May 4, 2008 – The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts is criticizing the State Council of the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus for refusing to allow a vote this morning at their annual convention on a measure which would have required them to suspend from their ranks politicians who support abortion or same-sex marriage.
Grand Knight Joseph B. Craven, Jr. of Mt. Pleasant Council in West Roxbury offered a resolution which would have directed Massachusetts State Deputy Vincent Rumasuglia “to summarily suspend those members of the Knights of Columbus who are public officials, present or former, or candidates for public office, who through their votes, campaign literature, web sites or public statements openly support abortion or homosexual marriage.” Craven cited Section 162.7 of the Constitution, Laws & Rules of the Order which affixes the penalty of suspension or expulsion for those members engaged in “giving scandal, scandalous conduct or practice unbecoming a member of this Order.”
Two-thirds of K of C members in the Massachusetts General Court supported recent buffer zone legislation, while more than three-quarters voted against a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-gender marriage.
Supreme Advocate Paul Devin, who was attending the convention at the Burlington Marriott Hotel, ruled the measure “unconstitutional.” The State Council also attempted to impose a gag order on delegates, stifling discussion of the matter, until they were forced to relent because of vocal outbursts from the floor.
The Catholic Action League called the ruling “a disgraceful example of the disconnect between rhetoric and policy when it comes to the Knights of Columbus and Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life and the integrity of marriage.”
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “For twenty-five years, since the 1983 attempt to expel Ted Kennedy, the Knights of Columbus have ducked, dodged, weaved, evaded, obfuscated, and dragged their feet on this issue. They never miss a public opportunity to advertise their pro-life and pro-family credentials, but they repeatedly refuse to confront the inconsistency of retaining pro-abortion and pro-homosexual political figures within their own membership. As Joseph Craven said in his remarks, it is an absolute contradiction to prohibit such politicians from using K of C facilities, while harboring them as members.”
“Outrage is increasing among pro-life Catholics over the hypocrisy of Catholic institutions and organizations who embrace public officials who repudiate Catholic moral principles. There is also a rising sense of urgency that this festering scandal must be brought to an end.”