Friday, April 28, 2017

News on the Order of Malta

The election of a new Grand Master of the Order of Malta in Rome on Saturday - tomorrow - has precipitated an avalanche of news stories, many containing intriguing claims about the root causes of the shock resignation of the last Grand Master, Fra Matthew Festing.

The most interesting aspect, which has been revealed already in part by past postings by Steve Skojek at One Peter Five, is the role of money in the saga of the Knights. The claim is that because Order was a beneficiary of a shadowy trust based in Switzerland, the attempts by Fra Matthew Festing to get to the bottom of this trust and ensure that the law was followed threatened to precipitate revelations which would be embarassing to people in positions of considerable influence in the Vatican. Festing had to be removed in order to remove this threat. The interim leadership of the Order has, at any rate, rapidly come to an amicable agreement with the trustees of this trust and we may now hear no more about it.

Pope Francis' alleged role in this reminds me very much of the role of Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II in various Vatican scandals: that of trying to keep a lid on a situation which he cannot ultimately control. Pope Benedict was, frankly, defeated by the problems at the Vatican bank, and Pope John Paul by the clerical abuse problem. I don't think any of these popes were personally implicated in wrongdoing. What none of them allowed, however, was a big melt-down involving the public disgrace of senior officials and the publication of a lot of embarassing information. Such a thing is almost unthinkable in the Vatican, but it may in fact be the only thing which would actually resolve the problem,

Here is a selection of news stories:

The Remnant: comprehensive article on the background

One Peter Five: Fr Matthew Festing has decided to go to Rome for the election despites attempts to stop him

Church Militant: several strands about the current situation and its causes

Lifesite News: members of the Order petition Pope Francis for an explanation of his unprecedented intervention in the Order

AP / New York Times

Edward Pentin in Catholic Register: Vatican allows Festing to attend the election after all
Daniel Hitchens in The Catholic Herald: the Germans want to sideline the professed knights

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  1. Anonymous6:09 pm

    Another link to add to the ones you have:
    From Gloria TV - Cardinal Burke's version of what happened regarding his 'defacto' dismissal as Patron on the Knights.

  2. It would seem Pope Francis is quite adept at putting and keeping the lid on shady things after all.