As a Knight of Columbus [that’s where my nom de plume comes from], I was particularly pleased to see the recent op-ed column by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson (whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet) in which he called for Catholic politicians either to stop supporting abortion “rights” or to resign their office. I could not agree with him more. As Pope Benedict XVI said in Sacramentum Caritatis, the question of Catholic politicans supporting abortion is “not negotiable.” So a pro-abortion Catholic politician can only be one of two things:
- Misinformed on the Catholic teaching on abortion, such that he thinks his pro-abortion stance is somehow consistent with his Catholicism and thus with his conscience, or
- So craven in his desire for political power that he is willing to violate his conscience to acquire it.
Option 1 is addressable by knowledgeable Catholics engaging the candidate. Option 2 can only be addressed by the candidate himself, and I would argue that any politician who can be shown to be in this category should be automatically disqualified from receiving your vote (or anyone’s for that matter). [Note that I am not calling for a “religious test” for the candidate, but rather that voters disqualify him by not supporting the candidate. There’s a huge difference.] Moreover, if a sincere effort has been taken to inform the candidate to address the first problem and the candidate persists in his support for abortion, then the only conclusion to be drawn is that he is now in the second category and undeserving of your support. As a Knight, I find particularly galling the attitude of pro-abortion politicians who not only make an issue of their Catholicism, but also publicize their membership in the Knights of Columbus to enhance their credentials.
Indeed, I was involved a few years ago in an effort to have the Knights adopt a policy whereby they would kick out any member who, as a politician, could be shown to support legislation or policy that contradicted Catholic teaching on abortion, marriage or the family. We made considerable progress, but ultimately the motion was defeated at the Knights’ convention. The reasoning was that it was not the Knights’ job to determine who was a Catholic in good standing, which is the only qualification for becoming a Knight of Columbus in the first place. They felt that that decision lay with the bishops. I can’t help but feel that a certain amount of political reticense (dare I say “cowardice”) also played a part in the decision because the Knights are – quite rightly – protective of their tax-exempt status as a world-wide philanthopic and insurance agency.
Unfortunately, while the Knights could enforce such a policy in a non-partisan manner (Lord knows there are many Catholic Republicans who support abortion), it is undeniable that it would have a disparate impact on Democrat politicians due to that party’s extreme pro-abortion platform. And given Democrats’ penchant for forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups and individuals to violate their consciences to support abortion, it is a safe bet that such a policy would put the Knights firmly in the Democrats’ cross-hairs to remove the tax exemption that enables the Knights to do so much good work throughout the world.
But if our Supreme Knight recognizes that pro-abortion Catholic politicians are in serious-enough error to call for their resignation, surely if they persist in their error, Mr. Anderson should call for their resignation from the Knights. Allowing them to continue as Knights brings scandal and undermines the Knights’ position as the pre-eminent private Catholic charitable institution in the world. While I applaud his call that Catholics must not vote for such politicians (including Tim Kaine), I challenge him to extend this policy to its logical conclusion.
A note to readers: It’s getting down to “crunch time” for Da Magnificent Prospects, so I’d really appreciate it if you could share this article and my others with your social media friends. My other articles are:
Hamilton and Marriage
Trump, the Church and Immigration
The “Final Five” Show Us How It’s Done
The Left is Wrong About Rights
Ends, Means and Democrats
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