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Malta Besieged: An Ancient and Sovereign Order Toppled by Rome

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta — known as “the Sovereign Military Order of Malta” or the “Knights of Malta” for short — is one of the Catholic Church’s oldest and most respected institutions. Founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century, the lay religious order began as a monastic community that ministered to and later protected pilgrims in the Holy Land, and continues charitable works throughout the world today. Once rulers of the island of Malta, the Order lost its foothold on its namesake in 1798, during the Siege of Malta, and has been headquartered in Rome since 1834 as a sovereign subject of international law. In essence, the Order is a tiny nation within a nation, with its own laws, governance, passports, currency, a small military corps, and even permanent observer status at the United Nations. The Order claims “more than 13,500 Knights, Dames and Chaplains. Next to them stand 80,000 permanent volunteers and 25,000 employees, most of them medical personnel.”

For most of my life as a Catholic, I had never heard of the Order. It wasn’t until Cardinal Raymond Burke was reassigned as their Cardinal Patron in 2014 that their existence became known to me. In recent months, turmoil between the Order and the Vatican has brought them to the attention of many Catholics, but the details of the intense political maneuvering behind the scenes has eluded many of even the most well-informed observers.

Earlier today, the Sovereign Council of the Order accepted the resignation of their highest officer, Fra’ Matthew Festing, the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta. It also nullified some of his recent disciplinary acts — acts that we will soon describe in detail. His surprise resignation was tendered just three days ago, reportedly at the insistent request of Pope Francis himself in a private audience. This unprecedented interference in the Order from the Holy See prompts many questions, and I’ve spent much of the past week researching what has transpired to lead us to this point in the story. It is my hope that in the following accounting, you will find a comprehensive summary of these unusual events.

A feeling of urgency and importance pervades this saga. It is a time of intense personal and ecclesiastical controversy for the pope; for him to have prioritized this odd squabble with an ancient chivalric order is bizarre, raising questions about hidden motivations and machinations at the highest levels of the Church.

What lies hidden beneath the stories we are being told? Why is this nearly thousand-year-old sovereign, lay religious order — involved primarily in the sort of charitable works Francis lauds — the target of such an aggressive (and arguably illegal) intervention from Rome? What leverage is being brought to bear by the Vatican to coerce behaviors within the Order that seem, on the surface, entirely contrary to self-preservation and good sense?

Toppling the Order: The Timeline of a Papal Coup

On November 8, 2014, the Vatican announced that Cardinal Raymond Burke — then prefect of the Church’s high canonical court known as the Apostolic Signatura — had been reassigned as Cardinal Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. The position was seen by many as a form of banishment, a figurehead post with little clout within the affairs of the Church for an inconvenient cardinal who was gaining significant attention in the media for opposing the errors of a synod on the family that would ultimately lead to one of the most controversial papal documents of all time — Amoris Laetitia. 

Burke’s removal, however, did not engender his silence. Over the past two years after being sent into exile, the American cardinal has not ceased his efforts. He has spoken out again and again, warning of the dangers inherent in an altered pastoral praxis that would seek to allow those living in adultery to receive Absolution (without a purpose of amendment) and the Eucharist. When Cardinal Burke became the de facto face of the Four Cardinals’ dubia on Amoris Laetitia, it appeared likely that it would be seen by powerful hierarchs in Rome — the pope included — as a bridge too far, and quite possibly grounds for retaliation.

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.

In January of 2016, a three-person commission that had been created earlier by Festing to investigate the allegations presented its findings to the Grand Master.

On November 10, 2016, Cardinal Burke met with Pope Francis in private audience. According to Pentin:

During that meeting, the Register has learned, 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]

The pope’s concern over contraceptive distribution when he had previously shown an apparent willingness to allow contraceptive use in eugenic cases is surprising. No less so is his insistence that Burke go on a hunt for Freemasons. Recall that in February of 2016, Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, issued a public letter to his “Brother Masons” in which he stated that “various declarations on the incompatibility of the two memberships in the Church or in Freemasonry do not impede, however, dialogue” on matters such as “communitarian dimension, works of charity, the fight against materialism, human dignity and knowledge of each other.” Recall, too, that Francis himself was celebrated by Freemasons upon his election, and that at least one of his attack dogs targeting Cardinal Burke on the matter of the dubia — Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto of the Roman Rota — has been alleged to be a Freemason since the 1970s.

On November 28, 2016, Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute sent a letter to Cardinal Burke including his own detailed research and findings on the matter of Malteser International’s contraception distribution. His report confirmed what was discovered by the internal commission.

On December 1, 2016, a followup letter was sent from the pope to Cardinal Burke in which Pentin reported that “the Holy Father underlined the cardinal’s constitutional duty to promote the spiritual interests of the order and remove any affiliation with groups or practices that run contrary to the moral law.”

Pentin adds:

The Holy Father did not explicitly ask in the letter that Boeselager be dismissed, and, contrary to reports, Cardinal Burke has insisted that he would never have told Boeselager that the Pope had specifically asked for his dismissal. Rather, inside sources are at pains to point out that the Knights’ leadership could not see how the matter could be otherwise rectified, when great scandal was involved and no one was taking responsibility for it. The leadership believed it was clear that Boeselager was principally responsible for what had happened, especially when, during the Dec. 6 meeting, he gave no reply when asked why he did not formally protest the accuracy of the commission report. [emphasis added]

A reliable source also recalls Boeselager saying at a reception in Rome in 2014: “We have to give contraceptives to the poor or they will die.” Boeselager also reportedly did not reply when confronted with this remark at the Dec. 6 meeting.

The Knights’ leadership, including Cardinal Burke, were convinced that a grave violation of the moral law had been verified, and especially as it had been going on for a period of time, the persons responsible had to be disciplined; otherwise, the institution would lose its credibility.

On December 6, 2016, a meeting was held among some of the top leadership of the Order, including Grand Master, Fra’ Festing, Grand Commander, Fra’ Hoffmann von Rumerstein, and Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Patron. During that meeting, as a result of findings of “severe problems which occurred during Boeselager’s tenure as Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta, and his subsequent concealment of these problems from the Grand Magistry, as proved in a report commissioned by the Grand Master last year,” Boeselager was called by the Grand Master to resign.

Boeselager refused.

Festing then invoked his authority as superior, and ordered Boesalager to resign. It is at this moment opportune to explain that the senior leadership of the Knights of Malta, as a lay religious order, is only drawn, according to the Order’s constitutions, from the ranks of the “Professed Knights in Perpetual Vows” — those vows being, like other religious orders, poverty, chastity, and obedience. This means that Boeselager was under obedience just as surely as any religious under a superior when the order was made.

Nevertheless, according to Festing, Boeselager refused the order.

“Thus,” reads the statement on the Order’s website, “the Grand Commander, with the backing of the Grand Master and the Sovereign Council and most members of the Order around the world, initiated a disciplinary procedure after which a member can be suspended from membership in the Order, and thus all Offices within the Order.”

On December 8, 2016, Fra’ Festing announced that the mandate of Grand Chancellor Abrecht von Boeselager had ended.

“After his dismissal,” Pentin reported,

inside sources say that Boeselager went to [Vatican Secretary of State] Cardinal Parolin, erroneously telling him that he had been told by Cardinal Burke that the Pope had instructed him to resign. [emphasis added]

Because he viewed the situation as an emergency, according to sources, Cardinal Parolin did not verify what was communicated to Boeselager by Cardinal Burke before writing a Dec. 12 letter to Fra’ Festing on behalf of the Holy Father. In it, he stressed that the Pope’s “only instructions” were those given to Cardinal Burke in his missive of Dec. 1.

On December 12, 2016, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, wrote the above-mentioned letter (PDF Link) to Fra’ Festing, indicating with some urgency that Pope Francis was unhappy with Boeselager’s removal. “I feel compelled to inform you,” he wrote, “on behalf of — and by specific request of — the Holy Father, Pope Francis, that the only instructions given by him are those that were communicated in writing on 1st December last, in the letter addressed to Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Patronus of the Order.”

“In particular,” he went on, “regarding the use and dissemination of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness asked that dialogue be the approach used to address and resolve potential problems. He never mentioned, conversely, expelling anyone.”

Fra’ Festing responded, according to Pentin, stressing

that the decision he had taken was “fully in accordance with the instructions” relayed by Cardinal Burke and asked for an urgent meeting with Cardinal Parolin to find a way forward. At that meeting, Cardinal Parolin said he wanted to institute a commission to look into the issues surrounding the dismissal. The grand master and the leadership of the Knights refused such a commission, mainly due to the Knights’ sovereign status that prohibits such interference in its internal governance, according to international law.

On December 14, 2016, Grand Chancellor ad interim Fra’ John E. Critien was elected.

On December 15, 2016, in a move that went largely unnoticed, Georg von Boeselager — Abrecht von Boeslager’s brother — was appointed to a supervisory position at the Vatican Bank.

