As the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, the Knights of Columbus have a strong presence on college campuses across the country. Georgetown is no exception.
The Georgetown Knights of Council 6375 have been responsible for planning and hosting various events, including this past weekend’s Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life, since the chapter’s founding in 1972.
But while the KoC portrays itself as a fraternity for the betterment of Catholic men and as a service group for the Catholic community, questions exist concerning whether it is actually serving the interests of its members.
A significant portion of donations from the KoC goes toward overtly altruistic organizations, like Habitat for Humanity. Millions of these ostensibly charitable funds, however, have also gone toward what can only be termed a “socially conservative ideological agenda.” They have financed organizations that actively oppose abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research and — perhaps most notably — LGBTQ rights.
The annual resolutions of the KoC continually define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others,” which is entirely within their rights as a private fraternal service organization.
Polling, however, consistently reveals that the majority of Catholics in the United States support marriage equality. So why is the largest organization that claims to represent Catholic interests in the United States spending millions of dollars in the fight against that same equality?
By nature of their presence within the Catholic community, and their receipt of charitable contributions from people all across the country, the KoC has a moral obligation to inform contributors where its money is going, or at least to not spend it in direct opposition to their supporters’ beliefs and interests.
Obviously the Georgetown Council of Knights cannot be held responsible for the choices of the leadership of the national organization but ought to at least be clear and upfront with its contributors about how its charitable donations are being used or risk unnecessary moral conflict.