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Pope Clement V Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Pope Clement V passes away 1314.

Pope Clement V was a French Pope in the fourteenth century A.D.

Clement V was born Raymond Bertrand de Got in Villandraut, Gascony, Kingdom of France sometime in 1264. Like his brother he became a member of the clergy and served under his brother as vicar-general while his brother was Archbishop of Lyon. Clement was made Bishop of St-Bertrand-de-Comminges and later served as chaplain for Pope Boniface VIII. Pope Boniface made him Archbishop of Bordeaux in 1297. The Papacy of Clement and Boniface are separated by Pope Benedict XI who only served for one year.

After the passing of Benedict XI, there was a year without a Pope. The year was marked by infighting between Italian and French Cardinals. It is unclear why Clement was selected as Pope. He was not part of the Conclave of Cardinals. It is claimed by a chronicler of the time that it was King Phillip IV of France who arranged for Clement to be selected. There are to this days theories and rumors that Clement swore an allegiance to King Phillip prior to be elected Pope. The idea of this conspiracy is strengthened by the behavior of King Phillip and Clement's responses to King Phillip's actions.

In 1306, Clement withdrew or complete struck down Papal bulls that were established by Boniface the two significant ones were Clericis Laicos and Unam Sanctam both of which contained negative aspects for King Phillip. One prevented the taxation of Church properties, the other made the Papacy a supreme ruling authority, which would have restricted King Phillip's power.

The moment that "connects" Clement with the fraternity occurred on Friday October 13th, 1307 when King Phillip ordered the arrest of hundreds of Knights Templar. Although Clement was not directly involved he remained silent on the issue. This began a long period of trials for the Templars largely ending with the execution of Jacques De Molay in 1314. During the time that the trials of the Templars were going on, King Phillip was also going after Pope Boniface. He was trying to cast Boniface as traitor to the church and used some of the same accusations that he used against the Templars. Through most of this Clement remained silent or did little to stop King Phillip.

In 1309, Clement moved the papal court to Avignon, which at the time was not part of France, it was controlled by the King of Sicily. This began a period known as the Avignon papacy which lasted until 1377.

Clement V passed away on April 20th, 1314. This was just over a month after the execution of Jacques De Molay. It is claimed that De Molay cursed Clement V and King Phillip IV as he burned at the stake. De Molay shouted that they would be "called to God" soon. Within days of De Molay's execution Clement became sick with the illness that would eventually end his life.

It should be noted that the connection that Pope Clement V has to Freemasonry is his ties to the Knights Templar. There is no solid evidence that the Templars and Freemasons are connected. The idea of this connection was first put forth in France during the late 1700s. To this day various theories exist about the connection between the two organizations, including the idea that the Templars who managed to evade the French authorities traveled to England and joined the Freemasons there. In popular culture this idea has given rise to various stories, novels and movies including National Treasure. It is also believed by some that the Money Pit in Nova Scotia, Canada is tied with the Templars and therefore the Freemasons. It is believed by some that the Templars hid their treasure at the Money Pit after fleeing from King Phillip and Clement V.