Vatican City, Nov 1, 2020 / 06:38 am
Pope Francis on Sunday named Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi his special delegate to the Order of Malta, following the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
In a pontifical letter Nov. 1, Pope Francis said he had accepted the resignation of Becciu as delegate and appointed Tomasi in his place.
Tomasi, 80, will be elevated to cardinal at a consistory on Nov. 28. In 2016, he retired after 13 years as permanent observer to the United Nations Office and Specialized Agencies in Geneva.
Cardinal Becciu had been the pope’s delegate to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since February 2017, when he was appointed to oversee the nearly one-thousand-year-old order’s “spiritual and moral” renewal as it navigated a period of internal reform.
On Sept. 24, Pope Francis asked Becciu to resign as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and from the rights of cardinals, following reports alleging he had used millions of euros of Vatican charity funds in speculative and risky investments.
As special delagate to the Order of Malta, Tomasi will collaborate with the order’s new Grand Master, who will be chosen in an election in Rome on Nov. 7.
Tomasi’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the historic order, which has been in a slow-moving constitutional crisis since Pope Francis compelled the resignation of a previous Grand Master, Fra’ Matthew Festing in 2017.
That decision came after Festing himself had compelled the resignation of Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager Boeselager in 2016, after it became known that an aid project of the order in Myanmar had distributed thousands of condoms. Boselager insisted that he had not known about the distribution of condoms, and that he had put a stop to it as soon as he became aware.