(Rome) Cardinal Raymond Burke, a brilliant jurist and the highest judge of the Holy See until the end of 2014, is a patient man with a great deal of suffering. But he can not just stand by for everything. Anyone who currently wants to understand what is happening in the Vatican and in the Church must listen carefully, look behind the scenes, read between the lines and, above all, question what the "information disinformation channels" are rumoring in the Vatican, says Marco Tosatti. In other words, anyone who wants to see through this, is called to be an observer. This is exhausting but necessary in the service of the Church.
In November 2014 Pope Francis dismissed him, away from the Vatican, to become Cardinal Patronus of the Order of Malta, to which he only said of this humiliation, where the Pope says to go, I go. When Pope Francis sent him to Guam, he said he did not see it as exile.
Cardinal Burke does not want to be the scapegoat
However, he does not want to be a scapegoat for the dirty laundry of others in the Order of Malta. In the Order, which is at the same time a sovereign state in international law, a severe power struggle had spread in December / January. With Vatican support, the first rank of the professed knights was in fact deprived of power by some members of the second class. Burke, the jurist, had to stand idly by to the legally unclean activity. The best laws are only as much in effect as people are found to ensure their compliance. In the Vatican, the Constitution was overthrown. Interpretation?
Journalists approaching the "magical circle" around Pope Francis, as Tosatti commented, gave the astonished public a certain reading of the events in the Order that had little to do with reality. Cardinal Burke did not speak, did not correct this. He was the Pope's ambassador to the Order. Ambassadors do not have to express their opinion, but to speak publicly only in the interest of their client.
The power struggle in the Order of Malta
Finally the letter became known to Burke on 1 December 2016 by Pope Francis. A letter containing clear instructions for action against certain power centers in the Order. As the Ambassador of the Pope, Burke also held on to the wasps' nest. He could not know this. The Cardinal Secretary suddenly interfered, stood up against him, and declared that with the Pope's letter everything had been quite different and misunderstood.
The Knight of the Second Estate, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, as Major Chancellor in the Order, had been deposed by the Grand Master of the Order and reinstated by the Vatican, with Papal authority. The centuries-old hierarchical structures in the Order had been overridden by a papal fiat. Scarcely again in office, and now as the real ruler in the Order, Boeselager entered the press at the beginning of February, declaring that he no longer had any use for Cardinal Burke in the Order. A few days later, the Vatican sent the Cardinal to the South Seas, far from Rome.
"I regard this as libel"
Boeselager's attack was too brazen for the Cardinal. He came to the public to clarify that he had never called for the resignation of Boeselager. The accusation was piquantly repeated by Ludwig Hoffmann of Rumerstein, an Austrian knight, ie, a member of the old guard. Hoffmann von Rumerstein, according to the Order's Constitution, heads the Order until the election of a new Grand Master, but he has only to say as much about Vatican interference as the Vatican will allow. The unilateral representation of a certain Fronde has found numerous adepts, followers, and naive followers.
After Cardinal Burke's speech, Cardinal Burke then became clear: the assertion that he and not Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing had demanded Boeselager's head, "I regard as defamation." Grandmaster Festing, the subordinate in the internal power struggle, returned on January 24 after a conversation with Pope Francis, disappointed and unnerved. Hoffmann von Rumerstein may have thought of using the viewpoint of the Order's new representation in this critical situation. After all, the professed knights, like him, have to reckon with the fact that Pope Francis completely deprives them of power. The papal announcements to "reform" the Order were felt as a threat by parts of the Order.
"Anyone who allows distribution of contraception should also take responsibility for it"
After a reconstruction of the facts, the resignation request to Boeselager was not planned at all. Grandmaster Festing, with the written request of the Pope of December 1, wanted to create clarity. To this end, he invited Boeselager on 6 December and confronted him with allegations which had come to light independently by means of two investigation reports. It was only when the Grand Chancellor showed himself inscrutable that the confrontation escalated. The Grand Master demanded Boeselager's resignation. When this refused, Festing dismissed him. The rest is known .
Cardinal Burke on the clash of 6 December:
"I had no authority to demand the resignation of the Grand Chancellor. I have merely pointed out that a person consciously admitting the distribution of contraception in the works of the Order should also assume responsibility for it. The Grand Master then asked the Grand Chancellor to resign, which he refused. Then the Grand Master proceeded to his dismissal without me being involved in any way. "
Now the Pope had sent him to Guam to conduct proceedings against an emeritus archbishop. He sees this as a task, not as an exile from Rome.
"The Pope has never personally spoken to me about this mission."
Two operations and the proven information disinformation channels
The actual nomination was made by the Congregation for the Congo. Marco Tosatti wrote:
"In fact, in this rather mournful story two different, interrelated operations can be distinguished. The first operation concerns internal power struggles in the Maltese Order, which are probably also about money. It is unfortunate that the figure of the Pope was so obviously involved in this operation: he was the one who forced the Grand Master to retreat. We do not know what means he used to do."
Another aspect, according to Tosatti,
"...is the intervention of the Vatican Secretariat of State: It is known that the family of the Grand Chancellor who has been deposed and been rejoined after the Anschluss of the Order, by the Vatican has excellent relations with the Terza Loggia [Third floor, Secretary of State]; But they have substituted him for the task of spiritual renewal of the order ... "
The Swiss journalist Giuseppe Rusconi spoke of the Anschluss, referring to the "Anschluss" of Austria to the German Reich in 1938, in order to say that at the end of January, the Vatican was doing the same with the Maltese Order. The "Terza Loggia" means the third floor in the Apostolic Palace and is synonymous to say that the Boeselager family has "excellent relations" with the Pope.
"The second operation, on the other hand, appears to be an opportunistic action. There is an opportunity to attack, discredit Burke, who is a nuisance in other areas, and, at the same time, to confuse the real maneuvers by smoke candles. It is enough to make the rumors that [Burke] is guilty of all the guilt, friendships, informational channels ... Always this Burke! How much patience can the Pope muster with him! ... "
If you want to understand what is happening in the Vatican and in the Church, you must take the trouble to read between the lines, to look behind the scenes, and to look closely at who says what and what he says, especially when it is supposedly neutral, "in the newspaper stands".
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Photo: Ordine di Malta Sicilia (Screenshot)
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