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December 04, 2004

Templars

One of many organizations claiming descent from the Knights Templar is after an apology from the Pope. While generally pro-Templar, if not this particular bunch of supposed Templars, I cannot see the point of an apology 700 years after the fact if it is not to be apologies all round. Unless I am mistaken, the current Queen of Canada claims sovereign power as a successor to Edward I. In 1306, for example, England expelled many thousands of Jews who had survived earlier extortion and massacre. But then Edward had ripped off the Templars too so we might expect another angry note in the post from Hertford.

The Templars, based in Hertford, are hoping for an 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.

The letter, signed by the Secretary of the Council of Chaplains on behalf of the Grand Master of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ and the Temple of Solomon Grand Preceptory, with a PO box address in Hertford, formally requests an apology “for the torture and murder of our leadership”, instigated by Pope Clement V.

And then... ideofact has more.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 4, 2004 11:44 AM

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? What do they have against mimes? from ideofact
Ghost of a Flea points to this story which, as the night has worn on, has bothered me more and more:THE VATICAN is giving “serious consideration” to apologising for the persecution that led to the suppression of the Knights Templar.... [Read More]

Tracked on December 6, 2004 12:37 AM

? What do they have against mimes? from ideofact
Ghost of a Flea points to this story which, as the night has worn on, has bothered me more and more:THE VATICAN is giving “serious consideration” to apologising for the persecution that led to the suppression of the Knights Templar.... [Read More]

Tracked on December 6, 2004 12:39 AM

Comments

Flea I never got the long-time apologies. They seem a pointless waste of time and verbiage.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at December 5, 2004 04:53 PM

Not only that, it's totally idiotic. The pope was ambivalent about the persecution, if I recall rightly -- if anyone should apologize to the Templars (and I agree with Andrew that such things are meaningless), it should be the House of the Capetians, since it was the French King Philip the Fair and the secular authorities under his control who took the lead in going after the order.

Posted by: Bill at December 5, 2004 09:53 PM

"I cannot see the point of an apology 700 years after the fact if it is not to be apologies all round."

But that is exactly what has been called for - an apology for the Templars per se, not just for one of the surviving Templar groups.


Further reading:-

The Times (30 March 2002) - Vatican file shows pope pardoned massacred Knights
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-252124,00.html

The Independent (29 November 2004) - Knights Templar seek papal apology for 700 years of persecution.
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/story.jsp?story=587769

The Times (29 November 2004) - The last crusade of the Templars, page 13.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1379629,00.html

Posted by: Freddy Gray at December 7, 2004 06:46 AM

"I never got the long-time apologies. They seem a pointless waste of time and verbiage."

Nonsense. How can it ever be pointless or too late to put right a great wrong?

Posted by: Freddy Gray at December 7, 2004 06:49 AM

"The pope was ambivalent about the persecution, if I recall rightly -- if anyone should apologize to the Templars (and I agree with Andrew that such things are meaningless), it should be the House of the Capetians, since it was the French King Philip the Fair and the secular authorities under his control who took the lead in going after the order."

Nonsense. The Pope not only allowed it to happen but supported it. He held a trial that exhonerated the Templars but the Vatican kept it secret until 2002!

The King of France died mysteriously and his kin were killed in the revolution. The cry from the crowd was "De Molay is avenged!"

The Vatican had a role in this injustice and must npw act accordingly. Q.E.D.

Posted by: Freddy Gray at December 7, 2004 06:52 AM

By calling for apologies all round I did not mean to suggest any and all so-called Templar organizations. I meant a generalized apology for any 700 year old grievance. The "English" part of my genetic make-up, for example, should apologize to the "Welsh" ("Cyrmic") part for the subjugation of Wales. In turn, the "Welsh" part should apologize to the part of me that is descendend from the Beaker People for the Celtic conquest of whatever the Beaker People called the British Isles. I am probably descended from some aggrieved Megalith Builders too. I expect they deserve an apology from the Beaker People genes assuming either has a mutually intelligible language.

Thanks for the input. Though I think you owe all of us an apology for that egregious "QED".

Posted by: Flea at December 7, 2004 09:46 AM

I don't see the use of such an apology. And I think that the French crown has far more to do with this case than the Church.

I'm also not sure what such a demand means in the context of the Church's dogmatic claims. While officers of the Church may as sinful individuals err, the Church claims not to. (You may find that implausible. But if you're demanding things from the Church in the name of its own rules - that is what it says.)

But there are some ancient grievances I would like righted with at least Soviet-style rehabilitations.

My pet case is a woman whose name I forget now, who during the career of Joan of Arc said that she too had had visions which backed up Joan and said that she (Joan) was a saint. At the time, this was a very bold and dangerous thing to say. She was seized on, tried, condemned excommunicated and burned - essentially for asserting what the Church now says everyone is supposed to believe, that Joan of Arc was a saint. But since she was a nobody, nobody has cared about the matter ever since.

I think there is a continuing injustice in the non-rehabilitation of cases like this.

