Barbara Frale, the Vatican Achives historian who found the Chinon Parchment and has written an account of its significance, which is now in English (looks more sensational than scholarly), now claims that she has evidence of something that has long been affirmed of the Templars, namely, that they were in possession of the Shroud of Turin from the beginning of the 13th to the middle of the 14th centuries:
Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, said the Shroud had disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and did not surface again until the middle of the fourteenth century. Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Dr Frale said its fate in those years had always puzzled historians.
However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times
One of the allegations brought against the Templars by their enemies was that they worshiped the head of a bearded man. Frale seems to be declaring this allegation to be directed at veneration of the Shroud, a theory that has been espoused by others. That is not the only theory that has been put forward.
Here is some of the usual freemasonic misrepresentation of the Church’s position on the shroud:
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that appears to have been used to wrap the body of a man who had been crucified, and ghostly images appear of a man with a bearded face. In spite of almost immediate pronouncements by the Catholic Church that it was a fake, the faithful believed that the image was of Jesus, and continue to do so today. Chemical analysis and carbon dating techniques used in 1988 provided results that the markings were paint and that the cloth dated from the 14th century, but those results were almost immediately called into question. The Shroud is, today, the property of the Vatican, which has always refused to declare it to be the authentic image of Christ.
The fact is, the Church has treated the Shroud as a holy relic all the time it has been in her possession and has allowed the faithful to venerate it as such.
The Catholic Church, owners of the shroud, have made no pronouncements claiming it is Christ’s burial shroud, or that it is not a forgery. The matter has been left to the personal decision of the faithful. Pope John Paul II stated in 1998, “Since we’re not dealing with a matter of faith, the church can’t pronounce itself on such questions. It entrusts to scientists the tasks of continuing to investigate, to reach adequate answers to the questions connected to this shroud.” He has shown himself to be deeply moved by the image of the shroud, and arranged for public showings in 1998 and 2000.