The Sovereign Military Order of Malta’s Extraordinary Chapter General opened today at a retreat house outside of Rome after several days of spiritual reflection. It is presided over by the Lieutenant Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap and Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, Special Delegate of the Pope. There are 111 capitulars taking part in the Order’s supreme governing body. Coming from the five continents, they represent all the Classes and entities of the Order.
The Chapter General has the task of safeguarding the Order’s charism and bringing it up to date by acknowledging and addressing the Order’s most important issues. It plans activities, verifies the state of the Order’s assets and guides international relations.
In a message sent to the capitulars, Pope Francis wished to express his closeness to the Order of Malta: ‘The worldly, selfish and nowadays consumerist mentality is a challenge which, with your exemplary life and works of mercy, you are called to face…You do this for example by caring for the sick and visiting prisoners. I know that in many parts of the world you members and your volunteers dedicate yourselves to these works. You also accompany those who are approaching the moment of death, which is so delicate, in the passage from this earth to eternal life‘. In the letter, which was read at the opening of this morning’s works, the Pope finally thanked the Order of Malta ‘because you make yourselves available to your neediest brothers and sisters, pushing yourselves to the existential peripheries where you can meet and serve Christ‘.
During the Chapter General, the reports of the Special Delegate of the Pope and of the Lieutenant of the Grand Master on the general state of the Order will be presented; as well as the reports of the Grand Commander, Grand Chancellor, Grand Hospitaller, Receiver of the Common Treasure and the Prelate, to the extent of their competencies.
The Chapter General is called upon to elect the Grand Commander, Grand Chancellor, Grand Hospitaller and Receiver of the Common Treasure, four councillors of the Sovereign Council and the seven members of the Board of Auditors.
According to the new Constitutional Charter of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Chapter General meets every six years.