I received a solicitation for support from a group that calls itself an equestrian order of the Vatican. Is this a legitimate group?
With all the groups out there asking for money, including fraudulent ones, a person cannot be too cautious. According to a recent notification by the Vatican, because of fraud, stipulates the official equestrian organizations affiliated with the Vatican City or with the Roman Pontiff. Here is the memo:
Vatican City, 16 October 2012 (VIS) – In response to frequent requests for information concerning the recognition by the Holy See of Equestrian Orders dedicated to the saints or to holy places, the Secretariat of State considers it opportune to reiterate what has already been published, namely that, other than its own Equestrian Orders (the Supreme Order of Christ, the Order of the Golden Spur, the Pian Order, the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, and the Order of Pope Saint Sylvester), the Holy See recognizes and supports only the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – also known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta – and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. The Holy See foresees no additions or innovations in this regard.
All other orders, whether of recent origin or mediaeval foundation, are not recognized by the Holy See. Furthermore, the Holy See does not guarantee their historical or juridical legitimacy, their ends or organizational structures.
If the request came from a group not named, consider it to be fraudulent.