Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pope Benedict and the Order of Malta

~Yesterday, the Holy Father met with the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of Malta (now, this was the interesting meeting...never mind the other one that the secular press is atwitter about). How can all that red and gold not stir you?

Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Prince Fra' Andrew Bertie (L) during a private audience at the Vatican June 22, 2007. REUTERS/Alberto Pizzoli/Pool (VATICAN)

AP Photo/Alberto Pizzoli, pool

REUTERS/Alberto Pizzoli/Pool (VATICAN)

AP Photo/Alberto Pizzoli, pool

REUTERS/Alberto Pizzoli/Pool (VATICAN)

On the Order of Malta (from Papa Ratzinger Forum)
The Order of Malta began in Jerusalem around 1050 through a community of monks named after St. John the Baptist in order to assist pilgrims of every faith and race who come to the Holy Land. It is one of the few medieval orders that continues to be active today.

By approval of Pope Pasqual II in 1113, the Order established its base in Malta, to be forced out in 1834 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Since then, their extra-territorial headquarters has been Rome.
Its 11,000 members include some consecrated priests, and many members take a vow of obedience. Lay knights and dames pledge themselves to Christian charitable services through volunteer work for the poor and the suffering in various health, assistance and social work agencies.

Today it is present in more than 110 countries with medical, social and assitance projects. The Order has its own juridical constitution - it can issue passports and stamps, and mint coins. It has diplomatic relations with 93 states today, many of them non-Catholic. It is represented in European and international organizations, starting with the United Nations where, like the Holy See itself, it has the satus of permanent observer.

Prince Bertie is the 78th Grand Master of the Order, a position for life. He was elected in 1988.


Berolinensis said...

Beautiful pictures, thank you.
However, I don't know who wrote this article, but there are several inaccuracies. Concerning the history, Pope Paschal II confirmed the Foundation of the Hospital and the Order, but at that time, the order was still in (the Latin Kingdom of) Jerusalem. After the Christian lost the Holy Land, the Order went - via Cyprus - to island of Rhodes (in 1310) where they remained until 1523, when they were driven off by the Turks (The official name is still "Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta). Only then, in 1530, did they receive Malta as gift of the German Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V, which they famoulsy and decisively defended against the Turks in 1565. (See more of the history at the official site: )
Concerning the status of the Order, the right to issue passports etc. is not due to its having a juridical constitution (which is true for every juridical person), but to its being a sovereign subject of international law, the same way states are.

Argent said...

Thank you, Berolinensis, for the clarification.

The Epiphany Artist said...

The third picture is supreme!