Rennes-le-Château: 1889 Elections



In 1885 Bérenger Saunière was temporarily suspended of his priestly duties for preaching sermons against The Republic during the Elections of that year, a decision that was challenged by Monsignor Billard the Bishop of Carcassonne, who was also known to hold an anti-Republican agenda.

Below a letter written by the Préfet de l’Aude to the Minister of Public Worship during the 1889 Elections – pointing out how Monsignor Billard was continuing to pursue discreet anti-Republican activities – referring to a Circular that sadly no longer exists.

The 1889 Elections returned The French Republic back to Government.

1889 Election results:

Republicans 366 seats;
The Right 210 seats;
(Royalists 86 seats; Boulangists 72 seats; Bonapartists 52 seats).


Carcassonne, 19 September 1889



Dear Minister,

I have the honour of enclosing a copy of the circular that His Grace the Bishop of Carcassonne has just sent out to the priests of his Diocese on the occasion of the forthcoming elections.

To save me having to dwell on the considerable pressure that the reading out of this document from the pulpits is likely to bring to bear on the congregations I would be grateful if you would kindly subject it to the closest scrutiny.

I feel that I must also draw your attention to the fact that, according to information from official sources, His Grace the Bishop has recommended to all the curés of his Diocese that they take as active a part as possible in the electoral struggle while, of course, keeping up appearances,

I remain Sir,

Your most devoted servant,

The Préfet of the Aude.



Carcassonne, le 19 septembre 1889



Monsieur le Ministre,

J’ai l’honneur de vous communiquer un exemplaire de la circulaire que M. l’Evêque de Carcassonne vient d’adresser aux prêtres de son diocèse à l’occasion des prochaines élections législatives.

L’examen que vous voudrez bien faire de ce document me dispensera d’insister sur la pression considérable que sa lecture du haut de la chaire peut exercer.

Je crois devoir vous signaler en outre que d’après des informations puisées à des sources autorisées, M. l’Evêque aurait recommandé à tous les curés du diocèse de prendre une part aussi active que possible à la lutte électorale tout en sauvegardant les apparences.

Veuillez agréer Monsieur le Ministre l’hommage de mon respectueux dévoûment.

Le Préfet de l’Aude.



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