Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Rags and the Order of Malta

Cardinal Burke has been criticized for doing his job as a canon lawyer, which is to obey canon law. Being obedient to the Church's law is presumably the very minimum we should expect from any priest or prelate. Not being able to criticise him for holding fast to the teaching of Jesus Christ most of the criticism from the vindictive lunatic fringe seems to be about the soft furnishings of his office, which as he is doing what he is supposed to do, is plain churlish.

I am not sure that a EF cappa magna would fit in my Church, two right angle turns from the sacristy to the sanctuary and narrow gangways would present health and safety issues for both the wearer and the congregation. The old cappa is quite a few yards longer than the one in Paul VI's post-concilliar clothing regulations that are in force for Bishops and Cardinals in the Ordinary Form.

Blood red, not white, is the proper papal colour, it symbolises the martyrs, most especially Ss Peter and Paul. The fact you need an attendant or minder to hold the other end of the cappa indicates the dependency of a Cardinal on others, it symbolises the burden of office, the stream of blood behind a Prince of the Church. It is actually street dress, or at least processional dress. It is supposed to make a spectacle, a witness,  of the Cardinal. Blood red silk flowing from his shoulders, is supposed to be a statement signifying 'that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith, for peace and harmony among the people of God, for freedom and the spread of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.' which is what Pope says at the imposition of the red hat.

The Church has always recognised the Cappa is worn as a sign of the external vanities of the world, I like the prayer that is said when it is removed.'Take off of me, Lord, the old man with his manners and deeds: and put on me the new man, who according to God is created in justice, and the holiness of truth.' It's removal is actually more important than ts wearing because after its removal the Cardinal or Bishop ends up being clothed in the casuala, the little house, the Chucrh of charity. I suspect the phrase, 'created in justice, and the holiness of truth' resonates with Cardinal Burke.

I received a few rather gracious emails suggesting I was unkind for describing the Order as 'moribund' a week or so ago; this morning I received a charming phone call from a member of the Order of Malta explaining quite how un-moribund they actually are. I am apologise unreservedly. My intention was simply to suggest that the Sovereign Order would be very fortunate to have Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke as its Patron but I also suggested that the Order was Vatican library to go onlinein a place that would give the Cardinal a very influential place in the Church. I think to make reparation it might be worth suggesting that the Cardinal might well be fortunate to be associated with the Order. In fact, if we discount any malice on the Pope's part, and let us presume that the Pope is not extra-ordinarily stupid, then he has deliberately appointed one of the most outspoken, intellectually able, hard working, guileless Cardinals, and those who know him describe him as quite saintly, to what is probably a dream job. Yes, lots of lex orandi, most of the members of the Order of Malta I know are strongly attached to the Old Rite, but actually lots of lex vivendi going on as well.

I don't quite know how to describe the Order of Malta, it is actually a religious order, with a celibate core. It is also the other independent  sovereign state in Rome, though its territory is even smaller, it parallels the Vatican, it has its own Sovereign and clergy, even ambassadors. It is also a social support community, for the great and the good. On the ground it is an aid agency, it runs hospital, nursing homes, refugee camps, it is even in Lampedusa.

It is this that Pope Francis has made Cardinal Burke the Patron, as I have said elsewhere I expect fission to take place. At least twice before the Order has saved Europe and consequently the Church, will there be a third time?

It is worth reading this from the Order of Malta's Grand Chancello, Baron Albrecht von Boeselager:
“We are active now in 120 countries with bigger and smaller operations. We have between 80,000 and 100,000 volunteers, and 30,000 or so employees. It has become a big operation whereby the huge proportion of activities is not emergency relief. It involves activities such as our Homes Trust here in England, hospitals in Germany, volunteer organisations, social aid, first aid and care for the elderly, the homeless, the handicapped, but the limelight is always on conflicts and disasters.”
That said, one should not underestimate the order’s achievements in conflict and disaster zones. Take Iran: “The last time we were there was after the severe earthquake. We were surprised how well they were organised and how unideological. In the aftermath of the earthquake when the first phase of aid was over we were asked by the local government to coordinate all the NGOs and to train new local NGOs. We were astonished.”
There are many other examples. “In one African country our ambassador discovered in the central prison there was no separation between men and women. You can imagine what happened. And on one side, the government did not care and, on the other side, they were ashamed so they did not let anybody in to see it. But they trusted our ambassador and allowed him to build a wall just across the middle of the prison to separate men and women and, in addition, to build a small clinic. And this was only possible because he had direct contact to the prime minister and they saw he was not a dependent of anybody and did not have to report to any other national or international body.”
One last example. “In the last Lebanon war our ambassador negotiated the release of more than 1,000 hostages. The European papers were full of the stories of the western hostages but not of the Lebanese hostages. And he went with his diplomatic car into the battlefield in the Beqaa Valley to take the injured out and he was not attacked by either side.” All these examples are small pieces, says the order’s Grand Chancellor in his understated way, “but they underline how we work”.


