Pope Sends a Greeting to Knights of Columbus

Group Reaffirms Stance on Catholics in Politics

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DALLAS, Texas, AUG. 18, 2004 (Zenit.org).- In greetings to the annual meeting of the Knights of Columbus, John Paul II called upon its members to spread Christ’s message «to every sector of social, cultural and political life.»

The Pope urged the 1.6 million members of the world’s largest Catholic lay organization to work within American society «for the promotion of social justice, the protection of human life and all forms of loving service to those in need.»

More than 2,000 Knights and family members from throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Philippines met in Dallas from Aug. 3-5. The theme of this year’s meeting was «Now is the Hour of the Lay Faithful.»

The lay faithful, the Holy Father said in his message, «by their lived witness to the Gospel in daily life, are largely responsible for the future of the Church.» He called upon all Catholics to let Church teaching guide and shape their actions.

Catholics, he said, must make a «concerted effort to overcome every separation between the faith they profess and the lives they lead.»

«Promote the truths and values embodied in the Church’s teaching,» John Paul II stressed.

The Pontiff also cited the «prophetic vision» of Father Michael McGivney, who founded the Knights in Connecticut, in 1881. Since its founding, the Knights has grown into a $52 billion fraternal life insurance company whose members annually raise more than $130 million for charity and volunteer 61 million hours of service for the Church and their communities.

In 2003, the Knights gave the Holy Father with a $2.5 million gift for his personal charities and sponsored a historic concert at the Vatican for reconciliation among Christians, Jews and Muslims.

This «impressive array of fraternal, charitable and educational services contribute to the renewal of the Church and the world,» John Paul II said. He also thanked the Knights for its promotion of vocations to the priesthood.

At its annual convention, the Knights of Columbus reaffirmed its position that «Catholic public officials who support abortion on demand are cooperating in evil.»

The Knights also reaffirmed long-standing policy of not inviting to Knights of Columbus events those public officials or candidates for public office who support abortion, euthanasia, or assisted suicide, and denying such officials and candidates any of the order’s honors or use of its facilities.

In other resolutions, the Knights confirmed their support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, noting that «a constitutional amendment is the only sure way to prevent courts from ‘discovering’ a right to same-sex marriage where before there was none.»

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