VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has extended the mandate of his envoy to the Knights of Malta lay religious order to oversee reforms, further sidelining Francis' conservative critic, Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The Vatican on Friday released Francis' letter to Monsignor Angelo Becciu asking him to remain his delegate and "exclusive" spokesman for Knights issues. Francis wrote it May 2 after the lay religious order elected Fra' Giacomo Dalla Torre as its 80th grand master, a life term.

Francis had named Becciu to oversee the Knights after a governance crisis sparked by a condom distribution scandal erupted in late 2016. The previous grand master, Fra Matthew Festing, was forced to resign.

Burke, whom Francis named his envoy to the Knights in 2014, had been an ally of Festing but was sidelined during the crisis.