Cardinal Burke has rejected an allegation that he had ordered a senior official at the Order of Malta to resign. The cardinal, who is patron of the order, said such an accusation was a “calumny” and that he had no authority to make such a demand.
Fra’ Ludwig Hoffmann von Rumerstein, acting head of the order, said it was Cardinal Burke who had demanded the resignation of Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, not Fra’ Matthew Festing, then Grand Master, over a contraceptives scandal.
Boeselager had been the Knights’ health minister when its charity branch Malteser International was found to have been involved in programs that distributed thousands of condoms to poor people in Burma. Church teaching forbids artificial contraception. Boeselager has said he stopped the programmes when he learned of them.
“I simply stated that the person who knowingly permitted the distribution of contraceptives in the Order’s works should take responsibility, and then the Grand Master once again asked the Grand Chancellor to resign which he refused to do. Then the Grand Master proceeded to his dismissal without my involvement at all. The account of the Grand Master and myself stands,” the cardinal told the National Catholic Register.
“To be frank, I am stunned by what Hoffmann von Rumerstein states in the article.”