Bérenger Saunière was temporarily suspended as a priest for three months on 5 December 1911 until such a time he had repaid all the money he’d received – which obviously could not be done – the Carcassonne Bishopric would have known this from the beginning. Therefore it was always going to be a case of a permanent suspension. It was one of the options open for the Bishopric to use against Saunière in response to his refusal to present his account books at the Trial.
The Carcassonne Bishopric had always known that Saunière had obtained his money from selling masses (from many witnesses in the form of correspondence) and that his bogus “List of Donors” was just a measure to try and deflect attention from his trafficking in masses activities – for Saunière to have presented his account books at his Trial would have served as evidence of his guilt.
When the Carcassonne Bishopric offered Saunière another parish in August 1916 it was just trying to get rid of a Free Priest from the village of Rennes-le-Château and installing an official priest who would have been under the proper jurisdiction of the diocese – the Bishopric would have heard through the grapevine that by 1916 Saunière was living in abject poverty, running-up bills with his local greengrocer. The money coming in from trafficking in masses had dried up.
Saunière would also have been active in trying to sell the Villa Bethania and Tour Magdala to generate capital to make it possible for him to live in Lourdes, where he had planned to move.
Bérenger Saunière surrendering his Tour Magdala and Villa Bethania to the Bishopric could have been part of the deal when he was offered a position in a different parish.