26 January 2017

Pope takes over Knights of Malta after condom dispute

In this Feb. 9, 2013 file photo, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta Matthew Festing waits for the start of a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Tacisio Bertone, not pictured, to mark the 900th anniversary of the Order of the Knights of Malta, at the Vatican. Festing resigned after entering into a public spat with Pope Francis over the ouster of a top official involved in a condom scandal, a spokeswoman for the ancient lay Catholic order said on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017.
Pope Francis on Wednesday seized control of the Knights of Malta, and action that amounts to one sovereign country annexing another, if on a very small scale.

Here's what led to the takeover and what it means for the Knights, the Vatican and the Catholic Church.
WHO ARE THEY?
The Knights of Malta is an ancient lay Catholic religious order that runs hospitals and clinics around the world. It counts 3,500 members and 100,000 staff and volunteers who lend first aid in war zones, natural disasters and conflict areas; members also make regular pilgrimages bringing the sick to Catholic shrines.