ROME – The Latest on the resignation of the Knights of Malta head (all times local):
The Vatican says Pope Francis will name a pontifical delegate to run the embattled Knights of Malta, effectively taking over the sovereign lay Catholic order after its leader resigned in a bitter dispute with the pontiff over condoms.
The move marks an extraordinary intervention of one sovereign state — the Holy See — into the governance of another — the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an ancient aristocratic order that runs a vast charity operation around the globe.
A statement from the Vatican said Francis accepted the resignation of the order's grand master, Matthew Festing, which he had offered Tuesday.
The statement said the order's governance would shift temporarily to the No. 2 "until the pontifical delegate is named."
The head of the Knights of Malta has resigned after entering into a public spat with Pope Francis over the ouster of a top official involved in a condom scandal.
Marianna Balfour, spokeswoman for the ancient lay Catholic order, told The Associated Press that Matthew Festing had met with the pope on Tuesday and offered his resignation.
In an email, Balfour said that "I can confirm this."
Festing had refused to cooperate with a papal commission investigating his ouster of the grand chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager, over revelations that the order's charity branch had distributed condoms under his watch. Festing had cited the Knights' status as a sovereign entity in refusing to cooperate.