Former governor Fra'Giacomo Dalla Torre has received office for life by election of the 54-member State Council - oath of office on Thursday before the Order’s papal delegate Becciu
Prior to the announcement, Pope Francis was informed in writing of the election result. Subsequently, the Grand Priorate and other institutions of the Order became aware, as well as the governments of the 107 States, to which the Order maintains diplomatic relations with the rank subject to international law. On Thursday morning, Dalla Torre takes his oath of office in the Roman church of Santa Maria in Aventino in front of the papal special delegate to the Order, Archbishop Angelo Becciu.
The last Grandmaster, the Briton Matthew Festing (68), came back in early 2017 under pressure from Pope Francis. This had been preceded by turbulence at the head of the Order, which temporarily cost the German Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager (68) his position as Grand Chancellor.
The draft of a new constitution for the Sovereign Order of Malta should also be presented this week. It comes from a reform committee under the supervision of Archbishop Delegate Becciu; However, the document still had to be discussed, it was said at last. So far, the constitution has regulated that a grandmaster must always be "from an old noble family" and belong to the "First Estate" of the Order of Malta. These include men who, as professed knights, have taken the three vows of poverty, honorability and obedience and then become true religious in the sense of canon law. Women can not become grandmasters under the current constitution.
Order and Subject of International Law
The Order of Malta is in the tradition of the Order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, the world's first Christian Nursing Order founded in the 11th century. After the Reformation, the community split into the Catholic Maltese and the Protestant Hospitallers.
As a Catholic Order, the Sovereign Order of Malta is subordinate to the Holy See. At the same time it is politically ita own subject under international law. This status gives it unique access at the political and diplomatic level and is intended to provide special independence in conflicts.
The Maltese have 13,500 male and female members and about 120,000 honorary and full-time employees. They are active worldwide in development and disaster relief as well as in the health sector. In Germany, the German branch of the Order of Malta and the German Caritas Association founded the Malteser Hilfsdienst (MHD) in 1953 as a medical and civil protection organization.
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