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December 20, 2004

The Last Crusade

The pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici ride one last time:

Times Online - Britain: THE VATICAN is giving “serious consideration” to apologising for the persecution that led to the suppression of the Knights Templar. The suppression, which began on Friday , October 13, 1307, gave Friday the Thirteenth its superstitious legacy. A Templar Order in Britain that claims to be descended from the original Knights Templar has asked that the Pope should make the apology.... by 2007, the 700th anniversary of the start of the persecution, which culminated with the torture and burning at the stake of the Grand Master Jacques de Molay for heresy and the dissolution of the Order by apostolic decree in 1312.... In Rome, a Vatican spokesman said that the demand for an apology would be given “serious consideration”. However, Vatican insiders said that the Pope, 84, was under pressure from conservative cardinals to “stop saying sorry” for the errors of the past, after a series of papal apologies for the Crusades, the Inquisition, Christian anti-Semitism and the persecution of scientists and “heretics” such as Galileo.

Everybody should read Maurice Druon's seven-volume Le Rois Maudits series, if only for the great set-piece that is the execution of the last Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, who cries from the stake as the flames lick around him:

Pope Clement! King Philippe! Keeper of the Seals Guillaume de Nogaret! I summmon you to the bar of heaven for judgment before the year is out!

Since all three did die within a year of Jacques de Molay's curse, some might say that an apology for their actions has already been made by a Higher Authority.

Posted by DeLong at December 20, 2004 12:11 PM

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They damned well should admit the Vatican's culpability in a proceeding that has a lot of resemblance to the attacks on Yukos.

That incident has been well treated in modern scholarship, which has convinced me that Philip IV of France, the man behind it, was extremely adept at convincing himself that anyone who had money he need ed to finance his expensive wars was a manifestation of pure evil and had to be purged. It wasn't just the Templars who got this treatment but also the Jews and I believe in one instance Lombard financiers. Correction: these groups didn't get the *full* treatment, but the formerly high standing of the international Templar order required some really spectacular charges to bring them down.

Posted by: sm at December 20, 2004 12:32 PM

I would prefer if the pope admitted his share in the AIDS-disaster.
In my humble opinion the recent vatican suggestion that condomes are not safe is a crime against humanity.

[No argument here.]

Posted by: Frans Groenendijk at December 20, 2004 04:20 PM

Unfortunately, the piece in the _Times_ is a made up crock of shit, something not entirely unprecedented in a apaper which recently announced there are more spiritualists than roman catholics in Britain, becasue the reporter could not read the census form.

Posted by: Andrew Brown at December 21, 2004 02:46 AM

Though in fairness to Philippe and Nogaret, it must be said that they knew how to handle that oul' scoundrel Benedetto Gaetani, for sure.

Posted by: Mrs Tilton at December 21, 2004 04:13 AM

Yeah, and Clement V had little real choice in dealing with Philip's fait accompli.

Posted by: sm at December 21, 2004 04:49 PM

What is in their thoughts, will happen.

Posted by: cloquet at December 22, 2004 09:06 AM