Why did Pope Francis sack the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta?

Pope Francis has exercised his papal authority and sacked the head of the Knights of Malta following a controversy within the ancient chivalric organization. In dismissing the leader, Pope Francis has made a rare use of power as the absolute monarch of Vatican City and the leader of the Church.

Today’s popes rarely exercise their power in public, but the sacking of Grand Master Matthew Festing may be one example. Pope Francis asked the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta to resign on Tuesday, which he promptly did. His obedience to our Holy Father is meritorious.

The cause for the resignation stems from a controversy that erupted among the knights after a humanitarian program they work with was found to be distributing condoms in developing countries.

When the fact was discovered, the knight in charge of overseeing the program shut it down. That knight was Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boselager, who was also the third highest member in the order.

Despite the fact he shut down the program, Cardinal Raymond Burke insisted he be dismissed. Cardinal Burke is responsible for conveying Pope Francis’ wishes to the order. However, Pope Francis did not request that Boselager be dismissed.

Grand Chancellor Michael Festing reads from the Bible as Cardinal Raymond Burke looks on. Cardinal Burke is Pope Francis

Boeslager appealed to the Pope, and the Holy Father sent a team to investigate what the heck was going on between Knights.

The team sent by Pope Francis then faced difficulty, Festing refused to cooperate with the investigation. Festing alleged that some of the members of the commission had conflicts of interest because they were linked to a Swiss fund which had a financial interest in the Order.

It is this refusal to cooperate that seems to have brought about the request for his resignation. Mr. Festing resigned on Tuesday immediately following a meeting with the pope.

While some of the Knights of Malta may not feel it justified for the pope to intervene in their affairs, the Holy Father is the head of the Church, and the Order exists to serve the Church.

As for the use of condoms, they are forbidden under Catholic teaching. However, both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have suggested there may be limited circumstances where their use may be justified, such as to stop the spread of deadly diseases, for example. However, this idea should not be taken as official teaching, and all sexual union should be confined to the proper boundaries of a loving marriage that are open to the creative power of God. If abstinence is followed in all other cases, the need for a condom becomes perfectly nonexistent.

By Marshall Connolly



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Humans evolved a strong sex drive, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have survived at a time when most children died at birth or shortly thereafter. Abstinence is not part of our evolved nature. Humans who practiced abstinence did not reproduce, and did not pass on their genes. Humans who had a lot of sex reproduced, and passed on their genes. The Church’s teaching is disordered and unnatural for us as an evolved human species.
    Once this sex drive was a very good thing and it helped ensure that our species survived and continue to evolve. As we evolved, we also developed a powerful intellect. That intellect gives us the ability to deal with things that were once evolutionary advantages, but no longer. Once we discovered germ theory in the 1800s, our population exploded. It took millions of years to get to the 2.5 billion people on the planet when I was born, but in a few short decades it has grown to 7.5 billion. We are like an out of control virus consuming all the nutrients in our petri dish, and when they are gone, we could, like the virus, catastrophically drown in our own poisons. But our intellect gave us a simple solution for our evolved sex drive – contraception. We cannot turn that drive off overnight. It may diminish over a number of generations as the evolutionary advantage it once provided is no longer needed, but in the meantime, over the next several centuries, we have contraception available to keep our population in check, and to ensure that parents only have children they can care for. The Church catechism indicates that the default destination for unbaptized souls is Hell, so you’d think they would be interested in reducing abortions by permitting contraception; but you’d be wrong.
    What we have here is a wealthy, powerful, self-interested organization that is attempting to keep us from saving ourselves with our intellect. It wants us to turn that intellect off and go back to the Iron Ages, when we were easier to control with their fear. Their theology calls for end-times destruction, so playing the role of an out of control virus in the petri dish headed for disaster, is right in line with their plans for a catastrophic ending. I think they see the act of saving ourselves as denying their god and thus confirming his lack of power or existence. If we save ourselves, we’ve proven we don’t need their god. If we destroy ourselves, they win as we will have confirmed their god who promised our destruction.
    We all know that the western world has largely turned it’s back on the Church’s teachings regarding contraception. Parents don’t have 12 kids any longer, and that includes Catholics. That means practically all Catholics are using contraception. The Church is wrong on this issue. We all know they are wrong, so we ignore them. Their manic obsession with sex is disordered thinking. The question is, having established that the Church can be wrong – just as they were in the time of indulgences and witch burning – what else are they wrong about?

  2. Anthony Reply

    it is a sin

  3. Buzzox Reply

    What a bunch of dumb bells, what did they think they were some American inner ghetto social workers?

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