More on the failure of the Knights of Columbus
The handwriting has been on the wall for years
The handwriting has been on the wall for years
Three and a half years ago, during the days immediately following the death of Pope John Paul II, I could no longer deny that something was wrong. At my Parish, the priest (who enjoyed the privileges of the Indult back in the days before Summorum Pontificum) was offering a traditional Latin Requiem followed by public recitation of the Rosary every evening between the day of the pope's death and his funeral. In spite of the fact that the whole Church was supposed to be in a state of public mourning, on Wednesday evening of that week, we were scheduled to have our regular, monthly Knight's of Columbus Council "business" meeting. The problem of which I became aware that night struck me in the heart like a fake sword when I emerged from the church after the Rosary and saw that in the Parish Hall across the street, all the lights were on, the parking lot was full of cars, and the K of C meeting seemed to be already in progress! This meant that not only was there no prayerful show of mourning from my council by postponing their usually fruitless meeting, but they had not even bothered to assist at Mass or the Rosary for the repose of the soul of their pope! It was at that moment that I knew something was wrong. Something was very, VERY wrong with the modern-day "Knights" of Columbus.
During recent years, time and time again, the K of C have shown themselves to be completely out of touch with their own origins, mandate, and especially with their professed Catholic Faith. Individual Councils often become a stumbling block rather than an assisting arm of priests who want to help them be true KNIGHTS. One wonders whether or not the best course of action (at the level of the parish) would be to cut losses, have the council disbanded or let the pastor relegate the council to wasting time, electricity (and oxygen?) on some other property rather than that of the parish, and attempt to form something wholely new which would actually help many of the truly fervent men to find something to sustain them in their roles as the spiritual head of their households as holier husbands, fathers, and actual "Catholic Gentlemen."
No doubt, there are some councils who have tried and are still trying (with the leadership of the pastor and the occasional exemplary Grand Knight) to form themselves into a band of knightly brothers who fight for the True Faith without fear or shame. God knows this is the time for such men! Yet, there exists ad nauseam distractions and pressure from above to drain a council's energy and resources (human and otherwise) forcing them to participate in ineffectual programs and events (e.g., "free-throw" competitions for the youth... give me a break!)
I know a priest who has put more effort than anyone knows into transforming his parish's K of C council into something Fr. McGivney would recognize with the help of many of the proven men in the Parish who have become knights simply because Father asked them to do so. What happened as a result? Many of the older, do-nothing, slack-jawed Roman Protestants in plumes got pouty and stomped off in a huff to a neighboring Parish's council where they could band together unfettered in their hatred of their rightful pastor and lick their wounds collectively. So be it. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Cut the dead wood. Cull the herd.
And would you like to guess what the sole point of discontent was? No - not that Father had replaced the old "Dons" with young bucks who actually wanted to live good Catholic lives. No - not the Father lacked interest or wasn't supportive of their little council. Over a period of years, the passive aggressive nature of many of my so-called brother "knights" became apparent as their collective, underhanded fury grew more and more toxic because the despicable, tyrannical pastor actually had the nerve to require these "knights" (those who were able to do so), to attend the daily Mass offered in the Church prior to the meeting. Oh - and the worst part of Father's grave offense to these Catholic "gentlemen" was that the Mass he offered before their council meetings was the Traditional Latin Mass.
How dare he? Who did he think he was?
At one meeting, the district deputy actually challenged publicly, the parish priest and council chaplain in having such an over-the-top expectation of the "Knights" that they should assist at Mass on a day other than Sunday which, after all, is their only obligation. The district deputy, who was removed shortly thereafter due to Father's complaint to the state deputy, actually raised his voice...to a priest...in a K of C meeting. Unbelievable.
Yes, worthy sirs, something is very, VERY wrong - and the air in Denmark has been smelling foul for a long time. The 4th degree honor guards have even been forbidden by the "Supreme" council to present their salute at the Consecration during Mass - even if the priest requests that they do this.
After reading about the K of C for Obama, I wonder if priests, and men of a parish who are so inclined, should retire the gavels, put away the medals, and turn out the lights on the failed Knights of Columbus; a once thriving organization whose time has clearly passed.
Plus, I could probably come up with something much more effective and knightly than fake feathers, tuxes, and capes. Chain maille, steel visors, and Crusader tunics over sackcloth comes to mind.