...In medieval Europe, a new power was rising. A heresy had infiltrated the Catholic hierarchy, beginning a centuries-long campaign to alter the Church's original teachings. This heresy was a penitent movement, based on a Babylonian cult of the dead. The bizarre public spectacles they displayed -- and still do today in the streets of Europe -- include acts of penance and self-mortification, but there are smokescreens to draw attention from the movement's true workings.
The authors led a team of researchers tracking this movement from the Middle-East to Italy, Germany and France. Eventually, they realized that the mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau, linked with the extraordinary fortune of one Bérenger Saunière, was another episode in the long and intriguing tale of this heretical movement.
“The Rise” reveals that within the world of religion, there have long been secret battles between the Church hierarchy and various movements that have tried to penetrate and take it over, sometimes successfully...
One of the best known and verified stories about Saunière and his maid is that they both often went into the cemetery, at night. Saunière had even installed a new iron gate door with lock and a retaining wall around the cemetery, apparently so that no-one could find out what the priest was doing throughout the night.
At first, Saunière explained his nightly activities as "making room in the cemetery" so that more people could be buried. But this excuse did not last for very long and the villagers soon lodged an official complaint against him. They knew that Saunière - often in the presence of Marie - did something in the cemetery at night, something which involved disturbing the bodies of the dead. When the villagers tolerated it no longer, Saunière seems to have stopped doing whatever it was that he and Marie had been doing.
To quote Gérard de Sède : "Rumours circulated about this behaviour: even for the less religious, graves were sacred. In the cemetery, the abbé was no longer welcome because, in 1895, the town council ordered him to leave the dead to sleep in peace."
The Rise: Saunières Magical Workings and the Penitential Movement in Europe (Paperback) ISBN: 978-1-931882-87-3 - Available from Frontier Publishing and Amazon.