RUMOURS had long been circulating of strange rituals practised by the Templars. Even Jacques de Molay, while attending a chapter meeting in Cyprus in 1291, either before or after the fall of Acre but before he became Grand Master, said that ‘he wanted to eradicate from the order all things which displeased him, fearing that, if he did not do so, it would eventually harm the order’.1 One story told of novice Templars undergoing humiliating initiation ceremonies which forced them to demonstrate their subjugation to their superiors, in some cases even kissing their behinds. At the papal coronation in late autumn 1305 King Philip repeated these rumours to Clement V, saying they were going round in both religious and secular circles, and asked him to investigate.
In May 1307, at the same time as Clement was interviewing the Templar and Hospitaller Grand Masters about uniting the two orders and their plans for a crusade, the pope heard something of these bizarre practices from Jacques de Molay himself. In the pope’s words, the Grand Master told him of ‘many strange and unheard-of things’ which had caused Clement ‘great sorrow, anxiety and upset of heart’.2 The Grand Master feared that these initiation ceremonies, which had been going on for a century or more, were getting out of hand, and the Pope agreed to instigate an inquiry to root out these practices before they erupted into scandal. Clement was a worldly man who came from a military family and understood well enough the sort of barrack room behaviour that took place between soldiers. But Philip had been telling him something more. For years he had been planting spies within the order, and now he was suggesting to the pope that through their practices and beliefs the Templars were undermining the very tenets of the faith. Lewd behaviour was one thing, but the Templars were a religious order on the same footing as the Benedictines, the Dominicans and the Franciscans, all directly responsible to the pope, and Clement was being confronted with the possibility that the Templars were infected with heresy.
On 24 August 1307 Clement wrote to Philip telling him that ‘we could scarcely bring our mind to believe what was said at that time’,3 but there was no need for haste as he was not feeling well and would be visiting thermal baths in September to take the cure; a formal papal investigation into the order would begin in the middle of October when he returned.
Seizing the initiative, this was the moment that Philip began laying his plans for the arrest and destruction of the Templars. The middle of October was his deadline, set by Clement’s cure.
The Templars were taken by surprise when Philip IV’s officers came for them in the early hours of the morning of Friday 13 October 1307. They were arrested simultaneously throughout France – about two thousand men in all, from knights down to the most humble agricultural workers and household servants. There was no resistance. Most of the Templars were unarmed and many were middle aged or even elderly, and except for the Paris Temple their houses were unfortified; with their active soldiers badly needed in the East, the Templars resident in France were no more a fighting force than the Franciscans or Cistercians. The close relationship between the French crown and the Templars probably explains why the king’s officials were able to walk right in to the Temple on that Friday dawn. The keep, which had been the Templars’ stronghold, immediately became their prison, and the Templars arrested throughout France were also brought here for incarceration, examination and torture.
The efficiency of the operation benefited from previous raids when King Philip struck against Italian bankers resident in France in 1291 and against Jews in 1306, in each case arresting them, throwing them out of the country and seizing their property and their money to reduce his debts. A few Templars did escape – about twenty-four, it seems – though only one of any importance, Gerard of Villiers, the master of France. Several were apprehended later, despite disguising themselves by a change of dress and shaving off their beards; some had gone to ground in the countryside, one was picked up off the streets of Paris where he was living as a beggar, and another fled to England, where he was arrested later. Some even fled to Muslim countries, or were there as prisoners at the time of the arrests; in 1323 an Irish Franciscan, Brother Simon, who came to Cairo during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, met a man called Peter, now married but once a Templar knight. He was still looking after pilgrims, as he had always done, this time as one of three dragomen sent to interpret for the visiting Franciscan and to provide him with a pass to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. According to Simon, all three were secret worshippers of Christ. ‘All are very courteous and generous and useful to the poor and to pilgrims. They are very wealthy, possessing abundance of gold, silver and precious stones and costly garments and other wealth, and living in great pomp.’4
The charge against the Templars was heresy. When being inducted into the order, went the accusations, initiates were required to deny Christ, to spit, piss or trample on the cross or images of Christ, and to kiss the receiving official on the mouth, navel, base of the spine, and sometimes on the bottom or the penis. They were also obliged to submit to homosexual practises as required within the order, which practised institutionalised sodomy. And they wore a small belt which had been consecrated by touching a strange idol which looked like a cat or a human head with a long beard called Baphomet (possibly an Old French distortion of Mohammed). Moreover the Templars held their reception ceremonies and chapter meetings in secret and at night; the brothers did not believe in the sacraments, and the Templar priests did not consecrate the host; and although not ordained by the Church, high Templar officials, including the Grand Master, absolved brothers of their sins. And drawing a contrast with the Hospitallers, the Templars were accused of failing to make charitable gifts as they were meant to do, nor did they practise hospitality.
