Catholic politicians should embrace Church teaching or quit: Knights of Columbus leader

Catholic politicians should embrace Church teaching or quit: Knights of Columbus leader

Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The leader of the Knights of Columbus has said Catholic politicians should follow the Catholic Church’s teachings or resign from office.

In an op-ed for The Hill, KofC Supreme Knight Carl Anderson begins by citing the common argument by pro-abortion politicians that they may wall off their public and private morality into separate, hermetically sealed compartments:

This line of reasoning got its start from the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, in a speech at Notre Dame in 1984. He said: “As a Catholic I accept the church’s teaching authority…I accept the bishops’ position that abortion is to be avoided.”

Of course, that’s not the Catholic position, much less the unbroken, undeviating teaching of the Christian Church through two millennia. The Church Fathers have condemned abortion going back to the apostolic era. Within his own lifetime, the Second Vatican Council’s “Gaudium et Spes” stated that “abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes,” classifying them as “infamies,” “poison,” and “supreme dishonor to the Creator.” The bishops quoted this in a 1968 document.

Cuomo went on to say, “The values derived from religious belief will not – and should not – be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large, by consensus.”

That’s not exactly “the bishops’ position,” either. Ten years before Cuomo’s speech, a Vatican document on procured abortion said, “[O]ne can never claim freedom of opinion as a pretext for attacking the rights of others, most especially the right to life.”

Anderson critiques Cuomo, Tim Kaine, et. al., for agreeing to preside over a policy they believe is unjust and murderous:

First, these politicians concede that abortion “destroys” a human life. Then they say they don’t want to impose that view on others.

Just how does that logic work? On what other issue could a government official allow something to continue that they agree directly kills the innocent on a massive scale? … The irony is that these Catholic politicians claim that they agree that abortion is the morally repugnant killing of the innocent.

Their argument fails on its own grounds, Anderson writes, since multiple Marist polls show upwards of 81 percent of the American people favor stronger pro-life laws. The pro-life argument in favor of substantial regulation of abortion “is not only backed up by science, it is now the public’s consensus by a wide margin.”

“’Pro-choice’ politicians now impose on the country a view held by only a tiny minority,” Anderson writes. Yet the defenders of conscience seemingly lost their qualms about imposing their morality on the nation. As Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, perceptively observed, “The purpose of Mario Cuomoism was to calm the restless natives until the country was ready for Andrew Cuomoism.”

Anderson concludes:

It is time for new thinking by Catholics in public office. I would suggest two options.

First, they should embrace the American consensus on abortion restrictions and stop acting in opposition to their own conscience and the will of the American people.

Or they could take what I would call the John F. Kennedy option.

Campaigning for president in 1960, Kennedy said: “But if the time should ever come … when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.”

Let’s hope today’s public servants become that conscientious.

In the meantime, those politicians who nestle comfortably in the gray area between conscience and expedience should absent themselves from Holy Communion.

You can read Carl Anderson’s whole article here.

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3 comments on “Catholic politicians should embrace Church teaching or quit: Knights of Columbus leader

  1. [Sed contra (1)]


    The Knights of Columbus leader gets it half right.

    August 17, 2016


    Following up on yesterday’s “Vortex,” which reveals the disastrous state of affairs in the Church when it comes to a failure to preach on Catholic morality, we are putting out a call to every single influential Catholic to go straight to the bishops and say this nonsense has to stop.

    In a very clear statement, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said very plainly: “We need to end the political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates. It is time to end the entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing. It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians.”

    Amen, brother. We’re right with you. We’ve been saying that long before you were, as a matter of fact. Now, finish the thought.

    Who do you think is allowing this situation to exist, this situation you so correctly label as creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians Who do you think has created the climate whereby Catholic people can become entangled with abortion killing? The bishops of the United States, who have kept silence during all this abortion evil, will have a lot to answer for at their judgments. But so will you if you identify the problem and refuse to use your influence to press the truth.