On December 21, 2016, Cardinal Parolin sent a second letter to Festing, reiterating that the pope did not agree with the decision to remove Boeselager:

“I wish first of all to reiterate that these measures [the sacking and suspension of Boeselager] must not be attributed to the will of the Pope or his directives,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to Festing on 21 December. “As I expressed to you in my letter of 12 December 2016: ‘as far as the use and diffusion of methods and means contrary to the moral law, His Holiness has asked for dialogue as the way to deal with, and resolve, eventual problems. But he has never spoken of sending someone away!’”

The cardinal goes on to say that the action against Boeselager must be seen as “suspended” until the papal commission into the saga has reported, something which will take place at the end of this month.

Cardinal Parolin says Francis would like the conflict to be resolved but raises the possibility the Holy See could take further steps against the Order – and given the defiance of the Pope in this matter, the positions of both Cardinal Burke and Festing are under pressure.

On December 22, 2016, The Lepanto Institute published its findings, which had previously only been made available to Cardinal Burke. Their detailed reporting documented the distribution of condoms through Malteser International.

The Strange Provenance of an Uninvited Commission

On January 25th, The Italian news/tabloid hybrid Dagospia published a fascinating report on the matter. (We won’t link to it here due to that publication’s prolific inclusion of pornographic content; instead we link to a translation provided by Andrew Guernsey) In it, we read that a wealthy Frenchman, Jehan du Tour, bequeathed a sum of nearly 120 million Swiss francs, naming among his heirs two undisclosed individuals and two charities: the Hospitallers of St. John of God and the French Association of the Order of Malta.

Dagospia reports that the executor of du Tour’s estate, one Mrs. Ariane Slinger of Geneva, created a charitable trust under New Zealand law — known until recently as being exempt from much of the red tape of other nations in the realm of offshore accounts  — called Caritas pro Vitae GRADU Charitable Trust. Such a trust would keep the assets in the bequest undivided, with the executor having the power of the purse when it comes time to pay the beneficiaries. Slinger is the CEO of ACE International, which provides “advisory, management, administration and trustee services”. Slinger’s name comes up in odd places online; I found her mentioned on several websites, perhaps most notably at the center of a labyrinthine financial misconduct investigation piece in the UK Independent from 1996.

According to Dagospia, du Tour passed away in 2012, at which point the Order of Malta, having been made aware of Slinger’s role in controlling the funds by a French member, filed suit against her in Geneva — a suit which could, Dagospia alleges, lead to criminal proceedings against Slinger. (The nature of the suit is unclear from the report.)

And this is where things get really interesting.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was, until February of 2016, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva — which makes him Slinger’s Genevan compatriot. (Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who has been intimately involved in negotiations between the pope and Fra’ Festing, was his boss. Nuncios fall under the Vatican Secretariat of State, Section for General Affairs.) Tomasi — also a member of the Order of Malta — created another foundation called Caritas in Veritate. The website lists the foundation’s long term goal as “to make the positions of the Catholic Church more understandable to third parties and more visible in the open debate held within the United Nations system.” Tomasi is no longer listed publicly on the website, as his position has been taken over by Slovenian Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, who now holds Tomasi’s former position as UN Observer (and is himself a Conventual Chaplain Grand Cross ad honorem of the Order of Malta). Tomasi’s bio page as a board member, however, remains accessible. The treasurer position for Caritas in Vertitate went to Marc Odendall, another member of the Order and an international investment banker who was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 to the board of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority — a group Fortune magazine says was “set up by Pope Benedict XVI to clean up the Vatican’s financial activities after a string of scandals.”

The Dagospia report also points out that on the board of directors of Caritas in Veritate is one Marie Therese Pictet Althann, who has served as Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Order of Malta to the United Nations since 2005. Caritas in Vertitate has, according to Dagospia,  also organized various conferences involving a Lebanese banker named Marwan Senhaoui, who heads up the Lebanese chapter of the Order of Malta.

The influence of members of the Order at the foundation is, therefore, not insignificant.

In 2014, when Albrecht von Boeselager became Grand Chancellor of the Order, he began, according to Dagospia, to interact with Slinger on some proposals related to the du Tour inheritance. Just what those proposals were remains unclear. But Dagospia asserts that Odendall and Sehnaoui worked together to prepare a report on the matter. A significant amount of interaction via email between these individuals is alleged to have taken place. At one point, Dagospia reports, Slinger addressed Tomasi as “Dear Sylvano” — a surprising informality, unless perhaps they were more familiar with one another than casual acquaintance would permit.

When the new Vatican commission set up to investigate the sacking of Boeselager was announced, it included five members, three of whom are his notable associates with ties to the activities in Geneva: Archbishop Tomasi, Marc Odendall, and Marwan Senhaoui. From Pentin:

The five members of the commission of enquiry are Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s former observer to the United Nations in Geneva; Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University; Jacques de Liedekerke, a lawyer; Marc Odendall, an investment banker; and Marwan Sehnaoui, president of the Order of Malta in Lebanon.

Apart from Father Ghirlanda, all those appointed to the group are members of the order, and most are known allies of Boeselager. Odendall is known to be particularly supportive of Boeselager, and Archbishop Tomasi is a good friend of Odendall, according to sources inside the order.

Pentin also reports that Cardinal Parolin, who seems to be orchestrating a good deal of the Vatican’s involvement in the matter, has been aware of the du Tour bequest since early 2014.

The question remains unanswered as to what level of involvement — if any — the members of the Order who have worked at Caritatis in Veritate have had with Slinger and her Caritatis pro Vita foundation, both located in Geneva.

The Timeline Continues

On December 23, 2016, Boeselager issued a statement (PDF link), rejecting the legality of his ouster by the Grand Master on various grounds. Among these, and arguably most important when it comes to setting the stage for what comes next, is this objection:

The first ‘justification’ [for Boeselager’s ouster] was that my dismissal was in accordance with the wishes of the Holy See. As I have already detailed above, such a request was never made. The letter from the Holy See confirming that no such request was made has so far not been presented to the Sovereign Council by the Grand Master.

To date, there has been no public revelation of the December 1 letter from the pope to Cardinal Burke outlining his “duty to promote the spiritual interests of the order and remove any affiliation with groups or practices that run contrary to the moral law”. Boeselager is claiming that he was told that the Holy See wanted him removed. Burke has said that he would “never have told Boeselager that the pope had specifically asked for his dismissal”; he has also revealed that he was there when it took place: “I can’t make any comment on these decisions because I was never consulted. I was present at the dismissal.”

On January 3, 2017, Fra’ John Critien, who was elected as interim Grand Chancellor on December 14, said, according to Pentin,

that the order “cannot collaborate” with the papal commission, not only because of its “juridical irrelevance” with respect to the order’s legal system, but “above all” in order to “protect its sovereign prerogatives against initiatives in form objectively aimed at questioning or limiting its sovereign character.” The order had already publicly stated such “interference” is “unacceptable.”

He, therefore, stressed that lack of collaboration with the commission is purely for “juridical motivations” and is “not and can in no way be considered lack of respect towards the commission itself nor towards the Secretariat of State of the Holy See.”

On January 4, 2017, Pentin says that Archbishop Tomasi

replied to Fra’ Critien’s Jan. 3 letter, which he said “makes some statements whose inaccuracy creates misunderstandings” and “directly contradicts the wishes of the Holy Father.” According to the archbishop, the issue with respect to Boeselager’s dismissal “is not the sovereignty of the order, but the reasonable claim of questionable procedures and lack of proven valid cause for the action taken.” Also, he said, “there has never been the request for the resignation or dismissal of anyone, on the part of the Holy See and especially of the Holy Father.”

“Regarding what Your Excellency calls the juridical irrelevance of the commission, the arguments used to replace the grand chancellor prompted its establishment by the Holy Father, since the perceived irregularity of the procedure has deeply divided the order,” Archbishop Tomasi stated.

It is unclear in what capacity Tomasi was speaking. Was it as a commissioner of this newly formed group of Vatican investigators? Was it as a member of the order? Was it as a colleague and associate (and possibly a friend) of Boeselager? What is clear is that the narrative that “the Holy Father never asked for Boeselager to be fired” is the rhetorical key to everything that would come after. What is impossible to verify — due to the confidentiality surrounding Burke’s November 10th meeting with Francis and his December 1 followup letter from Francis — is whether this claim is even true. And Cardinal Burke, inasmuch as he is a man with a reputation for conducting himself with honor and integrity and abiding by the rules, isn’t likely to reveal more, even if it comes at a personal cost.

On January 10, 2017, in a statement that has now been removed from the Order of Malta’s website as, it appears, part of the nullification of Fra’ Festing’s most recent acts as Grand Master, Festing reiterated the Order’s sovereignty against an imposed Vatican investigation. In part, the statement (available here as part of Robert Moynihan’s excellent January 22, 2017 letter) reads:

The Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Order of Malta, in response to the activities being carried out by a Group appointed by the Secretary of State of the Vatican, considers it appropriate to reiterate that the replacement of the former Grand Chancellor was an internal act of the government of the Order.

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. This is to protect its sovereignty against initiatives which claim to be directed at objectively (and, therefore – quite apart from its intentions – reveals it to be legally irrelevant) questioning or even limiting said Sovereignty.

