Knights of Columbus In Major Need of Reform

Watch the video below.  If you’re a faithful Knight in the United States, you should fight this cowardice with all your might.

If you’re a Knight in Canada, make sure this doesn’t happen here.

Remember that you have taken an oath to defend the Faith.  I admire the work you do.  Keep up the good work by standing against this wavering on the part of the leadershiop.

The gist of the controversy is that the leadership of the Knights of Columbus is forbidding state and local councils from suspending a Knight who becomes a politician and votes in a manner that is contrary to Church teaching, such as voting for abortion bills. The excuse of the leadership is that they defer that matter to the local bishop.  “If the public figure’s bishop has not excommunicated him for his public positions on issues relating to matters of faith and morals, it would be highly inappropriate for the Knights of Columbus to do so.”

In practice, this means that if cowardly bishops refuse to publicly reproach a pro-abort Knight politician, then the Knights won’t suspend him.  We know by experience that very few bishops have the guts to take a stand against pro-abort Catholic politicians.  So the Knights are now going to follow in their footsteps.

What the leaders of the Knights fail to recognize, however, is that the Vatican has seen this apathy on the part of the bishops and has overridden them through various public statements.  One of the most powerful of these statements was the letter written by Cardinal Ratzinger to the U.S. bishop in 2004 which stated that any politician who supports grave evil like abortion or euthanasia is unworthy to receive communion.  In other words, even if the local bishop is too chicken to say it, the Vatican is shouting the truth from the rooftops.

The Knights should be listening to the voice of the Vatican rather than hiding behind the silence of cowardly bishops.

The Knights of Columbus have been a solid presence in the Church for a long time.  We should not let the wavering leadership taint this great contribution and dilute what the Knights stand for.

6 thoughts on “Knights of Columbus In Major Need of Reform

  1. Steve:

    I was disappointed to read this piece on your blog site. The title for starters is not supportable by the facts of the matter.

    As a Knight, I can understand the concern that has been raised. There is some validity to it, and it warrants some communication and debate, and above all prayer and understanding.

    I have dug a little deeper into it.

    Yours in Christ

    Michael Brandon

  2. Thanks for the comment Michael.

    However, the link you provided just confirms what is discussed in the post. The Knights in the U.S. are indeed doing lots of good, but their failure to have the guts to reprimand stray members is a grave disappointment. They’re using the silence of dissenting or lukewarm bishops as a shield to avoid doing the right thing. That’s not good enough. That’s not Christ-like. Leaving a dissenting Knight in his sinful ways will only compromise his salvation and that of others. The dissenting Knights are going to be a source of scandal and embarrassment for the group as a whole if nothing is done, just as a Raymond Gravel is an embarrassment for the priesthood.

    Remember that admonishing the sinner is one of the Spiritual Acts of Mercy. Failure to do so is largely the reason the Church has been drifting for the last 50 years.

  3. Steve:

    It is above all an interesting conundrum. If the Knights are in submission to the local Pastor (who sits on the Counsel), and if the Pastor is in submission to the local Bishop, which is the intent of the creation of all Counsels of the K of C, it is not about rot at the top of the K of C, but about a possible redefinition of what that submission amounts to.

    I agree that it is appropriate to admonish a sinner as a Spiritual Act of Mercy, but only if I am on solid ground. When I have to go against my pastor and bishop to do so, it is more challenging.

    Frankly, I have never met a Knight who was in disobedience to the Church, making it hypothetical for me.

    It is worthy of thought and debate, just not worthy of your headline.

    God Bless You


  4. Michael,

    You are correct that we are to submit to our clergy, but only insofar as they are teaching the truth. If they deviate from it, we have the obligation to not follow their bad example and make sure that others don’t get misled. That’s why the Vatican felt the need to override the bishops with regards to communion for pro-abortion politicians. See for example the letter written by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004 called “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles”.

    So if a priest and bishop are silent about a pro-abortion Knight but the Vatican has clearly stated that he is not to receive communion, it becomes a no-brainer as to the proper course of action.

  5. Steve,

    The example you gave – the Vatican “overriding” the bishops – is a top-down model of giving guidelines, not subversion from the bottom.

    Also, there’s a big difference between receiving communion and having a membership card, which is often years old, to an organization you don’t even attend.

    Besides, the statement did not say that they wouldn’t be corrected – it actually set up a procedure for them to be dealt with.

  6. Kendra,
    If someone has a membership card that is years old and they don’t even attend, but they publicly vote for abortion laws, why don’t the Knights simply kick that member out of the group? Seems pretty straightforward.

    To be ineligible to receive communion is a BIG deal. If that’s the verdict of the Vatican for someone who persists in serious and scandalous sin, I don’t see why the Knights would leave that person as a member in good standing.

    The rank and file Knights are awesome people and I’m not blaming them. I’m questioning the wisdom of the higher-ups.

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