In this article, I will examine the truth of what happened, when King Phillip the Fair, (Philip IV, born 1268, Fontainebleau, France, and died Nov. 29, 1314, Fontainebleau, and who was the king of France from 1285 to 1314), called in the Knights Templar, to France, before Pope Clement V. (1)
First, one must understand the history of King Philip IV, before these events. He was deeply indebted to the Templar banks, because they were the French monarchy’s financial agent, (1) and, he was afraid of the power and wealth of the Templar army, if they ever were called together from the other European countries that they were stationed at, to constitute a major military force, and be turned on him, by order of the church. (2) Also, king Philip had his eye on the property owned by the Templars, along with the gold in the banks, and wanted to get his hands on it. (2)
In 1306, Philip IV expelled all the Jews, seized their property, and confiscated any money owed to them. (1)(2) It was said that he used this as a “dress-rehearsal” for the Templars. (2) He did this, though, only after draining them dry. (1) He was guilty of using these funds for elaborate and costly ceremonies, in honor of St. Louis, where it is thought that St. Louis’ antisemitism, inspired Phillip, to act against the Jews.(2) However, it is has now been speculated, if not proven, to have all evolved around his need for money and greed.
Like the Jews, the Lombard bankers, (what are now known as pawn shops), were expelled from France, with their property stolen, and any debt owed by the monarchy unpaid. In addition to these measures, Philip debased the French money, which by 1306, had led to a 2/3 loss in the value of the livres, sous, and denier coins in circulation. This financial crisis led to rioting in Paris, which forced Philip to seek refuge in the Paris Temple headquarters, of the Knights Templar. He took refuge, and accepted the protection of, his next victim.
King Philip was also aware that king Edward I, of Britain, along with several other monarchs, (from Spain, Portugal, and Germany), would happily side with the Templars, and “carve up the corpse of the French monarchy”. (2) King Philip also had ideas of uniting all the crusading orders, into one, but the Templars opposed all such plans. (1) He also had his sights set on expunging his debt with the Templar banks, by hook, crook, or theft. If he had merged all the knights orders, he would have taken all their wealth, which equals to stealing from the Catholic church. Philip IV had no morals at all, and is clearly seen by his actions. These actions, and those of his descendants, along with the corruption of the church, are what finally led to the French Revolution by the citizens of France. The French Freemasons, from about 1730 to 1765, honored the Knights Templar, over what Philip IV did to them, by creating the degree work; writing 25 extra degrees, which later became the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, in the United States. Freemasonry also honored the Knights Templar, by creating an order for young men; those under the age of acceptance for Freemasonry, from the ages of 12 to 21, known as DeMolay International, in honor of the Templars Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, (Jacques of Molay or Molai), who was born in Molay, Haute-Saône, in the County of Burgundy, in 1243. He died, being burnt at the stake, on March 18th, 1314, as a proud, defiant, and upright Templar.
To carry out what king Philip IV wanted to do, he would have to accuse the Templars of heresy, and try to get the cowardly but corrupt Pope, Clement V, on board with him. (2) He needed to keep Clement there, so he could control him, and thus, the king reminded the pope of the threat on his life, by going back to Rome. (2) This assured that Clement V would stay in France. This threat, that the Italians would murder the pope, was known as the “Babylonish Captivity”. Clement V had “pleased Philip by transferring the papal curia, (the administrative unit and court of the Holy See), from Rome to Avignon, a city near Philip’s realm. Charges against [Pope] Boniface were pressed until 1311, when Clement declared Philip’s zeal praiseworthy, and nullified all the offensive bulls that Boniface had issued, after November 1301″. (1) Still, the King’s “tentative overtures toward Clement V, about the Templars were fruitless”. (1) It was also in the best interest of the pope, to live as close to the French king and his army, as possible.
Also, the pope was just as conniving and scheming as king Philip IV. (2) The popes love for money was witnessed in 1309, when “Clement would purchase Avignon in Provence from its owner, Joan of Naples, for eighty thousand gold florins (about $10,000,000.00 US dollars today). (3) There, the popes would build a magnificent papal palace and fortress from which to rule their spiritual kingdom”. (2) Here, Clement used an older idea for the “Treasury of the Church” or the “Treasury of Merits”. This was a scam, ran by Clement V, where he sold “satisfaction of penances, partial or total remission of sins, reversals of decrees of excommunication, curtailment of years in purgatory for the already dead and the to-be dead, [selling of indulgences], which included everyone. Papal honors went on the block, along with exemptions and annulments. Everything was for sale, and all was pure profit, since what was being sold cost nothing. Clement V invented “annates”; (4) fees of up to 100 percent of the gross revenues for every Church benefice granted to a new holder upon the death of the incumbent”. (2) One has to chortle, as that sounds like modern day Televangelism, doesn’t it? It makes one wonder where they learned of it from. “The money showed up in magnificent robes, decorated with gold and jewels, luxurious furnishings, thousands of servants, solid gold table services, and elaborate ceremonies and pageantry. Clement V wallowed in his newfound wealth, that was beyond anything he had ever dared fantasize”. (2) The Televangelists, and some Evangelists, wallow in their new Mercedes, BMWs, and mansions, today. Some even own private Learjet Jets, and vacation at Nice, France, where they could make a short trip east, to Monaco, for some dice rolling. (5) Today’s pope can do the same.
Philip IV was set, and with the support of Guillaume de Nogaret, (6) and his own Dominican confessor, William of Paris, (7) who was also the papal inquisitor in France. Philip decided, in September 1307, to seize all Knights Templars in France, and to exhort his fellow rulers to follow his lead. (1) He planned to use the church priests, who were in his pocket, to spread the word of a heresy. The king overcame a problem, as “it would be much more complicated, because any Christian had legal protection not available to the Jews. In addition, the Templars were exempt from all secular law, responsible only to the pope. Their suppression would have to be based on offenses against God, and against the canons and customs of the Church”. (2) Thus, king Philip IV, invented the charges of heresy. “The charge of heresy was a must, because it called for the confiscation of property. Other sins could be trotted out in order to thoroughly blacken the Templar name, as in the accusations of sodomy, blasphemy, and witchcraft, hurled at Pope Boniface VIII, but heresy must play the major role”.
Quoting John J. Robinson, from his book, Dungeon, Fire and Sword, The Knights Templar in the Crusades :
Nor was it enough to prove the guilt of individual Templars. If found guilty of heresy, they had no personal property to confiscate. And if fifty individual Templars were found guilty of all manner of sins and crimes, they could be punished, even executed, without affecting the ongoing operations of the order. It was absolutely vital to a successful suppression and seizure of property, that the order itself be found guilty of those sins and crimes. If an individual knight held heretical beliefs, or engaged in any heretical practices, it must be shown that they were forced upon him by the Templar Rule or by his superior officers, so that the order itself was the guilty party, and the individual Templar simply the victim of an evil organization.
Philip was encouraged by the fact that the one crime that allowed confiscation of property, the crime of heresy, might be the easiest to prove, regardless of guilt or innocence. The Church approved, and sometimes even insisted on, the use of torture to extract confessions of heresy. Concepts born during the Albigensian Crusade had been refined, defined, and well-organized, during the years since the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition had been established, by Pope Gregory IX, in 1229, during the suppression of the Cathars in southern France.
