Browse Our Articles & Podcasts

Controversial Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Malta Loses in Court

“There is a new turn in the criminal mystery story concerning the Order of Malta and its current Grand Chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager.” So begins a story today at the Austrian Catholic website*. “Boeselager,” the report continues, “had started legal proceedings against the Catholic internet newspaper The district court of Hamburg has decided in the decisive point that the compelling impression from this article – namely, that Albrecht von Boeselager ‘is himself responsible for the above-mentioned accusations, which necessarily also include his knowledge of all relevant circumstances’ – is true.”

Readers will recall that in November, 2014, Cardinal Raymond Burke was removed from his position as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura — the Church’s highest canonical court — and re-assigned as Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. As we reported in our synopsis of the Knights of Malta story in January, 2017:

Somewhere around the same time — near the end of 2014 — the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing, was made aware of charges of impropriety in the conduct of one of his senior officers, Albrecht von Boeselager — this according to the National Catholic Register‘s Edward Pentin. Boeselager, then the Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Malta, had for decades overseen Malteser International — the “worldwide humanitarian relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta” — in his previous position as Grand Hospitaller, a post he held from 1989-2014. During his tenure, it had been alleged, Malteser International had been involved in the distribution of thousands of condoms and oral contraceptives through some of their international programs.

On November 10, 2016, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Patronus of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, met with Pope Francis in a private audience to discuss these allegations. According to Pentin, 

During that meeting … the Pope was “deeply disturbed” by what the cardinal told him about the contraceptive distribution. The Pope also made it clear to Cardinal Burke that he wanted Freemasonry “cleaned out” from the order, and he demanded appropriate action. [emphasis added]

What followed was a major power struggle within the Order — with external pressures applied by the Vatican itself — resulting first in the removal of von Boeselager from the Order (and thus, his position on the Sovereign Council) in December, 2016, by direct action of the Order’s then-Grand Commander, Fra’ Matthew Festing. This did not sit well, however, with the Holy See, and on January 24, 2017, Festing was called to a private meeting with Pope Francis in which he was asked by the pope to resign. He agreed. According to Pentin, “the Pope then had Fra’ Festing include in his letter of resignation that the Grand Master had asked for Boeselager’s dismissal under the influence of Cardinal Raymond Burke, the patron of the Order.” (It is noteworthy that by January, word of the dubia, of which Cardinal Burke was the most visible signatory, had already spread around the world.) On January 28, 2017, the Order’s Sovereign Council officially accepted Festing’s resignation, and “annulled the decrees establishing the disciplinary procedures against Albrecht Boeselager and the suspension of his membership in the Order.” Albrecht von Boeselager was thus immediately reinstated — through the intervention of Pope Francis and Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin — the same day Festing’s resignation was made official.

And it didn’t end there. By February of 2017, Cardinal Burke — alleged to have been falsely implicated in Festing’s resignation letter at the pope’s request — found himself again in the crosshairs. The Order’s Grand Commander (and, at the time, acting Grand Master), Fra’ Ludwig Hoffman von Rumerstein, claimed in an interview that it was Burke who had personally requested the resignation of von Boeselager — an allegation Burke described as “calumny”. Nevertheless, though Burke retained his titular role as Cardinal Patron of the Order, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the pope’s delegate to the order, was announced by the newly-reinstated von Boeselager as having “the full confidence of the Pope and is his spokesman.” Von Boeselager went on to say, “That means that Cardinal Burke as Cardinal Patron of the Order is now de facto suspended.”

When new elections were held in Rome in April, 2017, they provided the Order with a temporary government after the election of Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre as Lietenant of the Grand Master — an interim leadership position for the period of one year. As we reported at the time:

During that year, the Vatican plans to reform the Order fundamentally, including changes to the governance requirements that would open the role of Grand Master to those not among the ranks of the professed Knights (who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience), but instead from a larger pool of candidates within the Order.

One of the lesser-known aspects of this troubling saga in the thousand-year-old chivalric order was the use of legal threats on the part of certain parties to silence the Catholic Press in their coverage of some of the unflattering details of this story. In March, 2017, the Austrian Catholic website received the aforementioned cease-and-desist order for their reporting on Albrecht von Boeselager’s financial dealings in his role of Grand Chancellor of the Order. From their own report on the action at the time:

This week, has been confronted with a judicial cease-and-desist order initiated by the Order of Malta, and this was done with regard to a report of the BILDnewspaper. The BILD newspaper had reported that Grand Chancellor Boeselager accepted a donation of 30 million Swiss Francs, the origin of which is dubious; merely quoted from the report of the BILD newspaper.

