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BARCELONA (ChurchMilitant.com) - The author of the much-discussed The Dictator Pope, initially publishing under the pseudonym Marcantonio Colonna, has since revealed his identity: Henry Sire, a knight in the Order of Malta, and a published biographer and historian, author of six other books.
Sire joined Church Militant from Barcelona to offer his views on reaction to his book, his suspension from the Order of Malta, and what Catholics should do in the current crisis in the Church, among other things.
Within days of Sire's identity being revealed, the Order of Malta announced he was suspended for what it called a "vile attack" on Pope Francis. Sire, however, objects to this characterization.
"It isn't a vile attack at all," Sire told Church Militant. "It's an analysis of Pope Francis on the basis of sources which are not as well known as they ought to be, but there's nothing in it which is ... a personal attack on the pope."
Sire confirmed he remains suspended from the Order of Malta, but expressed surprise that no further communication has been made.
"I'm surprised not to have received any further documents after the initial documents that I was sent," he remarked. "I'm not sure whether they intend to proceed with the action against me."
Sire has contested the legality of the suspension, saying in a March 22 statement to the press that the proceeding was "wholly illegal."
"It has been initiated by the Grand Chancellor, with the consent of the Lieutenant of the Order," he said at the time. "The laws of the Order stipulate that such a proceeding has to be initiated by my superior, who is the Grand Commander, and he has not been involved."
"Moreover, the superior has to initiate the process without communicating with the Grand Chancellor," Sire continued. "These requirements have been comprehensively ignored."
"It is also ironical that these illegalities have been committed by the Grand Chancellor, who ousted the Grand Master a year ago by protesting at the supposed illegalities of his own suspension," Sire added.
In January 2017, Fra' Matthew Festing stepped down as Grand Master of the Order after Pope Francis requested it — an unprecedented act, as the position of Grand Master is one of life tenure. Although no reasons were given for the pope's request, many understood it to be linked to Festing's actions in December 2016, when he suspended Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager for involvement in a condom distribution scandal involving Malteser International, the Order's charitable arm overseen by von Boeselager.
The affair prompted Cdl. Raymond Burke, former chaplain to the Knights of Malta, to express his sadness over the turn of events.
"I find it profoundly saddening that the grave scandal of the distribution of contraceptives and the advancing secularization of the Order which this immoral action represents are now minimized and, effectively, forgotten," he commented in May 2017.
Sire covers the entire episode in The Dictator Pope.
When asked what Catholics should do in this time of grave crisis in the Church, Sire told Church Militant, "Catholics definitely need to keep fighting; they need to keep proclaiming doctrinal truth, and they need to make clear to Pope Francis that if he tries to revolutionize doctrine, there will be opposition, for example, what was done with the four cardinals in the case of the dubia."
The revised and expanded edition of The Dictator Pope was released on April 23 and can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.