Philip was able to arrest and charge the Templars owing to a loophole in the law going back to the time of the Cathars and their trials nearly eighty years earlier. So serious was the spread of the Cathar heresy in the early 1200s that Pope Honorius III had bestowed extraordinary powers on the Inquisition, extending its reach even to the exempt orders, the Templars, the Hospitallers and St Bernard’s Cistercians, whenever there was a suspicion of heresy. After the Cathar heresy was eradicated, this grant of powers was forgotten by the papacy, but it was never revoked. This meant that the Templars, though otherwise answerable to no secular or religious authority other than the pope, were vulnerable to the charge of heresy – a discovery made by Philip IV’s assiduous lawyers, who now used it to devastating effect.
As heresy was the one possible charge that the king could successfully level against the Templars, so heresy it had to be. No time was wasted in mounting a propaganda campaign against the Templars: the king’s minister William of Nogaret announced the heresy before a large crowd in Paris, and under the Inquisitor’s instructions the charge was repeated from church pulpits. The mere mention of heresy had the immediate effect of blackening the order’s reputation.
The prisoners were interrogated and tortured by royal agents under the direction of William of Nogaret, who in 1303 had taken part in the attempt to overthrow Pope Boniface VIII, since when he had remained excommunicated. William’s family had suffered persecution because his grandfather had been a Cathar, but by his cleverness and cynicism he had risen in Philip’s court and was ennobled in 1299, becoming the king’s Keeper of the Seals and his right-hand man. These facts may have contributed to William of Nogaret’s contempt for the papacy and his unscrupulous ambition to make France the greatest power in the world.
Many of those arrested were simple men, not battle-hardened Templar knights but ploughmen, artisans and servants who helped keep the order running, and these would have succumbed to torture or even the threat of torture fairly quickly. The knights themselves, however, had been long prepared for the worst in Outremer, for that day when they might be captured and thrown into a Muslim dungeon, be tortured or face execution unless they abjured their faith. And yet these too rapidly and all but unanimously confessed. The tortures could be savage: scores died undergoing what was called ecclesiastical procedure, which did not mean breaking limbs or drawing blood but which routinely included being kept chained in isolation and fed on bread and water; being drawn on the rack until the joints were dislocated, being raised over a beam by a rope tied to the wrists that had been bound behind the victim’s back and sometimes with weights attached to the testicles, and having fat rubbed into the soles of the feet, which were then placed before a fire. One tortured Templar priest was so badly burned that the bones fell out of his feet. Another of the accused said that he would have agreed ‘to kill God’5 to stop his torment.
Yet physical torture was far from the only element in the confessions. Instead, one of the worst problems for the Templars was the overturning of their spiritual and social universe. They had spent their lives in the enclosed world of a military elite to which they owed absolute loyalty and were constantly reminded of the support they in turn received from the rest of society. But now they were reviled, told that they were heretics, and no support seemed to be forthcoming from any quarter. The walls, ceiling and floor of their enclosed world had fallen away, leaving them exposed, bewildered and lost. Under these conditions it is not surprising that Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master, Geoffrey of Charney, preceptor of Normandy, and Hugh of Pairaud, whose rank of visitor of France made him the most elevated Templar in Western Christendom after Jacques de Molay, were among the near unanimity of Templars who rapidly confessed.
On 19 October 1307 the Inquisitorial hearings began at the Paris Temple. On 25 and 26 October Jacques de Molay was called to testify. His confession, made before the hearing, was recorded and sent to the pope as proof of heresy. In less than two weeks since their arrest, the Templars’ honour had been stained for ever, and the news of their guilt reverberated throughout the whole of Christendom.
Jacques de Molay’s confession, made on 24 October, stated that his initiation ceremony, which took place forty-two years earlier, followed the usual observances and statutes of the order, but then after the receptor placed the mantle on his shoulders he
caused a certain bronze cross bearing the image of the Crucified to be brought into his presence, and told and ordered him to deny Christ whose image was there. Against his will he did this. Then the said receiver ordered him to spit on it but he spat on the ground. Asked how many times, he said on oath that he only spat once, and he remembered this clearly. Asked if, when he vowed chastity, anything was said to him about homosexual practices with the brothers, he said on oath that this was not the case and that he had never done this. Asked on oath whether other brothers of the said order were received in this manner, he said that he believed there was no difference between his and others’ receptions. [. . .] Asked whether he had told or included any lie or omitted any fact in his deposition because of threat, fear or torture or imprisonment or any other reason he said on his oath that he had not; indeed he told the whole truth for the salvation of his soul.6
Although Jacques de Molay did not admit to much, his confession acquires greater force when seen in conjunction with others made at about the same time. On 21 October, Geoffrey of Charney, preceptor of Normandy, went down the same list of offences in the same order. After the mantle was placed on his shoulders, ‘there was brought to him a certain cross bearing the image of Jesus Christ, and the said receptor told him not to believe in the one whose image was portrayed there since he was a false prophet and was not God. And then the said receptor made him deny Jesus Christ three times, but he claimed to have done this only with his tongue and not with his heart’.7 Geoffrey of Charney could not remember if he had then spat on the image, but he did recall kissing his receptor on the navel and being told it was better to have sex with brothers than with women, although he said he never did this.
The same formula – the mantle, the image, the denial, the spitting – was followed again on 9 November, when Hugh of Pairaud, Visitor of France, made his confession. ‘He denied Jesus Christ, though as he said, with his lips but not his heart.’ He admitted to kissing the receptor, but only on the mouth. But when later he conducted his own initiations,
he made them kiss him on the bottom of the dorsal spine, on the navel and on the mouth, and then had brought before them a cross and told them that the statutes of the order required them to deny the Crucified one and the cross three times, to spit upon the cross and the image of Jesus Christ, the Crucified one, although this is what he ordered them to do, he did not do this with his heart.
He also gave permission for initiates to relieve their sexual urges with their fellow brothers, ‘although he did this only with his lips, not with his heart’. Asked about the head,
he said on his oath that he had seen it, held it and stroked it at Montpellier in a chapter, and he and other brothers present had worshipped it. He said however that he had worshipped it with his lips, not with his heart, and then only in pretence; he did not know if other brothers worshipped it with their heart. [. . .] He said that this head had four feet, two at the front, under the face, and two behind.8
These confessions are significant at least as much for what has been omitted. They were crafted by William of Nogaret, who selected and extrapolated from their context those elements which could be presented as crimes against the faith. These were then put together in such a form that they created the impression of a coherent heretic creed. Quite possibly little or no torture was required to get the basic facts, but the violence came in the way they were presented.
It is not impossible that Philip and his government really did believe the accusations of heresy that they made against the Templars. This was an age when people believed that the devil was constantly trying to spread corruption throughout Christian society. By attacking the weak points of the social structure the devil aimed to cause the collapse of society altogether. Therefore the task of the faithful was to be vigilant, to expose evil and to cut out corruption at an early stage before the whole of society succumbed. Philip had given himself the role of a sacred king ruling over a holy country and had already shown he would not accept any challenge to his absolute sovereignty; he had not hesitated to strike against Boniface VIII and would have tried him for heretical crimes. The protection under the pope enjoyed by the Templars and their immunity from the secular law would already have been an offence in Philip’s eyes; if there was anything about the Templars that smacked of heresy, the king and his supporters could easily have taken this as a danger that needed to be immediately eradicated.
But Philip’s most powerful immediate motive was the desire, indeed the need, to get his hands on the wealth of the Templars. He had already stolen from the Italian bankers and the Jews, he had debased the currency, and it was his exactions from the clergy that provoked his first confrontation with Boniface VIII. His wars against England and in Flanders had cost him a great deal of money, and he had inherited a huge debt from his father’s wars. The Templars were a tempting target, for unlike the Hospitallers, whose wealth was entirely in land, the Templars from their banking activities also had liquid wealth, which the king could quickly and easily grab. By accusing them of heresy Philip could turn the Templars into reprehensible religious outsiders against whom persecution was readily rationalised.
