CARDINAL BURKE AND GRAND MASTER FESTING DEFIED WISHES OF POPE BY SACKING GRAND CHANCELLOR

EXCLUSIVE: CARDINAL BURKE AND GRAND MASTER FESTING DEFIED WISHES OF POPE BY SACKING GRAND CHANCELLOR

[If FrankenPope orders reinstating Boeselager as Grand Chancellor and replaces Cardinal Burke with a more Franken-pliant chaplain, it may cause a schism not in the Church as His Holiness has supposedly said, but in the Knights of Malta – with a subsequent compromise of its mission not only in the matter of Boeselager’s condomgate but in all of the Order’s charitable activities; hat-tip to Canon212: “Sec. Of State Parolin: Cd. Burke Defied FrancisWishes By Firing Senior Official. Acts Suspended, May Take ‘Further Steps'”]

05 January 2017 | by Christopher Lamb

Cardinal Raymond Burke and [False! – AQ moderator Tom] the Knights of Malta’s leader defied the wishes of Pope Francis and the Holy See when they sacked a senior figure in a row about the distribution of condoms.

Letters seen by The Tablet reveal that Francis specifically requested no one be dismissed in a dispute that saw Albrecht von Boeselager thrown out as Grand Chancellor and then suspended from the Order.

The respected German Knight 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. Both of them had claimed that the dismissal was in “accordance with the wishes of the Holy See” [Untrue! – AQ moderator Tom].

Boeselager, who had previously run the Order’s charitable arm, had been accused of distributing condoms and failing to accept Church teaching on sexual matters – charges he strongly denies.

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, the Holy See decided to set up an investigation into the Knights.

“I wish first of all to reiterate that these measures [the sacking and suspension of Boeselager] must not be attributed to the will of the Pope or his directives,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to Festing on 21 December. “As I expressed to you in my letter of 12 December 2016: ‘as far as the use and diffusion of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness has asked for dialogue as the way to deal with, and resolve, eventual problems. But he has never spoken of sending someone away!’” [His Holiness may say such but has done such in the case of “sending away” Cardinal Burke as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and a number of traditional-minded bishops from their diocese, including one who upon announcement of his dismissal, requested a meeting with the pope for “dialogue,” which was turned down! – AQ moderator Tom]

The cardinal goes on to say that the action against Boeselager must be seen as “suspended” until the papal commission into the saga has reported, something which will take place at the end of this month.

Cardinal Parolin says Francis would like the conflict to be resolved but raises the possibility the Holy See could take further steps against the Order – and given the defiance of the Pope in this matter, the positions of both Cardinal Burke and Festing are under pressure.

In an extraordinary statement issued before Christmas, Festing told the Pope that the sacking of Boeselager was an internal matter and the Secretariat of State had misunderstood the situation.

But in his letter to the Grand Master Cardinal Parolin points out that the Knights are a “lay religious Order” which includes “service to the faith and to the Holy Father” and therefore the Holy See does have authority to act in this case.

The eleventh-century Knights are Catholicism’s oldest military Order, running charitable initiatives across the globe – they are also treated as a sovereign entity with diplomatic relations with countries across the world. Festing, known by the title of “His Most Eminent Highness”, is a quasi-head of state and treated as an honorary cardinal.

But the row has sparked an internal crisis inside the Order which shows no sign of abating: in a statement Boeselager says his sacking and subsequent suspension from the Order was unconstitutional and is threatening to use the Order’s legal system to prove his point.

The German Knight, whose father was involved in the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler, says the action against him “is more reminiscent of an authoritarian regime than one of religious obedience” .

* * *

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3 comments on “CARDINAL BURKE AND GRAND MASTER FESTING DEFIED WISHES OF POPE BY SACKING GRAND CHANCELLOR

  1. A Vatican inquiry into the Order of Malta? Legally speaking, this makes no sense

    [Hat-tip to Canon212: “If FrancisVatican feels right investigating sovereign states, what’s to protect them from foreign investigations?”]

    by Ed Condon: a canon lawyer working for tribunals in a number of dioceses
    posted Thursday, 5 Jan 2017

    The Order of Malta, like the Vatican, is a sovereign body. For one to investigate the other is simply incoherent

    Imagine that the UK Foreign Office recommended the creation of a commission to investigate the dismissal of the Canadian Finance Minister. It would, to say the least, raise some legal questions. But that is pretty much what the Vatican’s Secretariat of State did shortly before Christmas, when it suggested the Pope appoint a team to investigate and report on the sacking of the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta.

