The Knights of Columbus

Knights Of Columbus

The Knights of Columbus is a service organization of faithful, Catholic men. A service organization in their very significant support of the whole Church, their parishes, the priesthood and individual parishioners. Faithful as “practical Catholics,” men who believe and live by that which Holy Mother Church teaches.

You may have seen a whole page advertisement recently in USA Today calling for civility in the US presidential race. The Knights paid for that. You may have participated in the recent Fortnight for Freedom campaign. The Knights were a major sponsor. Locally we see the Knights organizing fish frys, pancake breakfasts, donut Sundays, blood drives, improving buildings and undertaking all manner of special projects. It is also not unusual for Knights to be well represented in many parish ministries.

The Knights were founded by the Venerable Michael J. McGivney, then a 29 year-old priest in New Haven Connecticut in 1882. From a small number of men in 1 parish and a modest insurance program benefiting member widows and orphans, the Knights of Columbus has grown into the largest Catholic fraternal service organization in the world. Last Sunday was the 160th anniversary of Father McGivney’s birth. Last week was the 130th Supreme Convention, this year held in Anaheim, CA attended by 80 bishops (including a dozen cardinals), scores of clergy and more than 2,000 Knights.

The Knights have been called “the strong right arm of the Church” – praised by popes, presidents and other world leaders. The Knights have more than 1.8 million members who together donated over $158 million and 70 million volunteer hours last year alone. The optional insurance program for their members has received Standard & Poor’s highest (AAA) rating and the highest A.M. Best rating (A++ / Superior) for 35 consecutive years, securely and dependably underwriting over $65 billion.

Membership is open to faithful Catholic men 18 years of age or older. Applications are available from any Knight. Many priests and deacons are members as well as numerous bishops and cardinals. Among the lay members are active military, veterans, police, firefighters, doctors, lawyers and a wide spectrum of other laity.

Brother Knights are organized in local councils associated with 1 or more parishes. There are four degrees within the Knights of Columbus. Each degree ceremony imparts a lesson on the order’s core virtues of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism respectively. Members of the 4th degree (the highest) are further organized in assemblies which typically span several parishes. 4th degree members are also known as “Sir Knights” and are the group from which the color corps is drawn (those Knights you may have seen in full regalia on special occasions).

Columbia, the monthly magazine of the Knights of Columbus, is excellent. It is available online here (including archive) and also offered inexpensively for non-members in print.

There are many famous Knights including Saints (Miguel de la Mora de la Mora, Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Lucero, Jose Maria Robles Hurtado, Rodrigo Aguilar Alemán, Luis Batiz Sainz, Mateo Correa Magallanes), Blessed (Jose Trinidad Rangel Montaño, Andres Sola Molist), numerous past and present clergy (including Venerable Fulton J. Sheen), public servants (including Samuel Alito, John Boehner, Jeb Bush, John F. Kennedy, Alan Keyes, Rick Santorum, Sargent Shriver, Al Smith) and even athletes (including Babe Ruth, Floyd Patterson, Connie Mack, Mike Ditka, Vince Lombardi).

For more information, see the Knights of Columbus website or this Wikipedia article.

Pilate’s question

Pilates Question

On the day of His crucifixion, our Lord stood before Roman governor Pontius Pilate. He was brought there by the Jews to be executed, since under Roman law they were not permitted to do so themselves. Pilate questioned Jesus, asking what he had done. A brief discussion of kingship and kingdom followed concluding with Jesus saying: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37) Pilate then asked: “What is truth?”

Indeed. What is truth?

Pilate did not listen or care. The answer had already been given. Many in today’s world are little different from Pilate.

Jesus brought us the truth and is the truth. He testified before us that we might know it and be saved.

There is no such thing as “versions of the truth.” That is an oxymoron. There are no alternate paths leading to God such as eastern spirituality or new age thinking. When embraced in whole or in part by Christians, those are manifestations of the heresy of indifferentism.

Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) and “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Our Savior gave us the 1 true faith and founded 1 Church to teach and preserve it. Almost all Christian communities agree on this (the notable exception is Unitarian Universalists who suffer from both indifferentism and relativism).

Each Christian community believes they have the truth. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals and others each believe they are correct. Despite some overlap with each other and the Catholic Church, each Protestant denomination differs from every other. Logic alone informs us that where there are differences, only 1 can be correct. There is no way to finesse this hard fact and it is a serious issue. This is not Protestantism vs. Catholicism since Protestantism is not a single theology, but a collection of Christian communities defined primarily through their schism with the Catholic Church. Secondarily, they are defined by their founding 1,500 (or more) years after Christ.

Our Lord founded a very real, visible Church. He formed men to lead it and commissioned them to spread truth to the world. That Church, led by the direct successors to the Apostles, has continued unchanged and uninterrupted for 2,000 years.

Seek the truth. It will set you free.

Obama’s war on religion (update #9)

Obama's War on Religion

Some battles in the war against religion (specifically Christianity – and even more specifically Catholicism) have recently gone to the good guys. This gives us hope, but falls far short of any indication that the tide has turned.

This piece continues my series on the very real war on religion. My last summary was 1 month ago. This is the latest update. To see the whole series, click here.

Unnatural unions vs. Chick-fil-A

One would think from watching the media or listening to uber-liberal big-city mayors that virtually the entire country backs the destruction of “traditional” marriage as we know it. The pressure has increased markedly since President Obama has given it his fully “evolved” support. Over last weekend, the president’s party voted to endorse “gay marriage” in their platorm.

This is not about equal rights but is another avenue to attack religion. Were “gay marriage” to be the law of the land, teaching and practicing the true Christian faith would be greatly hampered. Speaking against it will become hate speech and marrying heterosexuals but not homosexuals discrimination. Count on it and count on vigorous legal prosecution.

Many companies see upside publicity in announcing their support with little downside. Chick-fil-A is not one of them. They embrace Christian values, natural law and 5,000 years of tradition by simply saying they support marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman. Imagine the outrage from the extremely intolerant homosexual community and their supporters!

Tomorrow Wednesday, August 1st is Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Show them your support. Also show every other company that the American people are NOT in mindless support of the gay agenda. Buy your lunch or dinner at Chick-fil-A. Treat the whole family, your Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts, your American Heritage Girls, your soccer team, your book club. Order from their catering menu for your function. Chick-fil-A food is a cut above typical fast-food fare, their restaurants are clean, their drive-thru is fast and their employees are friendly. Find them here.

This is something that YOU can do. It is small but may be part of something historic. It is easy, inexpensive, comparably healthy and tastes good too!

HHS mandate and private business

The issue of Obama’s HHS mandate against Christian conscience is often considered in the context of religious institutions such as schools, hospitals, charitable organizations and so on. They are good examples of how his decree (via the HHS which he controls) tramples religious freedom, but the issue is much larger than that because it also tramples upon individual business owners too.

Last week, a Catholic family-owned business in Colorado won an injunction against the ObamaCare mandate. The case must still be heard in court and the injunction applies only to this 1 company. It is a small victory, but it is a start.

This is a promotional video for Hercules Industries from 2009. The company employs 265 full-time workers.

NYC schools ban on worship

For a very long time, NYC schools have blatantly discriminated against off-hours religious use of their facilities. All other external parties were permitted. The ban applied only to the exercise of free speech which, in their opinion, represented “worship.”

Finally, after 17 years of litigation, a US District Court has overturned this law. Now we get to see what new obstacles they can invent.

Twisting the “separation of church and state” principal

The Freedom from Religion Foundation together with Robert Moss in behalf of his minor child, has sued a South Carolina school district. Elective credit is widely given around the country for off-site, elective study. The FRF wanted a test case to block credit if the study was religious in nature, proposing that it violated the so-called separation principal.

Year after year, this extralegal (i.e. not in law) principal is expanded to remove any trace of religious beliefs from every sector of government. This time, a federal appeals court sided with the good guys.