A spicy detail: the BILD newspaper itself has so far not been confronted with possible legal actions because of its report, as was able to learn after contacting the newspaper. The editor of, Roland Noé, interprets this as an intentional “strategy of intimidation” against Catholic media. It started already at the end of 2016, when reported in an article about the distribution of condoms by some charitable organizations of the Order of Malta. Also in that case, there then came an immediate letter from a lawyer and, subsequently, an injunction and restraining order. Juridical steps on the side of are currently being considered as well. The possibilty to publish a statement, as offered by, has not been accepted [by the other side]; a direct communication without a laywer — as is the usual procedure among Christians — has so far also not yet been accepted by the responsible persons of the Order of Malta.

Now, with this week’s ruling by the Hamburg court, it appears that a critical blow may have been struck against attempts to control the public narrative about what has transpired within the Order in the past few years — and in particular, since December, 2016. From today’s story at

The court thus has recognized the fact that Malteser International continued this aid program for a couple of months still after the distribution of relief goods together with condoms in one project in Myanmar had become public, and that this happened also with the knowledge and willingness of Mr. von Boeselager. With this decision, the interim injunction – which Boeselager issued after the publication of a report of – has been rescinded in the decisive point.


With the court order of Hamburg, now this development of events is de facto being called into question. Was the pope wrongly informed? Was Festing right and thus unjustly forced to resign? Is Boeselager as Grand Chancellor of a Catholic order still tenable?

In the judgment of the Hamburg court, which was sent to this week in a written form, it is now written, with reference to a December 2016 article of, against which Boeselager had legally intervened: “The whole third paragraph of the article deals critically with different aspects of the work of the claimant (Editor: Albrecht von Boeselager!) as Hospitaller, in order to prove the thesis which was stated at the beginning, namely, that a small circle from the German-speaking realm wants to preserve the advantages of the exclusivity and sovereignty [of the Maltese Order], but wishes to loosen the bonds to Catholic teaching and to the pope, which are in its [the group’s] eyes too tight. For the reader, the compelling conclusion is, in the conviction of the chamber [of the court], that the claimant is himself responsible for all above-mentioned accusations, which necessarily also involves his knowledge of all the relevant circumstances. This impression however is to be regarded as procedurally true, after the result of this opposition hearing.”

Boeselager, on the contrary, had publicly and also in court argued that he had no immediate operative influence upon the aid program of Malteser International and that the events were not in the realm of his responsibility, and that he, as soon as he learned of the abuse, nevertheless acted immediately to stop it. It is notable that, in the meantime, all statements and links with regard to the matter have disappeared from the official homepage of the Order of Malta in Rome.

It is impossible to say how the story will develop from here, but it seems far from over.

(*Translation by Maike Hickson)

43 thoughts on “Controversial Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Malta Loses in Court”

    • Yes.

      I, too.

      CSF Syndrome.

      I’m treating the symptoms with prayer and Bible reading. There is conjecture that the cure might just be the Second Coming.

    • I hear ya. I have been bowing out of following the news for this reason. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect; and it’s nothing good.
      Pretty much just looking forward to the chastisement. My sibling had an interesting happening yesterday. A cartoon video about different types of “families” was shown to his child’s preschool class. You can guess what was in it.
      I’ll be rejoicing with the angel in Rev 18:20 that the sodomites, heretics, etc, enemies of the Church known and unknown will be wiped from the earth. It’s gone too far. Good riddance.

    • I’m so sick of it I could vomit.
      But the bishop of Rome is not sick of it. The USCCB is not sick of it.
      They are sick of those who shine the spotlight on these cockroaches. They are sick of those who demand a return to ecclesiastical and theological order.
      We have passed through the looking glass. It is a nightmare.

    • You need to be made of sterner stuff. All the scandals need to be brought to the light. So that they can be purged and the victims find healing within the Church.

  1. It looks like every Institution, with credentials which give them global entree into target communities/ countries, has been scrutinised to identify sympathetic directors and administrators – sympathetic to the ‘plight of the earth – with its overpopulation’. Is it a false idealism – saving the earth – that has recruited people of influence? or is it old fashioned greed? So many groups have been infiltrated and everyone is being sifted, with Christ or antiChrist!