The Inquisition (from the Latin inquirere, “to look into”) was largely based on the legal point, that the most conclusive evidence possible was a confession. In the pursuit of the purification of the faith, it was reasoned that the use of torture was a legitimate means to extract such a confession, since God would enable the innocent to bear up under any amount of pain, even when induced by practiced experts, at all the refinements of generating human agony. The next important legal point established, was that a confession extracted under even the most hideous torture was valid and, extremely significant, nonretractable. Any person who confessed under torture, and then retracted that confession when the torture stopped, was labeled a “relapsed heretic.” The relapsed heretic was conclusively and irretrievably guilty, and was summarily handed over to the secular authorities, who had no choice but to burn the guilty party at the stake. The Knights Templar would learn all of those things, firsthand, during the coming months and years, and they would suffer under the frustration of yet another legal aspect of the Inquisition: that the accused had no right to know the identity of his accuser, nor of anyone who “witnessed”, or gave evidence against him.
Since Philip’s objective was to prove that the Templar order was guilty of heresy, the whole machinery of the Inquisition could be put to work for him. There was only one obstacle. As a religious order, the Knights Templar were exempt from the application of torture. A way around that exemption would have to be found. The best idea, seemed to be to use the technique used so successfully against the Jews: Arrest the Templars in France all at one time. Then the torture could be applied immediately, to extract some confessions of guilt, before anyone could make a formal objection. The confessions would justify the action, but Philip would need the cooperation of the Inquisition.
In all of this, a factor in Philip’s favor would be the Knights Templar’s love of secrecy. All of their chapter meetings were conducted in total secrecy, usually at night, with Templar sentries outside the door, with drawn swords. Their initiation ceremonies and rituals, whatever they might be, had always been cloaked in mystery. That enabled all manner of rumors to rise up from time to time, such as whispered reports that someone trying to eavesdrop on a Templar meeting had been killed, or that a Templar knight who revealed what happened, at his own initiation, had been murdered by his Templar brothers. The cloak of secrecy also covered the Rule of the order, which was revealed to the knight on a need-to-know basis, and he was sworn to reveal no part of the Rule known to him, under the threat of severe disciplinary measures. It was thought that no more than a dozen or so of the highest officers, of the order, were familiar with the entire Rule. As always happens, their secrecy had aroused feelings from idle curiosity to envy and anger. It would work to Philip’s benefit, because he could unleash a wide variety of accusations against the Knights Templar, which no one outside the order could oppose, on the basis of any personal knowledge.
Just what those accusations would be, or what questions would be put to Templars on the rack, were still undecided, but they took shape when an Italian criminal informer, named Arnolfo Deghi, who had performed several special “missions” for William de Nogaret, introduced him to a renegade ex-Templar named Esquiu de Florian. Arnolfo Deghi had performed a valuable service for de Nogaret, in 1300, when he presented accusations of sorcery and magic against the bishop of Troyes, so he had a fair idea of what de Nogaret was looking for, to use against the Templars.
This matches with the conclusion of the Encyclopedia Britannica:
At first, dubious and reluctant, Clement V eventually supported Philip; he had been told of outraged anti-Templars appeals voiced in a large assembly of Philip’s subjects, and he had heard damning confessions from the mouths of representatives of the order, many of whom had been tortured. Far-flung tribunals had gathered enough materials to cast doubts on the Templars’ dedication, and, although not condemned as heretical, the order was quashed, and its property assigned to the Knights Hospitallers. [sic]
Esquiu de Florian, had risen in the Knights Templar, to become the prior of the Templar preceptory of Montfaucon, in the region of Perigueux, but for some reason, he was removed. When his master would not restore him, he murdered him. After this, he ran to Spain. (2) “A letter from de Florian, to the king of Aragon, was discovered generations later, in the royal archives at Barcelona. It recites de Florian’s attempt to provide information, condemning the Templars, in exchange for payment out of the property that would be confiscated from the order”. (2)
No money was coming from Aragon, so de Florian decided to “stage a drama, far from Paris, that would have the appearance of bringing the Templar crimes to King Philip’s attention, totally by accident. Deghi and de Florian were sent to occupy a cell together, in the prison at Toulouse, de Nogaret’s former home, where he had attended the university and still had many friends. Pretending a desire to confess their sins, the two prisoners, by arrangement, were denied the services of a priest, so taking advantage of the Church rule that permitted a Catholic with no access to a priest to confess to another Catholic layman, they heard each others confessions. As a former Templar, de Florian unburdened himself of a battery of Templar sins based on greed, treachery, sorcery, homosexuality, and heresy”. (2) “Now, de Nogaret had a document and a witness. He had a reason to arrest the Templars and a basis for questions they would be asked under torture”. (2)
It took a year for Grand Master Jacques de Molay to make it to France, and during that time, he had collected all the accounts of everything he thought pertinent to the pope, for his report. The Grand Master of the Hospitallers had also been commanded to appear, and DeMolay thought it would be another meeting about combining the two orders. How wrong he was. In 1307, DeMolay’s fleet of six Templar galleys put into the harbor at Marseilles. The pope had ordered DeMolay to appear at the papal court, at Poitiers, and to travel incognito. DeMolay ignored that, and proudly marched to the Temple fortress, in Paris. (2) When he entered the Temple, he told the officers of what he had been doing. Here, though, they related to “the Grand Master about the recent spate of rumors of improprieties and sinful conduct within the Templar order. They agreed that the best way to put the rumors to rest, was for the grand master to ask Clement V for a formal papal inquiry”. From here, DeMolay traveled to the papal court, and as he expected, they brought up the merger of the two orders.(2) He presented the court with a document entitled De Unione Templi et Hospitalis Ordinum ad Clementus Papam Jacobi de Molayo relatio. He hoped that it contained his own arguments, as he could not read nor write in his native French, nor Latin. He told them that the rumors about the order were false, and that “papal inquiry would find those allegations to be totally unfounded, the products of ignorance and envy”. (2) After this, he left the court, where weeks went by, with nothing happening.
However, de Nogaret was concocting and instigating his plan. He reportedly recruited a dozen spies, who were to join the order, but after they did, they could not find anything usable. (2) He then turned to the confession of Esquiu de Florian, to cite the Templars on charges. DeMolay, though, had sent an order to all the Templar preceptories, to not disclose the rituals or meetings to anyone.
De Nogaret delivered the news, to king Philip, that Edward I was dead, and now they had no worries about him stepping in to help the Templars, and that Edward II would not bother to help. After this, “Philip went to the pope, in a great show of reluctance and emotional stress, regretting his duty to present to the Holy Father the shameful evidence of Templar corruption and heresy, that had fallen into his hands. A former Templar officer had confessed it all, he moaned, as he produced the confessions of Esquiu de Florian”. The pope ordered a papal inquiry. “Early in September, orders went out to every seneschal of France, to organize a military force on the evening of October 12, but on pain of severe punishment, not to open and read [the order] until the time the sealed secret orders held enclosed. On September 22, perhaps with some knowledge of what was about to transpire, the archbishop of Narbonne, the king’s chancellor, resigned his post and returned the Great Seal. In his place Philip named his faithful servant William de Nogaret. The excommunicated lawyer”.(2) “As de Molay returned to his palace, after that day of somber
service in the company of kings, dukes, and counts, the seneschals throughout France were opening their sealed orders, as the knights and soldiers they had assembled, waited to learn what duties they were about to carry out for their king”. (2) Robinson goes on to say that: “at dawn of the following day, Friday the Thirteenth, in October of 1307, that almost every Templar knight, priest, sergeant, and servant in France, was arrested and put in chains. The arresting party at the Paris Temple was led by the king’s chancellor, in person, probably to assure admittance. The date was ever after regarded as an ominous time, but although for the rest of the world, it might become an amusing supersitition, for the Knights Templar, that Friday the Thirteenth, was the unluckiest day of that or any other year. Their torture began on that same day”.
