Nov. 04 (CWNews.com) - The grand master of the Knights of Malta, Fra Andrew Bertie, has been named to receive the Path to Peace award, conferred each year by a foundation that supports the work of the Vatican mission to the UN.
Read the complete article Knights of Malta leader named for peace prize from Catholic World News.
That's nice. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, etc., etc. does good work around the world with its ambulance services and other charitable works. The interesting thing is the following:
The venerable Order, which now has 10,000 members active in 120 countries, has its headquarters in Rome. The Order of Malta enjoys international sovereignty, issues its own passports, has diplomatic relations with 93 countries, and enjoys permanent-observer status at the UN.
A reader and I recently exchanged emails on this subject (the legal status of the Holy See and the Vatican City State and microstates in general). One of the examples that came to mind was the Order of Malta. After the Order surrendered to Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century, the British took Malta after the French defeat. According to the treaty at the end of the war, they were to give it back to the Knights, but that never happened.
The Grand Master should go to Malta and negotiate a treaty granting the order a parcel of land and independence (along the lines of the Vatican City State) in exchange for some kind of health care services for the people of the island...
And then they can declare themselves a principality of the restored Holy Roman Empire!