Thursday, August 6, 2009


Arizona State Council

Knights of Columbus

PHOENIX - During the first days of the 127th Annual Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, held in Phoenix this week, keynote speakers touched on important topics for Knights and all Catholics. The Supreme Convention, held at the J. W. Mariott Resort in Phoenix from August 6-8 included a homily on Wednesday by Cardinal William Levada. A special guest at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention, Cardinal Levada is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. Formerly Archbishop of San Francisco, he was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to replace himself as Prefect of the congregation in 2005.

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, addressed his comments to over 800 Knights and family members during his annual report. The Knights of Columbus is the largest charitable family fraternal service organization. It has a membership of over 1.7 million members worldwide.

As part of the States Dinner, Cardinal Francis E. George spoke to capacity crowd Tuesday night. Cardinal George of Chicago is President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Approximately 2,200 people attended the states dinner.

Holding Firm to Beliefs Make Catholics a Target in a Secular Society

In societies that are becoming more secular and technological, Knights of Columbus, along with all Catholics, must bear witness to the fact that only God's word can give "life-giving refreshment" to satisfy the human heart, said Cardinal William Levada in a homily on Wednesday.

Bearing witness to spiritual realities and unpopular truths can make Catholics a target within the culture. "That is the cost of discipleship," Cardinal Levada said. "As Catholics, especially in America, we can and should work with all people of good will, regardless of their religious beliefs, to improve the lot of others." But this cooperation must not mute the voice of Catholics who proclaim that only God satisfied the human heart, he concluded.

Knights Will Not Support Health Care Reform With Abortion

"A health care system designed to save lives on the one hand must not become a vehicle for taking lives through abortion and euthanasia," Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson said in his annual report on Tuesday. Referring to health care legislation now being considered in the U.S. Congress, he declared that "Health care reform must be abortion-free."

Anderson cited the results of a Knights of Columbus/Marist College Poll showing that "If people were allowed to choose; 86% of the American people would choose to significantly restrict abortion." Other recent polls, including the Gallup Poll, have confirmed a shift in public opinion. Gallup showed a majority of Americans describing themselves as pro-life for the first time since they began asking the question in 1995. "In our search for common ground," Anderson said, "Let us begin there."

Papal Encyclical Combines Core Social Doctrine in Unified Teaching

Amid the fun during the States Dinner Tuesday night, some serious and inspiring words were offered by the speakers. In his keynote address, Cardinal Francis E. George spoke about the recent social encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI (Charity in Truth), and the obligations of all Catholics to practice charity in their own personal relationships and in the public sphere. The pope warns against splitting the Church's teaching into social questions and moral obligations, Cardinal George said.

"A main theme of the encyclical is that there is one Catholic teaching which combines the Church's moral and social doctrine together with our protection of human life and dignity, the defense of marriage and the family, the protection of the poor, the pursuit of economic justice, and the practice of solidarity," the cardinal said.

Observing that the "Church's unity today is severely strained," he thanked the Knights for their unwavering support of the Holy Father, the bishops and the clergy, and asked them to continue to pray for the members of the hierarchy in their efforts, with layperson, to build a culture of life and a civilization of love.

For further information contact John Garcia, State Public Relations Director for the Arizona State Council. He can be reached at telephone (602) 525-4424. You can also contact the Director of Media Relations, Andrew Walther, at telephone (203) 824-5412. For more information on the Knights visit Local information on activities of the Arizona State Council can be found on their website:

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