Article 4 paragraph 6 of the Constitutional Charter is clear when it states that “the religious nature of the Order does not prejudice the exercise of sovereign prerogatives pertaining to the Order in so far as it is recognized by States as a subject of international law” and Article 4 paragraph 5 reiterates that “the Order has diplomatic representation to the Holy See, according to the norms of international law.”

The confirmation of such status under international law is also attested to in the Annuario Pontificio of the Holy See, where the Order is mentioned only once and not amongst the religious orders, but rather amongst the States with Embassies accredited the Holy See.


On January 14, 2017, Festing sent an internal letter to members of the Order to inform them on what was transpiring and to reassure them of the legality of the process used to remove Boeselager. “The legal position has been clarified by numerous sources, and most importantly by the Advocate General, who has issued a statement defending the correct procedure which was followed.” He questioned again the involvement of the Holy See in an investigation, and reiterated that the decision was an act of “internal governance” and that the Holy See “has, in spite of its honourable and laudable intentions, no way of effectively intervening in such matters.”

The letter also notes the “serious accusations of a conflict of interest for at least three of the members who have been proved to be linked to a fund in Geneva. The two former Grand Chancellors had been overseeing the Order’s interest in this fund. Needless to say there is nothing to suggest anything untoward, but personal and financial links make the Commission members clearly unfit to address the situation objectively. … In refusing to acknowledge this group of people’s jurisdiction, I am trying to protect the Order’s sovereignty.”

On January 17, 2017, a Vatican press communiqué said that “the Holy See reaffirms its confidence in the five Members of the Group appointed by Pope Francis on 21 December 2016 to inform him about the present crisis of the Central Direction of the Order, and rejects, based on the documentation in its possession, any attempt to discredit these Members of the Group and their work.”

On January 24, 2017, Pope Francis unexpectedly called Fra’ Festing to the Vatican for a private audience. We reported that day, following a report from the Spanish-language website InfoVaticana, that Festing had been asked to resign, and had acquiesced. We later confirmed our story with a source with knowledge of the situation. The following day, Edward Pentin provided more detail:

In a Jan. 25 statement, the Vatican said: “Yesterday, 24 January 2017, in audience with the Holy Father, His Highness Fra’ Matthew Festing tendered his resignation from the office of Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.”

“Today, 25 January, the Holy Father accepted his resignation, expressing appreciation and gratitude to Fra’ Festing for his loyalty and devotion to the Successor of Peter, and his willingness to serve humbly the good of the Order and the Church.”

The statement ended by saying “the governance of the Order will be undertaken ad interim by the Grand Commander pending the appointment of the Papal Delegate” — a significant and controversial development in view of the Order’s sovereign status.

The confirmation follows comments a spokesperson told Reuters last night, that the Pope had asked the Grand Master to resign “and he agreed.” The Register has confirmed this through other sources, and learned that the meeting was convoked with just two hours notice, at 5.30pm.

On January 26, 2017, Pentin published a new report. In it, he revealed a new letter from Cardinal Parolin, and additional details of the meeting:

Pope Francis has declared that all actions taken by the head of the Order of Malta and its governing council since the dismissal of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager last month are “null and void,” including the election of Boeselager’s replacement.

Writing on the Pope’s behalf to members of the Order’s governing council Jan. 25 … Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin stated that the Holy Father, “on the basis of evidence that has emerged from information he has gathered, has determined that all actions taken by the Grand Master after December 6, 2016, are null and void.”

He added: “The same is true for those of the Sovereign Council, such as the election of the Grand Chancellor ad interim.” The Council elected Fra’ John Critien as Boeselager’s temporary replacement.

Cardinal Parolin began his letter by re-emphasizing that the Grand Commander, Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, is now in charge of the Order, adding that “in the renewal process which is seen as necessary,” the Pope would “appoint his personal Delegate with powers that he will define in the act of appointing him.”

What is more astonishing is Pentin’s description of what was asked of Festing during his audience with Francis:

The Pope summoned Fra’ Festing to the Vatican on Jan. 24 on the strict instruction not to let anyone know about the audience — a modus operandi that has been used frequently during this pontificate, the Register has learned. During the meeting, Francis asked Fra’ Festing to resign immediately, to which the Grand Master agreed. The Pope then ordered him to write his resignation letter on the spot, according to informed sources.

The Register has also learned that the Pope told Fra’ Festing that the reason for asking for his resignation was the Pope’s conviction that he has to do a new, complete investigation of the Order, and that such an investigation would be more easily conducted if the Grand Master resigned.

The Register has been told that 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. However, as patron, the cardinal has no governance in the Order and can only counsel the Grand Master, meaning the decision to dismiss the Grand Chancellor belonged solely to the Grand Master.

We do not know if Festing agreed to this condition of implicating Cardinal Burke. We do know that Burke has claimed from the beginning that while he was present for the December 6 meeting with Boeselager, he had no role in the decision making process that led to his removal from the Order. Burke has also maintained that he never conveyed to Boeselager anything pertaining to the wishes of Pope Francis as regards to his removal.

But now, it appears that Cardinal Burke is in the crosshairs. In a piece at Vatican Insider, Papal sycophant Andrea Tornielli openly accuses Cardinal Burke of lying to Pope Francis about Boeselager, taking pains to cast the scandal-plagued Grand Chancellor as coming from “an old anti-Nazi German noble family” whose father “took part in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944”. Tornielli says that Burke

was gaining influence in the Order and on 10 November 2016 attended an audience with the Pope. During the audience, he assured the Pope that is was Boeselager who was responsible for the “condomgate” scandal. Burke also requested a papal letter backing the dismissal of the Grand Chancellor who was considered too “liberal”. Francis wrote a letter inviting the Knights to ensure Catholic morality was respected but explicitly asked for the dispute to be resolved by means of an internal discussion, without anyone getting the chop. But the Pope’s wishes, which did not in any way call for Boeselager’s removal, were not taken into consideration.

Tornielli continues:

Thanks to many testimonies and documents, Vatican investigators discovered that Francis had not been told the truth and that the report on the condom case was neither accurate nor complete. Boeselager, the commission concluded, held no responsibility in the case: as soon as he had learnt about the condoms being distributed, he ended the co-operation with the NGO. The Grand Master’s open challenge to the Holy See and the incomplete information on the case were the final straw.

The consequence of that “final straw” being, according to Tornielli, the pope’s insistence that Festing resign.

Today, January 28, 2017, that resignation was accepted by the Order’s Sovereign Council. The Council has also, according to their statement, “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.” [emphasis added]

The statement then, with conspicuously ingratiating language, proffers the following:

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.

Meanwhile, as Parolin’s January 25 letter affirms, that sovereignty is now entirely subject to the mandates given by Pope Francis to his as-yet-to-be-selected delegate to the order:

To help the Order in the renewal process which is seen as necessary, the Holy Father will appoint his personal Delegate with powers that he will define in the act of appointing him.

The Grand Commander, in his role as Interim Lieutenant, will exercise the powers contained in Art. 144 of the Order’s Statute until the Papal Delegate is appointed.

More Questions Than Answers

Following this complex sequence of events, we are left with many important questions. Foremost among them:

  • Why would the pope ask Cardinal Burke to clean house at the Order, only to later take action against the Order for doing just that?
  • What instructions were actually contained in the Pope’s December 1 letter to Cardinal Burke, and were they carried out appropriately?
  • If Boeselager was discovered to have been responsible for programs distributing condoms during his tenure as Grand Hospitaller by two separate investigations, how is it possible that a five-person commission assembled only a month ago has exonerated him completely?
  • How can the Vatican offer any pretense of accepting the judgment of a commission the majority of which have a conflict of interest as pertains to their apparent dealings with Boeselager, Slinger, and the 120 million Swiss franc trust?
  • What relationship does Cardinal Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, have, if any, to the involvement of his former employee, Archbishop Tomasi, in relations to the “fund in Geneva” — a fund that Edward Pentin reports he has had knowledge of since 2014?
  • Why was Boeselager’s brother Georg appointed to an oversight position at the Vatican Bank just days after Boeselager’s removal from the Soevereign Council was announced? Was this just a coincidence?
  • How does Marc Odendall’s own position as an appointee of Pope Francis to the board of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority relate to his involvement as member of the Order, Treasurer of Caritatis in Veritate, and member of the investigatory commission into the Boeselanger affair?
  • What interest does Pope Francis have in keeping Boeselager in place while removing Festing, particularly after he expressed his concerns so strongly to Cardinal Burke in their November 10 meeting and his December 1 letter? Why is he interfering in the affairs of a sovereign entity, which has essentially the same legal status as a nation?
  • What leverage could have been applied to Festing to force his resignation such a short time after he made strong statements of sovereign independence and an unwillingness to collaborate with a Vatican probe? Why did his Sovereign Council accept his resignation if they truly care about the continued sovereignty and integrity of the Order? Was this really a matter of enforcement of the obedience to the Holy Father outlined in article 62 of the Order’s constitutions?
  • Why is Cardinal Burke being specifically targeted by the pope in a way that places responsibility for an act of internal governance of the Order on his shoulders, despite his lack of authority within the juridical structure of the Order?
  • What precedent does this set in terms of international law, and how is the Vatican’s own sovereignty not damaged by this action?

