The head of the knights of Malta, fra’ Matthew Festing resigned after Pope Francis asked him to withdraw from the leadership of the oldest in the world order, writes NEWSru.com.
Founded in 1080 for the protection and medical care of pilgrims in the Holy land the order of the Hospitallers of Saint John of Rhodes and of Malta was in 1113 the Pope recognized as sovereign pashalian II and received the right to freely elect their leadership without the interference of the secular and ecclesiastical authorities. Since then, the Grand masters were elected for life. Exceptions to date are the Russian Emperor Paul I and fra Matthew Festing.
«Dad asked him to resign and he agreed», — quotes Reuters the press service of the Maltese order on the resignation of the Grand master.
The next step, acceptance of the resignation of the sovereign Council of the order, should be a formality.
Testing, and the Vatican was involved in a public conflict after one of the best knights of the order, the Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Freiherr Boutledge was dismissed for having allowed the distribution of condoms as part of the charity project for the poor in Burma.
As reported by the Catholic Herald, Boslego was deprived of his post on 8 December after refusing to comply with the order of the Grand master on the occasion of the charity project. As the newspaper reminds, the Church’s teaching forbids artificial contraception.
Background Boutledge appealed to the Pope, and he appointed a Commission of five members to study the situation, however, Festing refused to cooperate with the Commission and declared its illegitimacy. In his address to the members of the order of January 14, the Grand master stated that protects the sovereignty of the order. In addition, fra ‘ Matthew Festing declared conflict of interest, pointing out that three of the five members of the Commission, along with former great Chancellor, associated with the Geneva-based charitable Foundation and are relevant to the distribution of the tranche of USD 118 million.
Boutledge also appealed against his dismissal in the inner Tribunal of the order, arguing that fasting made some procedural mistakes which make a decree on the resignation null and void. Festing, later acknowledged that «some discussion» about the legality of the decisions, however, assured that reputable sources, including the lawyers of the order, acknowledged the correctness of the procedure.
Last week the Vatican issued an open appeal to the members of the order of Malta, assuring the support and approval of the Holy see to the charity of the Hospitallers.
«For support and confidence in the development of charitable mission, the Holy see confirmed the authority of the five-member Commission appointed by Pope Francis on December 21, 2016 for the trial concerning the causes of the crisis of the Central administration of the order, and rejects any attempt to discredit the Commission and its work», — quoted the document «Vatican Radio».
Supporters of the background Boutledge claim that «prezervativnaya scandal» was merely a pretext used by festinha and archconservative cardinal Raymond Leo Burke in order to accuse the Pope of excessive liberalism.
Pope Francis has previously stated that he would like to the Roman Catholic Church with 1.2 billion members, has avoided the «cultural wars» about morality and showed mercy to those who cannot live according to its rules, especially to the poor.
According to the official position of the Church, abstinence and monogamy in a heterosexual marriage is the best way to stop the spread of AIDS, but Pope Benedict has softened the ban on the use of condoms for reducing the risk of spread of the disease. Pope Francis also admitted the use of condoms to combat sexually transmitted diseases.
The order of Malta has 13.5 thousand knights, 25 thousand employees and approximately 80 thousand volunteers around the world. Not all members of the order are monks, but they all take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the Pope. The order of positioning itself as a sovereign state. His tenure in Rome and Malta have the status of extraterritoriality. The order of Malta issues its own passports and has diplomatic relations with over 100 States. He has the permanent observer status at the UN.
When Napoleon captured Malta and drove out the Hospitallers, many knights found refuge in Russia. For example, the knight of the order of Julius litt at the age of 26 became the youngest General in the Russian army. And the Russian Emperor Paul I, providing assistance to the exiles, was elected Grand master, in spite of his Orthodox religion. Many European countries have recognized this appointment, Paul I began the process of Malta’s accession to the Russian Empire, but the English Admiral Nelson after the expulsion of the French from the island violated the agreement and restored the power of the former Grand master. After the murder of Paul Petrovich of Russia’s ties with the order of Malta was broken.
The Grand master of the Maltese order has resigned because of a conflict with the Vatican about condoms 25.01.2017