At the Knights of Columbus 125th annual convention this week, the Order officially resolved to forbid pro-abortion politicians from attending their events. The Order also renewed its support for the traditional definition of marriage and called for the protection of conscience for people in the medical field.
During the final session of the Knights of Columbus convention at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on August 9, delegates passed the pro-life resolution, stating, "we reaffirm our long-standing policy of not inviting to any Knights of Columbus event, persons, especially public officials or candidates for public office, who do not support the legal protection of unborn children, or who advocate for the legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia."
In addition, they resolved to continue "prohibiting such persons from renting or otherwise using facilities over which we have control, or speaking at Knights of Columbus events, or bestowing on them honors or privileges of our Order of any kind, or inviting them to serve as honorary chairpersons of events, celebrations, or committees, or hold any office in the Knights of Columbus."
In the same resolution, the Knights stated their official opposition to political moves towards allowing any scientific or clinical methods that jeopardize human life. They stated, "we renew our deep commitment to oppose any governmental action or policy that promotes abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, assisted-suicide, and other offenses against life, and that we continue to speak out to our elected representatives about the need to enact legislation to oppose these practices and protect human life in all it stages."
With this in mind, the Knights also called for laws protecting medical professionals and Catholic hospitals from acting against their conscience. They resolved to work for "the adoption of laws that recognize and protect in law the right of conscience for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical personnel, guaranteeing that they may not be forced to provide medical services which violate their religious beliefs." They also resolved to "insist on similar protection for Catholic hospitals."
Inspired by Pope John Paul II's reminder (Evangelium Vitae) to grapple with the modern culture by means of proper moral formation, the Order committed to providing solid pro-life education within society. They stated, "We continue our efforts to inform, educate, and motivate, in a charitable manner, our elected officials, the public, and our own members about the importance of being consistently and unequivocally pro-life."
While condemning the evil of abortion, the Knights also compassionately supported its double victims — the unborn child and post-abortive mother. The Order resolved to "support programs that provide women facing crisis pregnancies with alternatives to abortion, including adoption," and to "support projects that provide spiritual support to those women suffering from the traumatic emotional and psychological after-effects of abortion."
Finally, they reaffirmed their commitment to "building a 'culture of life' by promoting policies that favor the family, and by recognizing that it is within strong and healthy families that moral values are taught and that the spiritual and cultural heritage of the nation is transmitted."
They concluded with a resolution to pray the rosary and do penance in reparation for the sins against life.
During the same convention, which marked the 125th anniversary of the Order which was founded in 1882, the Knights issued an official declaration in "Support for Natural Marriage," "Honoring Our Armed Forces," calling for "Decency in the Media and on the Internet," and a further commitment for the use of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Order awarded their highest honor, the Gaudium et Spes award, to keynote speaker Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State. During the conference, the Cardinal promised to support the canonization of the Knights of Columbus founder Father Michael McGivney, Catholic World News reports. He also challenged members of the order to remain faithful to the faith of Christ as laymen in a secular world and to courageously spread the Gospel.