    • Yep…..this ‘false idealism’ of saving the earth (or as I call it ‘earth worship’) is alive and well with Bergoglio and friends. Very scary as there are many prophesies that a false prophet will usher in the Anti Christ, with the false idealism of ‘saving the earth’ as his premier focus. This man is becoming ever more intimidating as time goes on.

  2. A thoroughly sordid saga in which the good guys got the shaft while the guilty were exalted and rewarded. Isn’t that the Francis papacy in a nutshell?

    • He will not tolerate even the least sign of resistance, and he cunningly removes or otherwise effectively neutralises all those who show an unwillingness to facilitate whatever he decides to implement. He gutted the Congregation for Divine Worship and re-staffed it with a coterie of liberals and trendies, while leaving Cardinal Sarah in place as an effectively impotent Prefect. May one therefore surmise from this that Magnum Principium already existed in embryonic form before he took the axe to the roots of the CDW? Will this leave Cardinal Sarah vis-a-vis the CDW in a comparable, ‘effectively suspended’ situation as with Cardinal Burke and the Order of Malta? Bergoglio’s exercise of power is cynical, ruthless, and completely unapologetic. To any clinical psychologists out there: could this indicate a distinctly psychopathic component in his make-up?

      • Not sure about psychopathic, but at least extremely narcissistic.

        He really likes being admired. He puts on a show of his “humility.” He hugs the poor and marginalized, especially when the cameras are on him. He won’t, however, meet with those who are concerned about the negative impact of his publications.

        He reminds me of the fraternities and sororities from when I was in college. They did all kinds of philanthropy work. They headed up canned food drives. They’d work in food kitchens (with cameras on them so that others could admire their dedication to service). They’d go on poverty walks, and do other showy social justice stuff. When it came to their fellow students, however, you didn’t exist if you didn’t look, think, and act just like them.

        • Yes, maybe you’re right. A distinct tendency towards exhibitionism and feigned humility has been a feature of his papacy. And he is easily unsettled by those who refuse, however respectfully, to kowtow to him, suggesting an extremely self-centered and insecure personality.

          • Don’t you think the Jesuit Superior would know what he was talking about when he called Bergoglio a sociopath?

          • Absolutely beyond all shadow of doubt. Case-in-point: Bergoglio’s cynical re-instatement of von Boeselager as Grand Chancellor. That demonstrated his utter contempt, and not just for Cardinal Burke, but for anyone who is not aligned with his fiendish determination to exercise absolute, dictatorial control. He imbibes all the attention and adulation which the unknowing masses heap upon him, and this further fuels his ruthless determination, as if thereby he is justified. And the psychopath has no active conscience, because when one is totally persuaded as to one’s own self-justification, the faculty of conscience is redundant.

      • Yes, indeed. It’s been reported that former Jesuit Superior General Hans-Peter Kolvenbach urged Pope St. John Paul II not to consecrate Bergoglio a bishop since, according to Kolvenbach, Bergoglio was a “sociopath”.

        Alas, John Paul II didn’t listen and here we are!

  3. Posted here because on the Muller thread it keeps being marked as spam and deleted.

    Comrades, Lenin rightly said that intellectuals had to be guided by the iron hand of the Party. And we see the truth of it with the Catholic Church of Vatican II: for so long now, for many decades, the flock has been led into this gully and over that cliff edge by an unchecked locust cloud of clerical intellectuals who cannot do anything other than foist their opinions on the laity while refusing their responsibility to be tough men, shepherd’s crook in hand, devoted to the sheep and keeping them from all danger.

    What we see here is more of the same “Hello Clouds! Hello bees! Hello flowers!” uselessness from a bunch of benighted buffoons.

    Where is the Cardinal or Bishop who says with the ‘The Imitation of Christ’ “I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it”?

    Padre Pio is dead, Archbishop Lefebvre is dead. Where is now the man who even mildly approximates in his faith, a faith without any compromise whatsoever, to one of the early Fathers of the Church? Men who taught the truth without fear, men whose voices rolled across the world?

    Where is the priest so beautifully described by Chaucer?

