Francis orders inquiry into Order of Malta row

What happened?

Pope Francis has ordered an inquiry after a controversy broke out at the highest levels of the Order of Malta. Albrecht von Boeselager, the Grand Chancellor of the order, was asked to resign after allegations that he had concealed problems in a previous role. He refused, which Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing called a “disgraceful” act of disobedience. Fra’ Matthew and other senior members of the order, including Cardinal Burke, dismissed Boeselager and named a replacement.

What the disputants are saying

Boeselager believes that he was removed partly because of allegations about his previous role as Grand Hospitaller, leading the order’s charitable outreach in 120 countries. It has been alleged that Boeselager failed to prevent condoms being distributed, as part of a scheme with which the order was linked. According to The Tablet, Boeselager says he has been unjustly suspected of being a “liberal Catholic”.

But Fra’ Matthew said the dismissal was down to a lack of transparency. In a statement, he said there were “severe problems which occurred during Boeselager’s tenure as Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta and his subsequent concealment of these problems from the Grand Magistry, as proved in a report commissioned by the Grand Master last year.”

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