Lawsuit of the Day, Religion

Lawsuit of the Day: Knights of the Templar v. The Pope

knights_templar copy.jpgIf legal novelist John Grisham and Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown were to get together and make a literary baby, it would look a lot like our lawsuit of the day. From London’s Daily Telegraph:

The heirs of the Knights Templar have launched a legal battle in Spain to force the Pope to restore the reputation of the disgraced order which was accused of heresy and dissolved seven centuries ago.
The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, whose members claim to be descended from the legendary crusaders, have filed a lawsuit against Benedict XVI calling for him to recognise the seizure of assets worth 100 billion euros [$150 billion USD].
They claim that when the order was dissolved by his predecessor Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties as well as countless pastures, mills and other commercial ventures belonging to the knights were appropriated by the church.

1307? It seems like the statute of limitations has run out on that one. (Or “prescriptive period” per Spain’s civil law system.)
The Pope has the Vatican to blame for inspiring the lawsuit:

The legal move by the Spanish group comes follows the unprecedented step by the Vatican towards the rehabilitation of the group when last October it released copies of parchments recording the trials of the Knights between 1307 and 1312.
The papers lay hidden for more than three centuries having been “misfiled” within papal archives until they were discovered by an academic in 2001.

Apparently, the Knights hope the suit will help improve their reputation, sullied by age-old accusations of worshipping Satan, denying Jesus, and practicing sodomy. It seems more likely that they’ll have a new accusation added to the list: filing frivolous and unsuccessful lawsuits.
Knights Templar heirs in legal battle with the Pope [Daily Telegraph via NPR]

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