Pope dissolves Order of Malta leadership

Pope dissolves Order of Malta leadership
Pope dissolves Order of Malta leadership

Pope Francis has issued a decree dissolving the leadership of the Order of Malta. A new Grandmaster must be elected by early next year.

The Knights of the Order of Malta have long been on a collision course with Pope Francis, who in their eyes is far too progressive. For several years now, there has been a crisis of leadership. After years of deadlock, Pope Francis gave Cardinal Silvano Tomasi powers to change governance in October last year. Negotiations about this failed and so the Pope is now intervening himself. The current sovereign council will be dissolved: a new, provisional council will be set up to supervise the administration. The thirteen members were personally appointed by Pope Francis. The new constitutional charter goes into effect ‘with immediate effect’.

By early next year, a new council and a new Grand Master – the highest office in the Order – must be elected. The last Grand Master – the Italian Giacomo Dalla Torre – passed away in April. From now on, the Grand Master will no longer have to be of noble descent and will no longer be elected for life. They are elected for ten years and that term can only be extended once. They will have to resign from the age of 85.

The Vatican’s intervention has previously been criticized within the Order for allegedly violating its sovereignty. But Saturday’s papal decree points out that the organization is a religious order, which thus depends on the Holy See and has always enjoyed special protection. There have also been papal interventions in the past. The Pope also points out that the reform was initiated by Tomasi.

The Order of Malta dates back to 1048, when it built an abbey and hospital in Jerusalem to care for pilgrims, the poor and the sick. In 1113 she was placed under the protection of the Holy See. Wat are they doing? Devoting oneself to two goals: to care for the sick and needy on the one hand, and to defend the Christian faith on the other.

She has a unique status under international law, with the ability to maintain full diplomatic relations, and a permanent observer seat at the United Nations. The order has about 13,500 members. The Order of Malta emerged in the investigation into Kazakhgate and the possible influence of Belgian politicians to quickly approve the commutation law. Since 2011, the extended amicable settlement has made it possible for fraudsters to pay money in order not to have a trial in their criminal case.

The article is in Dutch

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