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Sauniere most likely discovered some rite which could commute himself into a higher office within the Catholic Church via some loop hole. Some recognized the reasoning behind the rite and gave Sauniere some non-gruding respect and some did not. Boudet seems to have respected this reasoning and his successor did not.
The copy of the painting of Pope Celestine the Fifth was bought in deep gratitude
because the existence of the 'commutation' was due to this particular Pope.
Sauniere would sit in the Tour Magdala on a chair, it is said, and the towns people would walk past him, as if in a procession, and handle the tassels on the chair or on his clothes.