This is unbelievable! The Vatican is a small independent state situated within Rome – a Pope has no authority to forbid anyone from coming to the Eternal City if he should desire to. RORATE CAELI claims: “Ever since the Porta Pia fell, in 1870, and Rome became the capital of a newly united Italy, no Pope has ever again claimed the right to forbid anyone from coming to Rome. […] It’s what happened to the former head of the Knights of Malta, Fra Matthew Festing — first forced by the Pope to resign, now ordered (!!!!!) not to come to Rome during the time of the Election of his own successor!”
Some in the Order say move is designed to keep Fra’ Festing from having any influence in the election of a new Grand Master.
In a surprising move, Pope Francis’ special delegate to the Order of Malta has instructed Fra’ Matthew Festing, the Order’s former Grand Master, not to travel to Rome for the election of his successor.
In a letter dated April 15 (see below), Archbishop Angelo Becciu said that many of the Order had “expressed their wish” that Fra’ Festing not travel to Rome for the election on April 29 as they felt his presence would “reopen wounds” and prevent a return to harmony following the dispute earlier this year regarding the dismissal and later reinstatement of Albrecht von Boeselager as Grand Chancellor.
The archbishop said he had “shared the decision with the Holy Father” and that he should therefore forego his trip to Rome “as an act of obedience.”
The news is surprising as sources inside the Order say Fra’ Festing, who the Pope asked to resign in January, remains very popular within the Order and could even be re-elected. The Pope has also said he would accept his re-election.
They claim this move is therefore an attempt by some who wish to take the Order in a distinctly new direction to keep Fra’ Festing from having any influence in the upcoming election.
Lettera Festing 15-04-2017 on Scribd