Adulio said...

This is definitely a demotion for Cardinal Burke by Pope Francis - there's no other way to read into this. At the age of 66, he should not have been given a ceremonial role.

It is sad we have a pontiff, who is totally (perhaps more so that Paul VI) oblivious to the shipwreck in faith and liturgy around him. We get the popes we deserve and God's wrath is clearly upon us.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us

Neil Addison said...

The Order of Malta is well worth supporting for their international Humanitarian work. Especially in view of recent actions by the British Red Cross I advise people to give their money to the Order rather than the Red Cross

JARay said...

I echo the comments of both Adulio and Neil Addison above.

Lynda said...

Perhaps, they could redevelop a real military ability.

Chateaubriand said...

I want to become a member of order of Malta.

GOR said...

In my youth in Ireland a Junior Branch (Cadets) of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps was started in our parish. There we learned First Aid and accompanied the Senior members to sporting events (football games, etc.) and pilgrimage sites (Croagh Patrick, Knock) to provide assistance in case of injuries.

To us it was similar to the Boy Scouts, which was not an option for us back then. At the time it was in its infancy – in my parish at least. Today it is much expanded with branches in most, if not all, counties North and South. They perform great charitable work – all on a voluntary basis – and are to be commended for their dedication.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The Order of Malta was reintroduced into England in the 19th century and their first health related task was to protect the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth in London at the request of Cardinal Wiseman. In recent years this has been a sad sad story as the Hospital was allowed to drift away from Catholic values under successive chairmen appointed by the Order of Malta. Some members of the Order have however tried to remedy matters but they have had no support from the hierarchy whatsoever. Indeed the Archdiocese of Westminster has lent credence to incredible false accusations against the Order by excluding them from using their Conventual Church at the Hospital on utterly spurious grounds.

Perhaps Cardinal Burke might have the necessary clout to try and put things right. I will be writing to him.

Just another mad Catholic said...

do you think they have any room for a washed out 20 something ?

amaqula said...

Lynda....I was thinking the exact same thing myself. Maybe Cardinal Burke (or anyone!) could transform the Order of Malta into a Catholic defence and rescue corps. What they are doing is great, but many other organisations are doing the same thing. And when we see what has been going on in the Middle East, the lateness with which the US reacted, the complete inaction of the UN in the face of threatened genocide, and the vulnerability of Christian populations throughout the world, we really do need a Catholic military corps.

God Willing.

Jacobi said...

There has been talk recently of the Church being saved, “from the fringes”.

Two fringes now come to mind. One is Kazakhstan with its 4.4 million Catholics (slightly less than that other fringe, the UK) and now we have Malta with it 0.4 million Catholics.

The Kazakhstan Catholics are sound, as are the Maltese.

The first has a redoubtable leader in Bishop Athanasius Schneider and the Maltese now have Cardinal Burke to lead them as Patron of the Order of Malta, an Order.

That combination, the Order of Malta and the redoubtable Maltese infantry, has saved the island and Christianity before.

Perhaps with Kazakhstan, Malta and other “fringes”, the Counter reformation will arise?

Robert said...

I still feel Cardinal Burke should have been chosen for the Papacy after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. We could have had a Pope Leo XIV. He was the best man for the job. My opinion!.

JARay said...

360I see from Fr.Zd's blog that the knives are out for Cardinal Pell now that Cardinal Burke has been moved. What a surprise!!!

gemoftheocean said...

thanks for the wonderfully detailed explanations about the cappa and the Order. I can't begin to express how saddened I am that the pope seems not to care what the red shoes are supposed to symbolize and the fact that he eschews the use of them. I suppose I just should be happy he doesn't just wear a business suit.

Supertradmum said...

Father, the Order of Malta has lost its original charism. I have many posts on this order, it does good humanitarian work, but too many members are liberal Catholics, socialists and even believe in contraception. Someone I know involved told me that it has become social and status oriented. I hope Cardinal Burke can change this.

I have a few ideas on it....with over a 100 posts on Malta and two open letters to the Knights, which they most likely have not read, challenging them to defend the Faith by returning to the TLM

I send links in the next comment.

Etheldredasplace: The Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Two
02 Aug 2014
Blessed Adrian Fortescue From Adrian Fortescue was born around 1480, the son of Sir John Fortescue of Punsborne, Hertfordshire.

Supertradmum said...