    The U.S. Bishops Conference has time and time again looked the other way, softpedaled the truth, allowed the social-justice crazies in their own ranks to run roughshod over Catholic truth, cooperated with the architects of the Culture of Death, denied and twisted the truth about their so-called charitable arms CCHD and CRS helping fund pro-abortion groups directly and indirectly.

    Your quotes are admiable. They are correct. You are spot on in your analysis that there is a political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates. But how are they able to do this? In the ranks of your own organization, the Knights of Columbus local councils cannot throw out pro-abort politicians. It was two knights in your own organization responsible for same-sex marriage becoming legal in New York a number of years back, and you did nothing. And we all know that abortion supporters and same-sex marriage supporters are birds of feather.

    Use your voice to clean up the Knights’ pitiful national policy regarding all these evils. Use your voice to go to the bishops and ask: Why, according to the most recent Pew Research data, are 41 percent of Catholics hearing pro-immigration preaching from the pulpit, but only about a quarter hearing the truth about abortion?

    Use your voice to walk into various bishops’ offices around the country and tell them they have got to wake up to the disaster that they have created in the ranks of Catholics. Doesn’t it strike you as strange, Mr. Anderson, that Catholics are nearly divided equally over the question of abortion? Doesn’t it strike you as strange, Mr. Anderson, that more than any other religious body in the United States, Catholics are the most supportive of homosexual marriage? Where do you think they are getting all this from?

    Ultimately, it comes from the bishops, because the buck stops with whoever is in charge – and that’s the bishops. They are in charge of their priests who are preaching this garbage on Sundays. They are in charge of the entire climate, an atmosphere in the Church right now that is rank with the poison of cowardice and accommodation.

    According to the Pew numbers, of the priests who actually do speak specifically on which candidate to vote for, by a five to one margin they are telling their people to vote for Hillary, the Queen of Abortion. Barely a peep came from any bishops when the Queen announced her traitor to the Faith vice-presidential pick running mate Tim Kaine — who even to this day still presents himself publicly as a faithful Catholic on the campaign trail, in interviews and various speeches.

    How, Mr. Anderson, do you think this entire situation has not only developed but has been allowed to continue, right down to this very moment? It’s fine for you and others in the Catholic world to be upset and fist-pounding demanding the situation be fixed, but now the $64,000 question: Do you have the courage to call out the bishops for allowing this nightmare to have developed and continue?

    If you do not, all your talk is bluster. However spot on you may be in your accuracy about too much Catholic cooperation with the evil of abortion, if you don’t use your influence, which so few other Catholics actually have, then your words are drained of their power. All you will be is just another Catholic decrying “generic” evil without going straight to the source and calling it out.

    It is the bishops and clergy of the United States who have given up on the abortion struggle and acquiesced to the prevailing culture. The very men you associate with or have access to — Cdl. O’Malley, Cdl. Dolan, Cdl. Wuerl, Abp. Cupich and others. Call them out by name, or don’t waste your breath.

    They each subordinate intrinsic evil to non-intrinsic evil. Immigration is not as evil as abortion. Joblessness is not on a par with being ripped apart in your mother’s womb and having your parts sold by Planned Parenthood, like Abp. Cupich said. There is an entire class of Catholic leaders along with Mr. Anderson — some clerical, others lay — who know these men personally and have access to them, and do nothing to challenge them on their silence.

    Two years ago at Palm Sunday Mass, from the pulpit, Cdl. Dolan of New York announced to the congregation that Vice President Joe Biden was sitting there. Dolan gave the childkiller props and kudos. Carl, call him out on that. What a horrific example of Catholicism — both Biden and Dolan.

    Cardinal O’Malley sat in choir at the funeral of Ted Kennedy, a Catholic with more infant blood on his hands than almost any other politician. Why didn’t you call O’Malley out on that? Why do the powerful, influential Catholics never open their mouths about or to the specific men who are responsible for the situation? It isn’t enough to call out the evil — if you are going to ignore those responsible for the evil.

    Thank you for saying the truth, Carl. Now say the whole truth. Say it before there are even fewer Catholics than there already are.Remember, Carl, God has given you a voice and access to the halls of power because of the vast wealth that the Knights have. Your duty is to use that for the work of God, not bolstering the insurance side of the house.

