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Archbishop Becciu Named Pope’s Delegate to Order of Malta

Italian prelate will be “exclusive spokesman in all matters relating to” relations between Apostolic See and the Order

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Substitute for the General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, special delegate for the extraordinary Chapter of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

“The bishop therefore will monitor the path of preparation in view of the extraordinary Chapter that will elect the new Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta.”

In the appointment letter, addressed to Arcbishop Becciu and dated February 2, the Pope explains that the delegate “will work closely” with the Ven. Bailiff Fra ‘Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, temporary lieutenant, “for the greater good of the Order and reconciliation between all its components, religious and lay.”

The Pope also points out that Archbishop Becciu will have to deal with “all matters relating to the spiritual and moral renewal of the Order, especially the professed members, so that its purpose ‘to promote the glory of God through the sanctification of its members, service to the Faith and the Holy Father and helping others’, as stated in the Constitution” is fully realized.

Until the conclusion of the Extraordinary Chapter which will elect the new Grand Master, Archbishop Becciu will be “exclusive spokesperson in all matters relating to” relations between the Apostolic See and the Order. Pope Bergoglio, therefore, delegates to the prelate “all necessary powers to decide any issues that may arise concerning the implementation of the mandate” entrusted.

The appointment of the delegate from the Pope follows the resignation of Fra ‘Matthew Festing, Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta.

[Contribution by Federico Cenci]

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Below is the full, Vatican-provided text of the Pope’s letter:
As we embark on the path of preparation in view of the extraordinary Chapter that will elect the new Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, I hereby appoint you on today’s date as my special Delegate at this meritorious Order. You shall work in close collaboration with His Excellency the Venerable Bailiff Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, Lieutenant ad interim , for the greater good of the Order and the reconciliation of all its members, both religious and laypersons. You shall accompany and support the Lieutenant in the preparation of the extraordinary Chapter, and together you shall decide on the methods for a study with a view to the timely renovation of the Constitutional Charter of the Order and of the Melitense Statute.
In particular, you shall take care of all matters relating to the spiritual and moral renewal of the Order, especially the professed Members, so as to fulfil the purpose of “the promotion of the glory of God through the sanctification of its Members, service to the faith and to the Holy Father, and assistance to one’s neighbours”, as set forth in the Constitutional Charter.

Until the termination of your mandate, that is, up to the conclusion of the extraordinary Chapter which shall elect the Grand Master, you shall be my exclusive spokesman in all matters regarding the relations between this Apostolic See and the Order. I therefore delegate to you all the powers necessary to decide on any eventual issues that may arise with regard to the implementation of the mandate entrusted to you.

Thanking you for your willingness to undertake this office, I assure you of my prayer and I impart to you my heartfelt apostolic blessing, which I willingly extend to all the members of the Order.

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