Document:Commentary on the 2017-02-02 SMOM Press Conference

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Close analysis of the early February 2017 Order of Malta press conference showing the evasions and outright lies of Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, including on his conflicts of interest with the members of a Papal Commission which exonerated and reinstated him, and with whom he is involved with the 120 million Swiss franc trust.

Disclaimer (#3)Document.png commentary  by unknown dated 2017
Subjects: Knights of Malta, Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager
Source: Unknown
Local copy: File:Commentary on the 2017-02-02 SMOM Press Conference.pdf

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Commentary on SMOM Press Conference, February 2nd 2017

Outlining the false or inadequate representations of the truth

Full Conference Viewable on Order of Malta, Official Channel at:

Minute 2.24: Boeselager- ‘I speak to you on behalf of the entire Government of the Order’. If this was true, why was the Lieutenant, acting Head of the Order, not present on the panel at the Press Conference? Boeselager appears to have assumed the role of Head of the Order.

Minute 3.39: Boeselager- ‘The Order has a government in place which is restoring leadership in line with the Constitution of the Order’. It had such a government in place before Boeselager suspension and after it. Boeselager re-prise of office has not ‘restored leadership’. In fact it has provided opportunity for suspect statements and actions as below (and others).

Minute 4.15: Boeselager- ‘We are grateful for the Grand Master that he has accepted the proposal to resign, and this has put the elected Government of the Order back in a position where it can stand up to its constitutional responsibilities and govern the affairs of the Order’. It was not a proposal. It was a forced resignation. ‘...back in a position’: the Order was never out of that position. Fra’John Chritien had been correctly voted and accepted by Sovereign Council to the role of Grand Chancellor. There was no need to replace him with Boeselager, who for reasons given below, is a questionable holder of that office.

Minute 5.00: Boeselager- ‘Our devotion to the teachings of the Church is irrevocable and beyond question’. Untrue. Malteser International’s work under Boeselager’s watch as Grand Hospitaller was very much not devoted to such teachings...’.

Minute 5.08: Boeselager- ‘What the Order has experienced was a crisis brought about by an act illegal under the Constitution’. Untrue. The act of suspension of Boeselager was confirmed as legal under the Order’s rules by Avvocato dell’Estato Gazzoni. This was published on the Order’s website by Press Release by Fra’John Chritien, in his role as Grand Chancellor ad interim.

Minute 5.26: Boeselager- ‘We regret allegations of conflict of interest against members of the Commission set up by the Holy Father. They are baseless and unfounded.’ Untrue. Boeselager received a detailed written briefing in June 2014 from Marc Odendall. See Attachment. Briefing states that Boeselager, Odendall, Parolin, Sehnaoui and Tomasi were knowledgeable and coordinated in respect of Swiss Trust/Ariane Slinger. O, S and T were therefore conflicted in serving on the Commission to investigate Boeselager suspension: they know each other, and had a shared interest in the Jehan du Tour money. The Odendall briefing proves Boeselager was aware of the conflict of interest. Allegations of conflict were therefore well-founded.

Minute 12.01: Boeselager- ‘The Vatican started to take care of the crisis when it became aware of the fact that the wish of the Holy Father was invoked when I was asked to resign. That’s the reason the Holy Father and the Vatican stepped in.’ Incorrect. The wish of the Holy Father was not invoked beyond his request to clean up the Order. The Grand Master had multiple reasons to suspend and investigate his subordinate, Boeselager, who showed a pattern of breaking the rules of the Order, failing to report openly and accountable to the Sovereign Council and the Grand Master, and who appears to have refused to execute commands of the Grand Master.

Minute 12.44: Boeselager- ‘The Holy Father and the Vatican realises very well that our Sovereignty functions at the service of the Church.’ Impossible. Sovereignty cannot be at the ‘service’ of another entity. The Vatican only intervened in the Order’s affairs at the request of Boeselager. Unhappy about submitting to the Order’s internal processes, which would have found an innocent knight innocent, Boeselager turned for defence of his position to his allies in the Church.

Minute 16.07: Boeselager- ‘I don’t know the report given to the Holy Father by the Commission, so I cannot comment on this.’ Announced that report would be presented to the Holy Father end January / beginning of February. But Grand Master Festing’s resignation was imposed January 24th! Was the complicated subject of this report delivered early, or were its results pre-ordained? Or does it exist at all? If it exists, multiple allies of Boeselager served on the Commission: apparently none were so generous as to provide him with knowledge of the report. Odendall provides comprehenesive detail to Boeselager June 2014 just days after his election as Grand Chancellor, urging secrecy in his involvement. But by January 2017 he has not briefed Boeselager (secretly, of course). Is this believable? The Vatican decision to demand resignation of Grand Master Festing was taken prior to the Commission appointment. It seems to have become highly urgent/mission critical for the Vatican to ‘cover up’, coincident with an internal Order Commission being announced to look into the Trust.

Minute 17.15 Boeselager: ‘The Grand Master, having seen the report decided that the negligence would not be considered such grave that it should have consequences for the people concerned.’ Boeselager omits to mention that in May / June 2014 Fra’Duncan Gallie was elected to Sovereign Council at the Chapter General. Unofficial sources report the result was an overwhelming majority of the 60+ possible votes, clearly demonstrating that the ‘negligence’ was not as severe as some journalists and detractors of the Professed knights would maintain. The ‘decision’ of the Grand Master is a distraction here: the voters of the 1 st Class of the Order (the Professed) saw through the shameful effort to inflate a choice of method and timing of communication about a sensitive matter into a personal slur. The ‘negligence’ referred to is the choice to report a suspected safeguarding risk some 6 days later face-to-face to a priest, rather than immediately in writing (which would have been potentially libellous). See full details can be seen in the Cumberlege Report.

Minute 17.40: Rocco, Wall Street Journal, ‘You spoke of crisis. Was this a struggle for the soul or mission of the Order?’ Boeselager: ‘It was less about persons: it was more the regard to the Constitution and Code of the Order. The steps taken were a breach of the Constitution and Code of the Order, and the observance of Constitution and Code of the Order were at stake’. Incorrect. The steps taken were never a breach of the Charter and Code. Boeselager’s conduct, however, was repeatedly in breach of the Charter and Code, including supervision of conduct which was in breach with the Magisterium of the Church.

Minute 18.30: Winfield, Associated Press, ‘Why do you think you were removed? Why did they want you out?’ Boeselager: ‘Part of it is a mystery to me. Part of the fact is that there was increasing tension and disagreement between elected government, not only me, but colleagues sitting here and the others, and people brought in by the Grand Master without regard to the Constitution, in positions which are not Constitutional.’ Irrelevant: ‘in positions which are not constitutional’. Charter and Code of Order do not consider all possible appointed positions (such as heads of specific cabinets) but they nonetheless normally exist. Grand Chancellor has had a head of cabinet for years, together with all the staff of the Chancery. Meanwhile the Grand Master had for some years just 2 secretaries, then an ADC- and only from June 2014 a head of Cabinet. Also, note that the Code does not consider or specify the many committees that have been created: Real Estate, Financial, nor indeed the controversial and now departed Director of the Common Treasure (Marianna DeSio). In summary, the Charter and Code only consider the High Charges. All powers exercised by the head of the Cabinet of the Grand Master were under his complete control. The speaker appears to develop here a smokescreen, understandable given that strengthening of the Grand Master’s office was certainly contrary to the wishes and objectives of some others.

Minute 26.52 ‘Finance’ Esterhazy
‘But there are other requirements above and beyond [the rule of law] that we rigidly adhere to. For example, there are very rigid criteria for donations which we apply. For example, it must be very clear that there is no conflict of interest between.... For every donation we receive there is a clear and transparent allocation to a purpose of the Order....’ Lastly, I want to emphasize that there is always a special relationship between donors and the Order....’ There is no doubt that in any donation we receive there is some connection to the works of the Order or the people of the Order, in a very decentralized manner.’

Minute 32.15 The Cardinal Patronus is the special envoy of the Pope to the Order.... He is not part of the government of the Order.... [Cardinal Burke] special attention was on adherence to Church teachings

Minute 33.15 Kington, The Times, ‘...condom accusation a pretext?’ Boeselager: All I can say is that he [GM] paid a special attention to it. Firstly projects were discovered by an internal audit by MI (Malteser International), not from outside. This is not true. The trigger for the internal enquiry (November 2013) came from the questions raised at the meeting of the US Federal Association of SMOM (October 2013) about two US based agencies, Pathfinder and JHIPIEGO, both of which were funding MI in Kenya and South Sudan. Both donors had positions on abortion and practical family planning methods contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. (See Weir Report Timeline page 12).