Further Reading

Here is a sampling of some new articles written on this topic in the last few weeks:

  1. A Kulturkampf Primer
  2. Affordable Care Act ruling promises religious fights for the forseeable future
  3. Archbishop Chaput: ‘It’s Going to Be a Long Fight’
  4. Archbishop Chaput’s Homily for the Closing Mass of the Fortnight for Freedom
  5. Archbishop Lori: Religious liberty bid unaffected by Supreme Court ruling
  6. Battle over ObamaCare shifts from courtroom to campaign trail
  7. Catholic Charities of Chicago lawsuit shows reach of HHS mandate
  8. Catholic business owners score win against ObamaCare mandate
  9. Catholics Need To Heed The Prophetic Voice Of The Church!
  10. Concluding the Fortnight: Now What?
  11. Congressman introduces Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act
  12. Court strikes down NYC ban on churches meeting in schools
  13. Court’s Obamacare Ruling: What it Means for America
  14. Crucial Components of Religious Liberty
  15. Defining Religious Liberty Down
  16. Dems will include same-sex “marriage” plank in their platform at convention
  17. Federal court allows company to ignore birth-control mandate
  18. Five major ObamaCare taxes that will hit your wallet in 2013
  19. Gay marriage headed to DNC platform
  20. Government cannot take away true freedom, Archbishop Chaput teaches
  21. Hercules shows strength, halts Obama abortion pill mandate
  22. How Will the Church Respond to the Mandate?
  23. Keith Hennessey: A Strategy to Undo ObamaCare
  24. Key Quotes from Today’s Decision that Signal the Court’s Willingness to Strike Down the HHS Mandate
  25. Law in Service of Life
  26. More to come: Lawsuits over HHS mandate keep health reform law in court
  27. Obama Defends HHS Mandate: It’s “Not Fair” That Catholics Won’t Fund Birth Control
  28. Obamacare is Not Permanent Yet. Not Nearly.
  29. One HHS Mandate Case Dismissed, Don’t Read Too Much Into It
  30. Pelosi almost calls health law penalty a tax
  31. Post-Comfortable Christianity and the Election of 2012
  32. Religious Liberty and Its Contemporary Enemies
  33. Religious freedom: use it or lose it
  34. Religious liberty is ‘a foundational right,’ says Archbishop Chaput
  35. Rising Threats to American Religious Freedom
  36. Southern Baptists “Stand With the Bishops” Against the White House
  37. Supreme Court Keeps Health Care Law on Life Support
  38. Supreme Court Upholds Health-Care Law, Stage Set for First Amendment Showdown
  39. The Day After: A Declaration of War
  40. The Duty to Throw off Such Government
  41. The Fight for Freedom Begins July Fifth
  42. The HHS Mandate: What Now, In Light of the Supreme Court Ruling?
  43. The Obamacare Decision: A Mixed Bag
  44. The Roadmap to Obamacare Repeal
  45. The State Of Liberty
  46. The Two Social Justice Priorities
  47. To Fix Healthcare System, Put Consumers In Charge
  48. VICTORY: Private Company Wins Challenge to HHS Mandate
  49. What Will Independence Day in 2013 Look Like?
  50. Wheaton College (Protestant) joins Catholic institutions in lawsuit against HHS mandate
  51. Wheaton College Sues Over HHS Mandate
  52. Wheaton College backs, rabbi blasts Catholic bishops
Chick Fil A Appreciation

Obama’s war on religion (update #8)

Obama's War on Religion

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the constitutionality of ObamaCare. Speculation has been rampant for months on the government’s authority to force people to purchase services under the commerce clause.

To the surprise of almost everyone, the Supreme Court saw ObamaCare as a massive new TAX. As a TAX, it passes constitutional muster based on the government’s unlimited authority to TAX.

This piece continues my series on the very real war on religion. My last summary was 1 month ago. This is the latest update. To see the whole series, click here.

