For those less concerned with the diplomatic and legal aspects of this situation, there is one over-riding truth which has emerged from all this. It is now clear that for all the great hopes of curial reform which accompanied the election of Pope Francis, the Vatican remains a place where cliques and personal networks have more authority than the law, and where leaking and smearing remain part of the everyday business of governance.
The Pope himself is, as he has often stated, not a lawyer, nor is the law something he is known to have much interest in. Those in his curia who have prompted him to this action have deliberately served him, the office of the papacy, the international sovereignty of the Holy See, and of course the men and women of the Order of Malta, incredibly badly. I suspect it is now just a matter of when, not if, they come to regret it.
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