It is impossible not to wonder about the unflattering realities the answers to these questions might reveal. Was the pope’s instruction to Cardinal Burke to do his duty and clean up the order merely a trap? Was it motivated by a personal vendetta against Burke as the most notable opponent to the pope’s signature exhortation, Amoris Laetitia?

What about the money? Would anyone at the Vatican stand to gain by keeping quiet about any possible malfeasance as regards the du Tour trust through the removal of Festing and the reinstatement of Boeselager? Are the interim Grand Master or the papal delegate going to quietly drop the lawsuit against Ariane Slinger and leave the money in the Caritatis pro Vitae trust?

Why would Festing give up so easily, and with so little warning? Our contacts with members inside the Order have confirmed that there was no indication, even at the highest levels, that this resignation was coming.

What of the conveniently timed revelation of a mishandled child sex abuse scandal within the Order’s ranks? From Christopher Lamb at The Tablet:

The Vatican are also aware of a child sex abuse scandal that exploded in the UK under the Grand Master’s watch and which led to an inquiry by Baroness Cumberlege.

She found that three knights had made a catalogue of serious errors when handling abuse complaints made against Vernon Quaintance, a former sacristan for the Knights of Malta who was found guilty of nine sex offences including those against boys as young as 11 he had met in the 1960s and 70s.

While the three knights involved later apologised, one of them, Duncan Gallie, was appointed by Festing as a member of the order’s Sovereign Council and is living in Rome.

If this is the motivating factor in the pope’s decision, what of his own exposure to encroaching sex abuse scandals that he is personally connected to?

How much of what has transpired might involve something other than the apparent details of the case, instead relating to ideological conflicts between Pope Francis and the Grand Master and his new Cardinal Patronus? In his story at the The Tablet, Christopher Lamb also reported that

Sources inside the order seeking reform say Festing and his allies want the “good old days” of 1950s Catholicism, with the old rite Mass and autocratic leadership.

The President of the knights’ German Association, Erich Lobkowicz, told the National Catholic Register that his had been a “battle between all that Pope Francis stands for and a tiny clique of ultraconservative frilly old diehards in the Church — diehards that have missed the train in every conceivable respect”.

Meanwhile, in Argentina the Pope had his own dispute with the knights who had been part of a nexus of opposition against him as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Francis is wary of Catholic chivalric orders, which he worries can show signs of profligacy and  “spiritual worldliness”; when a knight in Argentina sent him a first-class ticket to Rome it was reportedly shredded into pieces and returned to sender.

Is the idea of a backlash against traditionalist strain within the order more relevant in light of news that Francis is seeking a review of the new Mass translation for the Novus Ordo, and amidst related rumors that he wishes in some way to cut the legs out from under Summorum Pontificum?

Is it a coincidence that on January 10, 2017 — the same day that Fra’ Festing issued a statement reiterating the Order’s sovereignty in the face of a proposed Vatican investigation, Pope Francis gave a homily in which he said:

Jesus served the people, He explained things because the people understood well: He was at the service of the people. He had an attitude of a servant, and this gave authority. On the other hand, these doctors of the law that the people… yes, they heard, they respected, but they didn’t feel that they had authority over them; these had a psychology of princes: ‘We are the masters, the princes, and we teach you. Not service: we command, you obey.’ And Jesus never passed Himself off like a prince: He was always the servant of all, and this is what gave Him authority.

Was the Grand Master, whose uniform could easily be described as “fancy clothes” and whose proper title was “Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta,” the target of these remarks?

Pope Francis and Fra’ Matthew Festing. Image courtesy of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Was the aggressive resolution of this matter part of a vendetta on the part of Pope Francis toward the Knights of Malta? Austen Ivereigh, papal biographer and ally of Francis, revealed in an article at Crux that there is a history of conflict between then Cardinal Bergoglio and a faction within the Order:

The two may be wholly unconnected, but this is not the first time that Francis has faced hostility from the Knights of Malta, some of whose leading figures were involved in an unsuccessful plot in 2008 to remove Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and replace him with a chaplain to the Knights, the Bishop of Zárate-Campana, Oscar Sarlinga.

Bizarre as it sounds, the plot was widely spoken of at the time, and has since been confirmed by a number of those involved, including Sarlinga himself – although he denies being in favor of the idea – in an interview to the religious correspondent to La Nación, Mariano Vedia, for his book, En Nombre del Papa (‘In the Name of the Pope’).

Whatever the answers to these questions, there is a great deal that remains unknown. In no way can an external observer of the facts in this case feel confident that justice was accomplished in the hasty removal of Festing — who appears to have sought only to do his duty — and the subsequent reinstatement of Boeselager. Neither can we feel content with the apparent scapegoating of Cardinal Burke as the source of opposition to the Holy See in the matter.

On January 27, I spoke to Michael Hichborn about his own investigation. “The real focus of this whole thing,” Hichborn said, “should be Boeselager and the fact that he was in charge of an organization that was distributing contraception – and there’s no question about it.” Hichborn said that Boeselager’s own story changed, alternating between outright denial that he knew about the programs, and the claim that once he did know, he shut two out of three of them down. According to Hichborn, Boeselager’s stories are in conflict with one another – and with the known facts. “Boeselager said that it was a third party who was distributing the condoms. It was not. And there are three independently-verified sources that say that Malteser International itself was distributing the condoms.” Hichborn named UNAIDS, The Three Diseases Fund, and The World Health Organization as the three organizations that made these claims — claims he documented in his report.

Cardinal Burke also thought this should have been focus of any action. He told Ed Pentin that it concerned him “very much” that in the entire

unfortunate reaction to the grand master’s just action is the loss of the heart of what is at stake, namely, a grave violation of the Church’s moral teaching and, indeed, of the natural moral law by a high profile and historic Catholic institution.

It is clear that this concern for the moral law and the Church’s teaching is the driving force that animates Burke’s work as a cardinal, bishop, and pastor of souls. It has never been more clear that here is a prelate uninterested in power or prestige. His obvious concern for following the teachings of Our Lord seems to be why he has intervened as he has in this matter, just as it appears to be why he has voiced his concerns with increasing urgency about the Church’s change in praxis around Amoris Laetitia, and it is clear in his work on the dubia. 

And for his service to the truth, they may very well try to accuse him of disobedience to the pope as pertains to the matter of the Knights of Malta, with disciplinary action a very real possibility. This faithful prelate’s allegiance to the Catholic Faith has increasingly managed to be the source of his own marginalization — and possible persecution — within the Church. May God bless him abundantly for his faithfulness, and preserve the Order that — for now — remains under his patronage.

This post has been updated.

181 thoughts on “Malta Besieged: An Ancient and Sovereign Order Toppled by Rome”

  1. do you really believe this?

    he Register has been told that 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””

    Francis who knocked them in one round needs this?? Well suppose it may calm somebody down or help them

    • You mean the dictatorship of Fake Mercy

      Everything about it is fake. The humility is fake. The desire for dialogue is fake. It’s really all lies.

  2. This is the Pope who in your article says Jesus authority came from his being a servant. HERESY. It’s like Italy taking over France. All wilt before his power. Next will be the English Novus Ordo translation and Summorun Pontificum as soon as he is through with Cardinal Burke. He apparently has the backing of the heirachy and continues to fill it with his supporters. These people have substituted a new religion in the Church of Christ. What dismays me that most of these Bergolians were placed in positions of authority by St John Paul and Pope Benedict. The average Catholic has no clue or thinks he’s wonderful. When the ministers no longer teach or believe do we still have a Catholic Church?

    • Most catholics don’t even know all this is going on, some wouldn’t understand it. And this is what Pope Francis is banking on, the Church’s ignorance. But all of this just sets the stage for supernatural intervention that will go noticed by all.

        • Secularist media will. Parts of Catholic world will. With sites like this and others the information will remain public. Those who love the Lord will in the end be victorious, until then we must continue the fight. Pray. Fast, Evangelize

          And prove to the clergy you are a knowledgeable Catholic!

    • I don’t challenge you on the “he apparently has the backing of the hierarchy” directly, as to be honest, I’ve read so many and so much on this and related matters my mind swirls at this moment. BUT, there have been reported here on OnePeterFive and other reputable sources that in fact there is a horror of this Pope inside the hierarchy, with a wrong-headed “wait it out” decision having been made, vs majority head-on confrontation. I don’t support that weaker decision. But I do pray that this most recent move by the Pope against the Knights as well as the threats against the Novus Ordo translation goad them sufficiently to be overt in their opposition. There is in psychology a well-known phenomenon that one can become SO full of fear over the truth one is forced to see that one freezes, and feels nothing for awhile. Rather a suspended animation occurs. It takes a profound and explosive force to push that frozenness into really feeling (in the deepest sense of that word, NOT just the emotional) the true weight of a situation. I am praying for the explosion.

    • “When the ministers no longer teach or believe do we still have a Catholic Church?”

      Yes, we still have the Catholic Church. That sentence would be more accurate if “most” came before the word “ministers”.