Does the Church still claim the power to bind and loose, in matters invisible and visible? (It does.) Then maintaining false convictions - in effect! even if we can't see the effects - is a very, very serious matter. Will the Church claim that it need not reconsider such cases because the power has in some way gone out of its decisions? Then - oh boy! - big consequences really follow.

From my point of view, it's a simple matter of honouring the dead. Unjust condemnation maintained indefinitely and seemingly permanently is not what these people would have wanted.

It is very convenient to maintain false convictions on the books without review or redress. It avoids dealing with the scandal of false convictions in the concrete and particular. And (I've had this argument pressed on me by Catholics of the more fanatical sort) it's wonderfully terrifying to potential rebels that if you defy the Church you'll be condemned and that the condemnation stands forever, at minimum as a bar to sainthood (except in the unique case of Joan of Arc) even if you were telling the truth about everything! What matters is not to follow your conscience or even a real divine calling, but absolute obedience to clerical (and inquisitorial) authority or else.

Tastes will vary, but for me that sort of thing - a lower moral standard regarding the unjustly condemned that even Communists were wont to employ regarding the too-hastily purged - and those sorts of people - would-be new Torquemadas and witch-burners - are terrific reasons for not being a Christian.

Still, for anyone who does think what the Church says counts, if you have more conscience than a stone I think you should be all for official rehabilitations, or at least for re-opening the books from time to time on a regular, systematic basis, to see who might have been condemned on grounds that were fashionable or looked like smart politics at the time but that look dubious or worse than dubious in retrospect.

Posted by: David Blue at December 7, 2004 01:22 PM

David: I think this is a much more interesting case to make than the one advanced by Freddy (and two colour-themed last names at once stretches my credulity... but I shall assume I am dealing with two people here).

I am not Catholic and generally try to step lightly with criticism of the Holy See and its doctrines both because of my ignorance and out of a desire to avoid perpetuating even a sense of the anti-Catholic bigotry I see in the blogosphere (though there are plenty of specific issues of doctrine and policy I disagree with...).

That said, the case for a continuing liability/obligation on the part of institutions secular or religious strikes me as a strong case to make. If, say, the House of "Windsor" wants to claim rights over land and sovereignty in the name of royal succession it seems reasonable that some responsibility for past acts of that institution should also be shouldered.

Now to see if I have managed to annoy anyone with the scare-quotes around "Windsor".

Posted by: Flea at December 7, 2004 01:30 PM

I assure you, Flea, there's only one of me. I'm one of your new readers from the Weblog 2004 Awards. Maybe it's something about you that attracts readers who happen to have colour-themed names? Hmm? :P

Maybe soon you'll turn into a Batman villain sporting goons with colour-themed shirts and names on their chests. (If only Julie Newmar would show up too, in That! Costume! ...)


"I ... try to step lightly with criticism of the Holy See and its doctrines both because of my ignorance and out of a desire to avoid perpetuating even a sense of the anti-Catholic bigotry I see in the blogosphere"

Oh yeah. (high five offered) I so strongly agree with that.

Particularly when we're talking about people unjustly accused of being enemies of the Church. I do not think Saint Joan or any of the Knights Templar would thank us for using them as a rhetorical club to beat their religion with.


"Now to see if I have managed to annoy anyone with the scare-quotes around "Windsor"."

Not me, and I'm a happy Australian monarchist.

I do not know of any less menacing or oppressive sovereign in history than the Queen is now in Australia, so why should I not support her in all her splendid pomp - all paid for by the British, not by us. Suckers! :D

I think one questionable side of sticking with the monarchy is that sooner or later you have to address questions about things like "crown land" and what that has meant for the rights of Aboriginals. But I think that we should keep the threads of tradition as intact as we can, remedy what we can, and basically deal with our past, not cut it off. If that makes me somehow more guilty as a supporter of an institution is whose name many a violent deed has been done - OK, I think being more responsible, in a broad sense, is worth it.

Posted by: David Blue at December 8, 2004 12:38 AM

"Particularly when we're talking about people unjustly accused of being enemies of the Church. I do not think Saint Joan or any of the Knights Templar would thank us for using them as a rhetorical club to beat their religion with."

Much to chat about but follow that ideofact link. Whatever the pedigree of these folks claiming to be modern Templars the fact remains that the Templars were a monastic order by Papal degree. We can decide after the fact the legitimacy of the Papacy of its day but the fact remains only the Pope had the authority to declare the order and only the Pope the authority to dispand it.

Posted by: Flea at December 8, 2004 01:38 AM

"The "English" part of my genetic make-up, for example, should apologize to the "Welsh" ("Cyrmic") part for the subjugation of Wales"

You cannot seriously compare this to a grievance between two established organizations like the Templars and the Vatican. The events in question were a long time ago, but they were major events, and although much has changed the two organizations still exist today.

If you think the era of the Crusades is irrelevent today, I can only suggest that you take a second look at current international affairs.

Posted by: Freddy Gray at December 8, 2004 08:57 AM

"Much to chat about but follow that ideofact link."

Links duly followed.

Posted by: David Blue at December 8, 2004 02:02 PM