Pressing ahead with his takeover of the Knights of Malta, Pope Francis had declared that all recent decisions by the group’s leadership “are null and void.”
The Pope’s decision—conveyed to the Knights of Malta in a message
from the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin—annuls all
actions by Fra’ Matthew Festing, who submitted his resignation as grand
master earlier this past week.
The papal order affects actions and decisions
dating back to December 6 of last year.
The Pope also declared that
decisions of the Knights’ governing council since that date are void.
The papal decree would reverse the dismissal of the Order’s
chancellor, Albrecht von Boesalager, and the appointment of John Critien
as his temporary replacement.
The Sovereign Council of the Knights of Malta was meet in an
emergency session on Saturday, January 28.
The group was due to address the
resignation of Fra’ Festing—which cannot become official until it is
accepted by the Sovereign Council—and the Pope’s directive.