  3. “…a tiny clique of ultraconservative frilly old diehards in the Church — diehards that have missed the train in every conceivable respect”.

    A train that leads to ecclesiastical and demographic death, as it is in Germany right now.

    If it’s all the same, we’ll wait for a different train, your grace.

    • I trust that Bishop Fellay, had he ever been considering Francis’s offer, would now, having witnessed the events of the past two months, simply say, “Thank you, Holy Father, but no thank you. We will reconsider when we have a man who actually believes in Catholicism on the Chair of St. Peter.”

      • The SSPX has been working with Francis years before you even heard his name, in Argentina,He is way ahead of events. I fact, there, is legally part of the RCC. Under Mario Crdl Poli, the next Pope

      • I went to the link. It is unfortunate that is seems as though the LAST bastion of true Catholicism is about to capitulate to Bergoglio. Why, oh why, dear Jesus? Fellay should wait out this pontificate for the next or the one after that. I am nearly ready for the true Catholic Church to go entirely underground- one without a pope, unfortunately. Am I reading all of the this correctly with the SSPX?

        • I don’t know, Al. There’s a lot in the video, and I don’t know French well enough to translate. Perhaps someone who does could provide a transcript of the entire interview to see if there are any nuances we are missing. Still, based on what Rorate is reporting, it certainly looks as if Fellay is ready to accept Francis’s terms.

          What scares me is this: How do we know Francis won’t do what he just did to the KofM the minute he has control over the Society?

          • Remember…. The SSPX and Francis go way back….. In the LAtin world , the SSPX is run from…. Argentina. You are talking about big numbers there. 50% of the RCC is in S America, good or bad. They came to Francis when Archbishop, many times.. But not many are aware..

        • They should wait until an imperfect council is called & the outcome of it. Of course, there is a lot going on behind closed doors & PF may not be as liked by the Curia/Hierarchy as he is by the media. I’m sure he is more aware of the political play-out than we are but I cannot see Cardinal Burke & his supporters leading the SSPX down the garden path. I pray not anyway! There may be a lot of persecution to come but God always wins & for those who are still alive to witness the full restoration of the CC it will be more than worth the pain.

          • What bishop would step up and head a “new” SSPX? At some point, you need at least three bishops in order to consecrate another bishop if needed. And- how many priests would go with those bishops?

          • I do not see Burke as the de facto leader for this. He is going to great pains behind the scenes to avoid a schism- which I think he deluding himself.

      • I trust that Bishop Fellay wil not betray Archbishop Lefebvre, of happy memory.
        The SSPX is likely to be eventually recognised as the true Church whilst the false Church occupies the Vatican, the Cathedrals and Basilicas.
        Remember when the cathedrals, monasteries and parish churches were stolen from from the Church by the State during the English Reformation, the true Church survived throughout the centuries without them.
        I do not attend SSPX churches, mostly on account of its geographic availability and my disabilities which prevent me from travelling to far.
        I am not a sedevacantist so, the SSPX is the last hope for orthodox Catholics who wish to continue following their religion.

        • They will have to obey the Pope, they have an issue with obedience as Fr Z says….. not very much used to that.

          And please let s not start imagining now Trojan horse theories about the SSPX coming back..

          Francis has predilection and need of missionaries and the SSPX, oddly , has a great number of them. Strange for traditionalists, who focus on other issues usually.

        • The FSSP has all of the tradition without any of the controversy and doesn’t reject the authority of the diocesan Ordinary either.

          Nice to see you again. I recall some of our interactions in the wilderness of the National Heretical Reporter.

    • Yes! Their voice would be useful in the Church. Outside, Kasper, Marx, etc can marginalize them as schismatics. Inside, they would be a powerful voice for orthodoxy to strengthen those who otherwise are reticent to be associated with them (Burke, Sarah, etc).

      • Sadly, it seems Francis, Kasper, Marx, etc., are the ones who are placing themselves outside the Church. To join with the Magisterium of Francis would be spiritual suicide. Unless, of course, there is a deep plot to depose Francis…

      • I beg your pardon, but the SSPX IS “in the Church”. As I’ve mentioned before, the SSPX should not even THINK of regularization until the next pontificate.

        • That’s what they’ve claimed. The hundreds of diocese that they intrude in without the consent of the Ordinary is not allowed by the Council of Trent, if they’re heretics or not (a serious charge, of course that merits formal accusation and defense in Canon Law). In a way, the sedes are more consistent by just claiming they’re not even priests, even if they’re wrong…

    • I would suggest the four Cardinals fold when an imperfect council is called, which could be quite soon, as it does seem the formal correction has been made judging by this awful scourge. Under a Traditional Pope Russia would be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which could turn things around very quickly indeed. Under Her guidance VII could be rescinded & the restoration of the CC back to Tradition got underway. God always wins so don’t give up hope. Cardinal Burke & his supporters are His allies in all of this mess that PF said he’d make – we shouldn’t underestimate His Will being done His way.

    • I don’t know what to think of all this. It sounds just like a reaffirmation of the “anything goes” philosophy. Oh, you like tradition? Go to the SSPX. You are a fan of the great witness of the gospel, St. Martin Luther? We’re preparing a Lutheran prelature for those like you, don’t worry. (But if you amass a lot of money we might need to send a papal delegate, eh?)

    • Mons. Fellay conferma: per la “regolarizzazione” della FSSPX manca solo il timbro.

      Do not expect otherwise….

      SSPX confirms the return is in such advanced state that all that is needed is a “stamp” on it

  4. To me, that an Order that claims “sovereignty” should cave in and fold so easily is an indication that it had already been undermined internally. And knowing their MO, perhaps also they had something on Fra’ Matthew Festing for him to resign immediately when asked to do so by Pope Francis.

    • Yes. Much more than meets the eye, as always in these situations. That’s why evil can do so much damage before being stopped. The cult of obedience is another element. Wondering if that is a collective Church trait resulting from Luther’s revolt.

    • Is it not possible that they had nothing on him but could show him how they could fabricate a very convincing case against him? I’ve wondered for a while if this could be the case. Fabricated evidence that would make the names of good men stink to high heaven, so that not only they, but the causes they espouse, would be brought into disrepute?

      • Or maybe it was just: -“I command you to resign, dear Festing, for the good of the Church” . -“But… but… why?”. -“I am the Pope, and I don’t need to give reasons for any of my decisions”.

          • A bit far fetched. Unless you mean metaphorically. Perhaps. Depends what it was. Many before him have been willing to be humiliated for the faith.

          • Far-fetched, yes. But at this point I’m ready to believe just about anything. I don’t really think a gun was at his head. But perhaps blackmail or some other threat. Regardless, the Crusaders were still defeated by the one who sent them.

  5. Whether it was intended or not, the net result of these activities:

    1: Festing is out. Boeselager is in. Rubbers are dispensed by Catholic “Knights”.

    2: The Dubia remains unanswered; their author discredited by scandal.

    I think #2 is the point. The Dubia must not be answered. Catholics must stop thinking of such things. Powerful men know it is the existential threat. Very Jujutsu-ian.

    Very clever, these fellows.

  6. “Francis wrote a letter inviting the Knights to ensure Catholic morality was respected but explicitly asked for the dispute to be resolved by means of an internal discussion, without anyone getting the chop. ”

    That’s a laugher he just fired three from the CDF. Where was the dialogue there?

    This is mafia stuff. Money, power and whatever else follows. This is not of God.

    • It is mafia stuff and thuggish. In taking over the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Pope Bergoglio also makes himself a caudillo, a sort of military dictator. A hundred and twenty million dollars is enough to get a fair amount of attention and should not be overlooked. I would like to know more about du Tour and his last will and testament. Is Madame Slinger faithfully carrying out his final wishes? And what a compelling web of connections among and around Slinger, Boeselager, Tomasi, Odendall, Sehnaoui, Liedekerke, Parolin, and perhaps some others as yet unnamed.

    • Correct – this is not of God.

      The whole thing is a thinly veiled attack on Cardinal Burke. It’s ironic that Francis, who constantly labels faithful Cardinals, Bishops, priests and faithful members of the laity as ‘Pharisees’ and ‘Doctors of the Law’ should HIMSELF utilise technicalities of the law to interfere with the Order’s sovereign affairs.

      Refer to this part of the Order’s Constitution which (among other aspects of the Constitution) I believe Francis and his team of anti-Catholic gangsters also invoked:
      ARTICLE 4
      Relations with the Apostolic See
      Part 2 “……………In accordance with the Code of Canon Law, the churches and conventual institutions of the Order are exempt from the jurisdiction of the dioceses and are directly subject to the Holy See.”

      Further to this, I notice that Francis’ sense of smell becomes particularly acute when large amounts of cold hard cash linger about the neighbourhood. Typical Marxist.

    • DW.. But wen the KOM decided to go at the pope and dismiss his commission, everyone here cheered..Those KOM will show that evil man who we are!! Now they are down for the count, after one week and people cry: hey not fair!

    • The CDF bit is not apples to oranges. There was no internal dispute at the CDF – just a changing of hands which always takes place in politics, Church or national.

      • Is it really apples to oranges or orthodox to modernist? The reason all these are happening go back is to our Humble Pope.

  7. Steve – thank you for summarising the timeline of this case. For the layperson in the pew, not familiar with the particulars of law in such a case, it simply confirms the tyrannical nature of Francis and the diabolical spirit that currently resides in Rome. I know you have your doubts about it, but I must say as more of these reports emerge the words of the alleged prophecy of St Francis ring true – specifically that Our Lord would send “not a true pastor but a destroyer”. If this writing were the only source suggesting a future time where we would be faced with a usurper, I could understand it being written off as an unconfirmed report. However many other prophecies (ably covered by Yves Dupont in “Catholic Prophecy”) affirm much the same – a time of schism where the true pope and Church are sent into exile and a false church resides in Rome, recognized by the world. La Salette indirectly suggests this, and Fatima allegedly (cf Malachi Martin with Art Bell) suggest this exact scenario – a “pope” “under the control of satan”. Given that Benedict XVI has gone to great lengths to retain the papal white, he is doing no favors to Francis in terms of his perceived legitimately would you not think? In any case things will become more and more obvious this year as the scandal and evil multiples. I fear that many of my family and friends have been in the warming water of NO land to perceive that they are being led into the abyss – this work at the top is the murder of souls which we should be righteously angry at.

  8. Maybe one of these days, Francis will convene a surprise meeting with editors and writers of Catholic blogs such as 1P5 for “dialogue”, where they will be personally asked to resign their positions out of obedience to the Supreme Pontiff.

  9. Well, it certainly seems that Francis’s mandate to clean up the curia is proceeding without a hitch. (sarcasm off)

    If anything, based on the timeline above and the number of “coincidences” involved, the curia is more corrupt than ever.

  10. So many questions…….no REAL answers. One thing is certain, however, the Pope wants Cardinal Burke’s head on the chopping block. So many twists and turns with this crisis. I think you might be safe to say that the Pope and his cohorts have multiple fish to fry.

  11. God bless Ed Pentin. For the past almost 4 years, he has single-handedly exposed the shenanigans in the Vatican, including and especially the two-phony Synods.

    It’s clear what’s going on here; this is a Francis-kneecapping of Burke. Festing is simply the fall guy. The KoM are not a major player in the Catholic Church’s global ministry and like you, Steve, most people had never heard of them until about 2 months ago. So Francis’ personal intervention in this issue of internal governance can not be explained by the need to straighten out a global problem for the Church. Moreover, he has intervened in a manner which opposes, rather than supports, traditional Catholic moral teaching. So he’s clearly not concerned about the scandal factor here.

    On the other hand, his intervention makes a lot of sense if one understands that an author of the hated dubia is in the middle of this food fight. Simply stated, Burke was set up by Francis. He told him to go straighten out the Knights, then whacked him when he supported Festing’s firing.

    I’m wondering if by now, Francis already has the promised correction for Amoris laetitia and this may have played a role in his thuggish intervention. Ed Pentin…..where are you?

    • “God bless Ed Pentin. For the past almost 4 years, he has single-handedly exposed the shenanigans in the Vatican…”

      For the past 50+ years dozens of faithful Catholics have been dutifully exposing the shenanigans in the Vatican while the majority have been either willful participants or happily going along with them without questioning the diabolical machinations within that institution mocking the faithful Catholic as a heretic or schismatic.

  12. Whatever. Let’s get back to the teachings of the Church. I am spent on this KoM. The issue should be that contraception was given out for years under this charity organization and it seems this is a mute for PF.. I am waiting upon Cardinal Burke and his public fraternal correction.

      • My guess is that our Lord is waiting for us to rise to the occasion ourselves first. God acts through His people. And so very few are acting boldly on God’s behalf. Inaction is a choice in itself. Chastisement is normally carried out by human actors in the name of the Lord.

        The choice before us is now obvious to all but the most obtuse. Cdl. Burke has made his choice and will face all appropriate consequences in this life and the next. He is leading the way as a true Cardinal should. I stand, respectfully and in deference to Peter’s Chair, with him.

        The Dubia must be answered. We must insist upon it.

        • It’s 2017 and if we remember our Lady who told Sr. Lucia in August 1931:
          “Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.”

          So we’re here, the kings of France had 100 years to the day from the warning they received and I assume the ministers of the Church will have not one minute longer than the kings of France had or else why would our Lady have said it? She doesn’t waste her words, she gives them sparingly and concisely (also how you know Medjugorje is fake).

          Unfortunately there is not much I can personally do as a non influential layman other than to warn people that this guy is not even Catholic much less Pope. I can’t say “hey, lets get our pitchforks and go get him!” or I would be dealing with the law I would assume.
          So, lets storm the Vatican with our rosaries this lent and let our Lady handle it.

          If anyone hasn’t read this yet, I highly recommend “Fatima” by William Thomas Walsh available here:

          Read the original Fatima story and try to ignore the newer stuff post 1960 when they trotted out the fake sister Lucia.

  13. Maybe say one thing but then do the opposite….the Vatican these days. Cannot trust ANY thing coming from that source. Cling to the Good Shepherd.

  14. The moral teachings of the Church are the issue as explained by Cardinal Burke. One
    gets the impression that money and influence are driving PF in his efforts to gain
    control over the Knights of Malta….it’s my understanding that one needs to be fairly
    wealthy to become a knight in the first place…..this organization must have pots of
    money and PF may have his eye on it.

    • That’s another reason why the SSPX should wait until the next pontificate for regularization. All the $$$ that lay faithful give to the SSPX is less $$$ going to the Vatican. As Deep Throat said: “Follow the money.”

  15. Poor Pope Francis, he just can’t seem to tolerate the basket full of deplorable faithful Catholics. Those who follow the path Francis is blazing must undermine the faith protected and preserved by Orders such as the Knights of Malta. It is about time for Pope Benedict to intervene, he can start by admitting that only God can accept the retirement of a pope, and that the process begins feet first. Let pope Francis be the cautionary tale as to why a pope being pressured by men to resign never ends well.

  16. So now the Pope has created a precedent for the President of Italy to appoint — as soon as a conflict arises and Italy desires to alter the status of the Concordate with the Vatican — a personal delegate at the Vatican, endowed “with powers that he (the President) will define in the act of appointing him”? Interesting developments for those in Italy who want to get rid of the special international status of Vatican City!

    • I think the Holy Father might be among those who want to get rid of the special status of the Vatican city. After all was it no he who said he wanted a ‘poor church for the poor”?

  17. This whole scandal, is plain as day. Maybe the Holy Father thinks not enough people are paying attention to this truly diabolical Hollywood horrors drama. It’s as plain as day for the world to see that this most likely was a set up to character assassinate cardinal burke. And also to grab power and wealth. Steve, although this has little to do with the Dubia pleas keep abreast of the developments. In the meantime, we still awaiting answers to the Dubia regardless of what controversy the Holy Father initiates next. Stay focused.

  18. What we are witnessing, as a cursory glance at the comments left on other sites reporting on this matter such as Catholic World Report and National Catholic Register, is the reemergence of the “Jesus = Love/The-Catholic-Church-Is-Too-Legalistic-And-Mean-And-Francis-Is-Bringing-Back-The-Luuuuv” ideology that was kept, for the most part, within the shadows during the reigns of the previous two pontiffs. To such people, it does no good for us to try to convince them otherwise by citing Scripture and traditional Church teaching. People who think like this honestly believe, thanks to 50-plus years of horrific catechesis, that Christ’s only message was “Be nice to other people and let them do whatever they want”, and that all the Church’s rules and regulations are the same as the “traditions of the Pharisees”.

    This is precisely why Francis is allowed to get away with what he just did with the KofM with nary a cry from most Catholics. They simply don’t know any better, and they see his every action, even if it is heavy-handed and lacking in due process, as the just desserts for centuries of oppressive legalism.

  19. My initial reaction was much the same, but have to admit on recollection Rome has ALWAYS claimed the right of final appeal. While the resignation appears most uncouth and the Knights should have probably refused to accept it and rejected the delegated.

    As the Gospel from today, the barque is tossing and turning and the faithful are afraid while the Master appears to sleep… “And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.” (Mt 8:28). Perhaps Francis is steering straight into the storm… yet, let’s have faith and not blaspheme him. Francis cannot tip over the boat, even if he’s trying, though it’s concerning so many Catholics can only assume the worst. Recall St. Paul in Acts who repented of calling the Jewish High Priest a whitewashed wall… “And Paul said: I knew not, brethren, that he is the high priest. For it is written: Thou shalt not speak evil of the prince of thy people.”

  20. Steve, I receive Moynihan’s Letters as well……he reported brilliantly…….however…..this piece that you have published is even more brilliant. Don’t stop……tax refund time is coming…..I want to help keep you alive and running… is only with investigative authors as yourself that pressure with TRUTH will be the justification for the justice this pontificate will receive from MAN AND GOD……keep reporting from all vantage points…..the money…..the sexual abuse scandals…….keep the pressure on….keep the TRUTH revealed….for the Glory of God, His Princes and His Church……through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I pray for you and your family…..PLEASE…..tell your wife, I appreciate her sacrifice and that I pray for her specifically.