What the Supreme Court did not decide

It is imperative that we understand the narrow scope of the Supreme Court’s decision. Specifically:

  • This case did not consider, in any way, the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate to force almost everyone, including the Catholic Church and its members, to purchase abortion inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptive insurance coverage.
  • The Supreme Court did NOT rule that ObamaCare was in any way a “good idea,” merely that as a TAX it was not unconstitutional.

Where do we stand?

Nothing has changed. The numerous lawsuits brought by various Catholic dioceses and institutions remain full-steam-ahead. They are now more urgent than ever. We eagerly look forward to our day in court on this issue. ObamaCare enables the HHS mandate, which represents a major assault on freedom of religion. This is a completely different issue than what the Supreme Court decided yesterday.

Of course, we are disappointed. Had ObamaCare not been seen as a TAX (which admittedly, it actually is), it likely would have been overturned. That would have made the HHS mandate moot and our struggle to retain the religious freedom we have enjoyed for over 200 years intact.

Success in court is not the only way religious liberty can be restored. The other way is through legislative action. President Obama has been intransigent on this and with the Senate controlled by his party, legislative relief is impossible. Today’s decision therefore means that…

November 6th is now a REFERENDUM on ObamaCare

The decision to accept this controversial freedom crushing, pro-abortion healthcare law now goes to the voters. YOU decide. Cast your vote for president Obama and his party if you support this deeply flawed law. If you oppose the law and recognize that improving healthcare access does not have to be at the cost of religious liberty and innocent life, vote against President Obama and his enabling party. It really is that simple.

Fortnight for Freedom continues

Religious liberty has been a part of the American experience since before the United States even became an independent country. However, approaches to religious liberty have developed over time, as Catholics and people of other faiths have faced discrimination in various forms. Fortunately, there have been many heroes of religious liberty that span centuries.

Importantly, the First Amendment has protected the free exercise of religion since the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789. While the HHS mandate forcing coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs represents a significant threat to religious liberty, Catholics and others have endured religious crises throughout our country’s history.

Our bishops call to action continues through July 4th. Read the articles below to find out more about our country’s historic challenges, and view their educational resources page to find out more about current threats to religious liberty both at home and abroad.

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

What is at stake

The administration and their friends in the media try to spin this issue as either (1) the Church taking away everyone’s contraception or (2) a “war on women.” They know this to be false. In jeopardy is something much, much greater – with the unprecedented loss of religious freedom we would also irrevocably lose the very character of the country. This radical change sacrifices the birthright of future Americans.

Evangelical Eric Metaxas is the author of the new book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer how is remembered for his effort to overthrow Hitler. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is an economist and founder for the Ruth Institute which promotes families through the sanctity of marriage.

Protecting Religious Freedom

The Becket Fund released this new video on the good work they do:

Further Reading

Here is a sampling of some new articles written on this topic in the last few weeks:

