Order of Malta thanks Pope for his “determination to strengthen its sovereignty”

By Deacon Nick Donnelly, EWTN.co.uk



The Sovereign Order of Malta has released a press statement announcing the resignation of Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, and expressing gratitude to Pope Francis & Card. Parolin “for their interest in & care for the Order”. The press statement goes on to express appreciation for Pope Francis’ decisions which it characterises as coming from the Holy Father’s “determination to strengthen its sovereignty”:

“The Sovereign Order of Malta is most grateful to Pope Francis and the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin for their interest in and care for the Order. The Order appreciates that the Holy Father’s decisions were all carefully taken with regard to and respect for the Order, with a determination to strengthen its sovereignty.”

The statement was released following the meeting of The Sovereign Council, the government of the Sovereign Order of Malta, in Rome.

Though Pope Francis requested and received the resignation of Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing last Tuesday, the press statement makes no reference to this unprecedented action on the part of a pope, but instead states “the Pope has been notified of the resignation of Fra’ Matthew Festing.”

On the 25th January 2017,  the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin issued a letter declaring Pope Francis’ unilateral decision that that all actions taken by Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing and the Sovereign Council after December 6, 2016, to be null and void.

The Sovereign Council of the Sovereign Order of Malta’s press statement makes no reference to Pope Francis’ unilateral declaration but instead states that the Sovereign Council decided to annul the decrees issued by Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing and the Sovereign Council:

Subsequently, the Sovereign Council presided over by the Lieutenant ad interim annulled the decrees establishing the disciplinary procedures against Albrecht Boeselager and the suspension of his membership in the Order. Albrecht Boeselager resumes his office as Grand Chancellor immediately.


The Sovereign Order of Malta’s statement of appreciation for Pope Francis’s “determination to strengthen its sovereignty” is in marked contrast to previous statements issued during the crisis between the Order and the Holy See. In December 2016  the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Order of Malta issued a statement making it clear that the Holy See did not have the authority to appoint a commission to investigate the replacement of the former Grand Chancellor. The Grand Magistry clearly saw the Holy See’s actions as an infringement on its long established sovereignty:

“The replacement of the former Grand Chancellor is an act of internal governmental administration of the Sovereign Order of Malta and consequently falls solely within its competence.”

On the 10th January 2017 the Order of Malta issued another statement protesting the Holy See’s investigation into its internal decisions:

“Thus, considering the legal irrelevance of this group and of its findings relating to the legal structure of the Order of Malta, the Order has decided that it should not cooperate with it.”

Both of these statements appear to have been removed from The Sovereign Order of Malta’s website, the statement for the 23rd December 2016  and the statement for the 10th January 2017

More on this from Father Z

and from OnePeterFive

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10 Responses to Order of Malta thanks Pope for his “determination to strengthen its sovereignty”

  1. This is satire, right? The pope destroys the SOM’s sovereignty, and they thank him for strengthening its sovereignty?

    It’s like some kind of weird double-speak out of Orwell’s 1984. Or some pronouncement by the Politburo of the old Soviet Union.

    A friend commented, “What a joke! I can hardly stop laughing! Who do they think is stupid enough to believe this nonsense?”

    One can only continue praying for a rapid end to this bizarre, destructive pontificate.

  2. toadspittle says:

    Why should the “Knights” have “sovereignty,” anyway?
    If we all had “sovereignty”- what then?
    I suppose “sovereignty,” means the right to do what you like, without interference from anybody. Nice.

  3. That was exactly my thought, Robert; the whole statement reads like something out of Orwell. “Thank you, Big Brother, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to reprogramme me!”

    The removal of the statements from the Order’s website is also pretty Orwellian. Oceania was at war with Eurasia; Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.

  4. @ toadspittle:

    Why should the “Knights” have “sovereignty,” anyway?

    Why should any country have sovereignty?

  5. toadspittle says:

    “Why should any country have sovereignty?”

    That’s a reasonable question, MrX..
    But are “The Knights of Malta,” a country?
    Or just a gang of all-white, all-male, mostly ancient, [Five offensive words deleted by a moderator]?
    We might as well ask ourselves if The Dagenham Girl Pipers should have sovereignty.
    Over what?

    I’ll ask: again What has dressing up like a Ruritanian Field Marshall got to do with Christianity ?

  6. In terms of international law, yes, the Knights of Malta are a country, and hence the Pope’s intervention in their internal affairs is no more appropriate than it would be for, say, Donald Trump to force the resignation of the PM of Canada and send a governor to replace him.

  7. Oh, and “all-white, all-male, mostly ancient, [redacted]” is just a red herring. Sovereign countries are sovereign countries, no matter what their demographics are like.

  8. Paul Hickey says:

    This savage, puerile and ignorant act, is likely directed to further undermining Cardinal Burke, the originator of the Dubia sent last year to Pope Francis. By now attacking the Knights of Malta, this Pope has now destroyed the independence and governance of that ancient Order – a right he does not have, and abusing the loyalty the Order has to the Papacy.

    Like an act reminiscent of a vengeful school boy, the Pope has interfered in, and thus destroyed the Order’s international independence, and thus its legal status as a sovereign entity. This bastardly act has is akin to an invasion of one weak country by its more powerful neighbour. By doing this, this Pope may well unwittingly have written the death script for the Vatican itself, legitimising the larger state ( Italy ) to ignore the law and resume a smaller neighbour ( the Vatican) claiming the former’s existence is a historical anachronism.

    In destroying the Order, this pope has laid the axe to the future independence of the Vatican itself – and all because this pope is a petulant, vengeful, malicious man who seeks domination and the obliteration of all opposition. A true Vicar of Christ ( ah no! )

  9. toadspittle says:

    “In terms of international law, yes, the Knights of Malta are a country,”
    I didn’t know that, Mr.X, So, they have their own civil laws, and are not subject to those of Malta? Can mug anyone on Gozo High Street with impunity? What about taxes – don’t pay any to anybody? Excellent.
    How do I go about becoming my own country?

    “..the Pope has interfered in, and thus destroyed the Order’s international independence, and thus its legal status as a sovereign entity.”
    …Just by strongly suggesting (ordering, if you like) that the “Head Knight” resign, Paul?. Clearly the Order’s sovereign status and independence didn’t add up to all that much.
    Collapsed like a pricked balloon, really
    Because if Festing was all that “independent,” and “sovereign,” he’d have told Francis to put his suggestion in his censer and smoke it.
    What a lot of fuss people are making about this.

    Good idea for Italy to take back the Vatican, though. The sooner, the better.

  10. berolahragamolten says:

    good post

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