  2. [Sed contra (2)]

    Are the Knights of Columbus worthy of traditional Catholic men?

    Louie Verrecchio August 18, 2016

    On August 17th, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, promulgated a Bull (or load thereof) in the form of an editorial published by The Hill.

    The editorial is an embarrassing display of both unbridled Americanism and sheer hypocrisy that not only renders a disservice to those individual Knights who embrace neither; it also makes it necessary for such men to reconsider whether or not continued membership in the Order is still warranted.


    In his editorial, Anderson takes to task those “Catholic politicians in America” who invoke the Mario Cuomo argument that civil authorities mustn’t “impose their religious beliefs” on the people – thus enabling one to play both sides of the fence on matters of intrinsic evil; e.g., claiming to be faithfully and “personally opposed” to such things as abortion on the one hand, while supporting the same legislatively on the other.

    “Such an argument by a Catholic politician was bogus then, and it is untenable now,” Anderson writes.

    So far so good, but after arguing that science itself confirms that abortion is the taking of a human life (i.e., it is an objective truth and not simply a “religious belief”), he then goes full bore Americanist by stating:

    There is a second more serious problem. The argument rests on the assumption that legally restricting abortion is the minority view. That simply is not true.

    Really? A politician’s opposition to the voice of the majority is a “more serious problem” than his assault on objective truth, aka the Divine Law?

    The gravely erroneous manner of thinking on display in Anderson has infected the minds of not only prominent Catholics in America, but those throughout the world.

    This is reflective in large measure of the Declaration on Religious Freedom of Vatican II; a document that effectively (even if not deliberately on the part of many of the Council Fathers) endorsed the separation of Church and State; thus demoting the voice of the Holy Catholic Church to just one constituency among many.

    As if Carl Anderson hadn’t exposed his stunning lack of sensus Catholicus quite enough just yet, he went on to state:

    The Catholic position – that abortion takes a human life, is morally wrong, and should be substantially restricted — is not only backed up by science, it is now the public’s consensus by a wide margin.

    I beg your pardon? Since when is the “Catholic position” that abortion should be “substantially restricted”?

    Anderson even goes on to say that Catholic politicians “should embrace the American consensus on abortion restrictions.”

    No, Catholic politicians should embrace immutable Catholic teaching as based upon Divine Law; the same that plainly identifies abortion as an intrinsic evil that is never justified.

    If what has been said thus far isn’t cause for concern enough for member Knights, Anderson went on to argue:

    … remove ‘abortion’ from the proposition and replace it with another evil, for example, racism and see how many of us would agree: ‘Of course, I am opposed to racism, but do not ask me to overturn apartheid.’

    I have another idea, how about we replace abortion with the intrinsic evil of homosexual activity and the matter of so-called “same-sex marriage.”


    In 2006, legislation that would have sent a marriage amendment to referendum in Massachusetts, thus potentially blocking the approval of same-sex marriage in that state, was defeated thanks to certain Catholic legislators who, while publicly touting their membership in the Knights of Columbus, voted against it.

    LifeSite News reached out to Patrick Korten, spokesman for the KofC, for comment as to the possibility that the membership in-good-standing of those legislators was in jeopardy as a result of their votes.

    Korten responded, “Unless and until the diocese or local parish or someone in the hierarchy decides they are no longer Catholic, that is not our determination to make.”

    Fast forward to 2011.

    The state legislature of New York passed its own same-sex marriage law, and the decisive votes were cast by Senators Joseph Addabbo and David Carlucci, both of whom leverage their standing in the Knights of Columbus as evidence of their Catholic bona fides.

    Unlike the circumstances surrounding the events in MA, it cannot be said that the hierarchy had yet to rule.

    In this case, Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn explicitly ordered the refusal of “any distinction or honors” for “any member of the legislature who voted to support this [same-sex marriage] legislation.”