    There is certainly some controversy about the recent dismissal of Albrecht von Boeselager as Grand Chancellor. The man himself has apparently claimed he was ousted because he was thought to be a “liberal Catholic”; but the Grand Master of the order, Fra’ Matthew Festing, has said it concerned “an extremely grave and untenable situation [becoming] apparent” regarding von Boeslager’s previous work as Grand Hospitaller of the Order.

    None of this explains why the Pope has opened an investigative commission. The Order of Malta is, for sure, a Catholic organisation. But it is unique in that it is totally sovereign as regards its governance. The Grand Master is not appointed by the Pope, but elected by the Order’s Council Complete of State. Upon his election, the Grand Master merely informs the Pope of the fact of his election, before taking his oath of office (Constitutional Charter of the Order, art. 13 §3).

    While the Order recognizes the authority of the Pope as head of the Church, it is not itself a subject of the Holy See as a governing body. Instead, the Order has diplomatic relations with the Vatican, including a formal representative, the same as any other sovereign nation. Indeed, while the Sovereign Military Order of Malta may not be military or located on the island of Malta, it is very much sovereign – it has full diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries, and the same permanent observer status at the United Nations as the Holy See.

    The Order may be Catholic, but its Constitutional Charter specifically states:

    The religious nature of the Order does not prejudice the exercise of sovereign prerogatives pertaining to the Order in so far as it is recognized by States as a subject of international law.

    In other words, they don’t answer to the Vatican, full stop. In this light, the commission set up by Pope Francis to formally investigate von Boeselager’s dismissal is legally incoherent – so why did he do it?

    It seems the Pope was acting on the advice of his own Secretariat of State. This is certainly the understanding of the Order, which in a statement called the creation of the commission “the result of a misunderstanding by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See”. This implied threat to the Order’s self-governance led to the Grand Master “respectfully clarifying the situation … in a letter to the Supreme Pontiff, laying out the reasons why the suggestions made by the Secretariat of State were unacceptable.”

    While the Pope might reasonably be curious about the circumstances surrounding the firing of the Grand Chancellor of the Order, it is hard to imagine how the Secretariat of State could possibly convince itself it has the power to investigate or intervene in the internal governance of a sovereign entity with which it has diplomatic relations.

    It’s been suggested that the Vatican needs to investigate Cardinal Burke’s role, since he is Patron of the Order, and the Pope’s representative. But Cardinal Burke’s position is beside the point here.

    Legally speaking, the Grand Master was entirely within his power, according to the governing laws of the Order, to compel the resignation of von Boeselager under his promise of obedience. The only requirements for him to do so are, first, that it be done for a serious and just cause and, secondly, in the presence of two witnesses (Code of the Order, art. 63 §2).

    It was for this reason that the Grand Commander and Cardinal Patron were present at the meeting between von Boeselager and the Grand Master. Given its seriousness and its expected outcome, it was entirely correct that the Pope’s representative be invited to be a witness. Following Boeselager’s breach of obedience by not resigning as directed, it was the Grand Commander, with the backing of all the relevant internal officials of the Order (not the Cardinal Patron) who initiated the process for his dismissal. In sum, this was an internal matter handled according to the correct process, and one which did not involve Cardinal Burke, except as a passive witness.

    Yet the Secretariat of State shows no signs of backing down. As recently as this weekend, Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, was reported as saying the Order was in an “unprecedented crisis” and that the investigation would go ahead, “and then we will see”.

    Quite what Cardinal Parolin hopes to achieve by this move is as unclear as his legal footing, but forcing through a Vatican investigation could prove a very dangerous manoeuvre. The Order of Malta has exactly the same standing in international law as the Holy See itself; by essentially denying the Order’s sovereignty, the Vatican Secretariat of State is undercutting its own diplomatic legitimacy.

  2. How Obama/Hitlery-esque.

  3. Pope Defends the Dismissed Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta – and Perhaps Further Shows His Bias

    Maike Hickson January 6, 2017

    Christopher Lamb, writing for the professedly progressivist Catholic weekly newspaper The Tablet, reported on 5 January that Pope Francis has explicitly requested from the Order of Malta that it retain as its Grand Chancellor the German Knight, Albrecht von Boeselager. According to Lamb:

    Cardinal Raymond Burke and the Knights of Malta’s leader defied the wishes of Pope Francis and the Holy See when they sacked a senior figure in a row about the distribution of condoms. Letters seen by The Tablet reveal that Francis specifically requested [that] no one be dismissed in a dispute that saw Albrecht von Boeselager thrown out as Grand Chancellor and then suspended from the Order.

