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Pontiff Apology Sought For Knights Templar Persecution

By James Donahue

In the midst of all the rhetoric concerning Dan Brown's fictional book The Da Vinci Code (that suggested Jesus fled to France with Mary Magdeline) there was an incident in Hertford, England, in 2004 that escaped much public attention.

As the story is told, a resident of Hertford, Tim Acheson, who claimed to be a direct descendent of a long line within the Knights Templar, wrote a letter in which he formally asked the Vatican in Rome for an apology for the persecution received by the Templars nearly 700 years ago.

Acheson, who identifies himself as 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, asked in his letter for an apology "for the torture and murder of our leadership" that he said was instigated by Pope Clement V in France in 1307.

"We shall witness the 700th anniversary of the persecution of our order on 13th October, 2007. It would be just and fitting for the Vatican to acknowledge our grievance in advance of this day of mourning."

In Rome, a Vatican spokesman was quoted as saying that the request would be given serious consideration. As of this date, however, no apology has been issued.

The Knights Templar was founded by