Etheldredasplace: Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Five
05 Aug 2014
Almost at the same time, in 1188, Doña Sancha, wife of Don Alfonso, King of Aragon, in memory of the pious Knights fallen in defence of the Holy Land, raised a convent at Sigena, between Saragossa and Lerida, to receive ...
Etheldredasplace: Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Six
05 Aug 2014
She was born in Zevio, near Verona (Italy) about 1280 and married a man from Verona, Albert Canoculi with whom she began to do remarkable work for the poor. After her husband's death, she sold all that she owned and ...
Etheldredasplace: Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Three
03 Aug 2014
Blessed Gerard had an entire website to himself. The pictures and photographs are worth seeing. You may read his story here. Blessed Gerard has been noted on this blog before today.
Etheldredasplace: Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Four
04 Aug 2014
Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Four. Posted by Supertradmum. I first came across St. Nuno Álvares Pereira at Whitefriars Church in Dublin, where I was attending Mass last summer at this time. I would go to Adoration as ...
Etheldredasplace: Saints of The Knights of Malta Part Seven
05 Aug 2014
... to all who flocked to her because of her holiness and spiritual discernment. In 1347, she was called to her eternal reward and many miracles were worked at her tomb. There are more saints from the Knights of Malta Order.
New Series Starts Today-Part One: Saints of the Knights of ...
02 Aug 2014
I discovered a great website on the saints who were Knights of Malta. I shall highlight one daily for a week or so. If you cannot wait, here is the website. I shall get information from more than this site, however.
Etheldredasplace: Second Open Letter to the Knights of Malta
24 Mar 2012
In January, I wrote a long open letter to the Knights of Malta, which may be found here. Now, I write again from a different slant. In January, I was appealing to the Knights to support the Pope in his efforts to promulgate the ...

Celebrating 900 Years of the Knights of Malta
02 Dec 2012
I do not want to get into a discussion on the two branches of the Knights of Malta at this stage, but rather celebrate the 900th year of the recognition of the Order. Go to this site for an excellent history of some of the tombs of the ...
Blessed Gerard Tonque, Founder of the Knights of Malta
25 Feb 2013
Blessed Gerard Tonque, Founder of the Knights of Malta. Posted by Supertradmum. The founder of the Order of John is another Saint of Malta, although he was not Maltese. Here is a bit about him and the Charter from Rome ...
Open Letter to the Knights of St. John, the Knights of Malta
06 Jan 2012
I wrote this open letter to the Knights of St. John, the Knights of Malta. There is a crisis of liturgy happening in Malta at this time, more developments which I am tracking and will share on this blog. Some of you might think, who ...

Nicolas Bellord said...

Supertradmum: You mention the Knights and the TLM. In England the Order has two arms one of which is the Grand Priory whose members take religious vows and are more orientated to the religious side as a result.

In their Conventual Church at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth they celebrated the TLM with perhaps too much gusto. Another Knight from the other half of the Order had been appointed as Chairman of the Hospital. He is a convert with seemingly little appreciation of certain things Catholic. Well the incense from the TLM obviously got up his nose so he invoked the Archdiocese of Westminster to try and limit the services of the Grand Priory in their Church. With the help of Bishop Hopes he was partially successful in this.

Unfortunately the Grand Priory made a mistake in operating Child Protection Procedures - there was no actual incident - but an error in reporting suspicions which arose largely because the Archdiocese and the Hospital had failed to inform the Grand Priory as to what the procedures were.

This was a golden opportunity for the Hospital. Rumours were spread that the Grand Priory was a nest of practising homosexuals and that they had deliberately introduced a known paedophile into their Church. Three subsequent inquiries have said that all that happened was a technical breach of procedures caused by naivety and not malice. However the Hospital and the Archdiocese (this time it was Bishop Arnold) have together forbidden the use of their Church by the Order of Malta and this ban still subsists.

It was interesting to hear Cardinal Vincent Nichols on the Sunday programme on Radio 4 on 19th October saying that he objected to the clause in the Synod document about homosexuality because it was insufficiently welcoming and he then went on to say that he could not remember how he had voted for this objectionable clause which was rejected by others.

A curious contrast exists between that and what was allowed at the Soho masses on the one hand contrasted with the Archdiocese giving credence to a homophobic witch-hunt by suspending the Order of Malta from using their Conventual Church on the other hand.

Supertradmum said...

There is no and I have been to Malta four times now, no scheduled, regular TLM which is why I wrote the open letter to the Knights.

Titus said...

First off, the SMOM has full sovereignty over no territory, not in Rome, not in Malta, not anywhere else: they have a few buildings and diplomatic posts that they control as extra-territorial spaces, the same way other countries control their embassies. But they have not ruled any territory, however small, since the Napoleonic Wars (when, incidentally, they declined to fire on the French ships that sailed into Valletta because the Order's laws prohibited firing on other Christians).

Second, to reiterate, they don't rule Malta, so you can't blame them for what goes on in Maltese churches or look to the Maltese to learn something about the Order. The Order's connection to Malta is now no greater than its connection to Rhodes: it's just part of the name.

Third, there is zero chance of the SMOM resuscitating its military character and going on a crusade. None.