The Grand Magistry of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George in Rome, has issued the following Stament of Clarification by Cardinal Grand Prior Renato Raffaele Martino of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George.
The Cardinal writes: "We welcome the helpful re-publication by the Vatican Secretariat of State of its position concerning the recognition by the Holy See of numerous Equestrian Orders. This position is longstanding, well understood and appreciated by the Grand Master and Grand Prior of the Constantinian Order.
"Such positions do not effect the Constantinian Order which is neither an Order of the Holy See or under the protection of the Holy See. As is well known the Constantinian Order is an internationally recognised dynastic Catholic Order of Knighthood of the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies which undertakes faith-based charitable, humanitarian and hospitaller activities throughout Italy and overseas.
"The Constantinian Order in 2013 will mark 50 years of formal recognition by the Italian State by decree of successive Presidents of the Italian Republic. The Constantinian Order also maintains Consultative Status of the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations in New York, Geneva and Vienna and its decorations are recognised by many governments throughout the world.
"The Constantinian Order is a subject of canon law approved and confirmed in numerous Papal Bulls and Letters, most recently in the Pontificates of Popes Pius X and Benedict XV. Its status has not changed and its continued legal existence as an Order of Chivalry has been confirmed by both the Italian Republic, the Kingdom of Spain and other nations, all of whom recognise and authorise its awards.
"In 2003 the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, appointed His Eminence Mario Francesco Cardinal Pompedda as the Ecclesiastical Counsellor of the Constantinian Order under the grandmastership of HRH The Duke of Castro, and today the Order maintains a good working relationship with the Catholic Church throughout Italy and overseas. The current Grand Prior of the Constantinian Order is His Eminence Renato Raffaele, Cardinal Martino, who succeeded His Eminence Alberto Cardinal Vanhoye in 2010.
"All three Cardinals have been appointed as Grand Priors with the written approval of the Vatican Secretariat of State. The Order's knights and dames also benefit from the longstanding spiritual guidance of numerous cardinals, archbishops, bishops and clergy across the world.
"It is our understanding that those Orders, such as the Constantinian Order, which are approved under Article 7 and 8 of the Law number 178 of 3 March 1951 of the Italian Republic are excluded from the restrictions outlined in the Holy See's statement.
"It is also our understanding that the recent clarification issued by the Secretariat of State is solely concerned with those unrecognised bodies that claim some unsubstantiated historical origins and assume the names of ancient Orders".
Carlo of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, Grand Master,
Renato Raffaele, Cardinal Martino, Grand Prior