Knights Templar Heirs Sue Pope for $150B

Group wants money, apology—and its good name back
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2008 11:46 AM CDT
A page showing Pope Clement V, part of the 300-page volume "Processus Contra Templarios" (Latin for "Trial against the Templars"), is seen at the Vatican, Thursday Oct. 25, 2007.    (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
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(Newser) – A group claiming to be descended from the ancient Knights Templar want Pope Benedict XVI to right a 700-year-old wrong, NPR reports. The group has filed a lawsuit in Spain seeking $150 billion in compensation for property seized by the church. It also wants the church to apologize and restore the good name of the Templars, who were officially dissolved as a group in 1307 after being accused of heresy.

Many of the Templars were tortured and burned at the stake after the group fell out of favor, but documents released by the Vatican last year appear to show that the secretive warrior monks had been absolved of heresy by a long-ago pope. One journalist familiar with the case tells NPR that the Vatican will never pay up because today's Templars can't prove they are true descendants.