The Knights Templar were imprisoned and tortured for four long years, from 1307, to 1311. There weren’t enough prisons to hold all the Templars they arrested, so they set up make-shift facilities. During this, every Templar building was searched, and anything of value was seized. “Most welcome to Philip were the chests of gold and silver coins, and the gold and silver religious objects on the altars, of which the most famous was the gold jewel-covered reliquary holding the Templars’ own splinter of the True Cross. Other items, such as furniture, ornaments, hangings, weapons, and horses, could be stored where they were. Since the buildings were now held by the forces of Philip the Fair, those items could be removed at leisure”. (2) A legend states, that DeMolay had already set up plans; that under the cloak of the night, some Templars were to take the majority of the gold and Holy relics, a wagon load, and leave France. (2) Nobody knows where this gold may have gone, nor how much. It is also said, that the king never found near the amount of gold and valuables that he thought that he would, and that a search for the missing Templars was fruitless. Whether this is fact, or not, is not proven. Also, their careful search never turned up “the idols and satanic symbols that would have provided concrete evidence of heretical guilt. A silver head was found with small bones inside, which appeared to have been made to house holy relics”. (2)
Chancellor de Nogaret ordered the tirture of the Templars to proceed at once. He was wanting fast confessions to take before the Pope, and to spread as propaganda. King Philip sent out letters, trying to explain his actions to the Christian monarchs of Europe. An order was to be read, as they had schemed, from every pulpit in France.
Quoting John J. Robinson’s book again:
When the news of the Templar arrests arrived at the papal court, Clement V was furious. The entire proceedings had been the most flagrant flouting of papal authority. The Church had established the Order of the Temple, which reported only to the Holy Father himself. No one, regardless of rank, title, or motivation, had any right, whatsoever, to lay hands on the persons or the property of the Knights Templar, without the specific permission of the supreme pontiff. He turned loose the full fury of the papal wrath on the guilty king.
Philip responded by launching a propaganda assault against Clement V. Announcements were published all over France condemning the pope for his lenience in the treatment of heretics, for his intention to take all of the Templar wealth for himself and his family, and for his protection of the enemies of God and his Holy Church. As king and pope thundered against each other, Philip went to the papal court backed by a small army.
The pope reminded the king that a papal letter had gone to him, two months before, in which the pope had clearly stated that he did not believe the charges against the Templars. In rejoinder, Philip claimed a clear remembrance of the pope’s reaction when the king had presented those charges. He claimed that Clement had said, “Fils, tu enquerras diligement de leurs fais, et ce que to feras, to me rescripas” (“My son, you must look into their deeds with diligent care, and report to me what you make of them”). The king was simply conducting the inquiry the pope had called for. Clement replied that he had meant a quiet inquiry by a papal commission, not arrest and torture. Philip’s answer was that prior papal decrees, absolutely required secular princes to extend every assistance to the Holy Roman Inquisition, which was exactly what he was doing. Clement’s answer was to remove Guillaume Imbert from his post as grand inquisitor of France.
The argument raged for several weeks, with Philip’s knights and soldiers strolling about menacingly in their role of overt saber-rattling. A deal was obviously made, with terms we shall probably never know, but the secret sessions of pope and king resulted in a singleness of purpose, with Philip achieving full papal approval and cooperation.
It is said that the money that was stolen from the Templars, was divided between the king and the pope. The pope, then, supposedly gave a good amount of it to the Knights Hospitallers, who were already stationed there. Imagine that, would you, that they just happened to be conveniently called there, with the Knights Templar, too.
On November 22, Clement V wrote the bull Pastoralis preeminentae, where he lavished praise on king Philip IV, and ordered that the remaining Templars were to be arrested, in the papal lands, and they were to be turned over to the inquisition. (2) “Dominican brother Imbert, was returned to his lofty post as grand inquisitor of France, although there is no indication that the torture of the Templars had been stopped for even a single day, during his brief removal from office”. (2)
The Templars were tortured by gruesome means, and by law, that was supposed to be limited to one day. However, the friars had developed something known as recess or adjournment, which would permit them to be tortured for weeks, to circumvent the law. The inquisitors had orders to “spare no known means of torture”, so they performed the most terrible tortures known. “Some Templars had their teeth pulled out, one at a time, with a question asked between each extraction, then had the empty sockets probed to provide an additional level of pain. Some had wooden wedges driven under their nails, while others had their nails pulled out. A common device was an iron frame like a bed, on which the Templar was strapped with his bare feet hanging over the end. A charcoal brazier was slid under his oiled feet, as the questioning began. Several knights were reported to have gone mad from the pain. A number had their feet totally burned off, and at a later inquiry, a footless Templar was carried to the council, clutching a bag containing the blackened bones that had dropped out of his feet when they were burned off. His inquisitors had allowed him to keep the bones as a souvenir of his memorable experience. The hot iron was a favorite tool, because it could be easily applied again and again to any part of the body. It could be held a couple of inches away, cooking the flesh while the question was asked, then firmly pressed against the body, when the answer came out incorrectly or too slowly”. (2)
Robinson wrote: “it is not surprising that this treatment resulted in a number of Templar suicides, or that it produced a profusion of confessions. As the Templar treasurer said, “Under such torture, I would willingly confess to having killed God!” Robinson goes on to state that: “Three days after the confessed heretic had made his admissions to stop the torture, he was brought before an officer of the Inquisition, and his confession was read back to him, well edited of course, for his confirmation. The grand inquisitor himself conducted such confirmations, in Paris, in a room decorated with torture instruments, to keep the condemned man’s mind on track. If he declined to answer or objected, he could go right back to the hot irons for reinforcement. If he renounced his confession, saying that it had been extracted solely because of the torture, he could be deemed a “relapsed heretic” and be sent off to be burned at the stake, which is exactly what happened to dozens of French Templars”. (2)
The confessions ranged from their initiations, where they claimed they had been required to bestow the Osculum infame, or a “Kiss of shame,” on the prior, upon his mouth… or on his navel… or below his spine. They claimed that they were to spit on the cross, deny Christ, trample the cross, or urinate on the cross. They claimed that in denying Christ, they had worshiped a head, or a head with three faces, where it is thought that the invention of a baphomet, by king Philip, came from. Other Templars, though, claimed that they were worshiping a cat, and not a head. The claims were too numerous to count, and none hardly matched the others confessions. However, when torturing someone, they will say anything, especially if the inquisitors were telling them what to say, which they had already written down in their fake confession. The inquisitors had them claiming to have practiced homosexuality, but king Philip IV would not use that, as it was rumored that Edward II was a closet homosexual, and he was to later marry king Philips daughter. There were only three Templars who made that claim, out of the lot. There was no sin not invented, that the Templars were forced to admit to. (2)
It was found that the word, Baphomet, came from a July 1098 letter, by the crusader Anselm of Ribemont:
“Sequenti die aurora apparente, altis vocibus Baphometh invocaverunt; et nos Deum nostrum in cordibus nostris deprecantes, impetum facientes in eos, de muris civitatis omnes expulimus.”
