Saturday, October 9, 2021

As grand master, with the rank of prince, has the ability to grant personal nobility

From........... National Catholic Reporter

January 27, 1989

page 24


From NC News Service NEW YORK

Picture caption- "Fra Andrew W.N. Bertie, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta."

THE GRAND master of the Knights of Malta said in a recent interview that he did not consider the American ethos contradictory to the traditions of medieval chivalry that guided the order but saw the two fitting together "beautifully."

"You can teach us a lot with your technology and way of thinking," said Fra Andrew W.N. Bertie. In a sign that the 900-year-old order was abreast of modern times, he reported that its Rome headquarters were now computerized and recently had acquired a telefax.

Bertie, who was elected the 78th grand master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta in 1988, was interviewed Jan. 13 at his suite in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

It was the first time a grand master had visited the United States. Later that day, he participated in a Mass and investiture ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral for 65 new Knights and 13 new Dames of the order, and that evening he gave President Reagan the first award of the order ever presented to an American president.

Bertie, born May 15, 1929, in London, is a short, slender man of modest demeanor. He praised his predecessor, Fra Angelo de Mojano di Cologna, elected in 1962 after Pope John XXIII approved a new constitutional charter, for carrying out a major expansion of the order during his 26 years of leadership. Worldwide membership is now about 10,000, Bertie said.

The order has the status of sovereignty among the world of nations, and the number of countries with which it has diplomatic ties grew from 12 to 46 during his predecessor's tenure, Bertie said.

In the interview, Bertie said he was trying to build up the spiritual aspect of the order and was particularly seeking men who would become professed Knights of Justice, the highest rank and one requiring the religious vows of poverty, charity and obedience.

"It is a somewhat unusual vocation, taking the vows like monks but living much in the world and not being priests," he said.

Although the American association of the Knights of Malta is second only to Italy in the number of members, Bertie said no Americans were among the Knights of Justice, and he said he hoped vocations would come from this country.

Traditionally, entering their ranks has required noble birth, and Bertie, whose; father was Count of Lindsay and Abingdon, is descended on his mother's side from Mary Stuart, commonly called Mary, Queen of Sots. But he indicated that the requirement of noble blood would not be an obstacle if suitable American candidates were found.

Some Americans may be able to find noble blood among their European ancestors, he suggested. And he, as grand master, with the rank of prince, has the ability to grant personal nobility, he said.


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