Europe

Knights of Malta acknowledge damage from Vatican showdown

  • Albrecht Boeselager, Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Malta, answers questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic lay order, seeks to chart its future after an extraordinary upheaval involving a condom free distribution scandal, a rogue cardinal and Pope Francis. The Knights' grand chancellor, ousted over the condom scandal, was reinstated after Pope Francis reassured the Knights of Malta about its sovereignty, even as a special papal delegate will work to ensure the "spiritual renewal" of its members. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

    Albrecht Boeselager, Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Malta, answers questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic lay order, seeks to chart its future after an extraordinary upheaval involving a condom free distribution scandal, a rogue cardinal and Pope Francis. The Knights' grand chancellor, ousted over the condom scandal, was reinstated after Pope Francis reassured the Knights of Malta about its sovereignty, even as a special papal delegate will work to ensure the "spiritual renewal" of its members. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Grand Hospitaller of the Knights of Malta, ponders questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic lay order, seeks to chart its future after an extraordinary upheaval involving a condom free distribution scandal, a rogue cardinal and Pope Francis. The Knights' grand chancellor, ousted over the condom scandal, was reinstated after Pope Francis reassured the Knights of Malta about its sovereignty, even as a special papal delegate will work to ensure the "spiritual renewal" of its members. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

    Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Grand Hospitaller of the Knights of Malta, ponders questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic lay order, seeks to chart its future after an extraordinary upheaval involving a condom free distribution scandal, a rogue cardinal and Pope Francis. The Knights' grand chancellor, ousted over the condom scandal, was reinstated after Pope Francis reassured the Knights of Malta about its sovereignty, even as a special papal delegate will work to ensure the "spiritual renewal" of its members. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Grand Hospitaller of the Knights of Malta, ponders questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic lay order, seeks to chart its future after an extraordinary upheaval involving a condom free distribution scandal, a rogue cardinal and Pope Francis. The Knights' grand chancellor, ousted over the condom scandal, was reinstated after Pope Francis reassured the Knights of Malta about its sovereignty, even as a special papal delegate will work to ensure the "spiritual renewal" of its members. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

    Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Grand Hospitaller of the Knights of Malta, ponders questions during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. The Knights of Malta, an ancient Catholic lay order, seeks to chart its future after an extraordinary upheaval involving a condom free distribution scandal, a rogue cardinal and Pope Francis. The Knights' grand chancellor, ousted over the condom scandal, was reinstated after Pope Francis reassured the Knights of Malta about its sovereignty, even as a special papal delegate will work to ensure the "spiritual renewal" of its members. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)  (The Associated Press)

The Knights of Malta religious order is seeking to move beyond its showdown with the Vatican while acknowledging the crisis has hurt donations for its humanitarian work.

Leaders of the ancient aristocratic order held a news conference Thursday after the top knight, Fra' Matthew Festing, resigned following a battle with Pope Francis.

Albrecht von Boeselager, the foreign minister whom Festing sacked, headlined the event. Boeselager was restored to office thanks to Francis' intervention.

Boeselager says Festing had been "ill-advised" in confronting the Vatican. He says he welcomes Francis' decision to name a delegate to help reform the Knights and that the order's sovereignty was never in question.

Still unresolved is the fate of Cardinal Raymond Burke, Francis' initial envoy to the order. Burke was widely seen as being behind Boeselager's ouster.