“On the following day at dawn, the high voices of [from] the Baphometh called upon the Lord; there to intercede for us that our God is in our hearts, and, making an assault against them, we ejected him [the Muslim enemy] from the walls of the city.”
Anselm of Ribemont was speaking of a “Bafumarias,” which was a Mosque. A chronicler of the First Crusade, Raymond of Aguilers, called the mosques “Bafumarias.” “Bafometz” later appeared around 1195, in “Senhors, per los nostres peccatz” by the troubadour Gavaudan. Evidently, king Philip IV heard the word, and through ignorance, or ill intent, claimed that it was a devilish idol, and used it to vilify the Templars for heresy.
The king had another thing coming, when he wrote to Edward II, and asked him to arrest the British Templars. Robinson states: “Edward had received the letter from the pope, ordering the arrest and torture of the Templars, but had not acted on it. Instead, he had informed the pope that he believed the Templars were innocent, and had written letters to share that point of view with other Christian kings. Philip had sent his personal envoy, Bernard Pelletin, to encourage Edward to act, but with no success. Edward had been surrounded by Knights Templar all his life. They had willingly loaned their London facilities, to accommodate dozens of young men who had come to London to be knighted, along with Edward, then the Prince of Wales, before marching with the prince and his father against the Scots. The English Templars had fought on the English side, against the Scottish rebel William Wallace, a war in which the Templar master Brian de Jay had given his life for the English cause. Edward could not accept the accusations against his friends of the Temple”. Thus, we have the legend of the Templars escaping to England. However, Edward received the bull from the Pope, and had to act. He waited three weeks, and allowed the Templars to go underground. The Templar treasure disappeared too, and when Edward looked for it, the most he could find was about 200 pounds. Here, Robinson states: “A half-hearted royal manhunt, aided by the other religious orders, found only two of the fugitive Templars in all of England. Edward did not permit the torture of the Templars who were arrested, which incensed Clement V. (2) The pope demanded that the English Templars be “put to the question,” but Edward replied that torture was not part of English jurisprudence, so he didn’t even have anyone who knew how to do such things”. Edward II was loyal to the Knights Templar. Edward II would not allow the inquisition in England, which frustrated the pope and the Dominicans. (2) This lasted for three years, until the pope threatened Edward II’s soul, then sent the Dominican inquisitors, and Edward could not stop this. The cold hearted pope wrote the order, to torture the Templars, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1310. (2) The pope also ordered that, “any [English] person, who gave aid or shelter to a fugitive Templar, or who even gave advice and counsel to a fugitive Templar, was to be arrested, excommunicated, and suitably punished”. (2)
The king of Scots was another matter, who was Robert Bruce. He had already been excommunicated, and when he received the popes order, it is written that he threw it in the bottom of a desk drawer, and didn’t publish it. Legend has it, that a few Templar knights, who revealed themselves to him, were welcomed into Bruce’s army. (2)
Germany has a legend, and that is also given by Robinson. Here, I quote his writing: “The German Templars, though few in number, did very well by themselves. As the archbishop of Metz was conducting a judicial inquiry, into the matter of the Templars, the door to the council chamber was flung open. In the doorway stood the fierce local preceptor, Hugo von Gumbach, in full battle armor, surmounted by his flowing white Templar robe. As he stomped into the chamber, twenty of his Templar knights followed, fanning out behind him, all armed and ready. Standing in front of the archbishop, von Gum-bach loudly proclaimed, that Grand Master de Molay was a man of deep faith and personal honor, and that he and the Templar order were innocent of all charges. In contrast, Pope Clement V was a completely evil man, who was hereby declared to be deposed, because he had been illegally elected. Turning his head, to look each member of the council in the eye, von Gumbach declared that all of the Templar knights present, were prepared to risk their bodies and their lives, in personal trial by combat, with their accusers, to let God decide the issue. As the council looked at the challengers, it was obvious that they weren’t just willing to fight, they were eager to fight. No accuser chose to speak up, and the council quickly adjourned. As it reconvened over the months ahead, the Templars in Germany were found innocent of the charges”. (2)
Germany wasn’t the only ones to turn their nose up at pope Clement V. Robinson states: “The Christian monarchs of the Iberian Peninsula, voiced their objections to the pope, for the whole ill-advised affair. They reminded the pontiff, that they were actively engaged in incessant warfare against the Muslim armies in Spain and Portugal. They alone, were holding the Muslims in check, protecting all of Europe from an Islamic invasion, and the Templars provided strong support in that struggle. The archbishop of Aragon announced that his investigation had proved the Templars were innocent of all charges. Another verdict of innocence came from the kingdom of Castile, where the charges had been investigated by the archbishop of Com-postela, and another from the archbishops in Portugal”. (2) Things were looking worse for the Pope, but he still had his tortures in the papal states, and in France.
Next, we have the aged Jacques DeMolay, himself. The threat of torture was too much, and it is said that he claimed to have denied Christ, three times, at his initiation, and admitted that he was ordered to spit on the crucifix, but he said that he spit on the floor, next to it. They lied to DeMolay, and told him that if he would admit to denying Christ, which he did, that he could go free, with serving penance, but they locked him back up, for execution, now that they had a fabricated confession. (2) He was burned at the stake, on March 18, 1314, and, it is said, that he gave both the king, and the pope, a going away present that they would never forget.
Next, I quote Robinson, about the start of this sordid and fabricated trial, by King Philip IV, and pope Clement V:
The confirmed confessions were called in, from all of the offices of the Inquisition, in the French provinces and in other countries. Templars who tried to recant on the grounds, that they had only confessed to stop the torture, and who insisted on maintaining that position, were pronounced relapsed heretics, and burned at the stake. An audience of other Templars was always present to witness the writhing, burning, and screaming of their errant brothers, making certain that all learned the lesson, and were kept in a state of shattering fear.
Pope Clement V called a great council of the church, to convene in 1310, at the French city of Vienne. The final disposition of the Templar order would be addressed at that time. To prepare for it, a papal commission of inquiry convened in Paris, on August 7, 1309, under the archbishop of Narbonne, and expressed its willingness to listen to any Templar, who cared to defend the order. It was emphasized that the commission would hear charges and defenses, only, of the Templar order as a whole, [and] not of individual members. The liar, Hugh de Peraud, appeared, but only to state that since he had already confessed to the guilt of the order, he could not possibly defend it. A Templar knight named Ponsard de Gisi appeared, to state that all of the charges against the order were false. He said that his own confessions were extracted by the most cruel tortures, and were all false. To prove his point, he showed the commissioners his fingers. His hands had been tied behind his back so tightly, that the circulation had been completely cut off. Blood flowed into his hands, but could not get out. As they turned blue and swollen, the built-up blood had burst open the tips of his fingers. He had spent hours in that condition, in his dungeon, before his torture was even begun.
