Knights renew commitment to upholding faith in public life

By Michelle Bauman

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In a series of new resolutions, members of the Knights of Columbus committed themselves to promoting important principles of Catholic teaching through both prayer and public action.

“(W)e will never waver in our efforts to defend religious freedom as an inherent right of all Americans,” the Knights said in a resolution passed Aug. 9.

In addition, they said, “we will remain steadfast in our opposition to any future governmental action or policy” that attempts to coerce individuals to act in violation of their consciences.

Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. for their 130th Supreme Convention, the fraternal organization approved several resolutions, including one calling for the repeal of a federal mandate that requires religious employers to violate their beliefs by offering health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

The Knights stressed that this is a “decisive” moment in the nation’s history because “this mandate sets a dangerous precedent and represents one of the most serious intrusions on religious freedom in our lifetimes.”

They explained that freedom of religion is a foundational right, “based upon the inherent dignity of the human person” and encompassing “freedom of speech, assembly and conscience, which together form the basis of civil society and respect for the individual.”

Another resolution approved by the order supports marriage as a union that “reflects the natural biological complementarities between men and women” and “provides the most favorable environment in which to protect the rights and best interests of children.”

“(W)e will never waver in our efforts to promote the Church’s understanding of marriage as the faithful exclusive and lifelong union of one man and one woman joined in an intimate partnership of life and love,” the Knights vowed.

Furthermore, they promised to live out faithful citizenship, particularly in this election year.

They noted that the U.S. bishops have reminded Americans that “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ.”
 
“(W)e pledge ourselves to vigorous participation on behalf of the Church in our communities, acting in both the private and public spheres to bring the light of Christ’s salvation into human affairs,” they said.

Calling for civility to be maintained in public discourse, the Knights vowed to advocate for “the poor, the marginalized, and the voiceless” in the coming months before the election, working particularly to support the dignity of human life, marriage and the family, as well as “the right of all to practice their faith privately and publicly according to the dictates of their conscience.”
 
They voiced their intention to help educate voters about the obligations of faithful citizenship and to encourage responsible participation in the political process in a non-partisan way.

Recognizing Pope Benedict XVI’s declaration of a Year of Faith beginning in October, the Knights also committed themselves to “serve as true agents of the New Evangelization” throughout the next year.

The order pledged to provide “catechetical and spiritual formation” to its members so that they can act as lay Catholic leaders in their own communities.

In a separate resolution, the Knights reaffirmed their “commitment to building a ‘culture of life.’” They emphasized their adherence to Church teaching on issues ranging from abortion and embryonic stem cell research to the death penalty.

In addition, they called for laws that respect life and protect the consciences of health care workers. They committed themselves to fasting, doing penance and praying the rosary regularly “in reparation for the evils perpetrated against the gift of life.”

Other resolutions passed by the order voiced gratitude and support for those serving in the armed forces and honored Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Conn., a long-time member of the Knights and supporter of their founder’s cause for canonization.

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