The Prelate is the religious superior of the clergy of the Order with priestly functions. He ensures that the religious and priestly life of the Chaplains and their apostolate are followed according to the discipline and spirit of the Order. He supports the Grand Master and the Grand Commander in supervising the religious life and devotion of the members of the Order and in any aspect related to the spiritual nature of the Order's initiatives. The Prelate is appointed by the Supreme Pontiff, who chooses from among three candidates presented by the Grand Master, with the deciding vote of the Sovereign Council. The Prelate assists the Cardinalis Patronus in the exercise of his office with the Order. The Prelate of the Sovereign Order of Malta is Monsignor Jean Laffitte. Born in France, at Oloron-Sainte-Marie in 1952, Monsignor Laffitte graduated in Political Science at the University of Toulouse in 1973. He attended courses at the University of Cambridge in 1979 and the University of Salamanca in 1980, and entered the Pontifical French Seminary in Rome in 1984, reading philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and moral theology at the John Paul II Pontifical
Mons.Lafitte was nominated by Pope Francis on 4 July 2015. He succeeds Monsignor Angelo Acerbi, who retired after 14 years in the post.
The Prelate of the Order is the ecclesiastic
superior of the Orderís clergy.