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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

What is the Order of Malta?

Neela Kale Answers:

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, informally known as the Order of Malta, is a Catholic religious order which dates to the 11th century. It was founded by merchants from Amalfi (in modern day Italy) who, inspired by John the Baptist, ran a hospice providing care and shelter to pilgrims visiting Jerusalem. Until 1798, most of its members, who generally came from noble families, were religious and took three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; today the majority of its 12,500 members are lay men and women.

The order works in the field of medical/social care and humanitarian aid in more than 120 countries, including the United States. Because of certain political events in its long history, the order is an independent subject of international law, which allows it to maintain bilateral diplomatic relations with sovereign nations and gives it permanent observer status at the United Nations as a neutral, impartial and non-political body. Membership in the Order of Malta is by invitation only, but many thousands of volunteers make their worldwide humanitarian projects possible. For more information, visit www.orderofmalta.org/english.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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