Many foreign observers, especially those in northern Italy, where there was a more complete understanding of the power of money than anywhere else in fourteenth-century Europe, were convinced that getting his hands on the Templars’ cash and precious metals was the primary motive for Philip’s attack. Dante famously attacked the king’s actions in Purgatorio, the second book of the Divine Comedy, written in the immediate aftermath of the Templars’ arrest. Comparing Philip to Pontius Pilate, Dante wrote:
I see the second Pilate’s cruel mood
Grow so insatiate that without decree
His greedy sails upon the Temple intrude.9
Pope Clement V was stunned when, on 14 October, a messenger brought the news to his court at Poitiers that the Templars had been arrested the previous day. Although the action had been taken on the nominal authority of the French Inquisitor William of Paris, there was no doubt that the arrests represented an attack on the papacy and the Catholic Church by the secular monarchy of France. The matter concerned not the Templars only; the survival of the papacy was at stake, and Clement immediately summoned all his cardinals for an emergency meeting of the Curia, which began on 16 October and lasted three days.
Another pope at another time might have excommunicated Philip. But Clement was doubly vulnerable – after Philip’s coup against Boniface in Italy, and as a resident on French soil. Instead Clement issued a bull, Ad Preclarus Sapientie, which gave Philip a way out: it said that the king had acted unlawfully and had tarnished the reputation of his grandfather St Louis, but he could make up for his rashness by handing the Templars and their possessions over to the Church. To achieve this, in November the pope sent two cardinals to Paris to take into custody the men and property of the Temple. But the king had made himself absent and his counsellors refused access to the Templars, let alone handing them over to the Church, arguing that a papal intervention was superfluous as they were self-confessed heretics.
When the cardinals went back to Poitiers with the news that the French monarchy was flatly refusing to obey an express command of the pope, the Curia was plunged into crisis. According to one report, ten cardinals threatened to resign if the pope showed himself to be a puppet of the French king. Clement was faced with replacing the cardinals at the cost of causing a schism in the Church, or he could excommunicate Philip and fall victim to a royal coup.
But the pope found another way and, acting with some dexterity within the difficult constraints of his situation, he did what he could to put himself in charge of events. First on 22 November 1307 he issued a bull, Pastoralis Praeeminentiae, asking all the kings and princes of Christendom to arrest the Templars in their lands and to hold their property in safe keeping for the Church. In this way proceedings were initiated against the Templars in England, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Cyprus – but in the name of the Church. By doing this the pope was delivering an implied ultimatum to King Philip, that what was true in the rest of Europe must also be so in France. He praised the French king for his good faith and religious zeal, but Clement was making it clear that the case against the Templars was being removed from the king’s authority and was now being taken into the hands of the papacy.
As for the crisis that had arisen when the king’s officials rebuffed the two cardinals, the pope simply pretended that the incident had never happened. Instead in December he sent the two cardinals back to Paris as if for the first time. But now they brought with them the power, granted by the pope, to excommunicate Philip on the spot and to place the whole of France under an interdict if the king persisted in his refusal to hand over the Templars. The move was effective: on 24 December 1307 Philip wrote to the pope that he would hand over the Templars.
On 27 December 1307 the cardinals met Jacques de Molay and other leading Templars, who denied everything to which they had formerly confessed. According to one source, the Grand Master said that he had confessed only under heavy torture, and he showed the wounds on his body, although it is not clear if this source can be trusted. Nevertheless, retracting the confessions was a risky move because under the rules of the Inquisition relapsed heretics were handed over to the secular authorities to be burned. That the Grand Master and others took that risk shows that they were confident that a great injustice was about to be overturned.
Although the Church was granted this brief access to the leading Templars, Philip had still not transferred any Templars to Church control. In February 1308 Pope Clement suspended the Inquisitor William of Paris and the whole French Inquisition. In reply the king’s officials tried to force the pope to reopen the trial by marshalling public and theological opinion in France. The chief agent in this was William of Nogaret, who instigated a campaign of libel, slander and physical intimidation against the pope; Clement was threatened with deposition, and menaces were directed against his family. But Clement stood his ground against the king, and to settle their differences they met in May and June at Poitiers. There they agreed that the pope would set up two kinds of inquiry: one by a papal commission to look into the Templars as an institution, the other consisting of a series of provincial councils, each supervised by the bishop of a diocese, to investigate the guilt or innocence of individual Templars. For his part Philip finally consented to release a number of Templars into the physical custody of the Church so that they could be interviewed directly by the pope.
Philip chose seventy-two Templars from among his prisoners in Paris and sent them, chained to one another and under a military escort, by wagon to Poitiers. Most of these were renegades or at best sergeants selected to make a poor impression on the pope, and with them he sent the Grand Master and four other high officers of the Templar order. But suddenly, when the convoy reached the royal castle of Chinon, the seventy-two were sent on to Poitiers; but the leaders were detained, the king claiming they were too ill to undertake the journey. This was an obvious lie, as Chinon lay not far from Poitiers. The king probably feared that if the pope interviewed the Templar leaders he would find them free of heresy and grant them absolution.
The pope ignored Philip’s deceit over the Templar leaders held at Chinon. Instead of walking into a destructive confrontation with the king, Clement got on with examining those Templars who had been sent to him. From 28 June to 1 July 1308 the seventy-two Templars were heard at Poitiers by a special commission of cardinals and by the pope himself. On 2 July Clement granted absolution to the Templars, who had confessed and had asked for the forgiveness of the Church. Had the Templars been found guilty, the pope would never have forgiven them; but on the other hand, had they been innocent, he would have acquitted them without requiring any show of repentance.
The Templars were not heretics, Clement had decided. They attended Mass, they went to Holy Communion and confession, and they complied with their liturgical duties. But they also confessed to the pope that at their entrance ceremony they denied Christ and spat on the cross, although they insisted that they had never consented to this in their souls and as soon as possible had confessed to a priest and asked for absolution. The pope found these induction rituals too confused to be taken seriously; at one moment the novice spat on the cross, but then kissed it in adoration; and the novice denied the divinity of Christ saying, ‘You, who are God, I deny’, which was no denial at all. If the Templars were heretics, they were the most inconsistent and unconvincing adherents any heresy could have. The Templars had fallen into peculiar ways and needed reform, but that, decided the pope, was all.
Clement’s understanding of these strange Templar practices was that they were simply an entrance ritual, a custom that was common, with variations, in every military elite since early antiquity. This was a secret rite of passage after the formal ceremony, a compulsory test to which all new Templar brothers had to submit, a peculiar tradition (modus ordinis nostri) which demonstrated to the initiate the violence that the Templars were likely to suffer at the hands of their Muslim captors, and how they would be compelled to deny Christ and to spit on the cross. The aim of the test was to strengthen the souls of recruits, and it took the form of a very realistic performance. To this first part was added another test, that of kissing the master who had received him on the lower spine, on the navel and finally on the mouth; its purpose was to teach the novice that in all circumstances whatsoever he owed absolute obedience to his superiors. This seems to have been the original and true form of the ritual, but the local masters made changes, and in time this secret ritual became quite coarse and sometimes even violent. It could also seem preposterous; occasionally onlookers would ‘erupt in laughter and inform the new Templar that it was a practical joke’.10
The explanation for the apparent worship of a head, the one mentioned in his confession by Hugh of Pairaud, and by others too, and which the inquisition called Baphomet, remains something of a mystery, and it is not clear if Clement was ever made aware of its meaning. Recent research by Byzantine scholars at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome has discovered a Templar rite of the Passion of Christ celebrated on the evening of Holy Thursday in commemoration of the Last Supper in which the brothers received communion only in the form of wine – that is, the blood of Christ, the drink of eternal life. The head, which was an unusual image of Christ, played a part in this mysterious cult of the sacred blood which was unknown to the Roman Catholic Church and seems to have been unique to the Templars, who may have adopted it from an ancient Christian ceremony they encountered in Jerusalem.
Having met the seventy-two Templars at Poitiers, Clement decided that they were not heretics but nor were they innocent, for they had actually denied the divinity of Christ even if it was all a pretence. Apostasy could be forgiven, but sinners had to repent and submit to harsh penance. But he could not do the same for the leaders without seeing them, and although he issued a formal summons for the appearance of Jacques de Molay and the other leading Templars, this was refused by the king with the repeated claim that they were ill.