On November 26, Jacques de Molay appeared, anxious to talk to representatives of the pope, who alone could get him and his order out of the clutches of the king of France. As had all of the Templars who had appeared ahead of him, with the single exception of Hugh de Peraud, de Molay denied the truth of his former confession, and denied as well, the accusations against the order. He also stated his principal reason for appearing before this council, which was to formally assert that “I challenge your jurisdiction over the Order of the Temple, since it is under the sole authority of the pope himself, so only he can be its judge.” Taken aback by this unexpected objection, the archbishop asked if the grand master was going to be the defender of the order. As an illiterate man, with no training in ecclesiastic law or proceedings, De Molay felt inadequate as defense counsel for the order. He wanted professional help and funds to pay for that help, as well as travel expenses to get supporting depositions from Christian leaders outside France, all of which could be paid from the Templar treasure, seized by Philip.
The archbishop pointed out, that the grand master should expect no funds to be provided to him, nor should he expect to be aided by outside counsel. He reminded de Molay, that the crime being investigated was heresy, which meant that the usual legal forms of a trial did not have to be followed, and that a suspected heretic had no legal right to representation by lawyers. He then read aloud the formal charges against the Templar order, including specific charges of the denial of Christ, and the worship of idols.
De Molay listened in rising anger, and repeatedly crossed himself. As the archbishop finished, he cried out that the prelates of the Church might feel safe from the wrath of men, but they were not protected from the wrath of God. The archbishop, who owed his appointment to the diocese of Narbonne, to King Philip, was concerned about what might be reported to the king, by the royal officers who were watching the proceedings. Prudence demanded that he be observed putting the grand master in his place. He sternly warned de Molay, that heretics who retracted their confessions, could be handed over to the secular authorities for burning, from which there was no recourse or appeal. De Molay was silenced by the threat of his own death. The archbishop suggested that he take time to consider if he indeed wished to act as the defender of the order. The council adjourned, and Philip’s officers hurried off to inform the king of the proceedings.
The grand master appeared again, on November 28, and was asked if he had decided to personally conduct the defense of his order. Apparently, the time he had spent thinking about it, only reinforced De Molay’s convictions that the pope, alone, could judge the Templars, over whom this commission had no legal authority. “I refuse to enter any defense before this commission. I demand to be led before His Holiness. I shall defend the Order from the wicked and false accusations, made by its enemies, and render to Christ the honor that is due Him.. Let the pope call me before him, and I shall defend the Order to the glory of God and His Church.”
De Molay was reminded that the pope, himself, had appointed this commission, and had delegated to it the responsibility to investigate the charges, not against individuals, but against the Templar organization. De Molay responded with a recitation of the history of the faith, and loyalty of the Templars throughout the Crusades. The king’s chancellor, William de Nogaret, who had decided to observe this session in person, had no problem interjecting himself into the proceedings, nor did anyone try to stop him. “The corruption of your Order is notorious. It is stated in the chronicles of St. Denis, that your Grand Master, de Beaujeu, and other Templars, did homage to the Sultan, and when the Templars were defeated, the Sultan had attributed that defeat to their vices and sodomy, and to the betrayal of their Christian faith.” The grand master answered that the chronicler had lied, and defended his predecessor’s treaties with the Muslims as necessary to survival: “… nothing else could be done if the land was to be saved…”
Since de Molay held firm his refusal to act as defender of the Templar order, except to the person of the pope, the council took a long recessm while the captive Templars were contacted to see if any of them would act as the defender. Of about six hundred and fifty Templar knights in Paris, five hundred and forty-six volunteered to defend the order, and reports of more voluntary defenders poured in from other French cities. It was also reported that the Templars were in a high state of excitement, over the news that the pope had taken over from the French king. Somehow, they believed that after two and a half years, in their filthy dungeons, [that] their lord, the pope, would not take long now to acknowledge their innocence.
Weeks were spent screening the men who had asked to defend the order. They told the commissioners of the tortures they had endured. One reported that twenty-five of the Templars in his prison had died, under torture. Another said that he had been given nothing but bread and water for three solid months. Now, the footless Templar was carried before the commissioners, so he could show them the fire-blackened bones that had fallen from his feet, as they had been burned off by his inquisitors. He wanted to retract the confessions he had made, only to stop the unbearable agony of his treatment. One Templar produced a letter from Philip de Vohet, a priest who had been appointed by the commission, to take charge of the imprisoned Templars. The letter set forth an order of the pope, that any Templar who reversed his confession of guilt, should be burned to death, a letter used to intimidate any Templar who had volunteered to defend his order. Called before the commission, de Vohet denied that he had ever seen the letter. When it was pointed out that the letter bore his seal, he said that someone else must have applied it.
The archbishop of Narbonne, and two of the other commissioners, were essentially creatures of Philip the Fair, but four of them were not, and they were beginning to grow suspicious at the tales of torture, bribery, and trickery. They were reserving judgment.
On March 28 all of the five hundred and forty-six volunteer Templar defenders, were assembled in the garden of the palace of the bishop of Paris. The formal charges against the order were read to them, arousing shouts of anger in response. With order restored, the investigative procedure was explained to them, and they were told to choose those who would present their defense.
The Templars had noticed the absence of their grand master, whose orders they would still follow, and asked that he be brought to the gathering. They were told that Jacques de Molay had made it very clear, that he would talk to no one but the pope, so he would not be a part of this hearing. With no other choice open to them, their defenders were agreed upon.
At the pretrial hearing, on April 7, de Boulogne delivered his opening statement. The willingness to appear before this court was not to be taken as acknowledgment of the authority or jurisdiction of this commission. The Order of the Temple, by this appearance, did not waive its rights to appeal the judgment of this court to the pope, and a formal council of the Church. The Templars would prove that the charges were false, and would give that proof in oral testimony, in depositions, and in documentation. Justice required that the defenders be allowed the freedom to travel, and access to their own Templar funds, to adequately prepare their defense. “Each and every one of us declare the accusations to be utterly unfounded. It is true that some Templars have admitted them, but only because of torture and suffering.” He had the names of men who had died under torture. He charged that some men had been bribed to confess, and charged that some confessions had been forged and falsified. The Rule that governed the order was not a secret. Not only was it available in writing, but it had been approved in every particular [way] by a succession of popes.
He pointed out that there was no shortage of accusations, but no accusers. Let the accusers come forward to be examined, if any could be found. As to the abominable charge of Templars denying Christ, who could believe such a thing? There was no proof that any Templar had ever denied Christ, but there was a well-documented history of thousands of Templars who died rather than deny Him. Could anyone believe that men would deny the Savior, in the security of their meetings, then refuse to deny him in Muslim prisons, even to save their own lives? How could anyone stoop to heap scandal on these martyrs of the Church?
He made a point of asking that all laymen be prohibited from attending the hearing, especially the officers of the king of France, whose presence was clearly for the purpose of intimidating witnesses. (Those officers would report to King Philip that this Templar priest, Peter de Boulogne, was a man who must be stopped. It was obvious to any observer that some of the commissioners were being swayed by his arguments).
The circus of a formal trial began on Saturday, April 11, 1310. This went as anyone, with any modicum of intelligence, would expect; it was a kangaroo court. The objections of the Templars was factual, and so was their testimony, while not under torture. King Philip IV was becoming concerned, but he still knew the court was in his pocket, and he was going to do something even better. He hatched a scheme to install a new archbishop, Philip de Marigny, who was underage, and use him to get rid of the Templars. Below, Robinson explains what actually occurred.
