Order of Malta: The Storm Calmed

February 08, 2023
Source: fsspx.news
Sovereign Council of the Order of Malta

“You have written a very important page of history for the Order of Malta; thank you, you can be proud of it.” On this January 30, 2023, it was a relieved and happy Pope who addressed the 111 knights received in audience in the Vatican salons at the end of the extraordinary general chapter convened in Rome between January 25 and 29.

It is the first time that the capitulants have met since the Roman pontiff imposed his new constitution on the Order and forced the most recalcitrant knights to resign from the governing bodies.

Given the decisive intervention of the Pope in the government of the Order, one had to wonder how the chapter would unfold, and if divisions between knights would again surface.

But – apparently – there was nothing to it, and several capitulants confided to having worked in a “truly fraternal atmosphere,” while another specifies: “We had the feeling of being a religious order in its own right, united for religious purposes, not to attend a political or board meeting.”

The General Chapter was presided over by the Lieutenant Grand Master Fra' John Dunlap, assisted by the special delegate of the Holy Father for the Order, Cardinal Silviano Tomasi, and by the Sovereign Council, appointed ad interim by Pope Francis last year.

The nine councilors of the new sovereign council were elected for a six-year term, to which were added the new holders of “high offices”: Grand Commander Fra' Emmanuel Rousseau, Grand Chancellor Riccardo Paterno di Montecupo, Grand Hospitaller Fra' Alessandro de Franciscis, and the receiver of the common treasure Fabrizio Colonna.

It should be noted that almost all of the German speakers, for the most part opposed to the reform of the governance of the Order pushed by the Holy See, are absent from the sovereign council which has just been chosen.

With the Sovereign Council elections complete, the Order of Malta can now hold its full Council of State to elect the 81st Grand Master, a post that has remained vacant since the death in 2020 of Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto.

A habit that seems tailor-made for the current lieutenant grand master who presided over the general chapter: “I think it is true that Fra’ John Dunlap is the only name that really stands out; the only question is whether he wants to be grand master, and it seems to me that he does,” confided a capitulant.

Also a way to honor the one who avoided the implosion of the Order that many expected, by appeasing the knights, while applying the reforms decided, sometimes like a hussar, by the host of St. Martha’s House.