Cardinal Burke criticizes acting Knights of Malta head for ‘calumny’ against him
February 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke has disputed the account by the acting head of the Knights of Malta involving Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager and called them “inaccurate” and “calumny.”
Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein told Austria's News Der Standart that he participated in a December 6 meeting with Cardinal Burke, then-Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, and von Boeselager in which von Boeselager was asked to resign. Von Rumerstein characterized the meeting as “a talk between Cardinal Burke and Boeselager."
“The discussion took place in a civilized manner. Boeselager had said no to the request of Cardinal Burke for him to step down. And I walked the Cardinal to his car afterwards,” Rumerstein explained. “I don't remember [what Burke said], but he shook his head. He was upset that you can say. He had expected for Boeselager to resign.”
Cardinal Burke responded in an interview with Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register that he was “stunned” by von Rumerstein’s description of the events.
“The account given by Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein is not accurate,” Cardinal Burke said. “I had no authority to ask the Grand Chancellor to resign.”
The implication of Cardinal Burke in the resignation of von Boeselager by Pope Francis came about when the Pope asked Festing to implicate Burke in the former’s resignation letter. Von Rumerstein’s account is in accordance with this narrative.
Cardinal Burke replied, “I simply stated that the person who knowingly permitted the distribution of contraceptives in the Order’s works should take responsibility, and then the Grand Master once again asked the Grand Chancellor to resign, which he refused to do. Then the Grand Master proceeded to his dismissal without my involvement at all. The account of the Grand Master and myself stands.”
Burke views the recent remarks by von Rumerstein as aggressive. “To be frank, I am stunned by what Hoffmann von Rumerstein states in the article. I consider it a calumny.”
Cardinal Burke is currently in Guam, where he has been acting as the presiding judge over a clerical sex abuse case from the 1970s.
In an interview, Burke explained that this trip was in no way a “punishment” – as some articles suggested – but a task given to him by superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the usual procedure in such cases. He went on to say the Pope “entrusted the case to the Congregation, and the Congregation had proceeded according to the standard procedure for training the members of the Court.”
Cardinal Burke has been replaced as the Pope’s envoy to the Knights of Malta by Archbishop Angelo Becciu, who is leading a reform of the Order.