Knights of Malta members petition Pope for ‘reasonable explanation’ for meddling with Order

Knights of Malta members petition Pope for ‘reasonable explanation’ for meddling with Order

[Which will go the same place as the four cardinals’ dubia concerning Amoris Laetitia; i.e., nowhere!]

Pete Baklinski

ROME, April 27, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Grassroots members of the Knights of Malta are directly petitioning Pope Francis as a crucial vote for a new leader looms on Saturday.

Members are signing on to an open letter launched by Maltese Knight Dr. Paul J. Camarata.

They say want answers to their “serious questions and misgivings” that have arisen after Francis reinstated within the order a fired condom promoter, forced the Order’s head to resign, and effectively removed their patron, Cardinal Raymond Burke, from his post.

“The recent unfolding of serious events that have taken place over the past months regarding the Order of Malta have left many in perplexity,” they write.

“This has been exacerbated by the lack of reasonable explanation presented both to the faithful members of the Order and the public at large regarding actions taken by Your Holiness and Vatican officials,” the letter adds.

The letter comes three months after Francis became heavily involved in directing affairs of the Order, which is a sovereign entity and has no official connection to the Pope or the Vatican.

Francis’ involvement began after the Order’s Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing in December ousted the Order’s Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager. The high-ranking official had been supervising the Order’s charitable arm Malteser International for years as it quietly distributed condoms, contraceptive pills, and abortifacient pills in poor countries where the Order worked.

But in a series of surprise moves, Pope Francis demanded that Festing resign from his position, which he did, and went on to reinstate the official dismissed for peddling contraception. The Pope then stripped Cardinal Burke of his function, but not title, as the order’s patron, appointing Archbishop Angelo Becciu as his new delegate to the Order.

Members of the Knights are now asking the Pope for “valid clarification and explanation” of all that has taken place, stating that his actions “appear to compromise the Order’s mission, independent sovereignty, self-governance, and spiritual welfare.”

The members make special mention of their concern over Archbishop Becciu recently telling the Order’s former Grand Master Matthew Festing that out of “obedience” he must stay away from Rome during the upcoming election of his successor.

“This act raises questions about the proper jurisdiction of the Special Delegate with respect to all members of the sovereign Order, for it effectively places Fra’ Festing in a state of exile from Rome, it despoils Fra’ Festing of his rights as a member of the Order, and it harms the Order by interfering with a free election of the Grand Master,” the letter states.

News broke Wednesday that the Vatican has now reversed its decision and told Festing he may attend.

The petition to Pope Francis comes after an anonymous source dumped a host of confidential Knights of Malta internal documents online that confirm the extent to which the Pope involved himself in the affairs of the Order.

Included in the info dump is a letter from Pope Francis to Cardinal Burke dated December 1, 2016 in which the Pope asks the Cardinal to see to it that Freemasons are removed from the Order and that the Order “resolve” any distribution of contraceptives it might be involved in.

“Furthermore, the Order must ensure that the methods and means it uses in its initiatives and healthcare works are not contrary to moral law. If in the past there has been a problem of this nature, I hope that it can be completely resolved. I would be very disappointed if — as you told me — some of the high Officers were aware of practices such as the distribution of any type of contraceptives and have not yet intervened to end such things,” the Pope wrote.

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