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I subscribed to RealCatholicTV months ago and every time one of Voris little videos for The Vortex appears in my inbox I cringe. I leave the email there, unread for days until I get up the nerve to open it. Many of these emails simply never get read, especially “Truth and Evil” and “The War on Marriage” but in the case of “The Knights, Redux” I can never really turn down an opportunity to find out what’s going on in the largest Catholic men’s organization.
I’ve said it before, but Michael Voris needs to reflect upon the idea that as Catholics we are united by the Sacraments, we have to build the Church together in as much harmony as we can muster. Now I admit I do not keep my ear to the ground for all the goings on in the Catholic Church the way I do with Mormonism, however sometimes the topics Voris decides to discuss seem like he’s the only one talking about them.
This weeks Vortex installment explained some recent developments from a past story. A local counsel of the Knights of Columbus kicked a pro-choice politician out of their organization for his “pro-death” stances. The national organization informed the local chapter that they had no authority to withhold membership from a fellow Catholic man.
I feel it’s necessary to point out, amid Voris claims that this was a grievous and pretty darn close to sinful mistake on the part of the national KofC, that the organizations founding principles are Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. Founded in 1882 by a young parish priest Venerable Michael McGivney, the Knights of Columbus are the “strong right arm of the church.” They seek to better the church and their communities through acts of service and providing support to one another. As a Catholic organization they sure do contribute time and energy to Pro-life organizations, however, Pro-life activity is but one aspect of what the Knights take on for themselves.
And furthermore there is more than one way to be a pro-life. You can be pro-life and pro-choice, trust me I do it all the time. Without knowing the politician this situation is swirling around I’ll guess that he believes deeply in the sanctity of life and desires for a time when there is not a need for abortion but also believes in the sanctity of free will and does not believe we should hinder anyones ability to examine their own conscience and make a choice. Perhaps this nameless politician gives his time and talents to better funding for pre-natal and childhood healthcare and supporting women who choose to carry their children to term.
After this situation happened the local parish, as well as Voris, wrote to the KofC which only resulted in the national branch instituting bylaws to make it even more difficult to take take away a person’s membership. Of course Voris is disgusted, enraged and after determining that the organization is headed in the wrong direction he withdrew his membership. Voris is now claiming that the Knights are “nothing more than a business,” which isn’t entirely unfounded. The Knights do own a life insurance company and encourages members to join, as one of the Knights main endeavors is taking care of the orphaned, widowed and poor. According to the KofC website they have a 1.7 million worldwide membership, the largest Catholic lay organization, has donated $151 millions to charitable organizations (some Catholic, some not) and has volunteered over 69 million hours of community service. I have seen my own father work countless raffle booths, cook meal upon meal for families with recently deceased mothers or fathers, donate his time and talents and I even worked at the parish Bingo (they split the proceeds with the parish and charitable organizations) in middle school and high school, even benefiting from being awarded a scholarship. The Knights do so much good.
Although Voris admits that most local councils are faithful to the Church he believes the national organization has no desire “to be faithful.”
Mr. Voris, what’s so unfaithful about keeping a Brother Knight in the fold? Why should we kick our brothers out of a volunteer organization? Why do you consider the Knights a “Catholic” organization? Why not broaden our understanding of brotherhood, fidelity and Catholic?
Mr. Voris, you and the other Brother Knights who decided to end your membership with the KofC are only missing out on opportunities for fraternity. Sure, there are other means of doing good within and outside the church but there’s nothing like putting your shoulder to the wheel, to use a Mormon phrase, with fellow Catholics.
For all you Catholic men out there take a look and join this wonderful organization…
Yesterday the Vatican released a JPII app for the upcoming World Youth Day. Created by Blessed John Paul II in 1986 every two years the youth of the world, regardless of their denomination, are invited for a week long celebration of young people’s role in Catholicism and to the world. There are Masses (even a few given by the Pope), testimony bearing, Bishop catechesis, concerts and cultural events all to give young people a vision of their place in Catholicism. It’s a full blown pilgrimage for the youth. My own brother trekked via a cramped bus to Toronto in 2002 with other young people from our parish (with chaperones of course).
The new app features prayers penned by JPII, videos and a whole slew of interactive itineraries, directions to eateries in the area, and even a GPS tracker so you don’t lose track of your fellow pilgrims.
Now, I do love me some Blessed John Paul II but sometimes when the Vatican rolls out yet another iPhone app I cringe.
This new app is useful and dare I say it necessary however I do get weary over how the Vatican is trying to “earn our young people.” I just read in the Huffington Post that Pope Benedict’s forthcoming trip to his homeland, Germany, is causing some tension. Think England in 2010. Like other faith traditions we’re going through a rough patch. We’re practically hemoraging young people and a good chuck of the laity is complacent/ unknowledgeable about our doctrines and theology. In short we’re a mess. You have progressives like me, folks like Michael Voris and liberals like women’s ordination advocates in a ridiculous tug of war over the future of our tradition. One commentator noted that the first step in alleviating some of our problems is to admit we have a problem.
The HuffPo reports:
The best thing Benedict could do, says Simon Rapp, federal chaplain of the Association of German Catholic Youth, is just speak clearly about the issues facing the church: the loss of membership; the ongoing abuse scandals; and the divisions between Catholic factions seeking liberalization and those that oppose change.
“He could just clearly say that he understands that we’re in a crisis,” said Rapp.
Christian Herwartz, who helps run the website Nacktesohlen (naked souls) agrees. “It has to be possible to air griefs.”
Maybe the best way to earn our youth is not with apps, tweeting or a grand pilgrimage to Madrid but taking the time to listen to our young people.