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Knights of Columbus refuse to allow suspension of members who promote abortion, gay marriage

Catholic World News
May 19, 2010

"The leadership of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) has forbidden local councils to take any action against members of the Catholic fraternal organization who support legalized abortion or same-sex marriage.

A Massachusetts K of C member had proposed a resolution, to be taken up by the group's state convention, calling for the suspension of membership of any politician who gave public support to abortion and same-sex marriage. That resolution was declared inappropriate by the Supreme Advocate of the K of C, John Marrella.

In a letter to the Massachusetts K of C leadership, Marrella declared that "a subordinate council may not impose fraternal discipline with respect to a public figure's official actions on matters pertaining to faith and morals. Rather, any such discipline must be made by or at the direction of the Supreme Board of Directors."

"We recognize that some of our members who are public figures may use their public position to advocate or support policy positions that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals," Marrella conceded in his letter. He went on to admit that such public advocacy "contradicts the Catholic identity and mission of the Order."

Nevertheless, the top legal official of the K of C said that any action taken against K of C members who are public figures would "necessarily affect the entire Order." For that reason, he said, any disciplinary action should be taken by the group's top leadership.

Marrella went on to say that the K of C would not go further than the American bishops in taking public action against members whose public stands conflict with Church moral teachings. "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," he wrote.

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, which had supported the proposed resolution at the state convention, decried the intervention by the top K of C office as an "abdication of responsibility." C.J. Doyle, the executive director of the Catholic Action League, said: "This letter effectively kills any grassroots initiative within the Knights to address the scandal of pro-abortion pols in the Order."

The Catholic Action League charged that the K of C's refusal to take action against pro-abortion members would allow the continuation of a public scandal. "In the 37 years since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Board of Directors has never, to public knowledge, removed a single pro-abortion political figure from the Knights of Columbus," Doyle noted. "In Massachusetts, a majority of Knights serving in the Legislature voted in 2007 against a constitutional amendment restoring traditional marriage, and voted in 2005 for a law which compels Catholic hospitals to distribute the so-called morning-after pill to rape victims."
I used to think of joining the KofC until I realized what a joke they are.
The supreme chaplain of the K of C, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT, allowed the morning after pill in Catholic hospitals in CT, so this news is no surprise.
As a current K of C member, this is certainly disheartening.  It will definitely play a role in deciding whether or not to remain a Knight.  I plan on bringing this up in our next meeting to see if we can send a unified letter to Supreme to have them rescind this ridiculous decision.  I'm sure the pastor of our parish who is our Council's chaplain will have plenty to say about this as well.
:pray2: Soon we won't have any church left.
Jacafamala, God has many hidden friends, and He has told us in Scriptures. Even if the K of C starts wearing rainbow sashes and all of the dioceses wink out, it ain't over. It ain't over, ever .
I think the decision isn't all bad. It doesn't allow local councils to take official against against public sinners who are politicians. It doesn't however forbid such action. It reserves it for higher authorities. This seems to be designed to protect the local council.

It killed a "grassroots initiative" within the Knights, which is precisely what the Church is not. The Church is the True Church of God, and not a political organisation.
As a knight I agree that fraternal societies should not bend to public opinion. They are correct in the supreme council retaining the right to punish public sinners. It must be understood that this could get out of hand and the knights start throwing out people for getting a divorce which in itself also a public scandal for a Catholic.

In my opinion as a fraternal brother it is my belief that we are explicit in the membership that a brother must be a practicing catholic in good standing. This type of sin is definitively against church teaching and may even carry with it immediate excommunication due to an act of heresy by voting in favor of abortion etc.

The denial of even one dogma is heresy and excommunication is ipso facto. Therefore if the offending brother is not really any longer Catholic they have to be suspended by supreme council or the council is a fraud.
The decision itself, based on their explanation, is correct. Since suspending a public person would indeed be a reflection on the entire order, not just the local council, such decisions should indeed be made by Supreme Council.

However, in a practical sense, we all know they simply will not make such a decision, and the letter makes clear they will "not go further than the American Bishops" which means, they will go nowhere.

This is par for the course for the handwringing obsequious KofC. I often wonder why I'm there. The obsequities to priests, any priest mind you, are a bit over the top.

Some of this is because the pastor has ultimate say about their existence within the parish (unless they have their own Hall, in which case they're not 'under' or 'tied to' a parish, but often it just has to do with Knights getting a warm fuzzy by kissing butt without having to actually do or say anything else. I'm specifically referring to priests that have said heretical things from the pulpit, cancelled chant programs, gotten rid of orthodox confirmation teachers and replaced them with a gay, etc.

There's no fighting the bureaucratic inertia in this now-vestigial organization in the Church, which now functions as an occasional fundraiser-- like a man's version of the women's auxiliary bake sale. The whole notion of developing Catholic men, continuing catechesis, apologetics, etc. is a complete joke.

Shame on (much of) the KofC.
I first read about this on the American Papist website.  He received a letter from the Vice President for Communications at the Supreme Council gave a reply that explains their position well.  I think it's unfortunate that the Knights don't take any action, but it's even more unfortunate that the bishops don't act first.

Quote:Exclusive statement from the Knights of Columbus on Membership
by Thomas Peters on May 22nd, 2010

[Image: knights%20of%20columbus.jpg]
The Knights have been proactive in responding to the critique I published earlier this week, and Patrick S. Korten, Vice President for Communications at the KofC Supreme Council has provided me with a statement which I am happy to publish. Here is the first part:

Quote: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.

Here is the entire statement:

Membership in the Knights of Columbus

(The document is embedded on the American Papist website here: --WhollyRoaminCatholic)

The statement (after listing the many pro-life and pro-marriage achievements of the Knights) concludes: “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.”

I want to add a couple brief points: I don’t want to see good Knights leave as a result of there being bad Knights in the organization. I think there are many things that can be done to improve individual chapters short of expelling bad Knights, who often are not even actively involved in their local chapter.

That said, I remain hopeful that the leadership of the Knights, in collaboration with the bishops, will seriously pursue creative ways of responding to the unique scandal caused when high-profile dissenters from Church teaching also maintain membership in the Knights. I will be praying for a charitable resolution, and will continue to support the Knights in this difficult situation.
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