ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Order of Malta has axed a leading critic of Pope Francis.
The Catholic Herald reported Monday that the ancient fraternal order has expelled Dr. Henry Sire, author of The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy, from its ranks.
Published in November 2017, The Dictator Pope revealed pervasive corruption inside the Vatican, spotlighting the leftist "St. Gallen mafia," whose political machinations allegedly gave rise to the Francis papacy, as well as the Pope's promotion of doctrinal ambiguity and his torpedoing of orthodox religious orders.
According to Order of Malta Grand Master Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre, the book is "gravely offensive and disrespectful to the person of the Holy Father"; in writing it, he suggested, Dr. Sire acted in a manner "gravely incompatible with his membership of the Order."
But in a press release issued Monday, Sire denounced the move as "illegal," and says it "side-steps the procedures and principles laid down in the Order's own legal Code."
After Sire was revealed as author of The Dictator Pope in March, the Order of Malta announced his immediate suspension from the fraternal group — an action Sire denounced as "irregular" and "illegal."
Authorities inside the order set up a disciplinary commission to oversee Sire's case. According to his Monday press release:
After several exchanges of letters between Sire and the Disciplinary Commission, in which he submitted a defence on the grounds of serious legal defects in the process, the Order decided to cut short the procedure and summarily dismiss Sire through a decree of the Grand Master.
Boeselager was at the heart of a scandal involving "the distribution of huge numbers of condoms by the Order under his supervision" as well as the "cover-up of a fund of some 120 million Swiss francs, part of which has since come to the Order despite suspicions about the provenance of the funds."
Sire's supporters describe Boeselager's punitive proceedings as "an act of vengeance" and "a legal farce based upon entirely spurious charges." They say the eminent historian is being penalized for his outspoken criticism of Francis' papacy.
Sire maintains his analysis is objective, and not "a personal attack on the pope."
Describing Francis as "the most politically minded pope" in centuries, in an exclusive interview with Church Militant in September, he characterized Abp. Jorge Bergoglio as a "completely extraordinary man for the cardinals to have chosen" as pontiff, adding, "If they'd known what sort of man he was, they wouldn't have voted for him."
According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they posses, [Catholics] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals.