Knights of Columbus

Sometimes, those seeking to encourage hatred and dissent try to ferment trouble between groups whom they think are, or should be, 'natural enemies'. This tactic can garner interest but in the end, it is always revealed as a hate tactic. Such have been the attempts at pitting the honorable Catholic religious fraternity, the Knights of Columbus, against Freemasonry.

KofC.GIF (3642 bytes)The Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic Family Fraternal Service Organization. Founded in 1882, there are now nearly 11,000 councils and nearly 1.6 million members plus their families - approximately 4.5 million people total - many of whom are actively involved in volunteer service programs for the Catholic Church, their communities, their families, young people, and one another. 

Source: Knights of Columbus Internet Site

Differing from Freemasons, the Knights of Columbus have a singular head of the entire organization, they allow only those of a the Catholic faith into their membership, they provide an insurance benefit to their members, and they take strong positions on political and social matters currently including 'right to life' issues. There are several basic philosophical and organizational  differences in the two organizations.

A bogus Knights of Columbus oath was circulated in the early 1900s as an anti-Catholic tactic designed to inflame Protestants and others. Although branded by a US Congressional Committee in 1913 as a fake used by American bigots, the bogus oath was used against Democratic candidate Alfred E. Smith in the 1928 presidential campaign and again against John F. Kennedy in 1960 in the West Virginia Democratic primary.

This oath resurfaces from time to time to be used by - strangely enough - individuals whose hatred for the Catholic Church seems exceeded only by their hatred for Freemasonry. The fake oath reads:

"I do promise and declare that I will, when opportunity presents, make and wage relentless war, secretly and openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Masons, as I am directed to do, to extirpate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, sex, nor condition, and that I will hang, burn, waste, boil, flay, strangle, and bury alive those infamous heretics; rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women, and crush their infants' heads against the walls in order to annihilate their execrable race...."

The Knights of Columbus organization has a proud history. There are a number of Masons who are also involved members of the KofC and it is not unusual for KofC Councils and Masonic Lodges to share an annual 'Fellowship Breakfast' or other activities in the interests of fraternalism.

Source: They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes and Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions
by Paul F. Boller, Jr. and John George, Oxford University Press, 1989.

In 2002, we became aware of a website belonging to a Knights of Columbus chapter in California. Their Webmaster went to some length to disparage Freemasonry using the old chestnuts including the Papal Encyclicals from 1738. It's too bad that there are bigots everywhere and that one person can so poison the well. Fortunately, such hatred does NOT appear on the national organization's website and there are many instances of Knights of Columbus members and Masons working together for the betterment of all mankind. In 2004, we noted that the intolerance and bigotry of Council #1271 of San Luis Obispo at their site formerly titled was not only gone but the site's name was up for sale as well. Good riddance to that kind of pedantic hatred!

You might also wish to see our comments on a page about Catholics' objections to Freemasonry.

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