Knights Templar 'Heirs' Sue Pope For Billions

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Knights Templar 'Heirs' Sue Pope For Billions

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Knights Templar 'Heirs' Sue Pope For Billions
A group of people claiming to be the heirs of the legendary Knights Templar are suing Pope Benedict XVI, seeking more than $150 billion for assets seized by the Catholic Church seven centuries ago.

They also want to restore the order's good name. Founded in 1119, the Knights Templar was a secretive order of Christian warriors who protected pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem during the Crusades. They fell out of favor years later, and members were accused of denying Christ, worshipping the devil and practicing sodomy. Many Templars were tortured and burned at the stake.

In 1307, Pope Clement V accused the order of heresy and officially dissolved it.

Fiona Govan, who wrote about the lawsuit for London's Daily Telegraph, tells host Andrea Seabrook the order is believed to have gone underground and continued to practice, but that there is no firm, historical evidence to support it.

Last fall, the Vatican published secret documents about the trial of the Templars in a book called Processus Contra Templarios, Latin for "Trial Against the Templars." The volume included a parchment apparently showing that, contrary to historic belief, Clement had absolved the order of heresy.

Now, a group called the Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ has filed suit in a Spanish court, asking for an apology from the pope and recognition that land and property worth about $150 billion today was seized from the Templars.

The Vatican will never reimburse the group, Govan says, because its members cannot prove that they are descendants of the Knights Templar.

She calls the claim "ludicrous" and says Spanish papers have suggested the issue is something for psychiatrists to decide rather than historians.
The London Daily Telegraph Link;
Knights sue the Pope
Knights Templar heirs in legal battle with the Pope
The heirs of the Knights Templar have launched a legal battle in Spain to force the Pope to restore the reputation of the disgraced order which was accused of heresy and dissolved seven centuries ago.

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros (£79 billion).

They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights were appropriated by the church.

But their motive is not to reclaim damages only to restore the "good name" of the Knights Templar.

"We are not trying to cause the economic collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court the magnitude of the plot against our Order," said a statement issued by the self-proclaimed modern day knights.

The Templars was a powerful secretive group of warrior monks founded by French knight Hugues de Payens after the First Crusade of 1099 to protect pilgrims en route to Jerusalem.

They amassed enormous wealth and helped to finance wars waged by European monarchs, but spectacularly fell from grace after the Muslims reconquered the Holy Land in 1244 and rumours surfaced of their heretic practices.

The Knights were accused of denying Jesus, worshipping icons of the devil in secret initiation ceremonies, and practising sodomy.

Many Templars confessed to their crimes under torture and some, including the Grand Master Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake.

The legal move by the Spanish group comes follows the unprecedented step by the Vatican towards the rehabilitation of the group when last October it released copies of parchments recording the trials of the Knights between 1307 and 1312.

The papers lay hidden for more than three centuries having been "misfiled" within papal archives until they were discovered by an academic in 2001.

The Chinon parchment revealed that, contrary to historic belief, Clement V had declared the Templars were not heretics but disbanded the order anyway to maintain peace with their accuser, King Philip IV of France.

Over the centuries, various groups have claimed to be descended from the Templars and legend abounds over hidden treasures, secret rituals, and their rumoured guardianship of the Holy Grail.

Most recently the knights have fascinated the modern generation after being featured in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code.
Religious nuts suing Religious Nuts for money. I like it :twisted:
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Post by Darth Wong »

Perhaps the Catholic Church could pay the Knights Templar when they hold up their end of their original charter, which was to secure the Holy Land from the Muslims.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Darth Wong wrote:Perhaps the Catholic Church could pay the Knights Templar when they hold up their end of their original charter, which was to secure the Holy Land from the Muslims.
Actually, their original charter was to safeguard pilgrims and goods moving to and from the Holy Lands.
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Post by Darth Wong »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Perhaps the Catholic Church could pay the Knights Templar when they hold up their end of their original charter, which was to secure the Holy Land from the Muslims.
Actually, their original charter was to safeguard pilgrims and goods moving to and from the Holy Lands.
Didn't they actually hold considerable territory in the region for that purpose at one time?
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Post by Buddha »

