THE GERMAN PARTY IS AFRAID OF LOSING, AND PLAYS UNFAIRLY
17 Settembre 2020
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, in less than two months – on November 7 – the Special Council of the Order of Malta will take place, from which there will emerge, following the death of Fra Giacomo Dalla Torre, either a new Grand Master or else a Lieutenant. In the meantime, the group in power after the forced resignation of Matthew Festing (who, however, is one of the few who could be elected Grand Master…), that is, the German group led by Albrecht von Boeselager, is doing everything it can to prevent power from slipping out of its grasp – even using no little amount of force.
One of the Knights from Latin America has written us complaining about the rather dirty games being played. Read on:
Dear Doctor Tosatti,
I follow your blog with keen interest from South America, and I congratulate you for the valuable information and comments it contains. With regard to the affairs of the Order of Malta, I would like to explain something that may perhaps be of interest to your readers.
At the beginning of July, the four associations of the Order of Malta of the United States and Canada sent a letter to Cardinal Becciu about his role as special delegate of the Pope for relations with the Order of Malta, expressing among other things their reservations with regard to the plan to change the constitutional charter and the code of law of the Order. In response, the Grand Priors of the Order (which are all led not by elected Grand Priors but by procurators appointed by the recent Grand Magisterium) and the national associations of Europe and Lebanon, associations that answer to the leadership of the German association, which is now controlled by the Grand Chancery of the Order and also by the Sovereign Council through its members and allies, sent a letter disqualifying the reservations expressed by the North American association and supporting the position of the Grand Chancery of the Order.
Despite the large number of members of the North American associations (about one-third of the total membership of the Order), it is also being said in a misleading way that their associations (there are four) form only a small group with respect to the large number of European associations.
This has created in some of the South American associations the sensation of being in a marginal position, leading them to want to support the North American associations. However, in the discussion between the South American associations something quite curious has emerged. Juan O’Naghten, the Delegate of the Grand Chancery for Latin America, probably because he was warned by someone, thought it would be a good idea to send the draft of a letter that has all the characteristics of a mandate to be signed by all of the aforesaid South American associations and sent to Cardinal Becciu. The letter contained harsh terms towards the North American associations and at the same time expressed support for the Grand Chancery.
This text was vehemently supported by one of the South American associations, which gave the impression of being “delegated by the Delegate.” Six of the ten South American associations participated in the meeting, and, after a discussion, the majority finally decided to sign the letter proposed by Delegate O’Naghten, after modifying it and purging it of some phrases that were considered unacceptable.
This result, which many judge to be non-representative (since several South American associations gave in only so as not to show a divided position in the region), generated dissatisfaction and even regrets.
Subsequently, the Roman newspaper “Il Messagero” published the news of the adherence of the South American associations to the German association and the others aligned with it.
It should be clarified, however, that this result was not in accord with the original spirit of all the participants, and that the surprising pressure exercised by the Delegate of the Grand Chancery – to the point of sending the draft of a pre-written letter expressing their position – constitutes a sort of vis compulsiva that delegitimizes the agreement. It should further be said that four of the ten South American associations were missing, and the letter obtained in the manner referred to does not even remotely reflect the thought of many of the Knights and Dames of the Order in the region.
The South American associations also feel uneasy about the way in which the Grand Magisterium has made it impossible for them to be adequately represented at the Special Council of State to elect the Grand Master, invoking an unproven juridical argument, and in any case subject to solution in view of the present extraordinary health circumstances, following what has already been done in other similar situations.
A well-informed Knight of Malta
Did you get all that? There is continual pressure, and more and more games are being played. For example, some Knights of the Grand Priories were suddenly moved to a section “In Gremio Religionis” by the Interim Lieutenant (after the death of the Grand Master). In this way some uncomfortable characters were eliminated from the number of those eligible to vote in the Special Council: the members of the Gremio Religionis are not eligible to vote. The problem, however, that is causing much discontent within the Order and that will certainly lead to protests and legal action is that moving someone to the Gremio Religionis is an act of extraordinary administration and therefore goes beyond the powers of the Lieutenant. Likewise, in the past few weeks critics say that there has been an irregular appointment of three Knights of the Grand Cross: Marcello Celestini, a doctor, the ambassador of the Order to San Marino, the father-in-law of the daughter of Dominique de la Rochefaucauld, who is Grand Hospitaller (the number 4 of the Order) and a friend of the Germans; Amedeo De Franchis, Procurator of the Grand Priory of Rome, also in line with the Germans, and Domenico Arduini, a doctor, who has been the attending physician to the Grand Masters for the last twenty years. A specialist in gynecology, he is the one who declared the date of the death of Giacomo della Torre. Now it is explained to us that, according to the rules, new entries, promotions, and the honors of the Grand Cross and Bailiff cannot be given by an Interim Lieutenant. It is an irregularity of management; these things should not have been done. They should have been appointed after the election by the new Grand Master, or by the Lieutenant if there is no Grand Master.
Is it malicious to suspect that the German party, largely a minority in the Order (two-thirds of the Order are Americans and Italians) may be using every means possible to try to get a friendly candidate elected, out of the fear of having to render an account – political or otherwise – of the history of the Order in recent years? We don’t believe so. Just as we think that Cardinal Becciu has the outlines of the story very clear: that it’s not about who wants reforms and who doesn’t. Don’t be surprised, but even among journalists there are those who are so pure of heart, even among the Vaticanists of the large newspapers, who accept the story – which someone put in motion – of the “progressives” (the Germans) who want reform and the “conservatives” (many others) who don’t want them. Everyone wants a reform, but obviously opinions differ. There are those who want a return to a more religious character, and those who instead want to transform the Order into a sort of NGO, a Saint Egidio Community wearing brocade and velvet…
And then, above all, there is the money. Do you recall the great battle over the distribution of condoms that saw first the fall and then the return of Albrecht Boeselager, whose brother Georg sits on the board of the IOR and has close contacts with the Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin? Well, the question of condoms that has been so heralded both within the Order and outside of it since 2016 is actually a “quarrel” that began at the end of 2011 in Germany, starting a war between the Germans within the German Association. And the contrasts between Festing (the Grand Master who was forced to resign by the Pope, a sensational and unprecedented act of interference) and Boeselager which exploded in December 2016 are related to questions of money. There are many unresolved issues which Cardinal Becciu will certainly be able to examine.
Who in fact has been managing all of the liquid money of the Order (about 30 million euros) for the last 10-15 years, which moreover is held in a family financial institution, without giving any account to the Sovereign Council and to the Chamber of Auditors? And where did the money from the Swiss donation (another 30 million in Swiss francs) go? Was it given to the Order? And, if so, who manages it? Why, if it has so much liquid cash, does the Order continue to sell real estate that is almost all Italian? And what happens to the money collected from these sales? Is it, as we fear, always managed by the Germans?
All of these questions are weighing, perhaps even more than the questions about condoms, over the battle for power in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. And these questions already make it clear why the German party seems so desperately engaged in the battle.
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