A member of the Knights of Columbus writes on the Washington Post’s website that the fraternal organization, led by a former Reagan staffer, is suffering from an image problem and misplaced priorities, a situation putting the future of the organization at risk. Anthony Stevens-Arroyo writes:
While the Knights in my current local council sustain my original expectations, the well compensated Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (over $1 million per year) is busy gathering national headlines for bankrolling political “stuff.” Doubtlessly, his record of service outweighs my undistinguished 15 years as a Knight, but has he chosen the right direction for the long-term good of our membership?
At issue are not my political opinions or those of Supreme Knight Anderson: the discontent rises from the use of money that could be better spent on the Knights of Columbus traditional role in alleviating poverty by direct material aid to those in need, like the victims of Hurricane Sandy, where our contribution to date is far less than what was made to 2012 same-sex marriage politics. Admittedly, the sum spent on political causes is dwarfed in the total K of C budget, but “image” counts, as Supreme Knight Anderson should know from his time in the Reagan White House’s public relations effort. Why has he allowed our national image to be politicized at the expense of our grass-roots charity?
He goes on:
Our charity bears no exceptions. For example, there is scarcely a Knight unaware of gays and lesbians who are good people: in fact, some are our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters. It is not our Catholic duty to punish them because they do not receive the Catholic Sacrament of Marriage; but it is our patriotic American duty to recognize their civil rights in “pursuit of happiness.” Such American Catholic Knights of Columbus’ principles are contradicted when the lay leader of our national organization funds a political campaign to deny those same persons equality before the law.
The Knights’ involvement in the marriage battles was one of my “16 Big Stories in 2012.”
When I was in college a few years ago, there was little difference between the campus chapter of the Knights and the college Republicans. I hear from friends still there that it’s much different today. There’s hope.
Michael J. O’Loughlin