Religious Law

Alleged Knights Templar Heirs Pursue Pope Benedict XVI for $150B

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A powerful secret group of wealthy warrior monks active in the Middle Ages had been maligned for centuries, remembered for accusations of heresy and sexual misconduct.

But last year the Vatican published long-lost trial documents showing that the Knights Templar actually had been absolved of heresy by Pope Clement V, only to see a number of members burned at the stake by agents of King Philip IV of France after they confessed under duress to the capital crime.

Now claimed heirs of the group are pursuing Pope Benedict XVI in Spain, seeking recognition that the Roman Catholic Church seized assets from members of the Knights Templar that would today be worth more than $150 billion, reports National Public Radio. The group was founded in 1119 and disbanded in 1307.

The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, which filed a lawsuit against the Pope Benedict last year, says in a written statement that it isn’t “trying to cause the economic collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court the magnitude of the plot against our order,” according to the Telegraph, a United Kingdom newspaper.

The Spanish lawsuit was dismissed, according to an earlier USA Today article, but the group has appealed and expects a ruling by October.

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