Pourquoi le grand chancelier de l’Ordre souverain de Malte a-t-il été démis par le Grand-Maître ?

D’après le communiqué officiel du Grand-Maître de l’Ordre :

« Cette suspension est due à de graves problèmes ayant eu lieu pendant le mandat de Boeselager en tant que Grand Hospitalier de l’Ordre de Malte, et à l’occultation consécutive de ces problèmes au Grand Magistère, comme démontré dans un rapport commandité par le Grand Maître l’an dernier. »

D’après différentes sources de presse :

(cath.ch) Le grand maître de l’Ordre souverain de Malte, Fra’Matthew Festing fait valoir “de graves problèmes” à l’époque où Albrecht von Boeselager était grand hospitalier, c’est-à-dire responsable des questions humanitaires d’un Ordre qui agit dans plus de 120 pays. Selon l’hebdomadaire britannique The Tablet, on lui reprocherait la distribution de préservatifs à des malades du sida en Afrique.

(RTBF) Officiellement, l’Allemand Albrecht von Boeselager, grand chancelier de l’Ordre de Malte depuis 2014 -équivalent au ministre de l’Intérieur et des Affaires étrangères-, a été démis de ses fonctions pour de « graves problèmes« . Selon plusieurs médias, dont l’hebdomadaire britannique catholique The Tablet, il avait distribué dans le passé des préservatifs à des malades du sida en Afrique lorsqu’il était ministre de la Santé et de la Coopération internationale de l’Ordre de Malte.

(Corrispondenza Romana/Benoît-et-moi/Rorate Caeli) Après la sortie au grand jour du fait que von Boeselager, pendant la période où il était le Grand Hospitalier de l’Ordre, avait abusé de son pouvoir, promouvant la distribution de dizaines de milliers de préservatifs et de contraceptifs, y compris abortifs (comme l’indiquent les rapports relatifs au programme des Nations Unies contre le VIH en Birmanie), le Grand Maître Matthew Festing est intervenu pour mettre fin au scandale et a demandé à Boeselager de démissionner.

(Catholic Herald) The order’s grand chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager, was forcibly ousted earlier this month after the Order of Malta said “an extremely grave and untenable situation” came to light. Italian daily Il Messaggero said the scandal concerned von Boeselager’s tenure as health minister and claims that he didn’t prevent the order’s workers in Africa from distributing condoms. The order has not provided details, but said the scandal involved von Boeselager’s tenure as health minister and said he had concealed the problems until an internal investigation uncovered them last year.

(National Catholic Register)

Condoms Distributed

The reasons for Boeselager’s dismissal primarily date back to when he was grand hospitaller from 1989 to 2014 and in charge of Malteser International, the Knights’ large humanitarian aid agency located in 24 countries. During his tenure, the organization is documented to have distributed thousands of condoms and oral contraceptives, mainly but not exclusively to help prevent prostitutes in the Far East and Africa from contracting HIV/AIDS. (…)

At the end of 2014, the grand master became aware of the issue; and in May of 2015, Fra’ Festing appointed a three-person commission to find out what happened. The commission produced its findings in January 2016; the issue of contraceptive distribution has been further catalogued more recently by the Lepanto Institute, showing that thousands of contraceptives were issued from 2005 to 2012. (…)

Boeselager Responds

(…) On the contraceptive issue, the former grand chancellor said the distribution of condoms in Myanmar to prevent the spread of AIDS was “initiated at a local level” and “without the knowledge” of Malteser International headquarters. As soon as the order learned of the condom distribution, two of the projects were immediately halted. A third continued, he said, because an abrupt end to the project would have deprived a poor region of Myanmar of all basic medical services. That project eventually ended after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervened.

Boeselager said that he has always stressed “most clearly” that he feels “bound by the teachings of the Church” and that to “contrive an accusation” that he did not acknowledge the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the family, based on the events in Myanmar, was “absurd.”

However, an Austrian component of Malteser International continues to advocate condom use to prevent HIV infection on its website, even though the Church teaches the use of contraceptives is “gravely immoral” in any circumstances.

Hopes that the contraceptive scandal would be addressed came on Nov. 10, when Cardinal Burke was received in private audience by Pope Francis. (…) The concern was followed up by a December 1 letter to Cardinal Burke, in which the Register has learned that the Holy Father underlined the cardinal’s constitutional duty to promote the spiritual interests of the order and remove any affiliation with groups or practices that run contrary to the moral law.

The Holy Father did not explicitly ask in the letter that Boeselager be dismissed, and, contrary to reports, Cardinal Burke has insisted that he would never have told Boeselager that the Pope had specifically asked for his dismissal. Rather, inside sources are at pains to point out that the Knights’ leadership could not see how the matter could be otherwise rectified, when great scandal was involved and no one was taking responsibility for it.

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(La Stampa) In an email to friends, however, Boeselager claims he was accused of being “a liberal Catholic unwilling to accept the teaching of the Church” something he described as “untrue and unjust”. Sources inside the order say his dismissal was over a row about condoms being distributed in Africa while Boeselager was in charge of the order’s charitable work.  “I have given my life to the Order, and through this to the Church, and I have always clearly affirmed that I am faithful to the Church and its teaching,” Boeselager wrote in an email.

(Catholic News Agency) “The reasons for the dismissal are confidential,” but they are “more complex” than reducing it to just the contraception incident, Eugenio Ajroldi di Robbiate, Communications Director for the Knights of Malta, told CNA Jan. 12. Problems initially arose when it was learned that the Order’s charity branch, under Boeselager’s watch, had inadvertently been involved in distributing condoms in Burma to prevent HIV.

However, Robbiate said Boeselager wasn’t initially aware that condoms were being distributed as part of the project, and when he found out “he immediately stopped all the programs.” So while the incident was indeed a factor in why the Grand Chancellor was asked to resign, Robbiate stressed that issue is “poorly reported” by many news agencies, since the full picture, while remaining confidential, is “much more complex than just the point on contraception ». Robbiate also confirmed that while Boeselager had been asked to resign, his refusal twice to comply with the request is what actually led to his eventual dismissal, since by refusing he broke the vow of obedience he had made as a Second Class member of the Order.

(Lepanto Institute) The Lepanto Institute had conducted its own investigation of Malteser International, finding that as early as 2005 Malteser had distributed condoms and oral contraceptives, and even now is promoting the use of condoms on its own website. (…) In brief, what follows are a few of the most pertinent facts.

> Read more

 

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