Boeselager: It has been proven in the meantime...the projects where this distribution was carried out was discovered by an internal audit and the consequences were taken immediately. Role of Grand Hospitaller...supervision, not operative role. Projects were not known to the MI Director [Secretary] General until they were found out in the audit. You have to know how this organization functions. Only the big projects frameworks are known to the Centre, smaller specific projects and implementation are in the competence of the country or regional co-ordinators. Boeselager appears to be prevaricating: he would know the organizational structure very well of the Regional Headquarters of MI Europe, which at this time serviced MI Africa and MI Asia, whose team leaders report to the Programme Director/Deputy Executive Director, who in turn reports to the Executive Director. Holders of latter two posts are respectively also the Deputy Secretary General [Sid Johann Peruvemba] and the Secretary General [Ingo Radtke] of the General Secretariat of MI (See Weir Report pages 14 and 45).

See Weir Report, pages 15 and 16 [especially bullet points 1-3]. Two crucial documents had not yet been written by October 2015: ‘Principles of Partnership’ and the ‘Catalogue of Exclusion Criteria for IDs and Benefactors’. Without these two safe-guards it is clear they were laying themselves open to failing to check the detail of their donors. However, this should not absolve them of being unaware of the practices contrary to the Teaching of the Catholic Church, particularly if their governance guidelines had been properly adhered to. See Weir Report, page 17 for details of projects involving condom distribution.

Minute 35.40 Boeselager: MI put a policy in place in mid 2000s [some hesitation about the year] not to distribute condoms. This was therefore a breach of the policy committed by a county co-ordinator. He/she was called in for disciplinary reasons and has left the organisation. See Weir Report, page 12: Timeline. 2004 first HIV and Aids policy document published. Modified in 2006, following the establishment of MI in 2005, and has formed MI policy on HIV and AIDS until November 2013. Dr. Weir asked Dr Marie Theres Benner (Senior Health Adviser) for a copy of this document and she was unable to find one to give.

Boeselager: I think it has been proven- as far as I know that was also the result of the Vatican Commission, that the allegation in this case against me are groundless’. There were no allegations but there were comments about the lack of reporting through the Grand Hospitaller to the Grand Master and Sovereign Council of MI practices deemed to be inconsistent with the Church’s teaching. See Weir Report, page 7, paragraph 10. At paragraph 9 the position of the Spiritual Adviser of MI is indicated.

Other documents that may support the MI information above: scanned and attached. 1. Emails between Maren Paech and Birke Herzbruch concerning directive to terminate condom distribution post decision November 2013 (2 pages)
2. Email (in French) from +Stenger (spiritual adviser to MI) to Ingo Radtke, giving his rationale for taking a ‘lesser evil’ (2 pages)
3. Observer account of the 2014 Asia Pacific OM conference, October 2014. This is the meeting at which the author listened to Ingo Radtke’s speech and his account of condom distribution. See page 3, 4 th paragraph: Boeselager: “if we don’t give them condoms they will die”. (4 pages 2-5)
4. Series of questions to Ingo Radtke from Dr Weir concerning the governance guidelines (4 pages – see especially page 4. Geoff Gamble (Sovereign Council) reports that Boeselager and Radtke were in almost daily communication.... ‘The only an Observer’ argument used by Boeselager in respect of his role in Projects is not credible.

Minute 38.24 Boeselager: The promise and the vow of Obedience is in the frame of the Constitution & Code of the Order. In the context of Obedience nothing can be asked which is not in the frame of the Constitution & Code of the Order. First. And second, it was based on the assumption that the Holy See had asked for my resignation. Both was not the case, so therefore I did not feel to be committed by my Promise of Obedience to follow the request. And that is obviously the result also of the Vatican enquiry’.

Minute 40.20 Delia Gallagher, CNN: in order to re-instate you the Pope had to oust the Grand Master. Is there and why was it not put in place a procedure to remove the Grand Master?’ Boeselager: Sovereignty- is not the base. ...a trustful relation with the Holy Father and the Holy See. The aim of the Holy Father was to re-establish a trustful relation. He was not ousted. He was asked in a pastoral way to consider resignation.’ In fact the provisions in the Constitution & Code of the Order to remove the GM from his office are very restricted, and it would have been impossible in this situation. Was it desired? There was no consideration in this regard. We did not expect this crisis to escalate.

Minute 43.06 Jan Bentz, LifeSite News: has the distribution of contraceptives stopped completely? Are you taking steps to avoid that in the future? Are you also contrite for your personal involvement in it? They have said that you have said that your conscience is clear’.
Boeselager: I have said that my conscience is clear in regard to measure and procedures taken after we got to know of the problem. ‘I have always underlined that I feel bound to the teachings of the Church.... My friends would rather see me on the Conservative side of the Church, rather than the Liberal side’. ‘Before it has not been a question of conscience, as I did not know about it’.

Minute 55.20 ‘I leave the question on the Trust to Count Esterhazy....’