Principle Ignored 800 Years
The Biblical principle condemning the honoring of a man because of wealth and position is stated by James: “For if there shall come into your assembly a man having a golden ring, in fine apparel; and there shall come in also a poor man in mean attire: and you have respect to him that is clothed with the fine apparel and shall say to him: Sit thou here well; but say to the poor man: Stand thou there, or: Sit under my footstool: do you not judge within yourselves, and are become judges of unjust thoughts. Hearken, my dearest brethren: Hath not God chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him?”—Jas. 2:2-5, Catholic Douay Version.
The Knights of Malta do not believe that. Time magazine reported, April 20: “The Knights of Malta . . . after their emergence during the 12th century as a crusading order of warrior-clerics . . . built up strong dynasties in Palestine, Rhodes and Malta successively. . . . Membership in the order, for all except the lowest category, has been restricted to men of noble blood.” In April “the Vatican, after making a long study of the Knights and their modern works decided that . . . the higher degrees of Knights need no longer be of noble birth.”
Was this so they would conform at last to the Christian principle stated at Galatians 3:28 that there would be neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female divisions severing the Christian congregation? Oh, no! That was not mentioned at all. Money was involved. Rich Americans and prominent men elsewhere who had no claim to royalty had been excluded from the higher orders of the Knights. Time explained that a Vatican official had said: “Had it continued to exclude blood other than blue blood, [the order] would have been bound to extinction.” If it holds to this principle God will extinguish it anyway, its financial situation notwithstanding.