Todd Hartley: I’m with Stupid |

Todd Hartley: I’m with Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

It must be tough being the pope. I mean, think of all the things you have to deal with. You’ve got the spiritual well-being of about a billion Catholics to worry about, you’ve got the whole child molestation scandal hanging over your head, and worst of all, somebody might be masturbating somewhere.

You can’t have had all that exciting a life either, at least in my hedonistic view of things. Sure, you might get to spend your afterlife playing bocce ball with God himself, but right now you’re an 81-year-old virgin who has basically spent his entire life with his head buried in the same long-winded book.

Then, of course, there are the physical demands of the job. You live in Rome, where the average summer temperature is 83 degrees, but you’re required to dress in heavy robes and a ridiculous hat at all times. Being the pope must be one of the sweatiest jobs in the world. Just once I’d like to see the Holy See throw caution to the wind and make an appearance in shorts and flip-flops. To hell with gravitas. Let the poor man be comfortable already.

And as if all that weren’t enough, now the pope really has something to worry about. He’s just been sued for $150 billion by a group claiming to be the heirs of the legendary Knights Templar. I don’t know what the pope gets paid, but I’m guessing he might have to have his wages garnished for a few years to pay off that debt.

Never mind that the Knights Templar were officially disbanded in 1307, some 620 years before the current pope, Benedict XVI, was born; he’s the pope, dang it, so he’s the one who must pay. It was, after all, a pope ” in this case Clement V ” who put an end to the order in the first place.

Lest you think that this lawsuit is all about money, I’ll have you know that the plaintiffs are also seeking to restore the Knights’ good name. You see, Clement V wasn’t content to just disband the Knights Templar; he also had them tortured and burned at the stake for such alleged crimes as denying Christ, worshipping Satan and practicing sodomy, which apparently was a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church once upon a time.

These unfounded accusations against people who lived seven centuries ago are understandably quite hurtful to the descendants of the Knights, and they just want to be able to finally walk down the street without having to hang their heads in shame. It’s about pride and personal dignity, not money. They just figure they deserve billions of dollars for all the emotional distress they’ve had to endure over the years.

What must really be annoying to the Vatican, however, is that you know and I know and Benedict XVI would know, if he ever read anything other than the Bible, that the plaintiffs probably heard about the Knights Templar the same way everyone else did: by reading “The Da Vinci Code.” It’s a little odd, don’t you think, that a lawsuit 700 years in the making would be filed just a few years after the book that made the Knights a household name was published.

The Vatican, as you might imagine, has no intention of paying the group so much as a Euro, claiming that the plaintiffs can’t possibly prove that they are actually descended from the Knights Templar. That doesn’t mean that this case is necessarily closed, though. The pope may be the interpreter of God’s law, but does that give him the right to ignore the laws of Spain, where the lawsuit was filed? I think not.

So here’s what I would do if I were you: Find a good genealogical website ” I suggest something run by the Mormons, who are experts at that sort of thing ” and trace your own family tree back to the turn of the 14th century. The Knights Templar were Catholic, don’t forget, meaning they didn’t believe in birth control and probably fathered thousands of children over the course of the Crusades. After all these years, each knight could have hundreds of thousands of descendants.

Then go get a sympathetic lawyer, one who understands how much anguish the

disgrace of the Knights Templar has caused you, and get yourself a share of that $150 billion. You’ve been hurt and wronged, damn it, and it’s time the pope gave you what you deserve.

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