The new archbishop moved swiftly. He called a council of his bishops for Monday, May 22, for the purpose of declaring the guilt of Templars, in his territory, and imposing their sentences. The announcement was not public, but the Templars learned about the archbishop’s council the day before it was to convene. Although the papal commission had never met on a Sunday, the four Templar defenders, sent their urgent pleas to the commissioners, for an immediate emergency meeting. When they were assembled, Peter de Boulogne was called upon, to explain this extraordinary request. The Templar priest replied: “The pope has set up this commission to investigate the Order of the Temple, and all Templars who wish to defend the order, have been invited to appear before you. Most of the brethren have offered themselves as defenders. We are now advised, however, that the Archbishop of Sens, has summoned his council for tomorrow, to take action against those Templars who have offered to appear for the defense. This can only be for the purpose of preventing them from being heard in defense of the Order.”
The archbishop of Narbonne, the president of the council, immediately realized why Philip had engineered the appointment of the youthful archbishop, and had no intention of acting at cross purposes to his king. He suddenly remembered that he had promised to celebrate mass on this Sabbath day, and hurried out of the room.
The bishop of Trent followed his example, remembering some pressing business of his own, and walked out of the meeting. Those commissioners, who stayed behind, invited Peter de Boulogne to make his statement.
“We are told,” said the Templar defender, “that the Archbishop of Sens, and his suffragans [subsidiary bishops], have decided to reopen proceedings against the Templars. As, however, we have been accepted as defenders of the Order, before this commission, we claim that, until the commission has completed its inquiry, the Archbishop of Sens is not entitled to proceed against individual Templars. We claim that we are under the protection of this commission, and we ask that the Archbishop should be restrained. His action is irregular and unfair, and will make it impossible for the commission to fulfill its labors.”
The commissioners discussed the problem among themselves, and finally informed, de Boulogne, that after the most serious consideration, they could only express their regrets about the Templars’ dilemma. It was clear that every archbishop had direct authority over individual heretics, including individual Templars, which had been assigned to him by the Holy Father himself. This commission had no authority to interfere with the archbishop of Sens, operating under specific papal authority.
The next morning, the papal commission reconvened, and proceeded with business as usual, as though nothing had happened. Then in late morning, in the middle of their examination of a Templar servant, a messenger arrived, with news that brought the hearing to a halt. The archbishop of Sens had acted, swiftly and viciously. He had summarily announced that all of the Templar prisoners had been consigned to four different categories:
First were those who had confessed to minor transgressions, mostly servants and craftsmen. After suitable penances, which would be assigned to them, they would be set free. Second, those who had confessed to more serious sins would be sentenced to prison terms according to the seriousness of their crimes. The third group was to be made up of those Templars who had stood up under their tortures and had made no confessions at all. They were all sentenced to life in prison.
The fourth group contained the fifty-four Knights Templar who had confessed under torture and had then retracted their confessions, many of whom had testified or would testify before the papal commission. They were ordered to be turned over immediately to the secular authorities to suffer the punishment designated for relapsed heretics: They would all be burned to death at the stake. The papal commissioners were appalled by the actions of the archbishop, and dispatched emissaries to him to plead the point that his actions were destroying the efforts of the papal commission. Important witnesses had been sentenced to death, and those Templars who would be available to testify, would do so in a state of abject terror. They asked the archbishop to postpone his activities until the papal commission had completed its mission. The archbishop responded that he had no desire to interfere with the important work of the papal commission, and did not question it. In exchange, the commission should not question the archbishop’s authority, nor try to interfere with his performance of his duties. In essence, the papal commissioners had been told to go away, and to confine themselves to their own responsibilities.
As to the responsibilities of the secular arm, Philip was ready and eager to carry out the orders of the archbishop of Sens. The very next day, in the early morning, the fifty-four condemned Templars were taken from their dungeons. A number of other Templars, from each prison, were taken with them to witness the majesty of justice. In a field, by the Paris gate of Porte Antoine, fifty-four stakes had been set in the ground during the night. The bundles of faggots were piled up nearby.
Most of the knights, who were about to die, were from noble families, and Philip had invited those families to come and watch their sons, brothers, or cousins, being burned to death. After the Templars were chained to their stakes, and as the executioner’s assistants were piling the faggots around them, priests went to each man, holding a crucifix in his face, pleading with him to take this last chance to save his soul, and his life, by confirming his original confessions against his order. Remarkably, not a single Templar would save his life, by an act of treachery against the Templar order and his sacred vows. As the executioners lit their torches, the Templars’ families were turned loose to add their own pleas to those of the priests. Not a single man would back off his martyrdom, and the soldiers had to tear tearful relatives away from the condemned men, as the executioners thrust their flaming torches into the wood piled up to their waists.
Then came a horrible spectacle, as flesh began to blister and roast away. Some of the Templars screamed in pain, as others called out to them to be resolute, to trust in God. Others fought off the agony long enough to shout out the innocence of their holy order, all to a background of the yells and wails of their friends and relatives. One by one, their screams and shouts died out, and the flames consumed what was left of fifty-four dead Knights of the Temple. The king’s officers were delighted to report back to King Philip, that the Templar witnesses, moving back to their prisons, had to be prodded to move along, so paralyzed were they by revulsion at what they had seen. They moved in raw fear, that this same fate was waiting for them, if they attempted to retract the confessions that had been tortured out of them.
The other provincial archbishops, now saw clearly, what their king expected of them, especially in the praise and favor showered by Philip on the bloodthirsty young archbishop of Sens. Not to be left out, the archbishop of Rheims, and the archbishop of Rouen, the pope’s nephew, called their own councils, sending Templars to prison or to the stake. In all, the archbishops ordered the burning of 120 Templars, and it says something for the strength of their faith, that only two of the condemned Templars chose to lie to save their lives.
When the papal commissioners reconvened on November 3, 1310, many witnesses scheduled to be heard were dead, and the other Templars were so scared, that they couldn’t give a good speech. They saw the court for what it was, fully rigged, and their sentence had been invented, by the king and the new archbishop. Robinson states that: “The papal commission went ahead, hearing the confessions of men who had watched their brothers burn, and now retracted their retractions. All was written out and collected for use by the highest prelates of the Church, who would decide the fate of the Templar
order at the Council of Vienne, which the pope had postponed to October 1, 1311. Philip of France would be there, too, with an army.
The Council of Vienne had been called to plan a new Crusade, and it was a joke. They tried to address church corruption, but that was mainly about the archbishops, and should have been about the illegitimate pope. They were more worried about arguing as where the profits, from the stolen Templar lands and moneys, would go. (2) They wouldn’t dare talk much about the Templars, as the Grand Master ranked with a bishop. Many were worried about losing their own wealth. Robinson writes: “If this council approved all of those actions, it would establish a dangerous precedent, that could threaten the life and the possessions of every prelate in the Church. They surely could not vote in favor of that, and the issue became the primary topic of their private conversations”. (2) They found out that Edward II had happily seized the Templar property in England, after the Templars had been released. (2) None seemed to be happy with the pope.
From Robinson, on the Pope at the Council:
Clement V, thundered on in papal rage, that the Knights Templar were so guilty that they merited no defense. He called for the unanimous vote of the council, to summarily effect the total condemnation of the Templar order. The delegates didn’t buy it. They expressed their doubts, and insisted that the Templars had the right to defend themselves, before this council. Clement retorted that when his papal commission had called upon the Templars to defend themselves, none had appeared. The delegates responded that they were well aware, that the defenders of the Temple had been seized by the archbishop of Sens, who appeared to be acting more for Philip of France than for the Church. Now they wanted Templar defenders to be invited to appear, with full protection accorded to any men, who would answer the call. Only the French archbishops of Sens, Rheims, and Rouen, with a small number of Italian bishops and cardinals, mostly from Naples and the Papal States, agreed with the pope. All of the other delegates favored the council inviting a “Templar defense”. [This is how the wicked can find their lies coming undone about the seams].
