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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Former Head of the Knights of Malta Defies Papal Order

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Fra’ Matthew Festing and...the Pope Fra’ Matthew Festing and...the Pope

Fra’ Festing Just Says No (It’s about time someone did)

First, the wily Argentinian Jesuit on the Chair of Peter extorted the resignation of Fra’ Matthew Festing, former Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta (to use its popular name), summoning him to a secret audience on short notice and then demanding that he write out and sign a letter of resignation on the spot. With that, whatever remained of the sovereignty of the Sovereign Order of Malta was de facto annihilated.

Then, after having told Festing during the same audience that it would be alright if he were reelected as Grand Master at the meeting of the Order’s State Council commencing in Rome on April 29—a representation worth less than a Venezuelan Bolivar—Pope Bergoglio had his henchman, Archbishop Becciu, inform Festing that he is not to participate in the election or even be present in Rome while the meeting is held.   In what was evidently thought to be a cunning maneuver, Becciu attempted to pass off this outrageous abuse of authority as his own decision, which he had merely “shared with the Holy Father.”

Becciu, playing the obedience card, portrayed compliance with the absurd travel ban as “an act of obedience.” But obedience to whom? Becciu has no authority over Festing save that which Francis purports to have conferred upon him as a “special papal delegate” to the Order.  Obedience, then, to Francis—who happens, however, to have no authority himself to forbid a member of the faithful to travel to a particular city or to participate in the meeting of an organization still recognized as a sovereign entity under international law, of whose government he is a voting member.

Festing’s response to the Bergoglian diktat
was essentially: enough of this nonsense.  Reuters trumpeted the news: “Ex Knights of Malta head defies pope order, plans Rome return.” 
A spokesman for the Order, Reuters reports, confirmed that Festing “had informed the group that he would come to the meeting this Saturday at its headquarters in Rome.”

Let us hope that Festing shows up for the meeting and thus provides a small but telling example of what laity and clergy alike should have been doing from the moment the post-conciliar revolution began: Just say no to unjust orders that Church authorities have neither the right nor the real authority to issue. Marcel Lefebvre did so, thus preventing an even greater debacle than the one that has happened.

As always, the Angelic Doctor (cf. ST, II-II, Q. 104) draws the proper distinction—in this case between the virtue of obedience and mere blind obedience: “
[A] subject is not bound to obeyhis superior if the latter command him to do something wherein he is not subject to him.”  Festing is not subject to the whims of a Pope who would like to prevent him from traveling to Rome to participate in an election that is really none of his business.  For as Saint Thomas also observes: “a subject is bound toobeyhis superior within the sphere of his authority…”

Pope Bergoglio’s groundless directive is outside the sphere of his authority, having nothing to do with faith or morals as opposed to an internal political dispute in which he has injected himself. Moreover, the directive violates national and international law by arbitrarily limiting Festing’s freedom of movement and by purporting to forbid his participation in the purely civil affair of an election, conducted by a virtual state that issues passports to its members allowing for their international travel as members of that state. Festing’s obedience to Bergoglio’s lawless demand would involve what Saint Thomas calls “indiscreet obedience, which obeys even in matters unlawful.”

And so to Fra’ Festing I say: Get thee to Rome and show the way of true obedience. Give to the whole Church this small sign of how the tyranny that has laid waste to the ecclesial commonwealth these past fifty years may be resisted successfully and on solid moral grounds. Our hopes and prayers are with you!

UPDATE: Per Sandro Magister, Festing arrived in Rome yesterday (Wednesday), the day this piece was written.

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Last modified on Thursday, April 27, 2017
Christopher A. Ferrara

Christopher A. Ferrara: President and lead counsel for the American Catholic Lawyers Inc., Mr. Ferrara has been at the forefront of the legal defense of pro-lifers for the better part of a quarter century. Having served with the legal team for high profile victims of the culture of death such as Terri Schiavo, he has long since distinguished him a premier civil rights Catholic lawyer.  Mr. Ferrara has been a lead columnist for The Remnant since 2000 and has authored several books published by The Remnant Press, including the bestseller The Great Façade. Together with his children and wife, Wendy, he lives in Richmond, Virginia.