(Catholic World News) The leadership of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) has forbidden local councils to take any action against members of the Catholic fraternal organization who support legalized abortion or same-sex marriage. A Massachusetts K of C member had proposed a resolution, to be taken up by the group’s state convention, calling for the suspension of membership of any politician who gave public support to abortion and same-sex marriage. That resolution was declared inappropriate by the Supreme Advocate of the K of C, John Marrella.In a letter to the Massachusetts K of C leadership, Marrella declared that “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.”“We recognize that some of our members who are public figures may use their public position to advocate or support policy positions that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals,” Marrella conceded in his letter. He went on to admit that such public advocacy “contradicts the Catholic identity and mission of the Order.”Nevertheless, the top legal official of the K of C said that any action taken against K of C members who are public figures would “necessarily affect the entire Order.” For that reason, he said, any disciplinary action should be taken by the group’s top leadership.Marrella went on to say that the K of C would not go further than the American bishops in taking public action against members whose public stands conflict with Church moral teachings. “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,” he wrote.
Now I realize my post title is over the top, but this is certainly a decision Moloch would be down with.
Too bad, I expect better from the K of C. Actually it affects more than the entire order, but all of those scandalized by this action, or inaction to be exact. The example that it would be inappropriate to take action on someone only if they are excommunicated by their bishop is to basically say they will do nothing. What aspect of Catholic Moral Theology says a private group can only expel a member if they are excommunicated? The K of C has their own laws which they are quite able to enforce and certainly would not have to be parallel actions with their bishop. They don’t require the local bishop to give permission for a new member to enter or for that matter for a member to be expelled or suspended. So by this they are basically saying that if a member stopped paying their dues they could get suspended or expelled (which I am confident would happend), but if they support the murder of the unborn then no action will be taken.
For example by their own rules.
Certainly a member who supports abortion or other intrinsic evils is not in union with the Holy See and are not a practical Catholic – but a practical heretic. They could certainly give such a member a trial or a hearing to discern the truth as to what that member supports before suspending or expelling them. It seems to me though that a Catholic politician who has voted for intrinsic evils has a record as evidence that they are not in union with the Holy See. I would think that every effort should be made to persuade such a member, but if they remain defiant to the Magisterial teaching of the Church they are not a fitting member of the K of C and would give scandal if they are allowed to remain a member. It is a spiritual work of mercy to rebuke a sinner and it is a sin of omission to do nothing.
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who from all that I know is a very good man, must take action on this and not let it stand.