Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Drive By Shooting at the K of C - Knights of Columbus

There is a new media culture for bloggers, that is not much different than the MSM, of hiding behind our keyboards and firing self righteous slings and arrows at those who seem to have transgressed our belief system.  Sometimes we research our thoughts before we write, but oft times we take the example of some other writer and sally forth into uncharted waters, adding a little gusto as we go.  Mea culpa.  I have been guilty of what I am charging.

I don't like it, and when I come across it and it conflicts with my own personal knowledge, I try to figure out what is what.  Sometimes it is easy, but not always.  And the fact is, that some of those who have written their opinions are people I regard highly for their faith and desire to promote Catholic faith ideals.  Oh, and usually there is somewhere between a grain and freight car of truth in what they are saying.

Last week, CatholicCulture.org, under their banner Catholic World News headlined the following: "Knights of Columbus refuse to allow suspension of members who promote abortion, gay marriage".  The lead paragraphs were:
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."
The article explained that The Knights of Columbus, as an organisation, had no plans to usurp the fundamental authority of the local bishop.  Simply, if the bishop does not excommunicate or refuse communion to a Brother Knight, who has taken a stand against Church teaching, with emphasis on abortion and same sex marriage, the Knights will not remove from membership that Brother.  By the way, this is the same stand they took when this motion was being brought forward and was reported in 2008 at Lifesitenews

This did not mollify Catholic Action League of Massachusetts where in a press release, its Executive Director, C.J. Doyle called the letter from the Supreme Advocate and General Counsel John A. Marrella "a shocking abdication of responsibility, and a shameful surrender to the culture of death."  I can't figure out from Doyle's web site if he said anything about it in 2008, since the only web page starts in the summer of 2008.  That might give you a clue.

Mr. Doyle further stated:
"This letter effectively kills any grassroots initiative within the Knights to address the scandal of pro-abortion pols in the Order. It is now clear that the Knights of Columbus, for the foreseeable future, will continue to harbor in its ranks public officials who oppose Catholic morality, and who believe that the killing of 1.3 million pre-born children each year ought to remain legal in the United States."
"Apparently, for the national leadership of the Knights of Columbus, the protection of its insurance business, tax exempt status, and its ratings from Standard and Poors is more important than defending the right to life. Despite its pretensions to the contrary, the Knights of Columbus has now made its peace with legal abortion in America."
But, here is the crux for me of the issue, because everything else that I have heard and read is pure conjecture and what if, and therefor not really worthy of a lot of print.

Who or what is this high sounding Catholic Action League of Massachusetts?  Well, it seems that C.J. Doyle, appears to be grand high mucky muck, the janitor, and chief correspondent of CALM, since it appears to have no address, no funding in reported financial statements as of a couple of years ago, and no real presence, other than missives from Mr. D.  This by the way, does not mean he does not deserve to have a voice, and does not in any way mean that I think he is wrong here.

He stated further in the release:
In the thirty-seven 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. 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.
Now, we are on the verge of the possibility that somewhere in this whole thing is a fact or two that we can jump on board with.

Of course, I am interested in a little more detail, like how many Knights served in the Massachusetts Legislature in 2005 and 2007, what were their names and how did they vote on the two amendments referred to.

Anybody out there have any idea how many Knights of Columbus are serving in the political world in the US/State Houses or Senates, or for that matter in the Canadian House of Parliament?   From what I can gather in my own research - not too many.

But, this story is principally about the most politically active region in North America, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and there's the rub.

One highly respected Canadian Catholic blog site headed its article "U.S. Knights of Columbus starting to rot from the top."

If you are not a member of the Knights of Columbus, you really have no dog in this fight, if in fact there is a meaningful fight.  In my youth, I was a Columbian Squire, sort of the junior Knights, and my father was a fourth Degree member.  I am a member of one of the local counsels here in London, Ontario, and regard the work done by the K of C as meaningful, and supportive of the faith.  I do not think of the K of C as a perfect organisation, but I believe it to be faithful to the teachings of the Church to the best of the human abilities of its members and leaders.

If you are a Knight and believe from the links above that there is something here, I suggest that you do some grass roots work at your next Counsel meeting, and see if there is support for your thoughts.  Do it properly, and work for the change you believe should be happening.

If you are not a Knight, and have no real knowledge of the K of C, and how it functions, then stop drive by shooting at an institution that does a lot of very good work, just because some mickey mouse organisation of a guy in his basement has given himself a high sounding name, and beaten his drum.  Do the work to figure out what the Knights stand for, and if you feel inclined write to them.  But don't pontificate based on somebody else's opinion.

I brought this up this morning with my prayer partners.  My 3 prayer partners are all members of the Knights of Columbus.  Deacon George Sebok summed it up pretty well for us.


And since there is not enough information on which to form a specific prayer, and because it is good practice to trust in the Divine Mercy, I suggest praying like this:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for the Knights of Columbus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in your love for all those who would judge the Knights of Columbus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, fill me with your blood.

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