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Pope says all recent decisions of Knights of Malta are ‘null and void’

January 27, 2017

Pressing ahead with his takeover of the Knights of Malta, Pope Francis had declared that all recent decisions by the group’s leadership “are null and void.”

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The Pope’s decision—conveyed to the Knights of Malta in a message from the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin—annuls all actions by Fra’ Matthew Festing, who submitted his resignation as grand master earlier this week. The papal order affects actions and decisions dating back to December 6 of last year. The Pope also declared that decisions of the Knights’ governing council since that date are void.

The papal decree would reverse the dismissal of the Order’s chancellor, Albrecht von Boesalager, and the appointment of John Critien as his temporary replacement.

The Sovereign Council of the Knights of Malta will meet in an emergency session on Saturday, January 28. The group will address the resignation of Fra’ Festing—which cannot become official until it is accepted by the Sovereign Council—and the Pope’s directive.


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jan. 28, 2017 4:59 PM ET USA

    It seems to be the time for the Knights of Malta to take a stand. They never succumbed to the Saracen horde, nor should they lay down in the face of injustice now. Of course, I am basing my opinion on the veracity of news reporting on this situation. If it is accurate, then I stand by my conviction.

  • Posted by: Pete - Jan. 27, 2017 8:10 PM ET USA

    With all due respect for Pope Francis as a man, a priest, a bishop, and the Pope, and with full respect for his authority over the Church of Rome, I'd like to respectfully suggest that someone he will listen to should inform him that he is NOT an authority over the Knights of Malta. The Knights are a separate entity of their own, and NOT subject to any "instructions" or "decrees" from the Pope.