Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Pope-restored Knights of Malta leader blames Cardinal Burke for ‘crisis’

Featured ImageIn an explosive press conference today, recently reinstated Grand Chancellor Albrecht Boeselager of the Knights of Malta thanked Pope Francis for his “guidance” that helped end the Order’s “crisis,” while blaming Cardinal Burke for the unrest. 

Boeselager emphasized the pope’s actions upheld the “sovereignty” of the Order, despite evidence suggesting the contrary. 
 
Boeselager who was held responsible for distribution of contraceptives by the Order's charity arm and therefore removed only to be reinstated by action of the Pope, singled out the Order’s former Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing as well as the Order’s Patron Cardinal Raymond Burke, blaming them as the instigators of the crisis. 

Burke was appointed by Pope Francis as the patron of the Knights of Malta in 2014 after the Pope removed him from his high-ranking Vatican post as head of the Vatican's highest court. 

“I think we cannot foresee and we will not make comments on what will happen to Cardinal Burke in the future. That remains the decision of the Holy Father,” said Boeselager. 

Nevertheless from comments at the press conference it is clear that a purge is in the works.

It was said that the Order will undergo a “reform” of the religious “branch” of the Order — foundational both in the history and in the legislature of the Order — as is willed by Pope Francis. 

The reform will be executed by a Papal delegate who will have power to act over the head of Cardinal Burke.

Of note, the religious portion of the order is where the conservative ranks are to be found -- those that objected to the distribution of contraceptives.

Boeselager refused to comment on the rumor that Pope Francis had demanded that the former head of the Order state in his letter of resignation that it was Cardinal Burke who had instigated his sacking. 

“I have not seen the letter and I will not comment,” he said. 

The Catholic Knights of Malta operates in 120 countries around the world and is best known for its charitable work in war zones and humanitarian crises. 

Boeselager was removed from his post in the order in December, but not before refusing to step down. His disobedience culminated with him being removed from the order. 

Later that month, Pope Francis became involved in the imbroglio, appointing a commission to investigate Boeselager’s removal. 

In a surprising action, Pope Francis forced the head of the order to resign while reinstating Boeselager to his former position. 

The Order retains sovereignty under international law and does not fall under the jurisdiction of the pope. It issues its own passports, currency, and postage stamps. 

The pope’s move came as a shock to faithful Catholics who thought Boeselager’s removal over the condom scandal signified the Order of Malta cleaning house. 

Catholic University of America canon law professor Kurt Martens said Pope Francis’ action "amount[ed] to de facto annexation" and is a "serious violation of international law." 

New York Times Catholic columnist Ross Douthat told LifeSiteNews at that time that Pope Francis’ takeover of the Order was a "characteristic move of the papacy...in the sense that the pope’s approach to church governance is very activist.”

“That activism has a tendency to come down against more traditionalist and conservative groups and...to favor more liberal groups,” he said. 

Earlier this week the Voice of the Family released a report outlining various instances where Pope Francis appears to show little concern, and even departure, from the Church’s condemnation of contraception as an evil. 

The Church teaches in Humanae Vitae that since contraception destroys the unitive and procreative integrity of the marital act it is always and in every instance gravely wrong.

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