    To drawen folk to heven by fairness
    By good ensample, this was his bisynesse:
    But it were any persone obstinat,
    What so he were, of heigh or lowe estat,
    Him wolde he snibben sharply for the nones.
    A bettre preest, I trowe that nowher non is.
    He wayted after no pompe and reverence,
    Ne maked him a spyced conscience,
    But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
    He taughte, but first he folwed it him-selve.

    If only these damnable Cardinals would teach “Cristes lore”, follow it themselves, and “snibben sharply for the nones” the obstinate, the proud, the quasi-intellectual gabbler of uselessness called Bergoglio!

    • TGS: Since you’ve changed the email address linked to your profile in order to regain access to 1P5 comment privileges — rather than approaching Steve about the matter of your prior banning — we’re assuming you’ve changed your tune and decided to begin abiding by the comment policy.

      Please confirm this by responding here.

      If so, glad to have you and your insightful commentary back on board. If not, I’m afraid it’s back to the gulag.

      • “The Great Stalin Brian Miles • 36 minutes ago

        But Comrade, you should get your facts right. I wasn’t “banned” – I decided to delete my profile. Over to you.”

        TGS: Since I was the one who banned you, with Steve’s support, I can
        assure you that you’re incorrect. But you already knew that. I mention
        it here only for the onlookers. In any event, as you’re choosing to play
        games rather deal with this respectfully I’m going to ban you again.

        do not sign up again under a new email or altered disqus handle. If
        after reflection you can agree to abide by our comment policy — which
        includes not making false accusations about 1P5 staff — I suggest you
        take it up with Steve.

          • More projection from a coward who hides behind pseudonyms and sock puppet accounts.

            ATTN ALL: this is The Great Stalin defending himself under another profile; same IP address for both.

            In addition to what Steve posted, TGS knew he was banned as he had to register his disqus account under a new email address (since his old one was blocked) in order to regain access to the comments here.

          • It’s a bit strong to say that my friend Joe hides behind pseudonyms (most do, after all) and “sock puppets” (I take slight issue with the terminology). I’m sure I’m just one of many who knows who he is, where he comes from, what he does for a living, surprisingly much about his family, what position he preferred when young (although I admit I don’t know his precise relationships with any hookers he’s got close to).

            He can be a bit belligerent. But that’s props for you.

            And as for “coward”! Words fail me!

          • I have no problem with pseudonyms in the context of normal internet discourse. They’re common and quite understandable. However, if you’re going to publicly call someone a liar, it is the height of cowardice to do so anonymously.

            Re: sock puppets. Not sure what your problem is there. Creating a secondary profile for the purpose of directing attaboys at another that you manage is sock puppetting, plain and simple.

            His belligerence is not the problem; first it was his refusal to respect the comment policy vis-a-vis calling the pope the false prophet; now it’s the fact that he’s been shown himself to be a liar.

        • Thank you, Brian.

          Look, everyone, this is ridiculous. I was notified immediately when TGS was banned on August 1st. Here’s a screenshot of our Disqus admin panel:

          It appears that TGS did delete his account, but he was banned first (you can’t ban someone with a deleted account) and it was after his repeated assertions that Francis is the false prophet, with a refusal to tone down his comments after requests from the moderators.

          We all know that TGS is an often insightful commentator, and I’d prefer it not be this way. But I will not have my moderators accused of being deceitful.

          This is the kind of stuff that makes my finger Twitch over the button to disable comments altogether. I don’t want to waste time on things like this when we have work to do.

          • That’s interesting.

            I comment with Disqus using my real name, real email address, and real face. I never get any trouble from it, and I’m quite comfortable with it. At some other sites I enter my email address explicitly.

            But is it right that site administrators can all see that email address, even if it hasn’t been entered explicitly? That it’s somehow shared by Disqus?

  4. “Namely, that a small circle from the German-speaking realm wants to
    preserve the advantages of the exclusivity and sovereignty [of the
    Maltese Order], but wishes to loosen the bonds to Catholic teaching and
    to the pope, which are in its [the group’s] eyes too tight.”