Since the pope’s supporters were outnumbered more than five to one, Clement V reluctantly gave in to the will of the overwhelming majority, and invited any Templar to come to the council to speak for his order. The response was a shock to him and everyone else.
A few days after the announcement, seven mounted and fully armed Knights Templar, rode proudly through the gate into Vienne, their brilliant white robes bearing their familiar red Templar cross. They almost appeared to be ghosts of past Templar glory. They asked to be directed to the council, where their leader announced that they were here to defend the Templar order, as the duly appointed representatives of between fifteen hundred and two thousand Templars, hiding in the forests near the city of Lyons. Although surprised by their appearance, most of the delegates welcomed the
Templars and their testimony.
They were not welcomed by Clement V, whose first thought was for his own personal safety. Lyons was just up the Rhone River, about twenty miles from Vienne. It was an ideal place for fugitive Templars to gather, because Lyons had been added to the kingdom of France, by force, less than two years earlier, and the local population was openly hostile to Philip the Fair. Clement had not given any thought to Templar vengeance on his own person, because most of the Templars he knew of, in France, were dead or in prison. Everyone knew that some Templars had escaped the trap of Friday the Thirteenth, including a party of knights that had been led away by the preceptor for France, and those who had taken the ships from the Templar naval base, at La Rochelle, but Clement had never thought there were so many. Now he had been told that a small army of the Templars who hated him, were an easy ride away from this almost unguarded city.
The pope ordered that his personal bodyguard be doubled, and in his panic, saw to his personal protection, by ordering the arrest of the seven Templars. The delegates were incensed that their promise of protection to Templar defenders was so quickly violated, and demanded that the Templars be released immediately. Clement felt constrained to turn the Templars loose, but in the absence of any other solution to his sudden dilemma, he adjourned the council, until April 3 of the following year, 1312. During the six months delay, he could only pray that King Philip could arrest or disperse the Templars gathered at Lyons. As for the seven Templar knights, they had not been heard, but were not going to take the risk of waiting for months to offer their defense. One night, they saddled up and rode off to rejoin the fugitive Templars in the forest, perhaps to warn them that their hiding place was now known to Philip of France. In any event, when Philip sent troops to round them up, they didn’t find a single Templar around Lyons.
For Philip and his staff, there was plenty of activity. His envoys were busy keeping pressure on a consistory of cardinals, that pursued the business of the council during the adjournment, and on the pope himself. The Jesuit scholar, Norman P. Tanner, wrote, “Secret bargains had been made between Clement V and envoys of Philip IV, from 17 to 29 February, 1312; the council fathers were not consulted. By this bargaining, Philip obtained the condemnation of the Templars. It is most likely, that he used a threat that he would bring a public action against Boniface VIII.”
Philip gave that threat some substance, by calling an assembly of the estates general of France, in Lyons, a few days later. On March 18, he met with Clement personally, and in private. Two days later, Clement presented to the consistory of cardinals, the bull: Vox in excelso, disbanding the Templar order, in the parliamentary sense of revoking its charter, without finding it guilty of any crime. The result would be the same, and the pope could act alone, with no need to debate the matter in the council, or to hear additional testimony, especially any direct Templar defense. The delegates, by now, were physically miserable and half starved, eager to be away from this ecclesiastic exile, and back in their comfortable homes. They were in no mood for a prolonged debate.
When Vox in excelso was presented to the council, on the opening day of its second session, on April 3, 1312, it was quickly approved. Clement soon followed with an announcement, that he would call a new Crusade, (which never happened), to set the stage for the disposal of the Templar property. Over the ensuing weeks, there was a battery of bulls and encyclicals published, which are worth quoting, at least in part. To start with, Pope Clement V, presents in Vox in excelso, the background of the Templar
“… a little while ago, about the time of our election as supreme pontiff… we received secret intimations against the master, preceptors, and other brothers of the order of Knights Templar of Jerusalem, and against the order itself. These men had been posted in lands overseas, for the defense of the patrimony of our lord Jesus Christ, and as special soldiers of the Catholic faith, and outstanding defenders of the Holy Land, seemed to carry the chief burden of the Holy Land. For this reason, the holy Roman Church honored these brothers, and their order, with her special support, armed them with the sign of the cross against Christ’s enemies, paid them the highest tributes of respect, and strengthened them with various exemptions and privileges. They experienced, in many and various ways, her help, and that of all faithful Christians, with repeated gifts of property. Therefore, it was against the lord Jesus Christ, himself, that they fell into the sin of impious apostasy, the abominable vice of idolatry, the deadly crime of the men of Sodom, and various heresies.”
“Yet it was not to be expected, nor seem credible, that men so devout, who were outstanding, often to the point of shedding their blood for Christ, who were seen to expose themselves, frequently, to the danger of death, who even more frequently, gave signs of their devotion, both in divine worship and in fasting, and other observances, should be so unmindful of their salvation, as to commit such crimes. The order, moreover, had a good and holy beginning, and won the approval of the apostolic see. The rule, which is holy, reasonable and just, had the deserved sanction of that see. For these reasons, we were unwilling to listen to insinuation and accusations against the Templars: We had been taught, by our Lord’s example, and the words of canonical scripture.”
“Then, came the intervention of our dear son in Christ, Philip, the illustrious King of France. The same crimes had been reported to him. He was not moved by greed. He had no intention of claiming, or appropriating for himself, any thing from the Templars’ property…” So [putting aside the fact that he had already raped every Templar preceptory in France, of every movable item of value], why did he do it? “He was on fire with zeal for the orthodox faith, following in the well-marked footsteps of his ancestors [a reference to St. Louis]. Then, in order to give us greater light on the subject, he sent us much valuable information, through his envoys and letters.”
“We were duty bound, by our office, to pay heed to the weight of such grave and repeated accusations. When at last, there came a general hue and cry, with the clamorous denunciations by the said king, and of dukes, counts, barons, and other nobles, clergy and the people of the kingdom of France, reaching us directly, and through agents and officials, we heard a woeful tale—that the master, preceptors, and other brothers of the order, as well as the order itself, had been involved in these and other crimes.” There was no mention of torture, of course, but there was at least the admission, that the grand inquisitor had been there, apparently as a passive observer: “This seemed to be proved by the many confessions, attestations, and depositions of the visitor of France [Hugh de Peraud], and of the many preceptors and brothers of the order, in the presence of many prelates, and the inquisitor of heresy.”
Now the pope had a confession of his own to make. Based on the evidence, there simply was not a legal basis on which the order could be found guilty. The suppression or dissolution of the order, would be justified on the basis that the reputation of the order, had been so blackened, that no one would join it, and that being true, it could not fulfill its mission; its purpose could no longer be served. Once again, torture was not mentioned, and the confessions that had been produced by months of indescribable agony, were described as “spontaneous”:
“… although legal process against the order, up to now, does not permit its condemnation for heresy by definite sentence, under canon law, the good repute of the order, had been largely taken away, by the heresies attributed to it. In addition, a number of individual members… have been convicted of such heresies, crimes, and sins, through their spontaneous confessions. These confessions render the order, very suspect, and the infamy, and suspicion, render it detestable to the holy Church of God, to her prelates, to kings, and other rulers, and to Catholics in general. It is also believed, that from now on, there will be no good person who wishes to enter the order, and so it will be made useless to the Church of God, and for service to the Holy Land, for which service the knights had been dedicated.”
