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The Templars and Freemasonry The idea has long circulated in esoteric circles that Freemasonry owes its origins to Knights Templar that were driven underground at the time of the suppression and who formed themselves into a secret society Although long derided by historians both inside and outside Freemasonry in recent years this claim has begun to be taken more seriously as evidence has accumulated of a link between the Masons and the Templars Two books in particular Michael Baigent and Richard Leighs The Temple and the Lodge and John J Robinsons Born in Blood both published in 1989 took different routes to arrive at the same conclusion that Freemasonry was the continuation of the Knights Templar Ramsays Oration In fact the claim was first made not by Freemasons but by its enemies - the Catholic Church In 1738 Pope Clement XII issued a bull condemning Freemasonry in part on the grounds that it was descended from the Knights Templar which one of his predecessors - another Clement - had abolished declaring that any who continued to wear its habit or even to act as if he were a Templar was to suffer immediate excommunication Clement XIIs denunciation seems to have been in response to an event that took place in Paris the previous year A prominent Scots Freemason - and the former tutor to Charles Edward Stuart Bonnie Prince Charlie - Andrew Michael Ramsay delivered an address known ever since as Ramsays oration in which he stated that Freemasonry had originated among Crusader knights who had formed themselves into lodges of St John Ramsay also stressed Scotlands importance in the continuity of Freemasonry from the Crusades until his own day Ramsay seems to have gone of his way to avoid using the word Templar but it seems that once the Pope had made a public announcement of the connection others felt that they did not have to be so reticent Every Mason is a Templar
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