All the evidence suggests that whatever was found was extremely serious – serious enough for the Austrian-born Countess of Chambord to give the priest the equivalent of five years´ salary to search for it; serious enough for his bishop to feel he couldn´t cope with it on his own and therefore sent Saunière to the church authorities in Paris; serious enough to affect the rest of his confessor´s life.
So the most likely subject dealt with by the documents must have been something awful to do with the Christian religion, particularly as preached by the Roman Catholic Church. We are led to believe that the four Gospels in the New Testament of the Holy Bible are a contemporary account of the life and death of Jesus Christ. That is the basis on which Christianity is founded. In fact the Gospels were not added to the Bible until the end of the fourth century AD by a group of Catholic bishops. They had more than a dozen gospels to choose from and there is no doubt that they chose the four which most suited the preaching of the church. There is also evidence that even those were edited and added to when they were incorporated in the Bible. None of the Gospels chosen was written at the time the Jesus was alive and all were based on verbal stories handed down to the writers.
Scholars have translated some of the other gospels and find they contained a number of tales which are contrary to or are not mentioned in the four included gospels. They include suggestions (among others) that the virgin birth in a stable in Bethlehem did not happen; that Christ was married, possibly to Mary Magdalen; that Jesus did not die on the Cross but was cut down when he was still alive; and that he escaped from Judaea across the sea. There also used to be a strong belief in the Languedoc that Christ landed somewhere on the southern French coast with his wife and his daughter.
If Bérenger Saunière discovered factual evidence to support any of these reports it would spell disaster for the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity in its present
form. No wonder the Vatican, through its partner, the Holy Roman Empire, would be prepared to pay massive sums to prevent that information from becoming public. It is also interesting to note that Saunière´s wealth dried up with the outbreak of the First World War, when Austria/Hungary became the enemy of France and the priest could no longer pay visits to Budapest to collect his payments. He died, a broken man, in January 1917. This concludes my story about the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau. If you have missed any of the previous instalments, you can read them in the news section of my website, mikehillier.com.
The attached photo shows another of the bizarre decorations added by Saunière to Rennes-le-Chateau church. This is of the Devil supporting the holy water stoup, just inside the church door.
My personal news is that I have completed the revisions and re-editing of Volume 1 of the Riversmeet Trilogy and intend to republish this in the near future and enter it in the Amazon e-book of the year competition. I will let you know more about this next week.