Pope Power

One of AP’s top stories this week is headlined “Pope takes over Knights of Malta after condom dispute” and is written by Nicole Winfield (https://apnews.com/acd056cee7144b58a66c1f90db0931d5/pope-takes-over-knights-of-malta-after-condom-dispute). The Knights of Malta is a Catholic group who are based in Rome, despite their name. The help to run hospitals and clinics worldwide.  Several years ago the Knights found out that one of the charity organizations they worked with wee distributing thousands of condoms. The program was quickly shut down with the pressure of the Vatican becoming involved. The individual who played a key role in the operation was the health minister, Albrecht von Boeselager. This act led to his election as grand chancellor of the Knights of Malta. However, the Knight’s leader, Matthew Festing, requested that Boeselager resign; he refused. This led to more trouble for the Knights.  Pope Francis got wind of this all and held and investigation for Boeselager. The Pope then met with Festing and following this meeting, Festing resigned. This has become problematic because the Vatican is not meant to get involved with governmental issues, but it has. Because the Pope “accepted” the resignation of Festing, the issue became a legal issue. On January 28, the Knights of Malta had to officially accept the resignation for it to be legal, which they did; however, they were not required to. The previous events have cause other issues to come to light such as: Pope Francis’ ” increasing clashes with more conservative elements in the church, especially those for whom sexual ethics and doctrinal orthodoxy are paramount” (Winfield, apnews.com).

This article is applicable to both the discussions brought up in class on Tuesday. The first being the polity of the Roman Catholic Church. Because there is an Episcopal polity, the bishops are the head of the church. The Pope is the head bishop, therefore he has the most influence. This is seen in his power to interfere in a government institution. This article also sheds light on McGuire’s typology. The Catholic church has shifted in recent years and in Pope Francis’ time to become more responsible for society as well as believing there is more than one way. There is still tension within the church, but Pope Francis is making changes and has the most influence within the Catholic Church.