Developments in the Order of Malta
I haven't written much comment on the ongoing debacle with the Knight's of Malta, except to mention Cardinal Burke's appointment here. This is because there is a great job being done by a number of others in this regard.
Edward Pentin has been particularly informative and if you are unfamiliar with the backstory, you may find this article very useful.
A couple of days ago, The Catholic Herald reported the shocking news that a leaked report had concluded that Order of Malta projects distributed abortifacients.
Yesterday, this appeared on the internet and this morning there is a barrage of posts following the news that the last previous Grand Master of the order, who had been told he could attend the election of the next Grand Master and was then told that he could not, had decided to go to the election in any case. Dr. Joseph Shaw sums the current situation up very well in this post which I duplicate below, and also includes a useful collection of links to various sites who are reporting on the issue if you are interested.
The election of a new Grand Master of the Order of Malta in Rome on Saturday - tomorrow - has precipitated an avalanche of news stories, many containing intriguing claims about the root causes of the shock resignation of the last Grand Master, Fra Matthew Festing.
The most interesting aspect, which has been revealed already in part by past postings by Steve Skojek at One Peter Five, is the role of money in the saga of the Knights. The claim is that because Order was a beneficiary of a shadowy trust based in Switzerland, the attempts by Fra Matthew Festing to get to the bottom of this trust and ensure that the law was followed threatened to precipitate revelations which would be embarassing to people in positions of considerable influence in the Vatican. Festing had to be removed in order to remove this threat. The interim leadership of the Order has, at any rate, rapidly come to an amicable agreement with the trustees of this trust and we may now hear no more about it.
Pope Francis' alleged role in this reminds me very much of the role of Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II in various Vatican scandals: that of trying to keep a lid on a situation which he cannot ultimately control. Pope Benedict was, frankly, defeated by the problems at the Vatican bank, and Pope John Paul by the clerical abuse problem. I don't think any of these popes were personally implicated in wrongdoing. What none of them allowed, however, was a big melt-down involving the public disgrace of senior officials and the publication of a lot of embarassing information. Such a thing is almost unthinkable in the Vatican, but it may in fact be the only thing which would actually resolve the problem,
Here is a selection of news stories:
The Remnant: comprehensive article on the background
One Peter Five: Fr Matthew Festing has decided to go to Rome for the election despites attempts to stop him
Church Militant: several strands about the current situation and its causes
Lifesite News: members of the Order petition Pope Francis for an explanation of his unprecedented intervention in the Order
AP / New York Times
Edward Pentin in Catholic Register: Vatican allows Festing to attend the election after all
Daniel Hitchens in The Catholic Herald: the Germans want to sideline the professed knights