Knights of Malta rebuff Vatican: Investigation of our ‘internal’ matters is ‘unacceptable’
December 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Knights of Malta have responded to the news that the Vatican will be investigating the firing of one of its top officials for overseeing the distribution of contraception by saying it's an internal matter that "falls solely within" the Order's "competence."
According to a statement from the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Order of Malta, "The replacement of the former Grand Chancellor is an act of internal governmental administration of the Sovereign Order of Malta and consequently falls solely within its competence."
The Order has been in the news recently after one of top-ranking officials, Albrecht von Boeselager, violated his vow of obedience by refusing to resign after it was revealed he had overseen the distribution of contraception in developing countries through the order's charity, Malteser International. Von Boeselager's refusal to resign allowed the Order to take disciplinary action against him.
The Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception is intrinsically evil.
Then, on Thursday, Pope Francis announced he was launching an investigation into the situation. The Times of Malta reported that the investigation was rumored to be focused less on the condom scandal and more on the process that led to von Boeselager's sacking.
Hours later, the Lepanto Institute released NGO documents proving that Malteser International distributed not only condoms but also oral contraceptives.
"The decision made by the Holy See to appoint a group of five persons to shed light on the replacement of the former Grand Chancellor...is the result of a misunderstanding by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See," it said.
The Order said its Grand Master "respectfully clarified the situation yesterday evening in a letter to the Supreme Pontiff, laying out the reasons why the suggestions made by the Secretariat of State were unacceptable."
"He assured the Holy Father of his filial devotion and asked the Pontiff for the Apostolic Blessing, both for him and for the Sovereign Order of Malta, its 13,500 members and its 100,000 staff and volunteers who continue to provide a permanent and efficient hospitaller presence in more than 120 countries in the world according to the centuries-old charism of the Order of Malta," the statement concluded.