After a bitter power struggle linked to a row over condoms, Festing’s resignation was finalized Saturday.
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Instead of quelling the conflict, however, Festing's resignation was followed by yet another challenge to Francis' authority – led by vocal pope critic American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, according to Vatican and Knights sources.In particular: Burke tried to convince Festing to withdraw his resignation and keep fighting the pope, these sources say. The second, on Jan. 17, followed a pledge by Festing on the Knights' web page not to cooperate with the Vatican.The Vatican denied, in a letter from its secretary of state to the Order and seen by Reuters, that it had mandated the resignation, saying it had told the Knights the pope wanted a solution through dialogue.The pope was irritated by Festing's defiant stand, a senior Vatican source said, and the Vatican shot back with a public statement ordering the Knights to obey.Festing's resignation came as a shock for many inside the Knights: Some of them told Reuters it was akin to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 .The day after Festing handed his resignation to the pope, Burke drove to the order's headquarters from his apartment near the Vatican and sought to persuade Festing to withdraw his resignation, a source from the Vatican and one from the Knights said.Burke has long been leading challenges against the pope.
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