There is a problem being that most, if not all of the defendants are dead. That and there has been many hundreds of years since the Crusades. The matter will not be resolved in their favor.
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Post by Sidewinder »

Although I understand the problem with this trial, i.e., how the accusers will prove they're descendents of the Knights Templar, I have very little sympathy towards the Catholic Church, considering the torture and killing they ignored (the Holocaust), allowed (witch hunts), authorized (castrati), or even demanded (the Inquisition).
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Darth Wong wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:Perhaps the Catholic Church could pay the Knights Templar when they hold up their end of their original charter, which was to secure the Holy Land from the Muslims.
Actually, their original charter was to safeguard pilgrims and goods moving to and from the Holy Lands.
Didn't they actually hold considerable territory in the region for that purpose at one time?
The Templars actually functioned as a banking/trusteeship for noble property. Since they had lots of funds and offices everywhere, and couldn't pay taxes, nobles could place their holdings in the stewardship of the Knights for a period of time. While administering the holdings, the Knights would use the 'profit' from the holdings to fund military expeditions (horses, provisions, etc) for the crusades. Additionally, they could function as banks, and issued cheques to pilgrims along the way.

Less than half of the Order was actually suited for combat, but those that were often functioned as 'special forces' in the form of heavy cavalry. There were no Templar armies roaming around the Holy Land, but there were armies largely provisioned by them. That's why there's so much mystery about the Templar money; They were the wealthiest organization in the world at that time except for the Church itself, they practically owned kings and kingdoms.
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Post by Imperial Overlord »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
The Templars actually functioned as a banking/trusteeship for noble property. Since they had lots of funds and offices everywhere, and couldn't pay taxes, nobles could place their holdings in the stewardship of the Knights for a period of time. While administering the holdings, the Knights would use the 'profit' from the holdings to fund military expeditions (horses, provisions, etc) for the crusades.
Not quite. They didn't merely act as stewards for nobles, they actually owned a lot of property, primarily in France, but throughout western Europe. Donating property to the Templars was popular and the Templars employed those who did so (who often weren't nobles) as stewards. The Templars would take care of these people in their old age, so if you didn't have kids (the usual retirement hedge of people in this era) it wasn't a bad deal. The wealth that these holdings used was then channeled to the Holy Land to fund Templar operations and armies. That kind of money management was the basis for the banking system that Chewie mentions, which made them even more money.
Less than half of the Order was actually suited for combat, but those that were often functioned as 'special forces' in the form of heavy cavalry.
There were no Templar armies roaming around the Holy Land, but there were armies largely provisioned by them.
I wouldn't call heavy cavalry "special forces". Its' a pretty normal, if elite, part of the European order of battle. They did have a large number of fighting men and a respectable number of fortresses in the Holy Land (such as Les Destroit and Chateau Pelerin).
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Post by Tiriol »

If this goes through, couldn't some people who claim descendancy from, say, the Teutonic Order also sue Russia, Lithuania and maybe some other Northern/Eastern Europe countries?
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Post by Solauren »

It occurs to me that the easiest way for the 'Heirs' to prove there claim would be via a DNA test of remains of known Templars.

Sure, that's 700 years of breeding, and possibly 30 or more generations removed, but hey, if God's backing them...

Of course, this begs a question;

Assume the 'heirs' can prove their claim, using Church records (i.e local baptism records, etc) or something else. Could the Spanish court even enforce their claim? What are they going to do, declare war on the Catholic Church?
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Post by Rogue 9 »

The Order of the Temple was celibate, was it not? How the hell do they claim to be descended from men forbidden from marriage and procreation?
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Rogue 9 wrote:The Order of the Temple was celibate, was it not? How the hell do they claim to be descended from men forbidden from marriage and procreation?
They aren't claiming to be direct descendants of the knights. That wouldn't get them anything, anyway, any more than being a descendant of Andrew Carnegie entitles you to National Steel. They are claiming to be the continuation of the ORDER, and want the property/prestige restored to them so they can continue its financial stewardship.

Again, nobody's claiming to be a descendant of a Knight, just the inheritors of the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and Solomon's Temple.
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Post by Gandalf »

Rogue 9 wrote:The Order of the Temple was celibate, was it not? How the hell do they claim to be descended from men forbidden from marriage and procreation?
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Post by Solauren »

So, wait. I mis-read this.

This is basically a group that's saying '700 years ago, we owned that land, but had it repocessed/seized buy the lawful agency at the time, and now we want it back?'

That's even more laughable!
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Solauren wrote:So, wait. I mis-read this.

This is basically a group that's saying '700 years ago, we owned that land, but had it repocessed/seized buy the lawful agency at the time, and now we want it back?'

That's even more laughable!
The legality of the seizure of their assets and the execution of the Knights is by no means clear. Pretty much, Phillip of France was broke and needed money, and the Knights were about to forclose on his kingdom. So he accused them all of witchcraft, soddomy, and apostasy and had them executed.
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Post by Imperial Overlord »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Solauren wrote:So, wait. I mis-read this.

This is basically a group that's saying '700 years ago, we owned that land, but had it repocessed/seized buy the lawful agency at the time, and now we want it back?'

That's even more laughable!
No, read the article. They just want the acknowledgment that the Knights were innocent and the confiscations were unjust. They aren't asking for any money.
The legality of the seizure of their assets and the execution of the Knights is by no means clear. Pretty much, Phillip of France was broke and needed money, and the Knights were about to forclose on his kingdom. So he accused them all of witchcraft, soddomy, and apostasy and had them executed.
They were also no longer defending the Kingdom of Jerusalem (which had fallen) or directly fighting the Muslims (which the Hospitallers were doing) which meant they had lots of wealth without a holy mission to justify it.
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Post by Mobiboros »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:The legality of the seizure of their assets and the execution of the Knights is by no means clear. Pretty much, Phillip of France was broke and needed money, and the Knights were about to forclose on his kingdom. So he accused them all of witchcraft, soddomy, and apostasy and had them executed.
Given that the templar knights were a monastic order the pope could, and did, dissolve them at any time. Whether or not the charges were real or trumped up is largely irrelevent as the actual assets were held by the order not the individuals so when the pope dissolved the order the assets would revert to vatican control anyway. And arguing the church didn't lawfully dissolve the order is just folly. It's like saying a corporation can't dissolve one of it's divisions and lay everyone off (also, not all the templar knights were executed. Many who didn't argue the charges and just "repented" their "sins" were absolved and absorbed into the hospitallier orders). The pope dissolved the order. If he wants, he can now say "Our bad, they weren't sinners. Satan lied to us.". But they don't have to recognize anyone who calls themselves "Templars" as such.
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Post by Patrick Degan »

Well, they're just going to have to get in back of the lawsuit line behind the ex-altar boys and wait their turn.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca »

Patrick Degan wrote:Well, they're just going to have to get in back of the lawsuit line behind the ex-altar boys and wait their turn.
I seriously doubt former altar boys want ANYONE associated with the catholic church standing behind them.
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Post by Pelranius »

If the Templars wanted money, they could go and try to sue the French, though there's the problem of suing a sovereign state.
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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor »

Are there any descendants of French royalty left to call up as ... witnesses?
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Post by Saxtonite »

Pelranius wrote:If the Templars wanted money, they could go and try to sue the French, though there's the problem of suing a sovereign state.
technically isn't that a different government?
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Post by Adrian Laguna »

CaptainChewbacca wrote:The legality of the seizure of their assets and the execution of the Knights is by no means clear. Pretty much, Phillip of France was broke and needed money, and the Knights were about to forclose on his kingdom. So he accused them all of witchcraft, soddomy, and apostasy and had them executed.
So basically King Phillip of France solved his debt problem by murdering the bankers and seizing their assets.

It's good to be King. 8)
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Post by Imperial Overlord »

Adrian Laguna wrote:
So basically King Phillip of France solved his debt problem by murdering the bankers and seizing their assets.
Don't forget knocking off potential future rivals.
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Post by PeZook »

Tiriol wrote:If this goes through, couldn't some people who claim descendancy from, say, the Teutonic Order also sue Russia, Lithuania and maybe some other Northern/Eastern Europe countries?
Not really, since the Teutonic Order was actually defeated militarily and signed proper documents signifying that.

Also, they still exist, so there's no need for "descendants". We can go to war again with them if they want to, though :P
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