Background on the Knights of Malta debacle from Tim Hedges at The Commentator:
It is hard to know how Pope Francis gets himself into these scrapes. What should have been a quiet private matter, if it happened at all, was in every paper in the civilised world. For sheer, bull headed, foot-in-mouth belligerence Papa Bergoglio trumps Trump.
The Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta was Fra’ Robert Matthew Festing, Guards Officer and son of a Chief of the Imperial General Staff. You have to be a bit socially upmarket to get on in this company, the other bigwigs being a selection of the European Catholic aristocracy.
Anyway, Festing had sacked Albrecht, Freiherr von Boeselager, the Grand Chancellor, on the grounds that he, the Freiherr, had been involved in charitable works which distributed condoms. Now, the Catholic faith is against the use of condoms, so you might imagine that the Pope would have patted the blessed Festing on the back for ridding the order of a dangerous progressive.
It is of course Francis who is the progressive, dangerous or otherwise, but, being the Pope, he can’t say that condoms are OK. As with offering Holy Communion to divorcees, he can’t change the rules but doesn’t want them exercised too strictly. So he just sacked someone for doing the right thing.
Then came the posters. All over central Rome, they featured a grumpy looking Pope and, underneath, a philippic against the Holy Father, mentioning, amongst other sins, the Order of Malta fiasco. Where is your Mercy?, it asked, referring to the Pope’s Jubilee year of Mercy.
Strangely enough, the screed was written in the Roman dialect, putting it in the tradition of the denouncers and rumour mongers of old, who used to leave their handwritten defamations on various statues in the ancient city. But no one is fooled by this. They all think it comes from Cardinal Burke.