21 May 2010

The Knights, Pro-aborts, & You

I'm getting a lot of questions about the recent ruling of the national leadership of the Knights of Columbus that forbids local chapters from expelling Knights who are pro-abortion politicians. 

I've not had a chance to ferret out all the relevant info.

My advice for the moment:  don't resign from your local council just yet.  You can't change the policy if you are on the outside.  Resignation is an option if the national leadership will not budge.  But for now, learn as much as you can about the policy.  Express your respectful, considered opinion to your KC leadership, your pastor, and your bishop.  And pray!

As I learn more about what's going on, I will opine at length.

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  1. Anonymous12:27 AM

    I think it's pretty unfair to expect a lay organization to suddenly decide what a Catholic is - and to have a definition at odds with their local bishop. The Knights membership criteria are that one be a practicing Catholic man over 18. Now everybody is howling to have them start investigating "dissidents" at 13,000 councils, and to have men with no theological training take a stand against their local bishop in terms of a man's catholicity.

    This strikes me as a recipe for disunity, not to mention a balkanization of the Knights. They beauty of the Knights is precisely that they stand with the bishops. That they are Catholic, and that they take that seriously.

    People are now going to second guess one of the strongest voices and supporters of the pro-life movement in the country because they aren't "more Catholic" than their bishops... Not a good idea.

    Here's a good idea. Support the Knights pro-life work. Volunteer on a pro-life project with your local council. Unite the Church, don't demand division.

  2. The Knights are the reason I'm solidly pro-life. It's distressing to me that this came out. I have noticed that different councils have different standards on the issue. One of the councils had Membership Team leaders who would politely get up and leave if, during the interview, a person was not sufficiently pro-life, while another council would let that go just to make the membership numbers. But that's not much different from some of our parishes (ironically, the more conservative KofC council was at a much more liberal parish).


  3. I have to agree w/ Anon. there. The Knights are, above all, faithful to the Church. (As an organization, we're talking here.) Therefore, if a bishop does not see enough reason to take action against someone, how can the Knights usurp that decision from the bishops?

    It pains me to see the Knights being slammed by Catholics in the blogosphere. I've been around them my whole life - my father is PGK, PFN, etc. etc. and my husband is GK-elect for his council - and the organization is an honorable one. I don't see anything beneficial about telling men that eventual resignation is good if the national leadership does not "budge" (by going around bishops).

    I urge you to resist telling men to leave such a fine organization. The stronger the Knights are in local councils, the more they're able to work for the Church (they are Holy Mother Church's "Strong Right Arm"), the less inclined dissident Catholics will be to join. Instead of telling faithful men to leave, encourage them to join! And not just *Join*, but become the local leadership!!

  4. Anonymous, I'd suggest reading up on how orders of actual Knights (Tuetonic, Templar, etc.) would discipline their members when they were found to be acting against Church teaching. No official "okey-dokey" from any bishops was sought and that includes the Bishop of Rome.

    Disciplining a member for advocating abortion, same sex marriage, married priests isn't being more Catholic than the bishops. Its staying faithful to the Magisterium. The K of C routinely suspends membership for things such as the nonpayment of dues, thats pretty small change when compared to heresy.

    Finally, look again to Church history to find how often the laity DID bring their Church leaders into line. One of the most famous involved the Papal election of 1268-1271 where the magistrates of Viterbo locked the cardinals in, reduced their rations to bread and water, and legendarily removed the roof of the Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo.

    Every flock of sheep will include some rams. At times those rams will act to wake up the shepherds with a good swift boost in the butt!

  5. Subvet,
    You're ignoring the fact that the KofC are not, despite their name, an Order of Chivalry.

    They are a beneficent fraternal organization of nearly 2M members in over 15K councils scattered around the globe.

    I've been listening to this back and forth for 15 years, from the time I was a Colombian Squire. I really don't understand why people get bent out of shape: the KofC is on very solid ground, given their mission and charter, in not attempting to discipline those whom the bishops (for prudential reasons of their own) do not choose to discipline.

    Taking scandal is also a sin. So is murmuring and detraction. And one can't carp about what "Supreme" will or will not do without engaging in all three.

    If you or someone you know is offended by the action or inaction of the KofC, a brother Knight, a bishop, a priest, a layman, a pagan, or anyone else, the proper response is simple: become a saint and change the world. Generally, saints don't make their way through the world protesting "injustice" like so many spoiled baby boomers enamored of Marxist methods of "social change".

  6. Flambeaux, it doesn't take being an Order of Chivalry to chastise fellow members of a fraternal organization. The politicians who openly speak against Church teaching are not meeting one of the prime requirements for membership in the K of C, they're not practical/practicing Catholics.

    End of story. Everything else is just an attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

    Now stand aside and watch how folks like me straighten things out. Take notes, the time will come when it'll be your turn

  7. Anonymous10:07 AM

    "Public" correction is only one type of correction.

    Even the church doesn't ask parish priests to publically correct parishioners.

    Quite frankly, what would such a "public" outlet be? posting a list of "banned" exmembers on a website?

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  9. Flambeaux & Anon.,

    Thanks for standing up for your Brother Knights. I love the Knights, and I know that they simply do not want to start being "more Catholic than the pope" (or local bishop). I don't like the attacks from Catholics on the Knights. The answer lies in MORE faithful Catholic men joining the ranks of the K of C, not in them leaving. The more good men who are Knights, AND the more they are involved and moving into leadership positions, the less the dissident Catholics will want to join. Or, better yet, the better chance there will be for those dissidents who are already members of the Knights to be converted.

    It pains me greatly to see my beloved Knights being attacked.

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