Key to the Sacred Pattern

26 October 2007

Speculations on the Release of the Knights Templar Documents

As most of you know, yesterday the Vatican released the “Lost Templar Documents” including the Parchment of Chinon. These documents indicate that Pope Clement V had absolved the Templars from charges of heresy that had been leveled against them in 1307. According to this Canadian Press article, there are 300 copies of this publication are available for purchase. At a price tag of $8400, I’m not surprised there are a few left.

I’m going to let my “wild speculation” side come out on this topic. There are a number of interesting hints and tid-bits about the whole process of the publications of these documents that do raise some questions. Besides, it’s fun to turn into the blogger who comes up with the off the wall theories.

Why release the documents on 25 October?

It would have made a bigger publicity splash if the Vatican had released the documents on the 13 Oct, the 700th anniversary of the Templars arrest in France. Surely the Vatican knew that such a publication would have gotten media attention, so why not make the symbolic gesture of releasing them a few days earlier?

I think the Vatican is trying to downplay the potential importance of the documents. They obviously have made the information contained in the texts outside of the grasp of the masses. Sergio Pagano, of the Secret Archives, was quoted as saying (in the above Canadian Press article) “The archive follows a humble style. We are convinced - perhaps we are among the few - who believe that books are published to be read and studied, not to be presented.” Well if the Vatican was interested in the documents being studied, their dissemination techniques are a bit lacking.

There is also a symbolic possibility that center around the 25th of October. That day is recognized in the Church as remembering the 40 martyrs of Wales and England. Could it be that the Vatican wanted to subtly connect the persecution of the Templars with a day recognized for remembering those who were martyred for the faith?

So what’s the big dead about the documents in the first place?

The documents represent that some of what we previously thought of Templar history is incorrect. It also represents something that the Church has known all along, that the Templars were simply placed on administrative leave so to speak. According to the article on the Secret Archive’s site about the Chinon Parchments, “...the pope [Clement V] removed the order from the reality of that period, without condemning or abolishing it, but isolating it in a sort of “hibernation”, thanks to a clever device of the canon law.”

The study of this “device of canon law” might have lessoned the impact of the 1312 suppression order given by Clement V. Not being an expert in canonical law, I can only speculate that if Clement V was slick enough to give the Templars a loophole in 1308, the same loophole might have stood with the 1312 order. After all, the Secret Archive’s article mentions that Clement V’s goal was to reform the order at a later time.

This all falls on the recent heels of talk of official apologies from the Vatican for the suppression of the Templars, and another rumor that surfaced last year. In May 2006, there was a letter circulating around Germany speaking of reforming the Templars. This letter was supposedly from the Vatican. The Vatican even posted a short note in the L'Osservatore Romano stating that the letter was a forgery. The above article quotes the Vatican as saying, "As is known, the old Order of Templars was suppressed by Pope Clement V (1305-1314) and was never reinstated by any of his successors." The language of the quote does raise some questions. The terms “old Order of the Templars” and “never reinstated” do carry a subtext all their own. It’s also telling that the Vatican took the time to dispute the validity of this letter.

Why is a copy of the documents being presented to the Pope?

Yesterday’s Canadian Press article goes on to say that, “plans in the coming days to present one to Pope Benedict.” What exactly does that note? Is the presentation of the documents and historical commentary of interest to the Pope or is it necessary for some other purpose?

Once again the gears of speculation and rumors turn in my mind. A report surfaced in 2005 in the Hertsford-Essex News, reprinted here in the, that while a Cardinal the present Pope contacted Dr Alan Thompson of the University of Hertsfordshire. The claims that have been hinted to in the media about the potential Hertfordshire connections and the Templars can be found in this article I did earlier this year.

It would seem that the present Pope has an interest in the Templars. This interest may just be a historical curiosity and nothing more. However, let’s remember that under this Pope’s watch there has been more official Vatican talk about the Templars than under any previous Pope.

Wrapping it all up

Whew! I’m glad I’ve gotten all that out of my system. I’m not sure if any of this connects and dots in reality, but it does make one think that there is something in the background with the release of these documents.

I would call on either the Vatican or someone that has purchased a copy of this material to make it easily available to those interested in scrutinizing it. At present, the Vatican is not even releasing a list of those that purchased a copy of the documents. This means that if your local university purchased a copy of the text, it will take some digging to find it. At very least, the academic institutions that purchased a copy of the texts should be made known so that historians have a chance to examine the contents.

That is unless there is some benefactor out there that wants to purchase a copy and make PDF’s available on line. Any takers?

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