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Heresy The specific charges made under this heading were that the Order did not believe in the sacraments with their priests not consecrating the hosts before Mass and that the Grand Master and other officials absolved members of their sins The first is part of the standard set of charges levelled against any group that the Church wanted to suppress The second is ironically true - as it was one of the privileges conferred on the Templars by Pope Innocent II in 1139 Sodomy The Articles of Accusation alleged that sodomy was not only practised but actively encouraged within the Order The Templar Rule made it abundantly clear that sodomy and other homosexual practices were not to be tolerated sometimes with verbal overkill For example it specifies the penance for a knight tainted with the filthy stinking sin of sodomy which is so filthy and stinking and so repugnant that it should not be named On the other hand despite these vehement strictures it would be very surprising if there was no gay activity in such an all-male environment Indeed the Templar Rule itself refers to occasions on which groups of Templars particularly in isolated outposts had been discovered to have been involved in homosexual practices for which they were severely punished It would hardly have been a difficult exercise for the prosecutors to find evidence of sodomy - but in itself this did not prove that the Order encouraged and approved of it The End of the Order - The Mysteries Apart from Philip the Fairs motives and the questions of the truth or otherwise of the charges on which the Templars were condemned there are several enduring mysteries connected with the suppression of the Order of the Temple Were They Warned Some French Templars did escape the roundup ordered by Philip the Fair probably because they had some advance warning of the action Although it was
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