Ancient Order Knights of Malta, Militia to the Pope, Seeks New Blood
At 900 years, Knights of Malta confronts modernity
Matthew Festing — aka His Most Eminent Highness The Prince and Grand Master of the Knights of Malta — bounds into the sitting room of his magnificent Renaissance palazzo sweaty and somewhat disheveled, and asks an aide if he should take off his sweater to be photographed.
Garrulous and self-effacing, Festing embodies some of the paradoxes of a fabled Catholic religious order that dates from the medieval Crusades: Steeped in European nobility and mystique, the order’s mission is humility and charity — running hospitals, ambulance services and old folks’ homes around the globe. It has many trappings of a country, printing its own stamps, coins, license plates and passports, and yet — a stateless state — it rules over no territory.
The Sovereign Military Order of Malta’s world headquarters, down the block from the Spanish Steps and with an Hermes boutique on the corner, features reception rooms draped in oil portraits of grand masters past and a gem of a chapel where King Juan Carlos of Spain was baptized by the future Pope Pius XII. On the ground floor, it runs a health clinic that, while private, provides free services for anyone who can’t pay.
"It is, I suppose, a series of contradictions," Festing told The Associated Press ahead of the order’s 900th birthday this week. "I’m on the inside of it, so it doesn’t seem to be contradictory to me, but maybe it is."
And as the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, as the group is officially called, celebrates the anniversary on Feb. 9 with a procession through St. Peter’s Square, a Mass in the basilica and an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, the ancient order is confronting some very modern-day issues.
Once drawn exclusively from Europe’s nobility, the order is trying to shed its image as a purely rich man’s club while still tapping the world’s wealthy to fund its charitable work. And though its military past is well behind it, the order is waging real legal battles to fend off what it says are impostors seeking to piggyback on its name to con people out of money.
Festing, a 63-year-old Briton and former Sotheby’s auctioneer, is expansive about the unusual attributes of his organization of 13,500 Knights and Dames who make promises to be good Christians and fund the order’s humanitarian work.
"On the one hand it’s a sovereign entity. On the other hand it’s a religious order. On the other hand it’s a humanitarian organization. It’s a complicated mixture of things," he says in an interview in the gold silk brocaded state drawing room between meetings with parting Vatican nuncios and visiting ministers, diplomatic receptions and silent prayer.
The order traces its history to the 11th century with the establishment of an infirmary in Jerusalem that cared for people of all faiths making pilgrimages to the Holy Land. It is the last of the great lay chivalrous military orders like the Knights Templars that combined religious fervor with fierce military might to protect and expand Christendom from Islam’s advance during the Crusades.
In February 1113, Pope Paschal II issued a papal bull recognizing the order as independent from bishops or secular authorities. That "birth certificate," as Festing calls it, is the legal basis for asserting the order’s sovereignty and the reason for Saturday’s anniversary celebrations at the Vatican.
Festing himself is a "Professed Knight" — the highest rank of members who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The poverty vow seems a bit relative in this context: Knights on the order’s governing council have their own private apartments inside the palace, complete with a valet and driver for cars that carry either diplomatic plates or the order’s own SMOM plates. Wine from the order’s own vineyards is often served.
Pope Benedict XVI is a member, though he’s an exception. Professed knights aren’t ordained priests and traditionally descend from noble blood. Festing, whose family traces its ancestry to 14th- and 16th-century knights, was elected grand master in 2008. It’s a title he holds for life and is equivalent to the rank of cardinal, though he can’t vote in a conclave to elect a pope.
Currently there are about 60 professed knights and Festing hopes to increase their numbers as he seeks to expand the rank-and-file base to a younger generation of equally Catholic but not necessarily noble classes around the globe.
"It’s not exactly out of date, but you can’t maintain that in the 21st century," he says. "In general terms, in the old countries of Europe, we maintain the nobiliary requirement to an extent. But only to an extent. But in places like Australia, Central America, North America, Southeast Asia, it’s all done on a different basis."
Members are still expected to chip in when natural disasters strike or wars erupt. Contributions in the tens of thousands of dollars are not unusual. Members also volunteer, bringing the sick to the shrine at Lourdes or pitching in at a one of the order’s clinics, like the maternity hospital it runs in Bethlehem just a few steps from Jesus’ traditional birthplace, where most of the patients are Muslim.
Even though it’s a Catholic aid group — whose origins date from the Crusades — the order works in several Muslim countries, including Pakistan and Syria. "We do not hide that we are Christian, but we do not proselytize. That is impossible," said the order’s health minister, Albrecht von Boeselager.
One perk of membership in the top ranks, reserved for men only, is the fabulous uniform: bright-red military-style jacket, with sword, spurs and epaulettes for official duties, a dark cloak with a white, eight-pointed Maltese Cross on the front for religious services.
All told, members, employees and volunteers who total 118,500 work in aid projects in 120 countries; the overall annual operating budget can run to euro 200 million, Festing says. "We certainly don’t want to be, and in fact we’re not a sort of rich man’s club," Festing insists. "To a sort of an extent you could say, ’Well maybe they are, slightly.’ But that’s not the basis of it. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten in."
That elite reputation, however, combined with the order’s neutral and apolitical relief work, has earned it a level of prestige that few organizations can match. Governments, the European Union and U.N. agencies finance the order’s humanitarian operations; it has observer status at the United Nations and diplomatic relations with 104 countries — many in the developing world where such ties can help smooth the delivery of aid.
