Knights Fund Not Only Charity, but Politics of Division
Sotelo, Nicole, National Catholic Reporter
This month, the Knights of Columbus celebrate the 130th anniversary of their incorporation as a benefit society. Founded by a young priest and parishioners, the Knights united to serve their community with a special focus on supporting widows, orphans and those in need.
Since then, the order has grown to 1.8 million Catholic men worldwide, rightly proud of their reputation for parish involvement, volunteer service and charitable contributions. In recent years, however, top officials at the Knights of Columbus have been funneling the organization's "charitable contributions" not only to charity, but to politics of division.
In 2008 and 2009, the Supreme Knight's charitable report shows the organization gave more to "family life" projects than they did to "community projects." On the surface this sounds benign, but "family life" is the Knights' terminology for predominantly antigay initiatives, whereas "community projects" represents soup kitchens and food pantries.
Among the "community projects," the Knights contributed $5,000 to disaster relief in Indiana and $3,000 to the community soup kitchen in New Haven, Conn., where the organization is headquartered, according to the 2010 Annual Report of the Supreme Knight. This deserves applause, until you learn that under the same category of "community projects," they financed a $530,000 contribution to the Becket Fund, an organization of politically controversial lawyers. Do these lawyers really need the Knights' charity?
Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, Knights officials contributed $200,000 as noted in annual reports to Vox Clara, the bishops' committee responsible for turning back the clock on the liturgy and implementing the recent controversial language changes in the Mass. They have been a significant hinder of the committee since 2006, according to articles written about Vox Clara by Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes, the late archbishop of New Orleans.
Over the same time period, the Knights donated almost $1.2 million to fund the bishops' newly created committee that works against equal protection for gays and lesbians and dubbed it "charity" in their annual report. …