Report of the Commission charged by His Lordship the Bishop of Carcassonne with the investigation of Monsieur Saunière’s accounts.

Carcassonne, 4 October 1911


We have the honour of informing you that, having entered into relations with Monsieur Saunière with a view to examining his accounts as you had charged us to do following the judgment against him by the Bishop’s Court, we have been unable to obtain from him even the most rudimentary accounts.

Regarding receipts, he has confined himself to informing us of the various sources of the receipts he had already presented during the proceedings at law, which consist of simple assertions without any proof, some of which appear to be improbable. Thus, for example, he attributes a profit of 300 francs per month made in the factories of Esperaza to the family who lodge with him, while it would be easy to demonstrate the impossibility of him exceeding, on the average, approximately half this sum.

As for expenditure, he has also presented a sheaf of documents, some formally receipted, others mere accounts, but the total of the amounts stated on these documents only totals about 36,000 francs; in response to our invitation to present an expenditure account reaching the total figure of 193,000 francs, a figure to which he himself had referred during the judicial proceedings, he presented us, as he did for the receipts, with an approximate account that consists of a simple list of seven items with corresponding figures that are not supported in any way at all.

Monsieur Saunière has, moreover, always seemed to believe that he had only to establish that he has not incurred any debts, whereas it was rather his method of accounting which formed the subject of enquiry. He has not accepted our invitation to visit us to furnish us with oral explanations, offering as a pretext the necessity imposed upon him by his state of health to avoid any excitement, and we have not felt obliged to travel to Rennes, feeling that such an action would prove to be a complete waste of time.

We feel we must draw a most serious matter to Your Lordship’s attention. Monsieur Saunière acknowledged that the lands were not in his name: the buildings would therefore seem not to belong to him either, ipso facto. All the expenditure undertaken, except for the 27,000 francs devoted to the church, and perhaps the Calvary as well, and some 15,000 francs spent on furnishings, would, according to Monsieur Saunière’s statement, therefore benefit the nominal owner of these lands. Moreover, some of the expenditure on building work was made in the name of the Dénarnaud family: among the very far from complete documents with which Monsieur Saunière has supplied us, we have found one, dated 8 July 1902, from Joseph Fabre, of Dourgne, acknowledging the receipt from Mademoiselle Dénarnaud, landowner at Rennes, through the mediation of Monsieur Caminade, an architect at Limoux, of the sum of 412.50 francs for furnishings and roofing work at the Villa Bethanie.

We beg you to accept, Your Lordship, the homage of our profound spiritual respect in Our Saviour,

Signed: Jean Saglio
L Messal, Canon
L Charpentier, Canon, Secretary-General

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