Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Judie Brown: "Knights in tarnished armor" & A response from the Knights!


Judie Brown

Judie Brown
May 25, 2010

Growing up in suburban Los Angeles, I was not immune to those fairy tales that invited little minds to imagine what it would be like to be Maid Marian or Sir Lancelot or maybe even Cinderella. As I grew older, however, I came to appreciate knights for a totally different reason because several of my uncles were members of the Knights of Columbus. In fact, one of them was part of the escort to Cardinal James Francis McIntyre who conferred the sacrament of Confirmation on yours truly. So you see, knights are really special to me.

Perhaps that is why the latest news of the national offices of the Knights of Columbus is particularly devastating to me. God rest my uncles and praise God they are not here to witness the current debacle. Who would have ever guessed that the Knights of Columbus leadership would 
http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=102186 "refuse to allow suspension of members who promote abortion and gay marriage." Not me!

To read the article, click here:
Attacks on Knights of Columbus membership policies
Much Internet traffic has been generated over the past several days regarding a story originally run by the web site CatholicCulture.org. The editor obtained a copy of a letter sent by Supreme Advocate John Marrella to the Massachusetts state deputy regarding a resolution that was offered at this year's state convention (and in previous years as well) to expel pro-abortion politician/members from the Order.  The letter emphasizes that the Supreme Council Board of Directors, and not subordinate councils, decides such matters. The editor decided to use the letter as a platform for an article attacking the policy, quoting at some length those who have been vocal critics of our policy for many years.
The original article is 
here.  The story was quickly picked up by Catholic bloggers elsewhere, and it all soon "went viral," spreading throughout the Internet via links and e-mail.

A particularly virulent entry came from "

We have prepared and issued a response which 
has been published on the CatholicCulture.org website, the American Papist website, and others. The text appears below.

We would encourage you to make use of the statement in the likely event that you are contacted by members on the matter. We welcome any thoughts and information you may wish to pass along.

Patrick Korten
Vice President for Communications
Knights of Columbus
One Columbus Plaza
New Haven, CT 06510
e-mail address: 
* * * * * * * * * *

Patrick S. Korten
Vice President for Communications
Knights of Columbus Supreme Council

The Knights of Columbus has always urged its members to live in a way completely consistent with Catholic teaching on all issues. We are proudly and unambiguously pro-life and have been at the forefront of the effort to protect marriage. Though we are saddened that not all of our members always live up to the Catholic faith, we are grateful that the vast majority do, and that they do so much good for the Church and society. Our councils have a chaplain, a Catholic priest, to ensure that the Knights of the council are educated in the tenets of the Catholic faith. In short, our beliefs are those of the Church, with no additions and no subtractions.

Since our founding by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882, membership in the Knights has been open to Catholic men at least 18 years of age who are "practical (that is, practicing) Catholics" in union with the Holy See. We leave the determination of who is a "practical" Catholic to the Church, and do not presume to substitute our own judgment for that of the bishop of each diocese. If the bishop considers a man to be a practicing Catholic in good standing, the Order does not attempt to second-guess his decision.

Once a man becomes a brother Knight, our principles of charity, unity and fraternity require that we regard him as a brother in all respects, even when he may stray from the teachings of the Church. Our responsibility in such circumstances is to try to help him embrace the fullness of the Catholic faith.

As the largest Catholic family fraternal service organization in the world, the Knights of Columbus is a strongly pro-life, pro-marriage organization, irrespective of the views of a tiny minority of our members, just as is the case with the Catholic Church. Our policy in these areas is stated with absolute clarity at each of our annual conventions and is widely circulated to members and the general public.

We have been a mainstay of the pro-life movement since well before Roe v. Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court in 1973, and strongly supported the successful effort by brother Knight Henry Hyde to legislatively prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.

We ask each of our more than 13,000 councils to conduct pro-life activities each year, and we are proud that the great majority do so, providing the backbone of the grassroots pro-life movement in the United States and many other countries as well. 
Our financial support, and thousands of volunteer hours from our members, make the annual March for Life in Washington possible. The same is true of the growing number of state marches for life, as well as in the Canadian capital of Ottawa and in provincial capitals all across Canada.
In our newest pro-life project, the Knights of Columbus has already purchased 25 ultrasound machines at a cost of nearly $1 million, for placement in pro-life pregnancy resource centers in 15 states. These ultrasound machines are saving lives every day and our goal is to place hundreds of these machines across the country.

The Order provides major support to the Pro-Life Office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as to the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, a joint project of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus.

Knights by the thousands have been at the forefront of the successful efforts to enact constitutional amendments protecting marriage in every one of the 30 states which have adopted them. 
In short, the Knights of Columbus has been making a real, significant difference in both the pro-life and pro-marriage areas for decades, and that is the true measure of our identity and our determination to support these fundamental tenets of the Catholic faith. It is a powerful, affirmative, broad-based effort that is strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of our 1.8 million members on three continents.

There are those who believe that our time, resources and energy could be better spent hunting down a handful of members who constitute the rare exception. We disagree.