In the summer of 1308 the pope absolved Jacques de Molay and the other Templar leaders held prisoner at Chinon. Seemingly no proper report of this hearing had survived, and until recently it was doubted that any such event had taken place – that is, until the discovery of the Chinon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives in 2001 and its publication by the Vatican in 2007.11 This showed unequivocally that, despite the chief Templars being held prisoner by the king, a hearing had somehow been arranged within the royal castle at Chinon.
This was set in motion on 14 August 1308, when three cardinals left the papal court at Poitiers for an unknown destination. They were Etienne of Suisy, Landolfo Brancacci and Bérenger Frédol, the last being one of the outstanding canon lawyers of his time and a nephew of the pope; secretly they formed a special apostolic commission of inquiry with Clement’s full authority. Two or three days later the cardinals arrived at Chinon, where, in addition to the royal jailer, there were two important royal officials, identified in French records only by their initials, but who are thought to have been William of Nogaret and a lawyer who acted on his behalf called William of Plaisians.
If there were any hidden negotiations between the parties at Chinon, the fact is unknown. Instead, what followed seems to have taken place under the noses of the king’s officials but without their knowledge. According to the Chinon Parchment, no royal officials attended the hearings that took place at Chinon from 17 to 20 August; they were held quickly and presumably in all secrecy to avoid the intervention of the royal officers. Apart from the three cardinals and the Templars they examined, the others at the hearing were a handful of witnesses, all clerks and humble people, none of them closely linked to King Philip. This at last was the papal trial of the Templar leaders; it was entirely a Church affair.
During the first three days of the trial the three cardinals examined Raimbald of Caron, the master of Cyprus; Geoffrey of Charney, preceptor of Normandy; Geoffrey of Gonneville, preceptor of Poitou and Aquitaine; and Hugh of Pairaud, the Visitor. On the final day, 20 August, they heard the testimony of the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay. The details varied between the testimonies, but taken all together they amounted to a restatement of the practices previously mentioned in testimony by the seventy-two Templars at Poitiers.
In essence Jacques de Molay repeated his confession of October 1307, including the assertion that he had not been tortured, although this contradicted his claim in December that year that he had been tortured. Possibly he and the other leaders had been advised that a freely given confession, one not made under duress, would be the easiest way out of their situation; and in any case it may be that what they confessed to was true.
The following is a rough translation from the Latin of Jacques de Molay’s confession at Chinon:
Concerning the mode of his reception into the order, he said that having given him the mantle the receptor showed to him the cross and told him that he should deny the God whose image was depicted on that cross and that he should spit on the cross, which he did, though not on the cross itself, but beside it. He also said that he performed this denial by mouth, not in his heart. Of the vice of sodomy, the worshipped head and the illicit kisses, having been questioned diligently, he said that he knew nothing. Questioned whether he confessed to these things due to a request, for reward, for gratitude, for favour, through fear or hatred or at the instigation of anyone, or from the violence or fear of torture, he said no. Questioned whether after he was captured he was put to questioning or torture, he said no.12
When the cardinals reported back to the pope, Clement accepted the explanation of Jacques de Molay and the other Templar leaders that the charges against them of sodomy and blasphemy were due to a misunderstanding of the knighthood’s arcane rituals, which had their origins in their struggle against the Muslims in Outremer. Denying Christ and spitting on the cross were understood to simulate the kind of humiliation and torture that a knight might be subjected to by the enemy if captured. They were taught to abuse their own religion ‘in words only, not in spirit’.
The same confessions used by William of Nogaret to condemn the Templars were now accepted in context by the pope, who, noting that they had asked for pardon, gave them absolution. ‘We hereby decree that they are absolved by the Church and may again receive Christian sacraments.’ Of Jacques de Molay in particular the pope recorded that, after hearing what he had to say,
We have decided to extend the mercy of absolution for these acts to brother Jacques de Molay, grand master of the said order, who in the form and manner described above denounced in our presence all heresy and swore in person on the holy Gospels of God, and humbly asked for the mercy of absolution, restoring him to unity with the Church and reinstating him to the communion of the faithful and the ecclesiastical sacraments.13
At this point Clement was still trying to save the Templars as an order; his object was reform, and then probably to combine the Templars with the Hospitallers. But the pope failed to make the details of his absolution public because the scandal of the Templars had aroused extreme passions. Clement was still trying to avoid either a confrontation with Philip or a schism within the Church.