Troubled times for the Knights of Malta:
Letters seen by English Catholic news weekly The Tablet have revealed that Pope Francis specifically requested the Knights of Malta that no one be dismissed in a dispute that saw its third-in-command, Albrecht von Boeselager, thrown out as Grand Chancellor and then suspended from the Order.
Boeselager was replaced by Maltese knight John Critien, who now represents the Sovereign Military Order as its foreign and home affairs minister.
Boeselager was sacked on 6 December by the Knights’ Grand Master, Matthew Festing, in the presence of the Order’s patron and prominent conservative critic of Francis, Cardinal Burke.
The reasons for Boeselager’s dismissal primarily date back to when he was Grand Hospitaller from 1989 to 2014 and in charge of Malteser International, the Knights’ large humanitarian aid agency located in 24 countries. During his tenure, the organization is documented to have distributed thousands of condoms and oral contraceptives, mainly but not exclusively to help prevent prostitutes in the Far East and Africa contracting HIV/AIDS.
The allegations were spearheaded by Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute, who presented his findings to Burke in early November.
Boeselager denies the charges.
But now it has emerged that Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote to Festing a few days later, clarifying that the Pope did not want Boeselager sacked.
As a result of the Knights’ decision, the Holy See decided to set up an investigation into the Knights.
Go here to read the rest. Further evidence that in this Pontificate the prime question is not what have you done, but who you know.