910-1911 when he was found guilty of fraud for accepting more money than he was able to say masses for (he produced a bogus “List of Donors” to hide his trafficking in masses).
Having lost his trial, stripped of his priesthood, and disgraced as defying the Bishopric for refusing to co-operate with enquiries – Saunière put the Tour Magdala and Villa Bethania up for sale through the Banque Petitjean, hoping to retire with the raised proceeds to Lourdes. Saunière was a devoted believer in the Lourdes Cult where he went on several Pilgrimages towards the end of his life.
The sensational stories about his life and related “parchments and artefacts” are modern myths and forgeries invented by charlatans and conspiracy theorists, none of which can stand the critical test – but in 2017 are used as magnets to attract financial revenue through tourism.
Don’t count on historical facts when visiting Rennes-le-Château – it’s strictly an amusement park for entertainment only.