Clarification on the article published in the Italian ‘Settimo Cielo – L’Espresso’ online edition
Following the article ‘Knights of Malta. The mystery of those 30 million Swiss francs’ published by Sandro Magister on his blog ‘Settimo Cielo’, on March 23, the Grand Magistry’s Communications Office intends to clarify the following.
To remove from office a member of the government of the Order of Malta, a two thirds approval of its members is obligatory. Article 169 of the Code of the Order states that:
‘It is reserved to the Grand Master, with the deliberative vote of the Sovereign Council including a two-thirds majority of those voting, having heard the advice of the Juridical Council’. This procedure was never put forward by the then Grand Master. This is one of the reasons why Albrecht Boeselager – considering the request to be unconstitutional – decided not to resign.
The claim that Boeselager, first as Grand Hospitaller and then as Grand Chancellor, often acted without the knowledge of the Grand Master is not true. The Minutes of the Sovereign Council record that topics such as the donation of the Swiss Fund and that of the distribution of condoms in some projects of the Order were debated in the presence of Fra’ Matthew Festing in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. These questions were also dealt with in numerous encounters and meetings, always in the presence of the then Grand Master. It is not true that the Grand Master had set up an internal commission to examine the Trust.
It is not true that Grand Master Festing set up an investigation for the Order of Malta to report the fiduciary of the CPVG Trust to the Geneva judiciary, but was a decision taken by the previous Grand Chancellor Jean-Pierre Mazery in 2013.
It is not believable to think that the appointment of Georg Boeselager – the brother of the Grand Chancellor –as member of the Supervisory Board of the IOR, could in any way be connected with what happened at the Order of Malta.
Regarding the alleged ‘conflict of interests’ of at least three members of the commission nominated by the Secretary of State on 22 December 2016, the Vatican repeated, on 17 January 2017, that ‘the Holy See confirms its faith in the five members of the group appointed by Holy Father Francis on 21 December 2016, appointed with the purpose of informing him on the current crisis of the central management of the Order, and refutes, on the basis of documents in its possession, any attempt at discrediting the persons and their work.’
The decision to withdraw the charge against the CPVG Trust in Geneva was taken in the full knowledge of the government of the Order in 2015. In January 2017, with the agreement of the then Grand Master, a letter to the Geneva judiciary dealing with this matter confirmed the Order’s intention to reach an agreement with the CPVG Trust.
It is important to emphasise that donations from the Trust will be used in many countries of the world for the medical and social humanitarian projects of the Order of Malta, in particular to bring relief to those suffering from the wars and upheavals in the Middle East, to the populations in Africa suffering from hunger and to communities struck by natural catastrophes.