    Clearly, if membership in the Knights of Columbus is a “distinction” and an “honor,” as the organization itself would surely insist, then one would reasonably conclude that Addabbo and Carlucci had invited certain expulsion.

    At the time, I was writing for Catholic News Agency and I wished to devote a column to the matter, and so I sent an email to Patrick Korten for comment.

    What happened next was very telling…

    Within moments, I received an email from Korten’s boss, Andrew Walther, V.P. of Communications and Media for the Knights, asking if the topic of my column was “assigned by CNA and Alejandro Bermudez,” CNA’s Director.

    It was not; I chose the topic myself, but before I could even respond to Walther’s question, I received an email from my editor at CNA informing me that Mr. Bermudez had made it plain to her that CNA has no interest in publishing a column on this matter.

    Unbeknownst to me at the time, my query to Patrick Korten had lit a fuse; one that would quickly explode into an impressive display of the power that the Knights of Columbus national office wields under the direction of their “Supreme” leader.

    Needless to say, the status of Senators Addabbo and Carlucci (both of whom are pro-abortion) as members-in-good-standing in the Knights wasn’t in jeopardy then, and it’s not in jeopardy now.

    The Knights of Columbus national office can produce marketing material containing pro-life / pro-family rhetoric all day long, but until such time as its leadership cleans house of those who march under the Order’s banner while promoting abortion and same-sex unions, that’s all it is – marketing material and rhetoric.

    So, member Knights, are you paying attention?

    Look, I know that any number of good, traditional, Catholic men are Knights of Columbus that often serve admirably as soldiers for Christ the King; for example, those men who recently traveled to Oklahoma City to defend Our Blessed Lady’s honor in the face of Satanic mockery.

    God love them!

    And yet, it must be said that the time has come for these good men to ponder whether continued association with the Knights is warranted given that the organization is led by a man whose own public witness to the Catholic faith is so deficient that he can’t even manage to present the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life accurately!

    And why is that, one wonders? Is it because Carl Anderson sincerely doesn’t know the “Church’s position” on abortion, or is it because his interests lie somewhere other than proclaiming authentic Catholic teaching?

    As “Supreme Knight,” Anderson has been afforded no small amount of wealth, international celebrity, and the status of ecclesial power broker. (NOTE: Anderson was instrumental in smearing the reputation of the former head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, and bringing about his ouster.) He has also been afforded a unique opportunity to defend the true Faith in the face of objective evil.

    As of this moment, it appears that he has fully embraced all but the latter.

    In the end, Carl Anderson’s editorial didn’t so much stain the reputation of the Order that he serves as “Supreme Knight” as it made known what the organization actually stands for in practice under his leadership – Americanism and hypocrisy.

    Surely some will say that the Knights are bigger than their “Supreme” leader, but let’s not kid one another: It’s glorious past aside, the Knights of Columbus has become King Carl’s Court; it’s certainly not the court of Christ the King.

    So, are the Knights of Columbus worthy of traditional Catholic men?

  3. It is quite simple. Although their thinking and reasoning on this issue are flawed and wrong, the position of Biden, Pelosi, and the Ted Kennedy and Cuomo types has been that since the Catholic teaching on abortion is a matter of faith, they cannot impose this on fellow Americans due to the principle of Separation of Church and State. Well, follow that reasoning. Since climate change is also now a matter of faith and church teaching under Pope Francis and Laudato si’ , the liberal progressive position on climate change and global warming should also not be imposed on others since it is a matter of faith and for liberals to assert this in politics would be “imposing” the religious views of Pope Francis on non-Catholic Americans. Likewise with every social justice issue of progressive economics and redistribution of wealth. Biden and Company claim this is also a teaching of their faith. So why do they see no problem with imposing these religious views?

    The problem with the Biden line of thinking is that the Catholic position on abortion is not an obscure theological mystery, an article of faith, or a belief. It is actually the liberal pro-abortion position that requires a non-rational leap of faith, ignoring evidence, reason, and common sense. And it is this belief of the Malthusian cult that the current totalitarian Alinskyite regime wants imposed on the Little Sisters of the Poor and every other American.

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