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Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin (CNS)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 20/01/17

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Order of Malta leader Fra’ Matthew Festing talks to Pope Francis (AP)

Fra’ Matthew Festing defended his actions in a letter to the order’s membership

Archbishop Gallagher: 'The Holy Father calls everything by its name. He is not worried about the political fallout' (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Morning Catholic must-reads: 17/01/17

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Fra' Matthew Festing, the 79th prince and grand master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, during a private audience at the Vatican (CNS photo/Claudio Peri, pool via Reuters)

Albrecht von Boeselager has filed an appeal against his suspension with an internal tribunal

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Grand Master Fra' Matthew Festing insists that the order remains loyal to the Pope (CNS)

The knights who won’t retreat

Vatican officials have mounted an extraordinary challenge to the ancient Order of Malta. But what is the row really about?

John Edward Critien of the Knights of Malta is pictured at the order's headquarters in Rome in 2015 (CNS)

The order has denied the legality of the Vatican probe

Cardinal Raymond, Patron of the Order of Malta, blesses members of the Order (CNS)

Unless the Pope formally abrogates the Order’s rights, no Vatican department can investigate the Order – and certainly not the Secretariat of State

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin with the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra' Matthew Festing, in June (PA)

The Order of Malta, like the Vatican, is a sovereign body. For one to investigate the other is simply incoherent

Pope Francis with the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra' Matthew Festing, during a private audience in 2014 (PA)

Fra’ Matthew Festing said the Order would follow the Pope at this ‘complex and difficult time’