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Knights of Malta say Vatican investigation is “unacceptable”

December 26, 2016

The Knights of Malta have rejected as “unacceptable” the plan by Pope Francis for a Vatican investigation into the dismissal of the chancellor of the ancient Catholic charitable order.

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On December 23 the Order of Malta—which is recognized in international law as a sovereign body, with its own independent government—released a statement saying that the ouster of Albrecht von Boeselager was an “act of internal governmental administration of the Sovereign Order of Malta and consquently falls solely within its competence.” The statement indicated that the Pope’s announcement of an investigative committee was based on a “misunderstanding” by the Vatican Secretariat of State.

“The Grand Master respectfully clarified the situation” in a letter to Pope Francis, in which he “assured the Holy Father of his filial devotion,” the statement continued.

Pope Francis had announced on December 22 that he was setting up a special committee, chaired by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, to look into the controversy that arose within the Knights of Malta when von Boeselager was forced out under protest. Although the Order did not offer a public explanation for the move, except to refer to an “extremely grave and untenable situation,” it appears that the former chancellor was ordered to resign because he had involved the Knights of Malta in a scheme to distribute condoms in developing nations.

Any conflict between the Vatican and the Knights of Malta could precipitate new tensions between Pope Francis and Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is the patron of the Order of Malta, and reportedly approved the decision to force out Boeselager.


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Dec. 27, 2016 10:04 PM ET USA

    In the US the Bishops' Catholic Relief Service has been doing the same thing for years and their Campaign for Human Development has been supporting organizations that oppose the teachings of the Church for years.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 27, 2016 3:47 PM ET USA

    Let's hope that the matter can be peacefully resolved. Why would any Catholic organization take part in such an affair.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Dec. 26, 2016 9:48 PM ET USA

    Time for the Vatican to gracefully withdraw and diplomatic language to do so. Pope Francis continues to make boo boos and needs to know the Vatican boundaries.

  • Posted by: Foundas - Dec. 26, 2016 8:42 PM ET USA

    Sounds a lot like "clericalism" at its worst. Trust those that are more enlightened.