Sacking the Knights of Malta

News: Video Reports
by Hunter Bradford  •  •  January 21, 2022   

Pope refashioning 1,000-year-old order

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The Order of Malta is a lay religious order that has existed since the year 1113. It's one of the oldest living institutions of Western civilization. But the Vatican is taking control. Church Militant's Hunter Bradford gives us the latest developments.

The recent history of the Order of Malta is mired in scandal and controversy, and this pattern continues, abetted by Pope Francis' representative Cdl. Silvano Tomasi and other advisers, who are facilitating massive fundamental changes in the order.

Now, according to the order's grand chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager, Tomasi is contradicting assurances von Boeselager personally received from Pope Francis — putting the order's very sovereignty at risk. Von Boeselager was controversially reappointed by Pope Francis after being removed by the previous head of the order for distributing condoms against Church teaching.

A 2016 investigation by the order revealed an internal coup was headed by a dissident faction of German members, instigated by von Boeselager. But now he's objecting to the Vatican's meddling, claiming the pope won't speak to him: "That avenue has been closed to me."

Due to its sovereign nature, the order has diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries and helps deliver aid to conflict areas and war zones.

Von Boeselager complained Tomasi's proposal "constitute[s] a hazard to its long-held sovereignty," making the order a "subject of the Holy See."

Suggested reforms would give the Vatican massive oversight of the order's charitable work, including moving control of its humanitarian arm, Malteser International, to Rome.

If the pope's so-called reforms are implemented, a sovereign keystone of Western civilization will be irreparably altered, with neither the members nor their charities reaping any benefit. 

More than $2 billion flows through the hands of the Knights of Malta every year for their charitable work. With the Vatican's massive financial scandals over the years, Pope Francis' encroachment in the order's affairs only raises more questions.

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