Pope Francis’ war against the Vatican traditionalists and the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta

What started out as a fight over staffing of the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta, has escalated into a public battle between His Holiness Pope Francis and the ultra conservative Vatican forces who oppose his progressive policies.

The  dispute began when British born Grand Master Mathew Festing sacked Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager who was accused of allowing the distribution of condoms to the poor in Burma. Von Boeselager protested that his dismissal was deeply unfair, a complaint that resulted in Pope Francis launching an investigation that was considered unacceptable to the Grand Chancellor who considered it meddling by the Pope in the Order’s internal affairs and refused any cooperation with the Pope’s commission of enquiry which in his opinion had no jurisdiction over the Order.

PA-20196555-800x500His Holiness Pope Francis and the former Grand Master of the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta, Mathew Festing

The Vatican reacted to the challenge with barely concealed anger, saying that the Pope had every right to intervene in the affairs of the Order because as leader of the Catholic Church, he was its spiritual head. The row between the Vatican and the Grand Master has ended with his forced humiliating resignation and the appointment of a papal delegate that will govern the Order until a new Grand Master, supposedly with progressive views more in tune with those of His Holiness is appointed.

Immediately after the resignation of the Grand Master, the Pope announced that all “disciplinary procedures” against Mr von Boeselager were immediately scrapped and his suspension from the Order, which had been decreed by Mr Festing, was annulled and he was reinstated as Grand Chancellor by the Sovereign Council, the governing body of the Order.

cvlmlt39_gran-ospedaliere-albrecht-freiherr-von-boeselagerThe Grand Chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager

The New York Times has published that, “Conservatives have denounced what they call an illegal annexation of the Order and a purging by the a power- obsessed Pontiff, while liberal observers saw the whole episode as resulting from an act of subterfuge by the Pope’s most public critic within the Vatican hierarchy, the American cardinal Raymond Burke.”

The confrontation was viewed as a microcosm of the battle within the Vatican between conservatives and liberals, as Pope Francis upsets hardliners with his more compassionate stance on many important matters such as divorce, homosexuality, inter-religious dialogue, multi-culturism  etc.

The new political climate with the election of Trump as President of the United States and the rise of far-right populists in Europe have emboldened ultra conservatives in the Vatican who sense that the Pope could be vulnerable.

It is known that Pope Francis is critical of the paraphernalia surrounding the Knights of the Order and has, when he was cardinal in Argentina, a series of run-ins with the Argentinian Knights because of their display of wealth and their lack of charitable activities that in those days were limited to a charitable ball.

The resignation of the Grand Master has delighted the Pope’s followers around the world who support his compassionate approach as it has showed that conniving conservatives cannot push His Holiness around.

The Lieutenant Grand Master of The Sovereign Order of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta, Baron of Lobera has made a statement after the resignation of Mathew Festing:  “We are glad that the unfortunate and regrettable dispute that the Catholic branch of the Order of Malta has had with His Holiness Pope Francis has been solved with the resignation of the Grand Master.  Our branch has nothing to do with this dispute and we are totally supportive of  His Holiness’ view point in this dispute.
We are purely  a humanitarian organization  with members of both genders, all religions and many different cultures serving the common good. We support fully the Declaration of the Vatican Council II, entitled Nostra Eatate, on the relations of the Church with non-Christian religions, one of the milestones in the propitiation of inter-religious dialogue, which spread through the Secretariat for non-Christians, instituted by H.H. Pope Paul VI in 1964, and continued with the Pontifical Council for the interreligious dialogue created by H.H. Pope Juan Pablo II in 1988 with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus. This policy is now followed by H.H Pope Francis”.

The Ecumenical branch of the Order of Malta moved to Russia and placed itself under the protection of the Tsars when the Order was exiled from Malta after Napoleon’s invasion of the island.

183760_4559811113049_850026826_nThe Lieutenant Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta O.S.J, Baron of Lobera

 

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Carlos Mundy

Carlos Mundy, the current Count of Mondaye ( a Norman title that dates back to the XI century!) , was born in Bilbao (Spain) but lived in London until the age of twelve, when he moved to Madrid (Spain) with his parents and brothers. He studied in Spain and went to University to study journalism. During those years he was already working as a freelance journalist for several Spanish magazines. AT the age of 19 he took off on a round the world tour for two years working as a model to make ends meet. On his return he founded a model agency in 1982 which he managed until 1996 and became the top agency in Spain with offices in Madrid and Barcelona. During those years he traveled the world extensively on scouting trips and he also continued working as a freelance journalist doing interviews to top fashion designers, heads of state and celebrities. He also wrote many travel pieces: his passion. In the year 2000 he founded Metaphore Magazine: Creative Culture, a must read in the Spanish publishing scene. The magazine was a monthly that lasted two years. In 2003 he published the Spanish version of The Rainbow Warrior, co- written with his sister Charis and that was published in the US in 2007. His next book, The Toucan Lodge was published simultaneously in the UK and the US in 2009 and its Spanish publication in 2010. The novel was re-released in the UK in 2011 under the title Gestapo Lodge. This was followed by the publication of the successful historical novel, "The Romanov Lost Icon and the Enigma of Anastasia" (Thames River Press) in 2013, co-written with historian Marie Stravlo. 2015 has seen the publication of an epic fantasy co-written again with his sister Charis, "The Twilight of the Fourth World," inspired by the teachings of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and the Hopi Indian prophecies. Before the end of the year his latest historical novel, "The Indian Kings of France: The fascinating story of the Bourbons of Bhopal" is expected to be published. Carlos is currently working on the production of Unforgettable, a tribute to the Legends of Hollywood which is scheduled to start shooting in Jodphur (India) in 2017 with a fabulous cast of legends. Carlos is a show jumper and when time permits, he continues to paint. He had two successful exhibits in the nineties. He is also a member of The Comite de APoyo al Tibet. The Spanish NGO, that has lobbied successfully to have the Spanish courts start criminal proceedings against Chinese Communist leaders for Crimes against Humanity committed in occupied Tibet. He was made a Knight of the Royal Order of the Principality of Hutt River in 2007, became a Knight of the Ecumenic Order of Malta in 2011 and received THE WOMEN TOGETHER AWARD at the United Nations for his philanthropic anonymous work with Tibet. He is currently Chancellor of Foreign Affairs of the Ecumenical Knights of Malta.

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