Vatican issues caution on equestrian orders
October 16, 2012
The Vatican Secretariat of State has issued a warning that the Holy See does not formally recognize any equestrian orders apart from the Knights of Malta, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Vatican’s own orders (the Supreme Order of Christ, the Order of the Golden Spur, the Pian Order, the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, and the Order of Pope Saint Sylvester).
“All other orders, whether of recent origin or mediaeval foundation, are not recognized by the Holy See,” the Secretariat of State notes. “Furthermore, the Holy See does not guarantee their historical or juridical legitimacy, their ends or organizational structures.”
The caution, released in a public statement on October 16, is intended to guard against the activities of organizations that offer to appoint donors as “knights,” and promise that the distinction could open doors to special privileges at the Vatican. The October 16 statement warns that “the Holy See confirms that it attributes absolutely no value whatsoever to certificates of membership or insignia issued by these groups.”