Although the fact that no one would ever join the order again, was given as a major reason for its suppression, the final decree, nevertheless, forbade anyone to join, on threat of excommunication:
“Therefore, with a sad heart, not by definitive sentence, but by apostolic provision or ordinance [the direct orders of the pope], we suppress, with the approval of the sacred council, the order of Templars, and its rule, habit, and name, by an inviolable and perpetual decree. We entirely forbid, that any from this time forward, should enter the order, or receive or wear its habit, or presume to behave as a Templar. If anyone acts otherwise, he incurs automatic excommunication. In addition, we reserve the persons and the property of the Templars, for our own disposition and the apostolic see.”
That was it for the Templars, with the words of a corrupt pope. Though the Pope and the king supposedly heard of Jacques DeMolay’s curse, the present I mentioned above, while he was being burned alive, that claimed that they would both die within one year. Whether the curse legend is true, or not, both did die within the year. King Philip IV suffered a cerebral ictus (stroke), during a hunt, and the pope died of disease or poisoning. According to one legend, while Clement V’s body was lying in state, a thunderstorm developed during the night, and lightning struck the church where his body lie, igniting the building. The fire was supposedly so intense, that when it was extinguished, the body of Pope Clement V was almost destroyed. If God ever listened to the righteous, he did when he listened to the Grand Master, on the stake, taking out a corrupt pope, and a tyrannical king. On top of that, it is said that the kings family didn’t fare well, and seemed to die off easily, until the line was gone.
Supposedly, Clement V had made an order to absolve the Templars, but it was never sent. It was found in the Vatican archives, in 2001, and is titled the Chinon Parchment. The Parchment is dated August 17–20, 1308, at Chinon, France, and was written by Bérenger Fredoli, Etienne de Suisy, and Landolfo Brancacci, all Cardinals who were of Saints Nereus and Achileus, St. Cyriac in Thermis, and Sant’Angelo in Pescheria. Barbara Frale, an Italian paleographer, at the Vatican Secret Archives, claimed that, in 1308, Pope Clement V absolved the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and the rest of the leadership of the Knights Templar, from charges brought against them by the Medieval Inquisition. If the pope had the gonads to send it, he may not have died within a year, of the murder of Jacques de Molay. Who knows?
Philip (Philippe) de Marigny, the Archbishop of Sens and half brother of Enguerrand, who took over the questioning of the Templars and ordered their deaths, only lived until 1316, two years and nine months after De Molay was burned at the stake. His half brother, Enguerrand, who had obtained this job for Philip, was sentenced to hang by King Louis X, (King Philip IV’s son) with twenty-eight articles of accusations against him, including taking bribes and sorcery. It seems that they also met a sticky end.
The tales of the Knights Templar, escaping with their wealth to Scotland, and the knights being tied to Freemasonry, is a myth, with not one drop over verifiable fact to back it up, no matter what the conspiracy theorists want to claim. Freemasonry received the Templar legend from the French, well after the fraternity was created in 1717. It started as a single side degree, known as Scotch Masonry, in England, which made its way to France, around 1730, where it was eventually added to, with another 24 invented degrees, by 1760. By 1800, the rite had made its way to the US, where the Scottish Rite was formed. The conspiracists also love to claim that William Sinclair was a Templar, because of what he had engraved on his tomb, but William was born 100 years after the order was disbanded, and could not have been a knight. It is true, however, that the Scottish Freemasons built Roslyn chapel for Sinclair. The Lodges of Scotland built all the cathedrals for the church, and many other buildings for the Scottish crown. Sinclair’s chapel is a scaled down version of a larger cathedral, such as those located all around the UK and Europe.
Below is what the church has to say about Clement V, in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and their excuse for his behavior, by allowing all those men to be murdered by a tyrant:
Of Pope Clement it may be said that the few measures of equity that appear in the course of this great crime were owing to him; unfortunately his sense of justice and his respect for the law were counterbalanced by a weak and vacillating character, to which perhaps his feeble and uncertain health contributed. Some think he was convinced of the Templars’ guilt, especially after so many of the chief members had admitted it to himself; they explain thus his recommendation of the use of torture, also his toleration of the king’s suppression of all proper liberty of defence on the part of the accused. Others believe that he feared for himself the fate of Boniface VIII, whose cruel enemy, William Nogaret, still lived, attorney-general of Philip, skilled in legal violence, and emboldened by a long career of successful infamy. His strongest motive was, in all probability, anxiety to save the memory of Boniface VIII from the injustice of a formal condemnation which the malice of Nogaret and the cold vindictiveness of Philip would have insisted on, had not the rich prey of the Temple been thrown to them; to stand for both with Apostolic courage might have meant intolerable consequences, not only personal indignities, but in the end the graver evil of schism under conditions peculiarly unfavorable for the papacy. [sic]
One should be galled, and mad, about this article, as my blood pressure was raised the entire time that it took to write it, and read the entirety of John Robinson’s book. This corruption did not stop here, nor did the French forget this horrible story. The Catholic church had became even worse, and this triggered Luther’s 95 theses. From there, the church and the Pope was seen by many, for what it truly was, and eventually, several revolutions occurred. The first was the Glorious Revolution of England, the second was the US Revolution, the third, the French Revolution, and the forth, the Italian Revolution. Now, democracy, liberty, freedom of thought and speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and the secular education of the masses, have been hard won, and brought into being. That is something to honor, and to celebrate.
So Mote It Be
- Phillip IV, King of France, Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades, John J. Robinson, 1991.
- A minor lord would earn about 500 livres parisis (minted French coin) per year, and when using 50,000 a year for something similar, (a middle class yearly pay), for 2016, then there is a 125:1 difference. Thus, 80,000 livres would equal 10,000,000.00. See here.
- Annates: a payment from the recipient of an ecclesiastical benefice to the ordaining authorities.
- Televangelists and Their Jets. These pastors include Paul Crouch, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Pat Robertson, and Mark Barclay.
- Guillaume de Nogaret: was Councillor and keeper of the seal to Philip IV of France. “His name is mainly connected with the quarrel between Philip IV and Pope Boniface VIII. In 1300 he was sent with an embassy to Boniface, of which he left a picturesque and highly colored account. His influence over the king dates from February 1303, when he persuaded Philip to consent to the bold plan of seizing Boniface and bringing him forcibly from Italy to a council in France meant to depose him. On March 7 he received, with three others, a secret commission from the royal chancery to “go to certain places … and make such treaties with such persons as seemed good to them.” On March 12 a solemn royal assembly was held in the Louvre, at which Guillaume de Nogaret read a long series of accusations against Boniface and demanded the calling of a general council to try him”.
- See the Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 26, p. 597, and at another source: “William was made inquisitor of France in 1303, and began a campaign against the Templars in 1307. The arrest of the Templars led Pope Clement V to suspend William’s powers, after a complaint from Edward II of England, but King Phillip’s “bold and contemptuous” written reply, caused the Pope to back down and re-instate William”.