Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dark Knight of the Soul

I know it's been a while since my last post. I thought this spring was busy, but it is nothing compared to this summer. My wife is recovering from shoulder surgery, which gives me a perfect opportunity to reflect on just how much I need her and how perfectly suited marriage is to the creation and rearing of children. In other words, I'm super busy.

Michal Voris is a nut, but his heart is in the right place, and although I often feel he goes too far, at least he's going in the right direction. In a recent video he publicly resigns from the Knights of Columbus over the refusal of the national council to either allow a local council to police its own membership nor do it themselves.

For readers unfamiliar with the Knights of Columbus, their overview booklet states:
In 1882, Father Michael J. McGivney invited a small group of parishioners to gather in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut. His goal was simple — to establish an Order that would unite men in their faith as well as help provide for Catholic families in times of need. It was in that humblest of beginnings that the Knights of Columbus was founded.
At issue is whether or not a pro-abortion politician can remain a member of the K of C. The local council said "no", the national said it was not up to the local council, but up to them, then did nothing about the situation for over a year, through inaction implicitly approving the status quo.

I know people on both sides of the issue, and I don't mean to belittle their opinions, but this is "What does Mike Think" and I've been thinking about this. In fact, sad to say I lost sleep thinking about this. While I disagree with Voris' decision to leave the K of C, and I think his accusations of malfeasance on the part of the national council is inappropriate, he has a point about the scandal caused by the council's approval of the situation.

The Constitution of the Knights of Columbus states:
Ipso Facto Forfeiture — Members
SEC. 168. Any member of this Order shall, ipso facto, forfeit his membership in the Order —
Failure to Remain a Practical Catholic
1. Who shall fail to remain a practical Catholic in union with the Holy See.

In addition, in their Resolution on Building a Culture of Life, the Knights state [emphasis mine]:
FURTHER RESOLVED, that we reaffirm our long-standing policy of not inviting to any Knights of Columbus event, persons, especially public officials or candidates for public office, who do not support the legal protection of unborn children, or who advocate for the legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia; and of prohibiting such persons from renting or otherwise using facilities over which we have control, or speaking at Knights of Columbus events, or bestowing on them honors or privileges of our Order of any kind, or inviting them to serve as honorary chairpersons of events, celebrations, or committees, or hold any office in the Knights of Columbus;
Which begs the issue of how one could remain a member yet be barred from any events.

The defenders of the national council say that "if the bishop fails to publicly excommunicate a person we must assume the bishop believes the person to be in union with the Holy See." Certainly the Knights should remain obedient to their bishop, but in this case the bishop has not stated whether or not the politician in question is in fact in union with the Holy See, but simply hasn't made a public statement one way or the other. As we saw in the case of Patrick Kennedy, a bishop may in fact decide a politician is not in union with the Church, but handle it privately for pastoral reasons.

So as I see it, the basis of the dispute is whether or not Catholics can in good conscience make a decision about the whether someone's behavior is in accord with the Holy See, or whether they need to appeal to a bishop in all cases. Rather than present my opinion on the matter, I will defer to Cardinal Arinze.


Very well said, my friend. I will continue to pray for all those involved in this situation with the Knights of Columbus, as well as for you and your family. God bless you, Mike!

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