Sovereign Military Order of Malta and some Knights of Malta

Sovereign Military Order of Malta
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, is a Catholic order based in Rome, Italy, and a sovereign subject of international law. Known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, the order has a large number of local priories and associations around the world.

Knights of Malta History
Its origins are said to be from the Knights Hospitaller, founded in Jerusalem in 1050, who had a hospital to provide care for poor and sick pilgrims to the Holy Land. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, during the First Crusade, it became a Catholic military order under its own charter.

When the territory of the Holy Land was lost, the Order operated from Rhodes (1310-1523), and later from Malta (1530-1798), over which it was sovereign.

The Order was ejected from Malta by Napoleon, but survives and retains its claims of sovereignty under international law. The UN granted them permanent observer status. SMOM is considered to be the main successor to the medieval Knights Hospitaller.

Today SMOM has formal diplomatic relations with 100 states (many of which are non-Catholic), and has official relations with another 5 countries, non-state subjects of international law like the European Community and International Committee of the Red Cross, and a number of international organizations.

The order has 12,500 members, 80,000 permanent volunteers, 13,000 medical personnel including doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and paramedics. The goal is to assist the elderly, the handicapped, refugees, children, the homeless, those with terminal illness and leprosy in five continents of the world, without distinction of race or religion.

Through its worldwide relief corps, Malteser International, the Order is also engaged to aid victims of natural disasters, epidemics and armed conflicts.

Knights of Malta, Sovereignty and Organization
The supreme head of the Order is the Grand Master, who is elected for life by the Council Complete of State. Fra’ Matthew Festing was elected by the Council as 79th Grand Master on March 11, 2008.

Prior to the 1990s, all officers of the Order had to be of noble birth, i.e. armigerous for at least 100 years.

However, Knights of Magistral Grace (i.e. those without noble proofs), may make the Promise of Obedience and may, at the discretion of the Grand Master and Sovereign Council, enter the novitiate to become professed Knights of Justice. The latter are religious, essentially monks practising the triple vow of poverty, chastity and obedience, although seldom living in monastic community.

A small minority of the over 12,500 knights and dames are professed religious. Others choose to be a “Knight of Obedience”. Membership of the Order is by invitation only—no solicitations.

Order of Malta, Sovereignty and Military Corp
Because of SMOM’s claimed sovereignty, it issues passports, license plates, stamps, and coins. Starting in 2005, SMOM issued stamps with the euro as the unit of postage, while Scudo (pl. Scudi) remains the SMOM’s official currency.

As a sovereign body, the Order of Malta has the right to maintain a military force, and does so at its Rome headquarters. [Rome is the capital of Italy, the Vatican, and the Order of Malta.]

Commonly referred to as The Military Corps of the Order, the military force in its present form was raised by agreement with the Italian Government in 1877. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta were to assist the Italian army’s injured or sick (in peace or war). In 1908 the agreement was modified so that the Corps also became a fully integral part of the Italian army.

The Corps is known in mainland Europe for its operation of hospital trains during both World Wars. As part of the post-World War Two peace treaty, 36 military aircraft of the Italian Airforce were transferred to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and flew under the Order’s flag…

Some Knights of Malta
Alexander III of Russia was Emperor of Russia from 1881 until his death in 1894.

Andrew Bertie was the 78th and first British Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Pat Buchanan was a senior adviser to American presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. Buchanan was baptized into the Catholic Church and attended Blessed Sacrament School, the Jesuit-run Gonzaga College High School, and the Jesuit Georgetown University.

William Joseph Donovan was wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He is also widely known as the “father” of today’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Archduke Felix of Austria a son of the last Austrian Emperor Charles I and a member of the House of Habsburg.

J. Peter Grace was a multimillionaire American industrialist, devoutly Catholic, and the long-time CEO of W. R. Grace and Company.

Alexander Haig is a retired four-star General in the United States Army who served as the U.S. Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He also received a Masters degree in International Relations from the Jesuit Georgetown University in 1961, where his thesis focused on the role of the military officer in the making of national policy.

Richard Harris was a two-time Academy Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning Irish actor, singer-songwriter, theatrical producer, film director and writer.

Juan Carlos I of Spain is the reigning King of Spain.

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the father of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and Senators Robert F. and Ted Kennedy, was a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community. J P Kennedy was Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and served briefly as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Benito Mussolini led the National Fascist Party and credited as a key figures in the creation of Fascism. He became the Prime Minister of Italy in 1922. Mussolini also created and held the supreme military rank of First Marshal of the Empire along with King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, which gave him and the King joint supreme control over the military of Italy.

John Joseph O’Connor was the eleventh bishop (eighth archbishop) of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

Juan Peron was an Argentine colonel, elected three times as President of Argentina.

Richard Riordan is a Republican politician from California, who served as the California Secretary of Education from 2003–2005, and as Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993–2001.

James L. Ryan is a Senior judge of the US Court of Appeals 6th Circuit.

Rick Santorum is a former US Senator from Pennsylvania, member of the Republican Party, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

William E. Simon was Secretary of Treasury of the U.S. for three years during the Nixon administration; reappointed by President Ford.

William E. Simon, Jr. (Bill Simon) is an American businessman and politician.

Francis Spellman was Ninth bishop and sixth archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. He served as Archbishop of New York from 1939 until his death, and was named a cardinal by Pope Pius XII in 1946.

Anthony Zinni is a retired four-star General in the United States Marine Corps and a former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). In 2002, he was selected to be a special envoy for the United States to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Some Dames of Malta
Karen Garver Santorum is the wife of former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Mary Higgins Clark is an American author of suspense novels.

Clare Booth Luce is an American editor, playwright, social activist, journalist, ambassador, and congresswoman, the first woman to represent Connecticut in the United States Congress.

This information is for my post:
The Real Presence in the Eucharist: Evangelization of America through Politics


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