Oh, Please. The press or the academy has gotten something mixed up. People will believe anything about the Church. Much of what is said of the Templars is blarney, and I am sure this will not help clear things up.
The document, known as the Chinon parchment, reveals that the Templars had an initiation ceremony which involved “spitting on the cross”, “denying Jesus” and kissing the lower back, navel and mouth of the man proposing them.
The Templars explained to Pope Clement that the initiation mimicked the humiliation that knights could suffer if they fell into the hands of the Saracens, while the kissing ceremony was a sign of their total obedience.
The Pope concluded that the entrance ritual was not truly blasphemous, as alleged by King Philip when he had the knights arrested. However, he was forced to dissolve the Order to keep peace with France and prevent a schism in the church.
Since when is it possible for a sacriledge to be anything but a sacrilege?
The Vatican Secret Archives website gives offers a description of The Parchment of Chinon — The Absolution of Pope Clement V of the Leading Members of the Templar Order, which is the basis for the report above. Nowhere does the parchment mention the blasphemous initiation rite. Apparently, the historians who are publishing the book on the subject have made this statement about “spitting on the cross” and “denying Jesus.”
In the annals of ecclesiastical history Clement V is known for his weakness and irresolution, as for example, in his inability “to oppose himself to the will of the King of France, Phillip the Fair,” who sought the suppression of the Templars (Secret Archives website). The Act of Chinon seems to be documentation of this.
Pope Clement absolved the Templars of the charge of heresy, but nevertheless suspended the order’s juridical existence, “by means of a non-definitive sentence” (ibid.), sort of a half-hearted way complying with the King of France’s wishes. From this, I suppose, it would not be surprising that human weakness might have led the pope to declare that “spiting on the Cross” and such could be justified in certain circumstances. The only other possibility, it seems to me, is that significant information is missing from the above report.