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What are the Knights Templar up to now?

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Pssst. Wanna know a secret?

The Vatican’s recent decision to release documents on the persecution of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century has piqued interest in the mysterious order. But what are the latter-day Templars up to?

This is a story. In the Middle Ages there was a secretive organisation called the Knights Templar. They were disbanded with many killed on the orders of the Pope because they knew the secret that Jesus had had a child with Mary Magdalene. Despite the killing of the order’s members, societies carry on its legacy of hidden knowledge today.

There’s a problem with this version of events, part-inspired by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and other earlier authors.

It’s cobblers.

There are lots of organisations today that bear the Templar name, but for the most part they are in the business of charitable works inspired by the original order. Secret documents about Mary Magdalene are not the order of the day.

The original Templars were founded in the 12th Century to guard pilgrims on their way along the dangerous roads that led to Jerusalem. Its members were effectively armed monk-like knights who were granted certain legal privileges and whose status was backed by the church. They were reputed to be the possessors of great wealth and power.

TEMPLAR HISTORY
1099: Jerusalem captured by Crusaders
1118: Order formed
1129: Endorsed by church
1307: Members arrested in France
1312: Pope dissolves order
1314: Last Grand Master burned at stake

But the latter-day Templars are rather like a version of the Rotary Club, with a vague religious tinge, author and broadcaster on religious history Martin Palmer says.

“It’s a sort of version of the Rotarians with long cloaks and swords.” The overall effect is “clubby with a slight mystical element”.

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Rather disappointing, really. I like Dan Brown’s version better…

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And he’s only 12 years old.

This is one smart cookie…

A Short Story

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Husband and wife… and another wife???

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Three-person civil union sparks controversy in Brazil

Some religious groups have expressed anger over the move

A notary in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has sparked controversy by accepting a civil union between three people.

Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues has said the man and two women should be entitled to family rights.

She says there is nothing in law to prevent such an arrangement.

But the move has angered some religious groups, while one lawyer described it as “absurd and totally illegal”.

The three individuals, who have declined to speak to the press, have lived in Rio de Janeiro together for three years and share bills and other expenses.

Ms Domingues says they have already opened a joint bank account, which is also not prohibited by any law.

According to Globo TV, the union was formalised three months ago, but only became public this week.

Nathaniel Santos Batista Junior, a jurist who helped draft the document, said the idea was to protect their rights in case of separation or death of a partner, Globo reports.

Ms Domingues, who is based in the Sao Paulo city of Tupa, said the move reflected the fact that the idea of a “family” had changed.

“We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything.”

“For better or worse, it doesn’t matter, but what we considered a family before isn’t necessarily what we would consider a family today.”

But lawyer Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva told the BBC it was “absurd and totally illegal”, and “something completely unacceptable which goes against Brazilian values and morals”.

Ms da Silva, who is president of the Commission for the Rights of the Family within the Institute of Lawyers, says the union will not be allowed to remain in place.

Some religious groups have also voiced criticism of the move.

While Ms Domingues has approved the union, it is not clear whether courts, service providers and private companies such as health insurance providers will accept the ruling.

Opinion:

Obviously it doesn’t go against Brazilian morals and values, if the arrangement is between Brazilians; it goes against Ms da Silva’s perception of morals and values.

Religious groups can stay out of my bedroom if I am not of your religion; and, if your sensibilities are so damned intolerant, then I wouldn’t want any part of your religion.

Bravo to Public Notary Claudia do Nascimento Domingues and her stance on freedom.

Hero of the Planet

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Sydney Possuelo

No, it’s not Superman, nor any other caped crusader. According to Time Kids magazine and the UN, it is Sydney Possuelo.

Who is Sydney Possuelo?

Sydney Possuelo is one of the very last explorers. He is Brazilian. In 2006 he was sacked by FUNAI (the Foundation for Indian Affairs) because he spoke the truth. He criticised the FUNAI president, Mércio Pereira Gomes, for saying during a press interview that “Indians had too much land,” a position that was totally incompatible with his position as protector of the same.

To Possuelo that statement was frightening. It was exactly what the farmers, ranchers, goldminers and loggers have been saying for years as they massacred, stole, deforested and raped  Indian lands. The position was official, even confirmed by Brazil’s then president Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva. The Brazilian government had admitted it was anti-Indigenous people.

But that’s enough of the ‘official’ stuff. You can read more about Sydney Possuelo’s life and works.

What brings Sydney to my attention is his belief as explained:

…activist Sydney Possuelo, who considered the Arrow People a kind of test case for his policy that the best thing to do with isolated indigeneous groups was to leave them to their own devices. If Possuelo was right, they would find a “thriving” people who were “far better off [in isolation] than they’d be under any scheme to integrate them into mainstream modern society.”

This is the true face of the land, it is he who should inherit, not the invaders

This concept is so dear to my heart and thinking. The indigenous people of the world are the ones, the only ones that have a right to their lands. The white invaders, the interlopers are the barbaric ones who came and plundered and slaughtered. It was the whites that brought diseases against which the indigenous peoples had no defences. It was the white who told them they were naked. It was the whites who decimated these people in the name of religion.

I agree with Sydney Possuelo, leave these people in peace, leave them alone, leave them to live their lives without further interference. Haven’t we already done enough damage?

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Who ‘Discovered’ Brazil?

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When the Portuguese “discovered” Brazil this country was already inhabited by 2 million indigenous people.

This destroyed those people.

Little Indian Guarani in St. Michael of the Missions ©Germano Schüür

Image ©Germano Schüür

São Miguel das Missões (Portuguese for St. Michael of the Missions) is a Unesco World Heritage site located in the small town of São Miguel das Missões in the northwestern region of Rio Grande do Sul, a state in southern Brazil. It is also known as São Miguel Arcanjo and by its Spanish language name San Miguel. It was one of the many Jesuit Reductions in Argentina and Brazil. Jesuit missionaries founded the mission in the 18th century in part to catechise the Guaraní indian population and to protect the natives from Spanish and Portuguese slave traders.

Façade of São Miguel das Missões.The Mission was built from around 1735 to around 1745. Despite the efforts of the Jesuits, the slave trade of the Spanish and Portuguese empires eventually conquered and the Mission was abandoned. The Cathedral in nearby Santo Ângelo city is modeled after the São Miguel das Missões reduction. (Wikipedia)

Civilisation and Humanity

When I read of the injustices, the massacres and the plight of these peoples I feel sad, more, much more than sad, it reduces me to tears. We call it civilisation, there is nothing civilised about what we have done to these people; we talk about humanity, there is nothing humane about what we have done to these people.

Yet we still do it. It began with the Portuguese and Spanish churches, it continues unabated today. We have to satisfy the Western world’s insatiable greed and in doing so we destroy everything that was beautiful around us. The people, the rainforest, the land, everything.

The Mission

Have you ever seen the film The Mission?

The film portrays the destruction of the Jesuit missions and the terrible consequences for the indigenous people, it is terribly tragic.

It happened.

We did it.

And we have never shown any remorse.

I suggest that if you want to understand the brutality that we have perpetrated on these peoples, watch it.

You’ll watch it and weep.

If you don’t shed a tear, then perhaps you need to look deep into your soul.

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