  21. I’ve been thinking this since this all started, but I haven’t heard it from anywhere else. Does anyone else find it rather convenient that Cardinal Burke said that the formal correction would come sometime after Epiphany, and these things all started after that interview and have been ongoing throughout the Epiphany season? I’m sure we’re all on the same page that this is an attack on Cardinal Burke, and His Eminence is the next target. It would seem rather inopportune to issue a correction in the midst of this, no?

    • I remember Fr. RP I think said “I wouldn’t telegraph my timeline like this” or similar when the “sometime after Epiphany” comment was published. A correction at this moment sounds like something personal. Still, I’m hoping for a correction anyway.

    • You make a good point. All of this is essentially about destroying cardinal Burke…which, in this case, epitomizes the faithful teaching of the Faith. Everyone paying attention can clearly see this and it is a true shame that Pope Francis’s is behaving in this conniving devious fashion. Like some restive politician…and I think that’s how he views his office, as purely political. May God have mercy on him. No Pope should ever behave in this manner. Continue to pray.

      • That’s who he is, Eric. He’s been that man for at least 3 years, a conniving, lying, devious snake in the grass. I was banned from LifeSite News for saying such things about him over a year ago. Now everyone is wailing the same tune and the people at LifeSite are bemoaning their former allegiance to him.

        Hands down, the worst pope in the history of the Church. A true son of Satan, as this latest scheming proves.

    • My own sense of it is that Cardinal Burke and the other three cardinals have made the private correction.
      That is why we may be seeing furry from the Vatican from Malta bishops preaching heresy, to KoM fiasco, to PF requesting possible LIturgical revisions ( Fr. Z Blog). Added to the integrity of Cardinal Burke, who I just don’t think would wait very long on such a major “discussion” with PF., I really wonder if the private correction has not already taken place.

      Cardinal Burke may still be in the midst, of preparing, praying on how to proceed in the public correction to us, the faithful laity. And hence PF understands what may come next and is setting the stage to
      to make Cardinal Burke seem not credible, untrustworthy. But, it won’t work!

    • I see CS has beat me to it, but the other possibility of this is that the Formal Correction has already been delivered in private and this is simply part of the response to it. Make no mistake, the Public Correction is only the beginning of events, this is one battle lost (KOM), but the Victory is Christ’s and it is won. We are battling to save as many souls as possible before the terrible Day of Judgment.

      Perhaps the greatest loss of the Liturgy do to the Novus Ordo is the cessation of the chanting the Dies Irae at the Funeral Mass, wherein everyone is reminded of the terrible truth of God’s infinite Justice.

      The late and ill fated Archdestructor of the Good, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini (the destroyer of the Liturgy) said this of it’s elimination “They got rid of texts that smacked of a negative spirituality inherited from the Middle Ages. Thus they removed such familiar and even beloved texts as the “Libera Me, Domine”, the “Dies Irae”, and others that overemphasized judgment, fear, and despair. These they replaced with texts urging Christian hope and arguably giving more effective expression to faith in the resurrection.

      Well, now he knows what it meant:

      Dies iræ, dies illa
      Solvet sæclum in favilla,
      Teste David cum Sibylla.

      (The day of wrath, that day
      will dissolve the world in ashes,
      David being witness along with the Sibyl.)

      Quantus tremor est futurus,
      Quando Judex est venturus,
      Cuncta stricte discussurus!

      (How great will be the quaking,
      when the Judge will come,
      investigating everything strictly.)

      Tuba mirum spargens sonum,
      Per sepulchra regionum,
      Coget omnes ante thronum.

      (The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
      through the sepulchres of the regions,
      will summon all before the throne.)

      Mors stupebit et natura,
      Cum resurget creatura,
      Judicanti responsura.

      (Death and nature will marvel,
      when the creature will rise again,
      to respond to the Judge.)

      Liber scriptus proferetur,
      In quo totum continetur,
      Unde mundus judicetur.

      (The written book will be brought forth,
      in which all is contained,
      from which the world shall be judged.)

      Judex ergo cum sedebit,
      Quidquid latet apparebit:
      Nil inultum remanebit.

      (When therefore the Judge will sit,
      whatever lies hidden will appear:
      nothing will remain unpunished.)

      Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
      Quem patronum rogaturus,
      Cum vix justus sit securus?

      (What then will I, poor wretch, say?
      Which patron will I entreat,
      when the just may hardly be sure?)

      Rex tremendæ majestatis,
      Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
      Salva me, fons pietatis.

      (King of fearsome majesty,
      Who freely savest those that are to be saved,
      save me, O font of mercy.)

      Recordare, Jesu pie,
      Quod sum causa tuæ viæ:
      Ne me perdas illa die.

      (Remember, merciful Jesus,
      that I am the cause of Thy way:
      lest Thou lose me in that day.)

      Quærens me, sedisti lassus:
      Redemisti Crucem passus:
      Tantus labor non sit cassus.

      (Seeking me, Thou sattest weary: [as in, seated upon the throne of the Cross tired from, and maybe of, seeking me]
      Thou redeemedst, having suffered the Cross:
      let not so much hardship be in vain.)

      Juste Judex ultionis,
      Donum fac remissionis,
      Ante diem rationis.

      (Just Judge of vengeance,
      make a gift of remission
      before the day of reckoning.)

      Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
      Culpa rubet vultus meus:
      Supplicanti parce, Deus.

      (I sigh, like the guilty one:
      my face reddens in guilt:
      Spare the supplicating one, O God.)

      Qui Mariam absolvisti,
      Et latronem exaudisti,
      Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

      (Thou who absolvedst Mary,
      and heardest the robber,
      gavest hope to me, too.)

      Preces meæ non sunt dignæ;
      Sed tu bonus fac benigne,
      Ne perenni cremer igne.

      (My prayers are not worthy:
      but do Thou, who art good, graciously grant
      that I not be burned up by the everlasting fire.)

      Inter oves locum præsta.
      Et ab hædis me sequestra,
      Statuens in parte dextra.

      (Grant me a place among the sheep,
      and take me out from among the goats,
      setting me on the right side.)

      Confutatis maledictis,
      Flammis acribus addictis,
      Voca me cum benedictis.

      (Once the cursed have been silenced,
      sentenced to acrid flames:
      Call Thou me with the blessed.)

      Oro supplex et acclinis,
      Cor contritum quasi cinis,
      Gere curam mei finis.

      (Humbly, kneeling and bowed I pray,
      my heart crushed as ashes:
      take care of my end.)

      Lacrimosa dies illa,
      Qua resurget ex favilla,
      Judicandus homo reus.
      Huic ergo parce, Deus:

      (Tearful that day,
      on which from the glowing embers will arise
      the guilty man who is to be judged.
      Then spare him, O God.)

      (Pie Jesu Domine,
      Dona eis requiem. Amen.)

      (Merciful Lord Jesus,
      grant them rest. Amen.)

      • Interesting that you mentioned the Dies Irae as perhaps one of the greatest losses in the Novus Ordo. About a year ago, I attended three Masses for the dead in one week. The first two were for All Souls’ Day- a Novus Ordo and a sung Traditional Latin Requiem Mass. The third was a funeral, a Novus Ordo. The priests who offered the Masses were all very reverent, orthodox men, and two of them offered the Traditional Latin Mass regularly in addition to their parish, Novus Ordo Masses. In spite of this, there simply was no comparison between the Novus Ordo Masses and the Traditional Latin Mass. The entire focus of the Traditional Latin Requiem Mass has been replaced in the Novus Ordo. The essential part, the Eucharist, is still there, but it’s as if they took a precious jewel that had been continuously adorned with precious metals and other, smaller jewels throughout the century, and just set it in a mass produced wood carving.

  22. According to C Parolin: “His Holiness has asked for dialogue as the way to deal with, and resolve, eventual problems. But he has never spoken of sending someone away”. Yet His holiness does not appear to have dialogued much with Festing… just sent him away.

  23. That was a mouthful, Mr. Skojec. A brilliant summary, and I thank you. While the stench of the situation ran wild, understanding was not easily determined. Where would the Church be today without the likes of reporting such as yours and that of Mr. Pentin? God reward you both.
    Now we all know that Colonel Mustard didn’t get the axe in the pantry by the butler. The vicar did it.
    On the positive side of this regrettable soap opera is that the laity is being exposed to a reality of
    ecclesiastical life that most of us would prefer did not exist. Observing the clergy class without our rose colored glasses provides a bit of a wakeup call. No?
    For a moment regard the conduct we have observed over the past couple weeks in the episcopate. Deception, duplicity, narcissism, greed, malevolence. I would be negligent if I didn’t say not all our pastors are locked into unsatisfactory comportment. Many have their good points, too.
    The “many” does not appear to include a particularly pivotal figure in the life of the Church. Nor does it include those who manipulated his positioning into the responsibility he now wields with all the consideration, charity and delicacy of a petty self-absorbed third world dictator. Nor does it include those who pretend, for whatever reasons, that an elephant is not parked in the middle of our collective parlor.
    We’ve been advised that the shepherd need smell like the sheep. That our Church is a field hospital. It appears the shepherd and his hands are out for a culling these days and the field hospital is more a morgue.
    The shepherd expresses regret at the dearth of vocations. Of course that is attributed to all sorts of broad cultural impediments. As I can best determine the primary cultural impediment undermining vocations is the lack of Catholic faith and the culture of narcissism run rife in the ecclesiastical set, all on pitiful display as well this week.
    The only thing that surprises me is that I can still be surprised by them.

