Ousted Knights of Malta official takes case to order's court

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The standoff between the Vatican and the Knights of Malta has taken a new twist, with the ousted foreign minister of the ancient aristocratic lay Catholic order appealing his suspension to the Knights' internal tribunal.

Albrecht von Boeselager was removed Dec. 8 after he refused a demand by the top knight to resign over revelations that the order's charity branch distributed tens of thousands of condoms in Myanmar under his watch.

Pope Francis has intervened, setting up a commission to investigate what the Vatican No. 2 has said is an "unprecedented crisis" within the order.

In a statement Thursday, von Boeselager said he filed an appeal with the Knights' tribunal Jan. 4. It argues that "not even one of the conditions" governing suspension of members applied to his case.