On August 17th, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, promulgated a Bull (or load thereof) in the form of an editorial published by The Hill.
The editorial is an embarrassing display of both unbridled Americanism and sheer hypocrisy that not only renders a disservice to those individual Knights who embrace neither; it also makes it necessary for such men to reconsider whether or not continued membership in the Order is still warranted.
In his editorial, Anderson takes to task those “Catholic politicians in America” who invoke the Mario Cuomo argument that civil authorities mustn’t “impose their religious beliefs” on the people – thus enabling one to play both sides of the fence on matters of intrinsic evil; e.g., claiming to be faithfully and “personally opposed” to such things as abortion on the one hand, while supporting the same legislatively on the other.
“Such an argument by a Catholic politician was bogus then, and it is untenable now,” Anderson writes.
So far so good, but after arguing that science itself confirms that abortion is the taking of a human life (i.e., it is an objective truth and not simply a “religious belief”), he then goes full bore Americanist by stating:
There is a second more serious problem. The argument rests on the assumption that legally restricting abortion is the minority view. That simply is not true.
Really? A politician’s opposition to the voice of the majority is a “more serious problem” than his assault on objective truth, aka the Divine Law?
The gravely erroneous manner of thinking on display in Anderson has infected the minds of not only prominent Catholics in America, but those throughout the world.
This is reflective in large measure of the Declaration on Religious Freedom of Vatican II; a document that effectively (even if not deliberately on the part of many of the Council Fathers) endorsed the separation of Church and State; thus demoting the voice of the Holy Catholic Church to just one constituency among many.
As if Carl Anderson hadn’t exposed his stunning lack of sensus Catholicus quite enough just yet, he went on to state:
The Catholic position – that abortion takes a human life, is morally wrong, and should be substantially restricted — is not only backed up by science, it is now the public’s consensus by a wide margin.
I beg your pardon? Since when is the “Catholic position” that abortion should be “substantially restricted”?
Anderson even goes on to say that Catholic politicians “should embrace the American consensus on abortion restrictions.”
No, Catholic politicians should embrace immutable Catholic teaching as based upon Divine Law; the same that plainly identifies abortion as an intrinsic evil that is never justified.
If what has been said thus far isn’t cause for concern enough for member Knights, Anderson went on to argue:
… remove ‘abortion’ from the proposition and replace it with another evil, for example, racism and see how many of us would agree: ‘Of course, I am opposed to racism, but do not ask me to overturn apartheid.’
I have another idea, how about we replace abortion with the intrinsic evil of homosexual activity and the matter of so-called “same-sex marriage.”
In 2006, legislation that would have sent a marriage amendment to referendum in Massachusetts, thus potentially blocking the approval of same-sex marriage in that state, was defeated thanks to certain Catholic legislators who, while publicly touting their membership in the Knights of Columbus, voted against it.
LifeSite News reached out to Patrick Korten, spokesman for the KofC, for comment as to the possibility that the membership in-good-standing of those legislators was in jeopardy as a result of their votes.
Korten responded, “Unless and until the diocese or local parish or someone in the hierarchy decides they are no longer Catholic, that is not our determination to make.”
Fast forward to 2011.
The state legislature of New York passed its own same-sex marriage law, and the decisive votes were cast by Senators Joseph Addabbo and David Carlucci, both of whom leverage their standing in the Knights of Columbus as evidence of their Catholic bona fides.
Unlike the circumstances surrounding the events in MA, it cannot be said that the hierarchy had yet to rule.
In this case, Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn explicitly ordered the refusal of “any distinction or honors” for “any member of the legislature who voted to support this [same-sex marriage] legislation.”
Clearly, if membership in the Knights of Columbus is a “distinction” and an “honor,” as the organization itself would surely insist, then one would reasonably conclude that Addabbo and Carlucci had invited certain expulsion.
At the time, I was writing for Catholic News Agency and I wished to devote a column to the matter, and so I sent an email to Patrick Korten for comment.
What happened next was very telling…
Within moments, I received an email from Korten’s boss, Andrew Walther, V.P. of Communications and Media for the Knights, asking if the topic of my column was “assigned by CNA and Alejandro Bermudez,” CNA’s Director.
It was not; I chose the topic myself, but before I could even respond to Walther’s question, I received an email from my editor at CNA informing me that Mr. Bermudez had made it plain to her that CNA has no interest in publishing a column on this matter.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my query to Patrick Korten had lit a fuse; one that would quickly explode into an impressive display of the power that the Knights of Columbus national office wields under the direction of their “Supreme” leader.
Needless to say, the status of Senators Addabbo and Carlucci (both of whom are pro-abortion) as members-in-good-standing in the Knights wasn’t in jeopardy then, and it’s not in jeopardy now.
The Knights of Columbus national office can produce marketing material containing pro-life / pro-family rhetoric all day long, but until such time as its leadership cleans house of those who march under the Order’s banner while promoting abortion and same-sex unions, that’s all it is – marketing material and rhetoric.
So, member Knights, are you paying attention?
Look, I know that any number of good, traditional, Catholic men are Knights of Columbus that often serve admirably as soldiers for Christ the King; for example, those men who recently traveled to Oklahoma City to defend Our Blessed Lady’s honor in the face of Satanic mockery.
God love them!
And yet, it must be said that the time has come for these good men to ponder whether continued association with the Knights is warranted given that the organization is led by a man whose own public witness to the Catholic faith is so deficient that he can’t even manage to present the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life accurately!
And why is that, one wonders? Is it because Carl Anderson sincerely doesn’t know the “Church’s position” on abortion, or is it because his interests lie somewhere other than proclaiming authentic Catholic teaching?
As “Supreme Knight,” Anderson has been afforded no small amount of wealth, international celebrity, and the status of ecclesial power broker. (NOTE: Anderson was instrumental in smearing the reputation of the former head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and bringing about his ouster.) He has also been afforded a unique opportunity to defend the true Faith in the face of objective evil.
As of this moment, it appears that he has fully embraced all but the latter.
In the end, Carl Anderson’s editorial didn’t so much stain the reputation of the Order that he serves as “Supreme Knight” as it made known what the organization actually stands for in practice under his leadership – Americanism and hypocrisy.
Surely some will say that the Knights are bigger than their “Supreme” leader, but let’s not kid one another: It’s glorious past aside, the Knights of Columbus has become King Carl’s Court; it’s certainly not the court of Christ the King.
So, are the Knights of Columbus worthy of traditional Catholic men?