    Actually, for those who profess they never saw it coming and even though it was condemned by Pope St. John Paul the Great, the current Pope is a Liberation Theologist. Traditional Catholics, those who believe in he Mass of St. Pope Pius V and the Catechism of St. Pope Pius X, are definitely in for a rough time. Just as soon as Almighty God calls home our Beloved Pope Emeritus, Pope Frances will wipe away Summorum Pontificum, Ecclesia Dei and anything else that smacks of “The Old Time Religion”. This Pope will bring in the Protestant Catholic Church and he will dispense with the Title of Pope to take on the title of President. The Church numbers will shrink to unbelievably low numbers; most Churches will close and be sold off; and those religious orders that want to adhere to “The Old Time Religion” will either have to give up and fall in with the Protestant Catholic Church or move along on it’s own. We just have to find the Leaders who will acknowledge the Pope as the Successor to St. Peter but re-organize the traditionalist Followers into a Rite of it’s own which is the only mistake our Beloved Pope Emeritus made. The historic and benevolent Order of Malta is just the next Domino to fall.

    • unfortunately, there are so many Catholics that keep going along to get along with all of the glad smacking and ancillary commotion at Mass that they will never see a / the problem. Traditionalists have already been given the back seat for the current ride, but will be kicked off the bus next. The question then becomes” where do we go from here?” My wife a veil wearer and i already get the ‘stinky eye’ because we are humble non-conformists. i am always looking for Traditionalist alternatives but suck it up for the NO. Fortunately we still have a 24/7 Adoration Chapel to go to daily. At least there is that.

      • In some Cities in Canada and the United States there are Churches under the FssP. Again, sadly, there are some Diocese through North America ( mine included) where the Church of Nice Bishops will not allow the return of the Traditional Latin Mass.

        I have a dear friend of mine who absolutely refuses to attend the Protestant Catholic Mass, as he calls it, so every morning he turns to this site”……………

        takes out his Latin English Missal and follows the Mass of the day from his Missal. It might not be the perfect solution but he is adamant he will not attend the Novus Circus, as he calls it. And, as he would tell you, God won’t be mad because at least I made the effort to stay faithful.

        • What is this “Latin English Missal”? Is it in Latin or English? Or does the poor man need the Latin Liturgy to be translated into English to understand it? If so he should study Latin… (yes, i mean “rosa,rosae,rosae” ) or reconsider the idea to attend the Mass in the language he understands the better. Latin is not a fetish and all catholics should speak – or at least understand – it.

  5. It’s a great shame that the moderator comment below to TGS contains untruths (TGS was not banned – he simply deleted his former profile). TGS replied to the post below; that reply was deleted within four minutes. It’s clear that 1P5 doesn’t want TGS here, so once again the profile has been deleted. Good luck everyone.

      • Since you just lost one of the most entertaining posters, may I ask the grievous offense which was the caralyst for this unfortunate development?

        • 1. He was first banned for repeatedly stating that Francis was The False Prophet; before he was banned he was asked to stay, but informed that he had violated the comment policy, and asked to remove his offending posts. He refused.

          2. A month and a half later, to get around the ban, he registered his profile under a different email address and started posting again — claiming he’d just taken a voluntary break.

          3. Rather than simply re-banning him, he was then asked to confirm whether he was now willing to abide by the comment policy.

          4. His response to this was to claim he was never banned and begin accusing me of dishonesty through his sock puppet account.

          5. All his rhetoric was shown to be false.

          6. Nevertheless, he still has the option to make it right and come back again.

  6. Wow, the New Order of Malta is covering itself with glory! (As we say in Spanish: “¡Se está cubriendo de gloria!”).

    They are acting in the most anti-Catholic way: persecuting any attempt to find the truth by judiciary tricks. I am glad it went badly for them this time.

    As for TGS saga, this is the typical strategy of leftist groups: to overwhelm the websites where the truth is sought with their ideological, planned, concerted action of creating smoke screens in order to prevent really free discussions.

  7. I wnder what the papal threats were that forced Festing, who is essentially a good man, to falsely write in his resignation letter that Cardinal Burke was a main instigator in the dismissal of von Boeselager?
    Festing sought no further post or favour. What did he have to lose by refusing to tell a lie? Was he perhaps threatened with excommunication by PF, or what?

  8. For those here looking for the subthread on the banning of a commenter: it has been removed. The comment box is here to discuss the issues raised in the articles above it. The drama of who is and isn’t abiding by our comment policy and whether they’re here or not, fascinating as it appears to be to some people, is a thread-hijacking utopia. It’s a distraction, and I don’t want it playing out here. Thanks for your understanding on this.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular on OnePeterFive

Share to...