The Knights of Malta (SMOM) are a Catholic aid organization that does countless work such as providing care to the homeless, the terminally ill, refugees, children, lepers, and so much more.
Over 13,500 Catholics are members often as Knights or Dames, while 52,000 employees and 95,000 volunteers make up most of the medical personnel necessary to service the world.
The SMOM possesses a peculiar status as a sovereign-entity and is recognized diplomatically by 113 countries as effectively a country itself.
This reality allows the SMOM to go into conflict zones as a neutral and independent organization without all the red tape.
For example, many other aid organizations are part of other countries' civil societies and even NGOs are questioned for their true independence.
This can often complicate things.
In SMOM's case, their work often goes into non-Catholic areas that can be hostile to the Church and thus maintaining independence from the Holy See is necessary in many cases.
Therefore, the SMOM hopes to gain more diplomatic recognition so they can work in more countries that may suffer tremendously, but to do so, they need diplomatic recognition from some key actors.
For one, the USA, France, and the United Kingdom are all on the Permanent Security Council of the UN and they all do not have diplomatic recognition of SMOM, despite the Knights being very active in each country.
The recognition here is not necessary, rather, the status of being recognized by these countries opens doors elsewhere such as at the UN.
Currently, the UN recognizes SMOM as a permanent observer like the Red Cross and International Olympic Committee, but the SMOM wishes to become a non-member observer. This recognition will formally make SMOM a sovereign-state by the UN, just not a formal member with voting rights. Palestine and the Holy See have this status.
With diplomatic recognition from these entities, SMOM will be able to show these credentials to more countries who would be willing to work with them on a state by state level creating the environment more condusive to effective aid work.
SMOM's history is quite illustrious and they have been a great defender of our Church for over 900 years.
Their history has seen them rule over many areas which is why they still hold sovereign-status, despite not possessing sovereign territory, rather only extra-territorial territory in Italy and Malta, a status halfway between an embassy (chancery) and sovereign territory.
Nevertheless, they continue to issue out passports, stamps, have heads of state, and so forth including diplomats and embassies.
When the Knights lost their sovereign territory, the USA was a new country, France were the country that invaded them, and the UK was the country that ended up taking over the islands of Malta and Gozo that the Knights had ruled.
Henceforth, these countries never recognized SMOM diplomatically after their loss of Malta and Gozo.
But, with their newly elected Prince and Grand Master (2023), the first from North America, the Order has shifted focus to expansion!
Grand Master Fra' John T. Dunlap, a Canadian-born lawyer who earned his way up through the tough legal industry of New York City, becoming a leading canon and international lawyer for our Church serving as a legal advisor at the United Nations for the Holy See, is now hoping to put SMOM on this same playing field as its Head of State.
In addition to US recognition, he also seeks admittance into the Organization of American States (OAS), and the League of Arab States, as well as diplomatic recognition from Canada, and other nations and organizations.
You can listen to Grand Master Fra' John T. Dunlap's speech here that is only around 13 minutes long and begins about 12 minutes into the video. This is part of the first day of the Conference of the Ambassadors, a conference that is supposed to set the stage for Order after its new constitution in 2023.
Therefore, if you are politically connected, please help SMOM attain this goal.