Pope intervenes in Knights of Malta after head resigns under pressure

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis meets Robert Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta during a private audience at the VaticanBy Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis will name his own man to run the Knights of Malta temporarily after the head of the ancient chivalric and charity institution resigned in the climax of a bitter dispute over sovereignty with the Vatican. The pope asked Grand Master Matthew Festing, 67, to step down at a meeting on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Rome-based Catholic institution said. Festing and the Vatican had been locked in a dispute since the Knights' Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager was sacked in December in the chivalric equivalent of a boardroom showdown – ostensibly for allowing the use of condoms in a medical project for the poor.

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