    Lamb then quotes a letter sent to Matthew Festing, the head of the Order of Malta, and written by Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, in which he explains that Pope Francis does not wish the dismissal of von Boeselager to take place:

    “I wish first of all to reiterate that these measures [the sacking and suspension of Boeselager] must not be attributed to the will of the Pope or his directives,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to Festing on 21 December. “As I expressed to you in my letter of 12 December 2016: ‘as far as the use and diffusion of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness has asked for dialogue as the way to deal with, and resolve, eventual problems. But he has never spoken of sending someone away!’”

    This surprising insistence upon the way of dialogue instead of dismissal is especially astonishing to observers when compared to the recent dismissal of three CDF priests and to the refusal of Pope Francis even to give reasons for his peremptory orders to Cardinal Gerhard Müller in this case.

    To return to Cardinal Parolin now. According to The Tablet, the cardinal also informed Matthew Festing, the Order’s Grand Master, that Pope Francis does very well and unmistakably “have authority in this case,” even though the Order is in several ways and, as such, an independent organization:

    Cardinal Parolin says Francis would like the conflict to be resolved but raises the possibility the Holy See could take further steps against the Order – and given the defiance [sic] of the Pope in this matter, the positions of both Cardinal Burke and Festing are under pressure.

    What this news report shows to us is that, in this case, Pope Francis shows himself to be eager to defend a dubious man – and to threaten those who have dismissed him – who is himself known to have allowed and promoted the use of condoms and contraceptives (which are also, in many cases, abortifacients). As LifeSiteNews has recently reported, von Boeselager clearly violated in his actions Catholic moral teaching:

    The NGO documents uncovered by the Lepanto Institute show that von Boeselager oversaw the distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives while he was Grand Hospitaller, the person in charge of the charitable work of the Order, through its international charity Malteser International. Documents from the World Health Organization, Three Disease Fund, Save the Children, and UNAIDS all show that Malteser was responsible for distributing and promoting contraception. The distribution and promotion of contraception were part of Malteser’s role as a grantee and partner of these organizations, the documents indicate.

    What this incident shows is that Pope Francis himself refuses to use stricter chastening methods when it is about those who promote a laxer or more liberalizing moral agenda. The same applies to the recently reported incident where Pope Francis re-instated a laicized priest who had been found guilty of grave sexual abuse but whom the pope, in 2014, later called back into the active priesthood where he remains. As Michael Dougherty himself writes:

    Pope Francis and his cardinal allies have been known to interfere with CDF’s [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] judgments on abuse cases. This intervention has become so endemic to the system that cases of priestly abuse in Rome are now known to have two sets of distinctions. The first is guilty or innocent. The second is “with cardinal friends” or “without cardinal friends.” And indeed, Pope Francis is apparently pressing ahead with his reversion of abuse practices even though the cardinals who are favorable to this reform of reform have already brought him trouble because of their friends. Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname “Don Mercedes.” He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked. But Don Mercedes was “with cardinal friends,” we have learned. Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto [sic], now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a “a life of humility and prayer.” These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much. In January 2015, Don Mercedes participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.

    So here we have a confirmation, and in two cases – one a promoter of contraception (and more), the other a child abuser – where Pope Francis rejects a sterner chastening and punishment of the gravely responsible persons. However, in the recent case of the Congregation for Doctrine, Pope Francis has shown his unexplained (and likely irreversible) austerity: he has ordered the prompt removal of three well-trained and well-respected priests from their dicastery offices.

    Moreover, the German Catholic newspaper, Die Tagespost, has now confirmed, on 4 January, the earlier story as reported by Marco Tosatti about the three priests who were dismissed from the CDF, and this new confirmation was made on the basis of their own distinct sources in Rome:

    As is to be learned from the Vatican, the report of the Italian Vatican specialist, Marco Tossati, at the end of December [2016], according to which Pope Francis enforced the dismissal of three employees of the Congregation for the Doctrine, corresponds with the facts.

    Furthermore, in this context of the pope’s own recent conduct, Die Tagespost even surprisingly uses the expression about his “rather authoritarian style of leadership” and then hints at signs that also show that “the nervousness in the inner circle of Francis and in himself is growing.”

    Nevertheless, does it not astonish us somewhat that the German Bishops’ Conference’s website has immediately rebuked Die Tagespost for its alleged attempt “to silence” the “reformer pope”? That indignantly huffy article, published on the official website of the German Bishops, katholisch.de, even closes with these rather meaningful, if not celebratory, words:

    The pope is having more and more difficulties. Inasmuch as only a few stand as clearly at his side – in his earnest grappling for an open and merciful Church – as Cardinal Reinhard Marx himself: the President of the German Bishops’ Conference.

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