At the Knights of Columbus 125th annual convention just held in Nashville, Tenn., the Order made the praiseworthy resolution to ban all pro-abortion politicians from attending or speaking at their events. It further passed motions that reiterated its support for traditional marriage, respect of conscience for medical personnel, and the protection of human life in all its stages.
Such categorical and sweeping resolutions are a breath of fresh air in a relativistic and politically correct world. However, the motions did little to quell the controversy raging around some actual Knights in public life. It seems that while politicians opposing Church teachings cannot speak at Knight functions, some such politicians unfortunately do make up part of its ranks.
The controversy began last June when it came to light that 16 Massachusetts state lawmakers–all Knights still in good standing—voted to kill a ballot measure that would have enshrined marriage as the union between one man and one woman in the state’s constitution. Approval of the measure by voters would have overturned the infamous Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health court decision that legalized same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts.
The measure was on the fast track to be put on the 2008 ballot supported by the signatures of 170,000 Massachusetts citizens. As in so many states across the country, the measure had every chance of success and was only five votes short of the 50 state legislators needed to make the ballot. However, the votes of the 16 Knights all but made sure that the people of Massachusetts would never get the chance to vote on the matter.
On the occasion of the Knights’ National Convention, many Catholics had hopes that the Knights would expel the 16 Knights, seven of which have favorable “pro-choice” ratings from Planned Parenthood.
Indeed, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson even mentioned in his address to the membership that the Massachusetts Legislature should be ashamed for refusing to put the issue of same-sex “marriage” on the ballot there after petitions asking for a referendum with 170,000 signatures were submitted.
The official convention resolutions proclaimed that “we will never waiver in our efforts to defend the natural institution of marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman.” Lamenting the efforts of legislatures to the contrary, the document further states that “we oppose all attempts to give the legal status of marriage to arrangements between persons of the same sex.”1
Such strong statements gave every hope that the Knights would act on the controversy. However, no measures were taken against the very Knights that could have prevented this “shameful” situation. Not only did one Knight spokesman say that no action will be taken against the 16, but the offending politicians themselves have publicly gone on record to defend their votes2
Recent Church teaching on this matter is very clear. The 2003 document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons signed by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger outlines the duties of politicians. It stresses that “clear and emphatic opposition is a duty” and that “any kind of material cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws” should be avoided.
The very membership requirements of the Knights insist that members be practical Catholics “in union with the Holy See and who practice the precepts of the Catholic Church.”3
The American TFP is asking its friends and supporters to contact the Knights of Columbus respectfully asking them to act on their excellent resolutions approved in Nashville. Ask Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson to take measures against these and other knights who tarnish the image of knighthood and who publicly affirm positions contrary to Church teaching.