Thursday, June 18, 2009
Peterborough Knights of Columbus’ $10K+ Donation to Abortion Committing Hospital Causes Controversy
PETERBOROUGH, ON, June 11, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Knights of Columbus (K of C) Council (11086) in Peterborough, Ontario is listed in the local newspaper as having donated between $10,000 and $25,000 to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre PRHC – an abortion-committing hospital. In addition to the one council, LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) has learned five other local councils of the Knights are also funding the hospital.
Hospital records obtained by LSN indicate that the hospital performs hundreds of abortions every year. 328 abortions were performed in 2004, 340 in 2005, 217 in 2006, and 274 in 2007, the latest year for which statistics were available.
Local pro-life activists regularly picket the hospital. One such activist is Tom Mockler, a member of the K of C who spends an hour most Saturday mornings at the hospital to, as he says, “silently, prayerfully, protest the act of abortion that takes place there.”
For Mockler, financial support for an abortion-committing hospital was incompatible with the mission of the Knights, of which he is a member. “It came as a great shock to me that several area K of C councils, including my own, voted to donate money to this institution,” he told LSN. “My conscience would not permit my involvement in a council that would financially support an abortion providing hospital.”
Mockler decided to resign from his council and joined another council that voted unanimously not to donate money to a hospital that commits abortion. “In this way I can try to be part of a solution to the division that has escalated among brother Knights,” explained Mockler. “Knights must show leadership and positive witness in the field of Pro-Life. Donating to an abortion provider, in my opinion, is not the answer.”
LSN spoke with the Grand Knight in charge of the St. Alphonsus council listed in the newspaper. John Metser told LSN that the monies went to MRI equipment and the construction of a prayer garden at the hospital, not abortions.
He said he checked with the Ontario State Board of the Knights of Columbus before proceeding with the donation. According to Metser the donation was approved despite the fact that the Ontario State Board of the K of C still has an official policy specifically forbidding donations to abortion-committing hospitals.
The policy, which was passed by the Ontario Knights in 1997, was titled, “We fund only hospitals that don’t do abortions.” The resolution states: “Whereas, hospitals that do abortions are guilty of a heinous crime, the Ontario Knights of Columbus shall not continue to ignore this situation by carrying on supporting them financially. “
The policy thus resolved “that Knights of Columbus Councils put on notice hospitals that commit abortions that Councils will: Make their donation to hospitals nearby that do not commit abortions or make their abortions or make their contributions to other valuable community undertakings that do not deride our Christian sentiments.”
Insiders have informed LifeSiteNews.com that the policy would require a reversal vote at a future state convention to be rescinded. In the meantime, however, the policy remains in effect, but apparently ignored.