The Vatican has published secret archive documents about the trial of the Knights Templar, including a long-lost parchment that shows that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval Christian order from accusations of heresy, officials said Friday.
I have to admit amusement about the current media frenzy on the Knights Templar, though I understand the background for it. Tomorrow, October 13, 2007, will be the 700-year anniversary of the date that King Philip IV of France made a power play to get out from under some financial debts -- he simultaneously had many Templars in France arrested, charged with various types of heresy, tortured into "confessions" and then burned at the stake.
Probably because of this anniversary, the Vatican is releasing some documents from its "secret archives." Or at least, they're publishing a book about it.
The story is getting picked up by the major news portals: BBC, CNN, AOL, etc, partially because it sounds cool, and partially because of some remnants of "Da Vinci Code" fascination.
Traffic to the Wikipedia page has picked up, which I've noticed because, well, I wrote most of the page. :) I'd also arranged for the article to get bannered on the Wikipedia mainpage (en.wikipedia.org) on October 13, which should start at GMT time in about an hour or so.
As for the "news", I have to smile a bit, because it's *not* news. This "secret document", the Chinon Parchment, actually came to light several years ago. Multiple history books have already been written which take the new information into account. So it's not really "new" to historians, but I guess it's new to pop culture, so at least the news gets out that way, even if a few years behind.
I've also been watching with amusement and a bit of horror at just what the major news agencies are saying about the Templars. Most of them are keeping the information minimal, because it's obvious that they don't know what's true and what's false. And in at least one case (the BBC, interestingly enough) they published some information that was just flat out wrong.
Anyway, I'm glad to see that Templars are getting some credible press attention, I'm glad that they're getting public acknowledgement that they weren't an evil secret society, I'm glad that the anniversary is starting with a bang, and I'm glad that a page I wrote on Wikipedia, is getting a lot of attention.
So anyone that's having a drink this weekend, please try to remember the date, lift your glass high, and toast, "To the Knights Templar!" :)
Knights Templar secrets revealed - CNN.com