Grand Chancellor of Knights of Malta removed

By Robert Mickens
Herald Malaysia
December 19, 2016

The Knights of Malta made the surprise announcement last week: that the mandate of their Grand Chancellor, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager (pic), has come to an abrupt end only halfway through the German nobleman’s five-year term.

No reason was given in the short news item that was posted December 8 on the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order’s website.

The Order’s Prince and Grand Master, Matthew Festing, was just as vague in a letter (which La Croix International has seen) that was sent to the Knights’ national priors and other leading officials.

While Festing expressed “regret” that Boeselager “no longer holds the position of Grand Chancellor”, he added that the former official also would not have “any other position in and on behalf of the Order”.

Some saw that as a clear sign that the 67-year-old German, a Knight of Malta since 1976 and one of its top international officers since 1989, had been pushed out.

Festing said this was “with immediate effect” and added that members would “be informed as soon as possible” of the man who would temporarily fill the extremely important post of Grand Chancellor, basically the Order’s head of foreign affairs and the interior.

Sources close to the Knights of Malta, but who wished not to be identified, said it was suspected that Cardinal Raymond Burke played a role in sacking Boeselager.

The traditionalist American cardinal was removed from his key post as prefect of the Vatican’s top court in November 2014 when Pope Francis made him the cardinal- patron of the Knights – a move all agreed was a clear demotion.

It is believed that the cardinal saw the former Grand Chancellor, who was elected by the Order’s General Council just six months before his own appointment as patron, as too “progressive” on social issues.

The 900-year-old Order of Malta has been based in Rome since the mid-1800s. It is present in 120 countries and has 133 diplomatic missions, as well as a worldwide relief agency.

It has distinguished itself through numerous hospitals, medical centres and specialist foundations. It’s an open secret that a number of the Knights and Dames of Malta have been extremely uncomfortable with Cardinal Burke’s controversial statements and criticisms of the Pope, worried by the damaging effects they could have on their Order and its image.

One final note: Albrecht von Boeselager and his family are known to be close to the Jesuits, he and his father having both attended the Jesuit-run St Aloysius College (Aloisiuskolleg), a university preparatory school near Bonn.

It might be only a coincidence, but the Pope that certain cardinals and their conservative allies continue to attack is, wouldn’t you know it, also a Jesuit.


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