At the Supreme Convention, in Minneapolis, this past August, it was announced that the theme for this year would be our Knights of Columbus principle of Unity. As part of this theme, the Supreme Knight has announced a program to encourage civility in political discourse, between communities in our society, and particularly important, amongst the brothers of the Order.
As we have elections occurring at this time, in both Canada and the United States, the desire for more civil political discourse is something which would be greatly appreciated throughout North America. The Knights of Columbus are asking every Catholic commentator and every candidate for political office, especially Catholic candidates, to sign a pledge of civility. It is hoped that this effort will help change the nature of government from that of name-calling and accusations to that of working for the good of the people.
This call for civility is also aimed at addressing an omission in the Knights of Columbus efforts to serve Catholics in many different cultures around the world. This omission is in relation to a large number of Catholic First Nation people who could benefit from participation in the Knights of Columbus as well as charitable aid that could help overcome a sense of hopelessness found in many First Nation communities. Despite the many hardships and struggles they have faced, they maintain their Catholic belief, and it is hoped that through the efforts of Knights of Columbus Councils, their faith can be strengthened and strained relationships within our society can be eased.
And perhaps most disturbing of all disunity is the recognition of the lack of civility in discussions amongst ourselves as brother Knights and even amongst Catholics in their discussions about theology. It is one thing to recognize that politicians or societal groups do not see eye to eye, but we must be very careful about the message we are sending about the Knights of Columbus and about the Catholic Church when people, from outside of our organizations, see us fighting amongst ourselves in a less than Christian manner. Honest debate is always encouraged but name-calling and verbal attacks are detrimental to all people involved. Our Supreme Knight has added that “we hope we’re going to be with each other in heaven. So we ought to try and treat each other a little better on earth.”