But the prestige has come with a price: Copycat orders have sprung up claiming to be the Knights of Malta or an offshoot that may or may not legitimately trace its origins to the group. These "false orders" prey on people eager to contribute to a Catholic charity thinking it’s sanctioned by the Holy See.
The con jobs are sometimes so good that even the Vatican has been fooled. In October, the Vatican issued a public reminder that it recognizes only two ancient equestrian orders — the Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy See Sepulcher of Jerusalem — after a group purporting to be the knights obtained approval to host a ceremony within the Vatican walls, Festing said.
"It was entirely innocent," on the part of the Vatican, said Festing. "But it wasn’t actually us. It was somebody else."
Article from: mail.com
Blackwater: Knights of Malta in Iraq
“The Knights of Malta are the militia of the Pope, and are sworn to total obedience by a blood oath which is taken extremely seriously and to the death. The Pope as the head of the Vatican is also the head of a foreign national power.”
-”Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Its Kindred Sciences” by Albert G. Mackey 33rd degree Mason, published by the Masonic History Company, Chicago, New York, & London, 1925: (Volume One, pp. 392-95)
“The painful saga of modern Arab-Muslim history evokes the battles fought in Crusades of the 11th centry – when the Knights of Malta began their operations as a Christian militia whose mission it was to defend the land conquered by the Crusaders. These memories return violently to mind with the discovery of links between the so-called security firms in Iraq such as Blackwater have historic links with the Order of Malta. You cannot exaggerate it. The Order of Malta is a hidden government or the most mysterious government in the world.”
- Jordanian MP Jamal Muhammad Abidat, from an editorial in the United Arab Emirates daily Al-Bayan entitled “The Knights of Malta – more than a conspiracy”. Abidat describes the role played by the Knights of Malta during the Crusades, and that the Order is playing a similar role in the Middle East today, citing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Blackwater is more than just a “private army”, much more than just another capitalist war-profiteering business operation. It is an army operating outside all laws, outside and above the US Constitution and yet is controlled by people within and outside our government whose allegiance is primarily to the foreign Vatican state. In other words, Blackwater is a religious army serving the Pope in Rome through the Order of Malta, which is itself considered under international law, as a sovereign entity with special diplomatic powers and privileges. Like Blackwater, the Order of Malta is “untouchable” because it is at the heart of the elite aristocracy.
Knight of Malta Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1744–1812)
The Knights of Malta is not merely a “charitable organization”. That’s just an elaborate front, as should become clear to you later. As the name Sovereign Military Order of Malta confirms, it is a military order based on the crusader Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem and is interwoven with Freemasonry. Most people have never even heard of SMOM, much less that it is a part of Freemasonry. But that is the way the aristocratic elite like it.
One of the symbols of the military orders of the Vatican, the masonic double-headed eagle emblazoned with the Maltese cross, signifies omnipotent royal dominion over both East and West. The orb signifies temporal dominion over the globe of Earth, and the scepter signifies control over the spiritual and religious impulses of humanity. This eagle symbol is used in the masonic rite of Memphis and Misraim, under which it reads, “Order Out of Chaos”, the Hegelian method of crisis creation. It is found on the seals of many European and Eurasian nation states including that of Russia, indicating direct Vatican control over those countries. It symbolizes the desire of a predatory elite with virtually unlimited resources, to totally dominate the entire world under a New World Order global government system using secrecy, manipulation, coercion and terror with the ends justifying the means.
The Rothschilds and their agents, such as the Rockefellers, have been engineering America and its foreign policy almost since its inception. They and their Skull and Bones Wall Street partners staged and funded both sides in WWII, and out of that hellish nightmare was born their infant global government, the United Nations, and their tool of tyranny, the CIA. The father of the CIA, “Wild Bill” Donovan, was a Knight of Malta. In order to be a director of the CIA you must be a crusading Knight of Malta and it doesn’t hurt if you are a member of Skull and Bones either. In order to reach the highest levels in the Pentagon establishment, you must be an illuminated Freemason and/or a Knight of one order or another. Notable US military members of SMOM include top crusading generals such as Alexander Haig, William Westmoreland, and Charles A. Willoughby, an admitted Fascist.
See list of powerful and notable members of Knights of Malta at link.
An American investigative journalist compared the US firm Blackwater, the biggest security services provider in post war Iraq, to the Knights of Malta.
The company is currently in the midst of a controversy after some of its 20,000 personnel stationed in Iraq killed a number of civilians.
In his book, ‘Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army’, Jeremy Scahill links the modern security firm to the Knights of Malta.
The writer argues that “Blackwater’s employees… share the same religious zeal of ancient crusaders”, the Egyptian weekly newspaper Al-Ahram reported.
US Theocons Fight Battle in Iraq
Many has been written about the privatization of the Iraq war, but in his new bestseller book Jeremy Scahill sheds much needed light on the ideological roots of the largest US private mercenary firm and its links to the theocons and the Christian militia Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Prince, writes Scahill, shows how “politically powerful Christian fundamentalists and Neocons are pressing forward with their battle for what they call ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy.’” He has connections with conservative Catholic groups and funds rightwing organizations through his Freiheit Foundation. Senior Blackwater executives such as Joseph Schmitz do not only subscribe to the theocon ideology but are also members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Christian militia that had a mission of defending territories the Crusaders captured from Muslims.
Read the full article at: aftermathnews.wordpress
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