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Catholic group releases hard evidence of condom scandal behind Knights of Malta firing

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

December 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A new report from a Catholic watchdog group reveals hard evidence that a recently-sacked high-ranking Knights of Malta official oversaw the distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives in developing countries. The official's refusal to resign over this scandal at the prompting of higher-ups led him to be fired for disobeying his vow of obedience. 

The Lepanto Institute released a new video report shedding light on the accusations made against Albrecht von Boeselager, the Grand Sovereign of the Knights of Malta. The NGO documents uncovered by the Lepanto Institute show that Von Boeselager oversaw the distribution of condoms and oral contraceptives while he was Grand Hospitaller, the person in charge of the charitable work of the Order, through its international charity Malteser International. He was also at the time a member of Malteser International’s board. 

Documents from the World Health Organization, Three Disease Fund, Save the Children, and UNAIDS all show that Malteser was responsible for distributing and promoting contraception. The distribution and promotion of contraception were part of Malteser's role as a grantee and partner of these organizations, the documents indicate.

Page 29 of a 2005 UNAIDS report, for example, lists Malteser International as having distributed 52,190 condoms. From 2006-2007, UNAIDS reporting shows that Malteser distributed 59,675 condoms for that year.

According to a report produced by the Three Disease Fund, Malteser distributed over 300,000 condoms to sex workers, truck drivers, uniformed personnel, and other male and female workers. A 2006 World Health Organization report says Malteser distributed 2,500 oral contraceptives in Myanmar.

The Lepanto Institute's report also showed that Malteser International posted a job listing on myjobs.com with a job description that included "counseling on correct and consistent use of condoms."

"During the time Boeselager was the head of Malteser International, Malteser promoted and distributed hundreds of thousands of condoms and even distributed oral contraception," Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. "It's very important that people understand this. For that kind of thing to happen under his watch, he is rightfully removed from his post."

"Clearly the Order of Malta has only recently become aware of the gravity of this situation and is doing what is necessary to fix the problems and bring its charitable work back in line with Catholic moral teaching," said Hichborn. "If Albrecht Boeselager is permitted to regain his position by order of the Vatican, it would undo and potentially ruin any and all efforts to put an end to these gravely immoral practices."

In his video report, Hichborn says that two weeks ago, the Lepanto Institute "quietly submitted the results of our investigation to the Order of Malta through the Cardinal Patron."

Cardinal Raymond Burke is the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

"Even though he clearly has not had time to study the findings of our report and respond, the recent action of the Grand Master has prompted us to publish what we found in order to give support to him and to the whole Order," said Hichborn.

"As a highly respected Catholic institution with the duty of carrying out their noble charge of defending the Faith and caring for the poor, it’s very important that a clear case be made that Boeselager’s removal was completely justified," he continued. "Our hope is that this report provides clarity about what was happening under Boeselager’s leadership, so as to avoid the destructive in-fighting that could be caused by rumors and assumptions."

The Lepanto Institute's full investigative report can be read here. It is the only compilation of information on Malteser International's contraception programs. 

On Thursday Pope Francis announced he was launching an investigation into von Boeselager's removal. The Times of Malta reported that "a Vatican source said the investigating team would not concentrate on the issue of condoms but on the internal events that led to the sacking of von Boeselager."

Regarding von Boeselager's refusal to resign under his Promise of Obedience, Hichborn said, "Disobedience is always an imitation of the devil. No saint, even when wrongfully accused and unjustly punished, sinned against their duty to obedience. Through his disobedience to the Grand Master, Boeselager is only confirming his own guilt."



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