Rome (AFP) – The Knights of Malta’s sovereign council has officially accepted its chief’s resignation, the Order said Saturday, following a month-long bitter power battle linked to a row over condoms.
Grand Master Matthew Festing resigned his lifetime position Tuesday, at the request of Pope Francis, effectively putting an end to a prolonged stand-off that had become a test of the reforming pope’s authority over rebellious Church conservatives.
The sovereign council thanked Festing in a press release “for his great commitment during his nine years in office” and said the pope had been notified of its decision.
The council also said it accepted the Vatican’s decision to name a papal delegate to oversee “the spiritual renewal of the Order,” a Church-linked charity body descended from the crusaders of the Middle Ages.
The Order’s number two, Grand Commander Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein…