The Knights of Columbus: Compromise Weakens the Witness

I was given the last two issues of the Knights of Columbus magazine, Columbia, by a friend of mine. And it is an inspiring publication in many ways. The editor, Alton J. Pelowski, does a commendable job in making the monthly attractive and easy to read. Perusing it, I was impressed with the many accounts of charitable works of the Knights, especially in aiding the flood victims in last August’s deluge in Louisiana’s Baton Rouge area, which, for this part of the state, wreaked more devastation than Hurricane Katrina of 2005. The storm lasted five days, inundating some areas with thirty inches of rain; that was three times what Baton Rouge endured from Katrina. In that earlier catastrophe, the Knights contributed ten million dollars for reconstruction efforts. I was also much impressed with the story of Army Captain Luis Avila, Honduran-born, who lost a leg in Afghanistan doing his fifth tour of duty. It’s a must read. God bless the Knights who helped actor Gary Sinese and the Sinese Foundation build him a custom-made home for his family of five now living in Maryland where he is getting therapy. It is a miracle that this heroic veteran, whose wife prayed countless Rosaries for him, survived. He was pronounced dead twice after an IED killed three of the five soldiers in his jeep. He had suffered two heart attacks after the explosion tore his leg off (February issue, 2017).

Most impressive is the article by Ed Langlois, “A Call to Spiritual Arms,” in the March issue. In Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Salem, Oregon, the Knights of Columbus, led by James Thurman, hold a monthly holy hour, for men only, on a Wednesday night, with Rosary, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, and a homily. Fifty men attend. Benediction is solemn with seven altar boys. Forty year-old Thurman, a military man himself, says: “Men need to be called out of their spiritual sleep and wake up to see what is going on around them. We need to take care of our own souls so we are able to save our families’ souls.” “As Knights,” he says, “we need to be men of prayer. Otherwise, we will be no different than any other men’s organization.” The Knights in Salem call their spiritual effort, the “Holy League,” which was the name of the alliance of Catholic nations formed by Saint Pius V to combat the Moslem Turks in the Mediterranean. Their victory in 1571 saved southern Europe and the islands from the coastal assaults of the barbaric Mohammedans.

Similarly, in the diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, Knights are getting together to study the Faith and before some council meetings the Rosary is said first. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, of Phoenix, has published a twenty-three page booklet called Into the Breach. It is for Catholic men. It is aimed at building manly lay leaders in the Church, to bolster the family, and encourage Catholic evangelization. “Men,” the Bishop exhorts, “do not hesitate to engage in the battle that is raging around you, the battle that is wounding our children and families.” Local councils in Arizona are forming study groups to go over the booklet and promote the call to wage battle against the counter-culture. Julio Inclan, of the Saint Anne Council, in Gilbert, Arizona, runs a Spanish-speaking study group. “As men we need to increase our faith,” he says, “improve our values and do it together. Prayer makes it all come together. Prayer helps me to know I need to be a better husband and a better father. Then it helps us act, to do something good for our family and job and community.” He also rightly observes that a greater emphasis on spirituality will draw more Hispanics. A Mexican, Inclan notes that “Men in the United States are expected to work long hours and become wealthy, leaving little time for prayer or family!”

There are more testimonies of a resurgent Catholic ethos among the Knights which Langlois provides, such as that of young KOCers who participate in a weekly 10:30 pm “Knights Mass” with Rosary, under the direction of Pallotine Father Frank Donion, Knights chaplain at Catholic University of America. All in all, one thing is for sure: these new Knights are no-nonsense crusaders. Hopefully, they will persevere and provide new impetus to the fraternal society. Note that the Knights’ website refers to itself as an Order with a capital O. This may be confusing because they are not a religious Order, or even a lay Third Order. Nor are the Knights a Papal Order of Knighthood. Nevertheless, the term is used just as often as the word Society is used for the organization.

Wonderful too, is that Bishop Olmsted’s book has been translated into Polish and is now inspiring men’s goups in Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine. I have not read the bishop’s book, but I hope to get a copy soon from a friend that lives in Arizona.

With these hopeful signs of a rising Catholic militancy among the new generation of the Knights of Columbus, we must also be unafraid to point out the problems within the Order, at least in the old guard. Something needs to be done here if the Knights are going to have real credibility with this animated new breed. They do not seem like the type of young Catholic men who would have any tolerance for allowing pro-abortionists in their ranks. The issues I have in front of me of Columbia are unabashedly pro-life, with ample articles defending the pro-life cause. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson attended the March for Life in January this year, and he is pictured with Vice President Mike Pence who gave an excellent address to the hundreds of thousands (two miles long) of marchers who came to Washington for the annual March for Life.

Nevertheless, the Knights of Columbus harbor pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians in their ranks. Many of them, in fact. The organization justifies including such funders of tax-payer money going to the murder of pre-born babies by throwing the onus on the bishops. The KOC claim that it cannot expel members who publicly support abortion so long as the US bishops do not expel them from the Church. This is an evasion. The Order of the Knights of Columbus is not an arm of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, nor are its local councils an arm of the diocesan ordinary. Legally, as distinguished from morally, they are a corporation that is independent of the Catholic Church. Yes, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore is their Supreme Chaplain, but he wields no juridical authority over the organization. Needless to say, however, he has punitive authority over any Catholic in his archdiocese who causes public scandal and works against the salvation of souls. In the case of pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians the scandal is as grave as it gets, as is their sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion.

Although, as I have noted, the Knights call the organization an Order, they are not canonically erected as an association of lay Catholics under obedience to a bishop. From their website, they are simply identified as a Catholic “fraternal benefit society that has grown into a worldwide financial and charitable organization,” a non-profit 501c (8), registered as a corporation in Connecticut. From the time of its founding by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882, the KOC affirms on its website that it is “dedicated to the mission of the Catholic Church.” Father McGivney established the Knights in New Haven, Connecticut, as a charitable corporation, to provide financial assistance to widows, orphans. and the poor, and to provide life insurance for members who choose to enroll in the program. McGivney also had the KOC provide assistance for sick members unable to work, i.e., disability. Poor Catholics were desperately in need of life insurance in the late 1800s and this was a program they could afford. To this day the Insurance Program of the KOC is top-ranked nationally and has received recurrent awards for being the most equitable of Life Insurance Companies. There are about two million members of the Knights of Columbus worldwide, belonging to one of 15,342 councils. Almost all members in the USA hold life insurance policies with the Order, although this is not mandatory. Even if one resigns from the Knights he can still maintain his policy. All that is required to be a member of the KOC is to be a Catholic male who pays his dues.

From its founding by Father McGivney, however, the Knights of Columbus refrained from publicly endorsing efforts to convert non-Catholics in America to the Faith. One might say, however, that since it was not a religious society it had no “mission” to do so as a body. Individual members, on the other hand, as Catholics are indeed called to be “confessors” of the Faith given by Christ for the salvation of men. No Catholic is exempt from publicly professing their Faith, trying to convert non-Catholics (truly loving one’s neighbor thereby) as prudence dictates. No one was being thrown into prison for professing their Faith in these United States at that time. McGivney himself was a good friend of Americanist Archbishop John Ireland of Saint Paul, Minnesota. Ireland was noted for favoring interfaith ecumenicism with Protestants, while at the same time alienating Uniate Catholics who, although not under his jurisdiction, suffered from his endemic prejudice against non-Latin rite easterners. The KOC and the National Catholic Welfare Conference had with much difficulty broken down President Woodrow Wilson’s objections to having a Catholic organization active in the Army’s military camps. Note this excerpt from an article on the subject “For the Boys Over There”:

“By the campaign and war’s end (1917) Catholics, and in particular the Knights, had emerged in a much better position than they had started. Catholics had proved their loyalty and patriotism to America, although this would soon be overshadowed by the nativist sentiment of the 1920’s. Meanwhile the Knights grew in status and recognition, with “Casey” {KOC] having won much love from American troops overseas; they had played their dual role well, as a ‘regular guy who never pushed his religion’ to the military at large but a coreligionist and comfort to Catholics.”

The Knights always proudly highlighted their patriotism in order to appease the virulent anti-Catholicism that in the late 1800s and early 1900s held the national loyalty of Catholics to be suspect in America. That history is, of course, well known. This was another factor in Father McGivney’s naming the Order after Christopher Columbus, whom all Americans revered, rather than after a particular saint. And, too, in 1900, the Knights instituted a fourth degree (the highest of the Order) called “the Patriotic Order.”

The more militant Ancient Order of Hibernians, founded in Ireland in the seventeenth century, pre-existed the Knights of Columbus in the United States, having been established in New York City in 1836. These Irishmen, immigrants mostly, were not Americanist. They established the Order in New York specifically to fight the virulent Know-Nothings and kindred Nativists, who had two years before burned down the Ursuline convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and threatened to follow that up with burning down Saint Patrick’s in New York. In 1844, the Nativists would put to flames two Catholic churches and another convent in Philadelphia. The valiant Archbishop of New York, John Hughes, mobilized Hibernians and the hard-working faithful of the city to ward off the Know-Nothing threat in the 1840s. Hughes’ heroism at the time was legendary.

The Knights of Columbus and the Pro-Life Cause

Concerning their commitment to the pro-life cause, the Knights of Columbus website posts this:

In his 1995 Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, St. John Paul II called on all Catholic faithful to bear witness to the Gospel of Life and to build the “civilization of life and love” (100). In keeping with this mission and our Order’s Catholic principles of charity, unity, and fraternity, the Knights of Columbus stands strong in its conviction that every human life is a gift of God, endowed with certain inalienable rights — the first among these being the right to life. Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, we believe that human life is sacred and inviolable, and ought to be defended with maximum determination. To this end, the Knights of Columbus supports policies that promote a Culture of Life and opposes legislative efforts that promote abortion, contraception, sterilization, cloning, the destruction of embryos, assisted suicide, euthanasia, unjust war, and the death penalty when there is an acceptable alternative.

Therefore, how can the leadership of the Order claim that it cannot expel members who violate the Order’s mandate to defend the pre-born? Clearly, they do not need a prior Church excommunication of public supporters of abortion who publicly claim to be Catholic, and even receive Holy Communion; they can expel from the fraternal Order these enemies of the Faith themselves.

Nevertheless, there will be, and has been, resistance from the highest echelons of the KOC for any member who fights, as a Knight, without compromise, for the pre-born babies. C.J. Doyle cites one instance among many:

A Knights of Columbus member from Virginia, John Collick, circulated by e-mail an essay by Father Richard Perozich of California, in which the priest urged Catholics not to be intimidated, to stand up for their values, and vote only for those who support the right to life, traditional marriage and Christian morality. Incredibly, Collick’s Grand Knight, on the instructions of Virginia State Advocate Anthony Fortunato, ordered Collick to cease distributing the e-mail, as it violated K of C prohibitions against politics in the Order! Fortunato claimed he consulted with the Supreme Advocate in New Haven before rendering his decision. (Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, news update, October 22, 2010)

John Marrella, the Supreme Advocate and General Counsel of the Knights of Columbus (Council 10705 New Haven, CT), was dodging the issue when, in 2010, he responded to a fellow Knight’s request for a resolution to suspend any member who publicly supported abortion or same-sex “marriage” with this self-ablution: “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.” (Letter to the Massachusetts State KOC Deputy, William F. Donovan)

In same Letter, Marrella wrote:

We understand that some subordinate councils have the impulse to address real or perceived [?] scandal caused by members who are public figures. Because of the public stature of such members, however, decisions to summarily suspend the member necessarily affect the entire Order. For this reason, 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, which will consider the prudence of addressing the conduct of the public figure in light of the overall good of the Order.

Even more disturbing is this final point: “[T]he Order must be sensitive to the role of the bishops, with whom we stand in solidarity. 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.” Not one US bishop has yet excommunicated a pro-abortion public figure posing as a Catholic, nor has anyone of them forbidden the priests of his diocese to give Holy Communion to public pro-aborts.

C.J. Doyle protested:

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. (LifeSite News Interview May, 2010, with C.J. Doyle)

Thomas Peters of the influential American Papist and blog also expressed concern over the Knights’ policy. Peters called it “a big mistake,” adding that “Marella’s argument confuses the Knights of Columbus with the Church. Being expelled from the Knights of Columbus, after all, is simply not the same as being excommunicated from the Church or being barred from receiving Communion by the local bishop.”

Peters is himself a Third Degree knight. He wrote further, “I love the Knights of Columbus, but in this situation, I believe their leadership needs to seriously rethink this decision, and begin the brave task of holding its membership to the high standards each of them swore to uphold upon entering.”

Catholic Action League Executive Director C.J. Doyle noted that two years earlier, Joseph Craven, a Grand Knight of Mt. Pleasant Council in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, 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.” ( May 5, 2008) 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.” The State Council of the Massachusetts KOC, at their annual convention, May 4, 2008, refused to allow his resolution to be put up for a vote.

Doyle continued:

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. (ibid)

Doyle noted that the Knights have “never expelled a single [pro-abortion Knight] in 37 years, since Roe v. Wade.”

In 1983, Ted Kennedy proved to be more powerful than the Knights of Columbus in Massachusetts. More than that, he was powerful, too, (this side of eternity, that is) in death, receiving a Catholic funeral at the holy shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Roxbury with a prelate of the Church, himself a Knight of Columbus, presiding, and even affirming in his eulogy that Ted Kennedy “shared our belief in prayer and in eternal life.”

This is the same prelate who gave a rousing speech to the Pro-Life Marchers in Washington DC five or six years ago. Too, this is the same prelate who one year ago honored Boston mayor Marty Walsh at a fundraiser at the Archdiocesan affiliated Laboure Center. Walsh, in violation of the Bishops’ pastoral statement “Catholics in Political Life,” was appointed Co-Chairperson for the fundraiser. Walsh had recently raised the “transgendered” flag over City Hall, and banned city travel to North Carolina because of that state’s refusal to admit grown men to girls restroom facilities. He has a 100% rating with the notorious National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

Another prominent, Massachusetts’s Knight of Columbus politician who claimed to be pro-life but refused to act so, was longtime Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill (1977-1987). The Cardinal Newman Society (Matthew Archbold, October 2012) quotes Phil Lawler:

Phil Lawler, the editor of CWN News, wrote a book about the Church in Massachusetts and said that O’Neill “did everything in his considerable power to ensure that the House of Representatives never held a vote on any effort to ban abortion.” As O’Neill was the Speaker of the House between 1977 and 1987, he often decided which bills could be voted on.

Lawler admitted that O’Neill “retained a pro-life record” but added that “he made it possible for dozens of other Democrats to retain their pro-life credentials without lifting a finger to stop the slaughter of the unborn.”

In 1985, Bishop James C. Timlin refused to attend the graduation ceremonies at the University of Scranton because O’Neill was being honored. Bishop Timlin reportedly said he “cannot even appear to be supportive of a congressman who on occasion failed to support legislation which could have halted legal abortions.”

Good for Bishop Timlin of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He retired in 2003.

O’Neill often credited (though at times he criticized the former) two of his mentors, both of whom were exemplary Catholic statesmen and Knights of Columbus, Boston many-termed Mayor James Michael Curley, “The Rascal King” (1874-1958), and longtime Massachusetts US Congressman (1928-1971) and first Catholic Speaker of the House (1963-1971), the intrepid anti-Communist, John C. McCormack. Curley was also an Ancient Hibernian. O’Neill did not imbibe their intestinal fortitude. Another of his mentors was, naturally, fellow Knight John F. Kennedy.

I digress. Let me continue with the issue of the KOC’s obligation to put teeth into its pro-life platform by expelling pro-aborts.

The Constitution of the Order and Expulsion of Members

The Constitution of the Order clearly provides for the dismissal of insubordinate and/or scandalous members. Under Powers SEC. 2. “The Supreme Council is hereby vested with full power and authority to make, alter and repeal all laws, rules and regulations for the government, management, discipline and control of the Knights of Columbus, or of any council or division thereof, and the members of the same in any state, district, territory or country where the Knights of Columbus is now or may hereafter be established, and to enforce the laws, rules and regulations enacted by said Supreme Council or any regulation or order made by the Board of Directors.”

Under Chapter XVIII: “Misconduct: Giving Scandal”: “Giving scandal, scandalous conduct or practice unbecoming a member of this Order; suspension or expulsion…”

If excessive alcohol consumption can be cause for expulsion (“scandalous conduct”) which it can be (Section 14: ”Using alcoholic or intoxicating beverages to such excess as to give scandal”), how much more so the scandal of supporting abortion. The former vice cannot even compare in wickedness with the latter

Under the Constitution’s “Ipso Facto Forfeiture” — “Members SEC. 168. Any member of this Order shall, ipso facto, forfeit his membership in the Order — Failure to Remain a Practical Catholic 1. Who shall fail to remain a practical (sic) Catholic in union with the Holy See. In all cases, as by law provided, where members may be summarily suspended by the Board of Directors, Supreme Knight, or State, District or Territorial Deputies.”

Therefore, State, District or Territorial Deputies can expel a member for grave offenses. The Constitution mandates that a letter be sent to the accused giving him a chance to defend himself. If there is no appeal from the accused the forfeiture of membership is done ipso facto. No trial is needed where there is no appeal.

So much for that. Laws, or by-laws, are as good as they are enforced.

Pro-Abortion “Catholic” Politicians in Massachusetts Who Are Knights of Columbus

C.J. Doyle has compiled a list posted on The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts website, as of 2015, of then current politicians in Massachusetts who claim to be Catholic while publicly funding the murder of babies in the womb. Fourteen “Catholic” state representatives, almost all educated in Catholic schools, have received the highest commendation of Planned Parenthood and are dubbed “Friends” of the nation’s largest abortion provider. Two of these, Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Kevin Honan (D-Boston), are Knights of Columbus.

A little less applauded, but still favored by Planned Parenthood as “Allies” are thirty-four more “Catholic” House members, almost all educated in Catholic schools. Four of these are Knights of Columbus. They are Garrett J. Bradley (D-Hingham), Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop), and Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham), and Joseph F. Wagner (D-Chicopee). One of the thirty-four reps, Brendan C. Crighton (D-Lynn) is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Friendly Knights of Saint Patrick. He is no friend of Saint Patrick. And he should be ashamed to call himself a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. This fraternity was founded in Ireland under the Elizabethan persecutions to protect Catholic priests who offered Mass secretly out in the groves on rocks. They had a watchman keeping guard in case an enemy of the Faith was seen to be approaching. If so, they had to cover the altar with a tablecloth and pretend they were having a picnic.

Three KOC members of the House are designated by Planned Parenthood as “Opponents.” They are Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield) — Past Grand Knight, John H. Rodgers (D-Norwood), and Angelo M. Scaccia (D-Boston).

Even here, however, Mr. Doyle says that “one must guard against overstating the Catholicity of those Catholic House members identified as opponents of Planned Parenthood. The designation “Opponent” is not an indicator of either integral Catholic loyalty or complete pro-life fidelity. Some, like Rep. John Rogers, support the deformity of marriage and the re-definition of the family. Others have voted subsidies for a biotechnology industry which engages in embryonic stem cell research. One Catholic opponent, Rep. Angelo Puppolo, lists his membership in the Meadows Masonic Lodge, while another Catholic opponent, Rep. Nick Collins, voted in 2014 for punitive buffer zone legislation which would impose draconian civil and criminal penalties on pro-life sidewalk counselors.”

Turning to the Senate, we have a few “Catholic” “Allies” of Planned Parenthood, one of whom, Linda Dorcena-Forry (D-Boston), was the Mistress of Ceremonies at South Boston’s Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast.

The other two, both members of the Knights of Columbus, are: Brian Joyce (D-Milton), a Boston College graduate, who first ran for office pretending to be pro-life and pro-family in order to defeat a faithful Catholic (the late Rep Joseph Manning), and Thomas McGee (D-Lynn).

We also have in the Massachusetts’ Senate, listed as an “Ally of PP” Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), another Catholic Hibernian and member of Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick. He is not, however, a Knight of Columbus.

There are scores of scandalous offenses and accommodations to pro-aborts and anti-family politicians made directly under the auspices of KOC councils that could be cited from outraged members of the Order in other states, but I have to limit myself to Massachusetts. And this local information has been made public primarily through the personal knowledge and research of C.J. Doyle. As far as other states are concerned, the KOC accommodation to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is no less scandalous.

One more bone of contention with the Knights of Massachusetts: In its Constitution, the Order forbids councils to lend their halls to adversaries of the Catholic Faith and/or Morals. That’s on paper. De facto some councils ignore the rule. One such is the Knights of Columbus Council in Melrose, Massachusetts. US Congresswoman for Massachusetts’ 5th District, Katherine Clark, a champion for the pro-abortion and feminist agenda, held a victory celebration at the KOC hall in Melrose when she won the Democratic primary in October of 2013. Clark even authored a book about Wicca and paganism in Irish folklore, An Irish Book of Shadows: Tuatha De Danann. Draw your own conclusions.

I have limited myself to Massachusetts politicians who are and have been Knights of Columbus. Pro-abortion “Catholic” Knights in the rest of the states, Joe Biden for example, can be multiplied in high numbers.

I could distinguish between the different Orders of Catholic Knights, but that is beyond my purpose here. Suffice it to say, most of these are ancient orders of knights that are canonically erected as Papal Orders. They are not independent of the Holy See, although they have their own statutes which the pope must recognize. Our readers are no doubt familiar with the recent imbroglio over the Knights of Malta with the Vatican. This Knighthood is a “Sovereign Military Order” granted sovereignty from its inception by Pope Paschal II in 1113. Other papal orders of knights include the Knights of Saint Gregory, the Knights of the Grand Cross of St. Sylvester, the Knights of the Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulchre, Supreme Order of Christ (the highest of all papal knighthoods), the Order of Pius IX, and the Order of the Golden Militia (also called of the Golden Spur). I do not know of any of these orders of papal knighthoods, other than the Knights of Malta, that specifically requires being a Catholic for membership today.

It is hard to criticize the Knights of Columbus for not ousting pro-abortion members when, in 1998, with the approval of Pope John Paul II and the connivance of Cardinal Mahoney, then Archbishop of Los Angeles, media mogul and pornography disseminator (London Sun tabloid), Rupert Murdock (then on his second of four wives; he divorced the first three) was made a Knight Commander of St. Gregory. The order claims that it only accepts those of “unblemished character.” He was inducted at a ceremony in a Catholic Church in Los Angeles. Murdock has donated large sums to the LA Diocese Education Fund. Bob Hope and Roy Disney, both benefactors of the Church, were also made Knights of St. Gregory at the same ceremony. None of the three were Catholic at the time (it is not required) although their wives were; Bob Hope did enter the Church before he died in 2003. Another inductee into this Order was Orthodox Rabbi David Rosen, now a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, ex-Chief Rabbi of Ireland (1979–85). He is Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Department of Interreligious Affairs and has been a major figure in moving the Vatican to abandon the Church’s position on supersessionism, thereby promoting the heresy among Catholics that the Jewish religion and its denial of Christ is still salvific. So, too, there is Rabbi Leon Klenicki, another opponent of supersessionism, whom Benedict XVI made a Knight of the Order.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the KOC is also a Knight of St. Gregory the Great. Not only that, he is a Knight of the Grand Cross of St. Sylvester and a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Holy Sepulchre. Too, in 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed Anderson to the Pontifical Academy for Life and in 2002 to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. In 2003, he was named a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named Anderson as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Putting it mildly, Mr. Anderson, bears a heavy responsibility for a layman. His first priority, however, is to clean up the KOC.

Good Causes Financed by the KOC

The Knights of Columbus is the largest, by far, of corporate benefactors to the Catholic Church, at home and abroad. About 57% of its annual grants go to pro-life, pro-family causes. The Vicarius Christi Fund has an endowment of $20 million and has earned more than $35 million since its establishment in 1981 for the Pope’s personal charities. More than a million dollars has been given by the Knights to Crisis Pregnancy Centers to help unwed mothers in carrying their babies to term and, when necessary, providing adoption support. Too, the KOC has heavily supported Morality in the Media through grants, while paying lobbyists to fight against same-sex “marriage.” It would be hard to put a figure on the amount of money the Knights of Columbus, as a corporate body or even more so from its 15,000 plus councils, have donated to pro-life, pro-family causes. And, equally hard would it be to estimate the millions of dollars donated by local, regional, state, and the national Knights of Columbus to disaster relief, veterans assistance, Habitat for Humanity aid, and other charitable works for the poor and needy.

Just to mention a few famous Knights who were exemplary men of the Church, one of whom, boxer Floyd Patterson (listed on Wikipedia), I did not even know was a Catholic. Others include Al Smith, Sergeant Shriver, Sergeant Major Daniel Daley, a two-time recipient, once described by the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps as “the most outstanding Marine of all time,” Vince Lombardy, and, Babe Ruth (yes, the Babe was a Catholic). The list could go on and on I am sure.

I wish to end with an email note I received from the Knight who sent me the recent issues of Columbia magazine, which I referred to at the start of this exposè:

A long-time friend, somewhat reluctantly, told me about an event that occurred while he was in the KOC. This man has moved from his state of birth some years ago. By all accounts, he was a popular State Council Pro-Life Chair, as well as a local Council Pro-life Chairman at the same time. The State Council has one Pro-Life Chairman or Couple, but each local Council can have one. He instituted programs, wrote articles, gave talks, contacted politicians, attended the local and national March for Life and was the most active Pro-Life Chair the State Council ever had. His Brother Knights loved and supported him. His interactions with his diocese were not the same. It seemed he was “too Catholic” and “too pro-life”. No other State position was examined or under a microscope as much as the Pro-Life Chair. When it came time to reappoint him (Pro-Life Chairs are not elected as the officers of the local and State Councils are), the State Deputy told him he could not reappointed this gentleman since the diocese warned of recriminations. I was told similar difficulties were encountered in other states. This Brother Knight still loves his Brothers and supports them whenever possible.

The gentleman who sent me this note also said — “prophetically,” I hope — that the Knights of Columbus, with cooperative support from Rome, could be a major pro-life force in the Church today. The “Institution is there,” he said. “Ready to be re-animated”; “ready to be deployed en force.” First, there must be a purge.