  1. Activists gather to plot defense of “religious liberty”
  2. Archbishop Chaput speaks about religious liberty at Catholic Media Conference address
  3. Archbishop Gomez rejects ‘capitulation’ to HHS mandate
  4. Archbishop: Lawsuits Continue Against Health Care Law
  5. Archbishop Lori Opens Fortnight for Freedom at Baltimore Basilic
  6. Archbishop Lori kicks-off Fortnight for Freedom with call to action
  7. As Fortnight of Freedom begins, media responds
  8. At the Door of the Temple: Religious Freedom and the New Orthodoxy
  9. Becket Fund Submits Comments to HHS
  10. Bishops respond to Supreme Court ruling; renew plea to repair Affordable Care Act
  11. Bishops urge Congress to fix health law flaws after high court decision
  12. Catholic lawmaker seeks colleagues’ support for HHS mandate suits
  13. Churches Stand Together
  14. Colleen Carroll Campbell: How religion fosters freedom
  15. DC religious freedom event stresses role of liberty in America
  16. Early Religious Freedom in America
  17. Eric Rassbach Talks Religious Freedom at the Council of Europe
  18. Essential reading for the Fortnight for Freedom kick-off
  19. Faith leaders decry mandate’s creation of religious classes
  20. Faithful Catholic Colleges Urge HHS to Rescind “Direct Violation” of Religious Liberty
  21. ‘Fortnight’ about religious freedom, not politics, archbishop says
  22. Fortnight for Freedom: U.S. Catholics and Religious Liberty
  23. Fortnight for Freedom: Why Now?
  24. Fortnight for Freedom in a Country Parish
  25. Fortnight for Freedom in (your) photos
  26. Fox’s Chris Wallace Asks Cardinal About MRC’s Finding of a Near-Blackout of Evening News on Catholic Lawsuits
  27. Groups Vow to Continue Fighting for Religious Liberty as Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act
  28. Groups opposed to contraception mandate will push forward with lawsuits
  29. Gut Check for Freedom
  30. Health care decision: Religious reaction swift; Catholic groups: lawsuits will continue
  31. Hooked on Sex
  32. How Will the Supreme Court’s Decision Impact the HHS Mandate?
  33. If Only We Weren’t Catholic…
  34. In the Teeth of an Election Year
  35. Individual Mandate Survives – Religious Liberty Challenges Move Forward
  36. It’s Time to Remember What Men Have Forgotten
  37. Key Quotes from Today’s Decision that Signal the Court’s Willingness to Strike Down the HHS Mandate
  38. Launching the Fortnight for Freedom
  39. Leaked e-mail shows media campaign against US bishops
  40. Liberty for the Church
  41. Morr-Fitz v. Blagojevich (2005-Current)
  42. Mother Church and the Nanny State
  43. Obama is paying for betraying progressive Catholics
  44. Obamacare Is Not Permanent Yet. Not Nearly.
  45. Obamacare’s Legal Battles Continue in HHS Mandate Cases
  46. Obama’s grand miscalculation with Catholics
  47. Purpose and Liberty
  48. Rallies Call for Standing Up for Religious Freedom
  49. Refusing to Render Unto Caesar That Which is God’s
  50. Religious Freedom Under Siege: The Bishops Respond
  51. Religious Freedom: Use It or Lose It
  52. Religious Groups Still Oppose Health Law
  53. Religious Liberty: Our Birthright
  54. Religious freedom issues at heart of HHS lawsuits, legal scholars say
  55. Religious liberty group launches massive HHS mandate site
  56. Religious liberty threatened in America, Archbishop Gomez warns
  57. Social Justice Priorities: Life and Religious Liberty
  58. Southern Baptists “Stand With the Bishops” Against the White House
  59. Supreme Knight says HHS mandate has re-shaped country’s political landscape
  60. Supreme Knight urges Catholics to put faith first while voting
  61. The Catholic Church and the Global Crisis of Religious Liberty
  62. The Church Pushes Back
  63. The “Episcopal Partisanship” Red Herring
  64. The Fortnight, The Pill, and the False Dichotomy
  65. The HHS Mandate: A Question of Religious Freedom or the Life Issues?
  66. The HHS Mandate: This is About Contraception
  67. The Sons of Caesar, Still Pulling Peter Down
  68. US health care reform efforts through history
  69. Washington rally brings 2,000 together in support of religious freedom
  70. What SCOTUS’s Decision Means for the Pro-life Cause
  71. What’s Behind the HHS Mandate?

Fortnight for Freedom

Fortnight for Freedom

Yesterday began a 14 day period of prayer, reflection, study, catechesis and action to preserve our God-given (and constitutional) right to live freely as Catholics. Catholics and non-Catholics around the country are uniting in defense against the Obama administration’s unprecedented attack on a basic liberty guaranteed by the very first ammendment.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are the sponsors for this effort which runs through July 4th, Independence Day. Their website is the primary source for related information, which can be reached directly at

Obama's war on religion

I have also been covering events as they unfold. If you would like background, please see my continuing series entitled Obama’s war on religion. There you will find commentary, videos and extensive links.

Be sure to check you parish bulletin for local events.