Knights of Malta suspend Dictator Pope author

The Knights of Malta have suspended the author of a book accusing Pope Francis of governing the Church like a Latin American dictator.

The lay religious order has distanced itself from the book, which members describe as “biased”.

In his book “The Dictator Pope”, Henry Sire describes Francis as an “authoritarian, manipulative and politically partisan pontiff”.

He criticises Francis’s involvement in a dispute between the Order of Malta and the Vatican which took place from the end of 2016 until early 2017.

The dispute erupted over the distribution of condoms but became a proxy war between the Pope and opponents of his papacy.

Sire’s book describes Fra’ Matthew Festing (the Order’s former Grand Master) as an “out-and-out traditionalist, in doctrinal and liturgical terms”.

Francis asked Matthew to resign after a public stand-off about reforms he (Francis) wanted the Order to adopt and Matthew resisted.

After Matthew resigned, the reforms began. Francis has told the order not to admit new members until reforms have been carried out.

He has declined a request to hand the Knights greater control of the organisation.

Sire said he always intended for his true identity to emerge when print editions of the book were published.

He disputed the Order’s statement that his book attacks Francis.

“I need hardly point out that my object in the book was to defend the true sanctity of the papal office against an incumbent who, as many Catholics now see, falls notably short of the character that has been expected of a pope for centuries,” he says.

Sire’s book was released online at the end of last year and published under a pseudonym.

The print edition – which Sire says he always intended to carry his real name – will be released in a month – days before the Order gathers in Rome to elect a new leader.




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