Rennes-le-Château, 6 February 1909
The Mayor of Rennes-le-Château to His Grace the Bishop of Carcassonne

Dear Sir,

In response to your letter of 31 January last I have the honour of informing you that I regret that I must stand by the decision that has been taken with regard to Abbé Saunière. You and your Council were ill advised in failing to implement in the manner asked the measures that the Town Council of Rennes-le-Château proposed to you. We are not satisfied – a great pity! It is a great pity also that you have seen fit to deprive Monsieur Saunière of his authority. As for the attitude of the local population towards the Curé of Espéraza and the successor to M. Saunière, it is quite a simple one: the Church will be deserted and the religious ceremonies will be replaced by civil ones. So you can see, Your Grace, that there is no need for you to threaten us with excommunication. As for the presbytery, it was leased to Abbé Saunière for a period of five years with effect from 1 January 1907, but I have to inform you that when the present lease expires (and even sooner, should it become vacant through the departure of the present tenant) the Town Council will formally refuse to sign a new lease with the priest-in-charge that you will be sending to us,

Most sincerely,
Rennes-le-Château, 6 February 1909
The Mayor