Pope Francis

Pope Francis takes over Knights of Malta after condom dispute

Pope Francis takes over Knights of Malta after condom dispute

Pope Francis on Wednesday seized control of the Knights of Malta, an action that amounts to one sovereign country annexing another, if on a very small scale.

Here's what led to the takeover and what it means for the Knights, the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church.

Who are they?

The Knights of Malta is an ancient lay Catholic religious order that runs hospitals and clinics around the world. It counts 3,500 members and 100,000 staff and volunteers who lend first aid in war zones, natural disasters and conflict areas; members also make regular pilgrimages bringing the sick to Catholic shrines.

The Knights trace their history to the 11th century Crusades and...

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