VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican confirmed its trust in the papal commission investigating the forced resignation of the Order of Malta’s former grand chancellor following a letter by the order’s grand master to discredit the group.
In a statement released Jan. 17, the Vatican said it “reaffirms its confidence” in the five-member group established by Pope Francis “to inform him about the present crisis of the central direction of the order.”
The Vatican also rejected “any attempt to discredit these members of the group,” led by Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, former Vatican representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva.
Other members of the commission are: Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a canon lawyer and former rector of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University; Jacques de Liedekerke, former chancellor of the Order of Malta; Marc Odendall, counselor of the order; and Marwan Sehnaoui, president of the Order of Malta in Lebanon.
In a letter to members, obtained and reported Jan. 16 by The Tablet, a London-based Catholic news weekly, the order’s grand master, Fra Matthew Festing, accused three of the commission members of having links to “a fund in Geneva.”
While admitting that there was no immediate evidence of “anything untoward,” Festing said that “personal and financial links make the commission members clearly unfit to address the situation objectively.”
The Tablet also reported that Festing said he would establish his own “commission of inquiry into the situation,” adding that the papal commission will be kept “at arm’s length” until his inquiry is concluded.
Despite the increasing tensions with the order, the Vatican reiterated its support for “the commendable work that members and volunteers” with the Order of Malta carry out in various parts of the world in defense of the faith and in service to the poor and the sick.
However, it also called on all members of the order to cooperate with the commission and its work.
“The Holy See counts on the complete cooperation of all in this sensitive stage and awaits the report of the above-mentioned group in order to adopt — within its area of competence — the most fitting decisions for the good of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and of the church,” the Vatican said.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103