The order announced Dunlap’s election on May 3. He has been leading the order as lieutenant grand master since last year, when he was appointed by Pope Francis following the sudden death of his predecessor, Fra’ Marco Luzzago.
Dunlap was elected by an absolute majority from among three candidates, according to the order. There were 99 people from 18 countries who participated in the voting.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is both a lay religious order of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state subject to international law.
In 2017, Pope Francis ordered reforms of both the order’s religious life and its constitution. He approved the order’s new constitutional charter and regulations last year.
In January, 111 members of the order assembled to elect new leadership, except the grand master, in an extraordinary chapter general convened by Pope Francis.
From Jan. 25-29, the Order of Malta held elections to choose nine councilors of the Sovereign Council as well as the four High Offices: grand commander, grand chancellor, grand hospitaller, and receiver of the common treasure. Each position is a five-year term.