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The head of the Knights of Malta has resigned following a row with the Vatican over a condom programme, the ancient Catholic order has said.
Grand Master Matthew Festing, 67, quit after Pope Francis asked him to step down at a meeting on Tuesday.
It followed revelations that the Knights' charity branch had distributed thousands of condoms in Myanmar and the order's grand chancellor was sacked.
The Roman Catholic Church forbids the use of artificial contraception.
"The Pope asked him to resign and he agreed," a Knights of Malta spokesperson said, adding that the next step was a formality in which the group's Sovereign Council would have to sign off on the unusual resignation.
The 900-year-old order would be run by its number two, or grand commander, until a new head is elected.
Vatican investigation
Mr Festing had refused to cooperate with a Vatican investigation into the sacking of the order's grand chancellor, Albrecht von Boeselager, who was suspended over the condom programme on 8 December.
Mr Boeselager said he did not know about the condom distribution programme, which was an anti-HIV and family planning initiative, and stopped it when he learned of its existence.