  24. A lot to digest. I do believe Michael Hichborn’s report and the accusations of rampant Freemasonry. About the sex abuse I don’t know, but history has shown not to dismiss such things out of hand. Regardless of ill motivations among probably all involved (which have created their own, separate scandal), there are very serious problems within the Order that need to be addressed. The ecclesiastical scandal probably cannot be addressed.

  25. If I did not know better, I would say that Pope Francis is the anti-Christ…if he waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck… How sad for our Church to be going through this. Our Lady warned us at Akita…

  26. Cardinal Burke must surely know the Pope is after him. What does he have to lose by blowing the lid off the whole Bergoglio deception and letting the world know where and when Bergoglio lied and how he manipulated the entire drama?

    Jesuitical to the core.

  27. I often wondered as I grew up what it must have been like for Catholics to live under some of the infamous popes of yore, those more known for scheming than sanctity. I don’t wonder so much these days.

  28. All these elaborate conspiracy theories. Geez, if the Pope wanted to go after Cardinal Burke, it would be easy. All he would have to do is crib from a book like “The New Montinian Church” and make Burke either defend or dissent from the much more radical changes introduced by the post-Conciliar Popes especially Paul VI and JPII. I mean the Pope would have a field day with Pope Pius XI’ encyclical Mortalium Animos alone.

  29. Nearly three months ago the world stood collectively stunned as it watched the toppling of Hillary Clinton at the very moment of her presumed and long-awaited “coronation.”

    Well world, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The shock wave felt at the fall of Clinton will be a mere hiccup compared to the implosion of the Bergoglian pontificate. This man is headed for a fall of truly biblical proportions.

          • Commenters need to be reminded where you come from and where your sympathies lie. They don’t lie with the Catholic faith. They lie with a person and the idealogy that he represents – Juan Peron Jorge Bergoglio- not with Jesus Christ. I ask once again, who is your financial godfather?

          • Ohh.. you are so mistaken. Just a common catholic. that is all , from SA. Somebody who defends the Vicar of Christ from vicious attacks has to be financed?? Listen.. there are millions , millions who stand by The Pope, which obviously
            , as in many traditinalist groups, tend to believe the Church end with their realm.

          • This is addressed to Marcelus:

            I will concede, you meet the criteria for being common, that is, like the general culture around you. The criteria for defending the faith of Christ requires a commitment to the kingdom of Christ the King which is not synonymous with defending a heretical infiltrator like Jorge Bergoglio as the Vicar of Christ, a wolf who has entered the sheepfold. And yes, I am implying that you are financed as a troll on behalf of this usurper in order to suppress dissent against Bergoglio’s heresy. So once again, who is financing you?

          • Well,, that makes my point. Common, like the general culture, very nasty comment, but absolutely expected…Your tiny elite does not belong in the Church:

            Ratzinger said: “the other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…”

            Better get used to the commons ruling the RCC..

          • I already am accustomed to the common general culture having co-oped the faith, handed down from Christ, as it had been expressed by the faithful up until 1914. I’ve lived with it for 63 years.

            Cardinal Ratzinger was making an uncharitable judgment, as are you, a judgment of my worthiness to be and express my Catholicism. You nor Cardinal Ratzinger have no right to do that, only God can judge my sincerity, my faithfulness, my virtue or lack thereof.

            If the cretin commons are to rule the RCC, who funds them? Might it be George Soros, – your financier.

      • Yes, obviously, the pope, and, yes, I do say so; for the simple reason that no one can stand long athwart the will of God and hope for anything but ruin; and the greater the influence, the greater the offence, the harder the fall. It’s going to be catastrophic.

  30. Steve: You quote from the Tablet about the Cumberlege report. I can let you have a copy of that report which basically says that no actual harm actually occurred to any child but that certain Knights were slow in reporting suspicions about a temporary sacristan. One Knight was appointed as child protection officer but was kept in the dark by the Archdiocese of Westminster and the Hospital as to what he was supposed to do and as a result he mistakenly tried to investigate the matter himself instead of reporting the suspicions up the line. A mountain was made of a molehill. The Hospital refused to co-operate with Lady Cumberlege and she was also critical of the Archdiocese of Westminster. Coupled with anonymous letters this incident has been used to smear the Grand Priory of professed Knights in the UK. All of this took place in 2011 onwards. Matthew Festing was in Rome by that time as Grand Master and had absolutely no involvement.

    • I’m not at all surprised. Trumped up charges of misconduct several degrees removed from the source seems par for the course on this case. I’ve sent you an email to inquire about the report.

  31. What happened during the 7 days between Jan 17th and 24th when Festing accepted to resign on the spot after he had been summoned unexpectedly to the Vatican? Certainly the Pope had a heavy file against Festing on his desk, ready to blackmail him in the case he refused to resign.
    I see no other explanation. There a struggle between factions in the KOM order. Some traitors have prepared the file with first hand details, et voilà. The sovereignty of this centuries old and illustrious catholic chivalry order has been abolished forever in a few minutes.
    The valiant and courageous Knights who won over an half a million Turkish army that besieged them in Malta in 1565 have surrendered without firing one single bullet, like they did when Napoleon on the way to Egypt took their islands
    This time the surrender looks definitive and closes a 1000 years history.

  32. The Vatican does not respect the sovereignty of the Order of Malta. Future control of the Vatican may change due to others not respecting its sovereignty. That may be a good thing!

  33. Maybe its finally time to consider the possibility that the prophetic, unlisted 74th Book of the Bible is among us and showing us the very scenario that the world and Church are presently experiencing. See: Daniel 10:21 and 12:9 – the Book of Truth, then dare to see if the Book of Truth is among us, see:, also for foreign languages go to:

    Do not delay, in my estimation at least former 9 prophecies are now known facts with others seemingly in the process of fulfilment.


  34. As I have noted before: The SMOM only dates to 1826, and is a charitable association not an Order – and not the historical Order Knights Hospitallers founded in 1048.

    Catholic Encyclopedia 1913, Volume IV, p. 556 – CRUSADES, “The city of Valetta surrendered at the 1st summons, and the order disbanded; however, in 1826 it was reorganized in Rome as a charitable association.”

    Any one wishing to understand the goings on is welcome to read Roger Peyrefitte’s “Knights of Malta” written in 1959 about similar events under Pope Pius XII, where SMOM was claiming sovereignty and freedom from the Holy See – and the Pope’s bringing them to heel at that time.

  35. It is obvious that Pope Francis is very sharp and killing two birds with one stone. He gives Cardinal Burke an order clean up the order then pulls the rug out from under him in order to reduce his strength in his fight against heresy.

  36. Interesting account of the events. However, to clarify one point, it is not an issue of sovereignty. The Order has never been sovereign. The Papal Bull “Pie Postulatio Voluntatis” did not grant sovereignty, it granted immunity from all jurisdiction other than the Holy See’s. And in 1607 the Grand Master of the Order became Imperial Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, thus became subject to the Emperor’s jurisdiction as well.

    The subjection to the Emperor’s jurisdiction ended when Grand Master Ferdinand Reichsfürst von Hompesch zu Bolheim resigned in 1799, leaving the position of Grand Master vacant until the Order’s reestablishment by Pope Leo XIII in 1879. By then, there was no imperial jurisdiction over the Grand Master for the Emperor of Austria had given up the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire since 1806, forced by Napoleon. And that left the Order immune to everyone except the Holy See.

    Not sovereignty, immunity. And not international law, canon law. Please don’t be so modern and secular. Not knowing these concepts from the Old Regime is very vulgar.

  37. I don’t see how anyone can be surprised by this situation with the Knights of Malta. I haven’t read the entire article above, but it seems to me that the Knights of Malta weren’t even on the Pope’s radar until this whole thing blew up. A Modernist is gonna do what a Modernist is gonna do (referring to Pope Francis). They can’t help it.

    Cardinal Burke will survive it. And the Knights of Malta will survive as well. I can’t see as yet that the Knights of Malta are truly going to be toppled. I could be wrong.

  38. Yes, Pope Fluffy has definitely undermined the Vatican’s own claim sovereignty with this action. It’s not too difficult to imagine the Masonic Italian Republic arguing that the Vatican’s independence is merely an anachronistic convenience held over from the Fascist era. Afterall , they are dependent on Italy’s infrastructure and military and they no longer use their unique language. The post office and Swiss Guards are just for tourists.
    Furthermore, His Holiness broke with tradition and didn’t obtain a Vatican passport for his travels. Instead, he renewed the one issue by Argentina. He’d better watch out! The Italians could deport him back to South America!


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