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 lAude 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.
Carcassonne, 19 September 1889
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,
Jai lhonneur de vous communiquer un exemplaire de la circulaire que M. lEvêque de Carcassonne vient dadresser aux prêtres de son diocèse à loccasion des prochaines élections législatives.
Lexamen que vous voudrez bien faire de ce document me dispensera dinsister sur la pression considérable que sa lecture du haut de la chaire peut exercer.
Je crois devoir vous signaler en outre que daprès des informations puisées à des sources autorisées, M. lEvêque 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 lhommage de mon respectueux dévoûment.
Le Préfet de lAude.