May 25, 2019

Stand With the Knights of Columbus

I didn’t know who Brian Buescher was before this week. I still don’t know too much about him other than he is a member of the Knights of Columbus and for that, two Senators (Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii ) are against his nomination to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. Now I pray for Brian Buescher. I pray that he will proclaim his faith, his membership in the Knights of Columbus and his legal qualifications boldly.

I am a proud 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. I am a past Grand Knight and a past Financial secretary. As a financial secretary, I led my council in pushing back on some of their membership practices. We wanted to take inactive members off of our roll. The State and National organization makes this quite difficult. As a Grand Knight, I pushed against councils worrying about organizational quotas in light of serving the parish as a priority. These were “family disagreements.” I am forever proud of my council leading the charge to raise an estimated $60K in cash and goods for a parish in Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Never have I or would I disavow the work of the Knights of Columbus. My councils have all been active in raising money for the poor, defending life and yes, defining marriage as being solely between a man and a woman. In the past decade, the Knights of Columbus has donated more than $1 billion and nearly 600 million hours to charitable causes.

The Knights of Columbus uphold the tenets of the Catholic faith.

For this evil work in proclaiming the Catholic faith and significant works of charity, these Democratic senators expect him to end his membership in the Knights of Columbus so he would hear cases “fairly and impartially.” They label the tenets of the Catholic faith, which the Knights of Columbus supports, as “extreme positions” – such as contributing to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage. It seems that participating in the democratic process is only acceptable if you hold the views of Senators Harris and Hirono. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 33 other members of the Senate are professed to be Catholic. It is my great hope that Senators Harris and Hirono demand their resignations since, by their standards, these senators can no longer serve “fairly and impartially.” Perhaps with such public debate we can end this masquerade of anti-Catholic bias hiding in the national political agenda.

I want to hear these politicians publicly denounce a charity that, unlike the United Way, does not take out overhead in its fundraising activities. I want to hear from them if serving the Catholic Church disqualifies them from public service. Let’s all take a stand on whether $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of service provided worldwide is too radical for government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Let’s hear of the evil in the organizations supported by the Knights of Columbus, such as the Christian Refugee Relief, Disaster Relief, Ultrasound Initiative, and Coats for Kids Funds. Let’s not also forget the Knights of Columbus’ partnering with Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission and Habitat for Humanity.

Senator Harris wants to know if Buescher was aware that the group was “anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage” when he joined. I want to know if the self-proclaimed “Catholic” senators know if our faith calls for this as well. Senator Harris calls the Knights of Columbus an “all-male society.” So is my daughter’s sorority. Will those be illegal going forward and membership in these organizations discount future judges as well? Does Senator Harris know that the  K of C was formed with the evil intent of helping widows and orphans? Do they know that charitable acts are not solely the work of government? In the Georgetown report “Economic and Societal Impacts of Fraternal Benefit Societies” by P.L. Swagel it was noted that not-for-profit mutual aid organizations yield some $3.4 billion in annual returns to the country. Sorry Senators, it is not only politicians on the left who care.

In this new era of politics, if defending life or defining marriage as being solely between a man and a woman are, as Harris and Hirono believe, extreme positions then we need to stand up and re-educate our electorate on the faith of Jesus Christ. For too long Catholics have sat idly by and let others proclaim ½ truths regarding our faith. U.S. Catholics have become complacent. We have not taken the time to reflect on an informed conscious’ stand on these issues. (Key word here is “informed.”) News channels and social institutions do not teach the authentic faith yet, we allow them to sway us and, our Generation Z and Millennial children. We fail to see that it is the Church that is defending dignity, not our government. It is faith in Jesus Christ that brings true freedom. That is where the Knights of Columbus stand and, I proudly stand with them. Will you?

Sister Lucia dos Santos, who was one of the three children who witnessed the Marian apparitions at Fatima, predicted before her death the final battle between Christ and Satan would be over marriage and the family. It is not too hard to see that in our society today, this battle has begun. Will we stand up and take notice of the evils that are pervading our society preached by the false prophets of fairness and “anything goes”? If we don’t stand with the Church and its teachings, we stand against it. In our complacency we stand against the teachings of Jesus Christ. Does complacency warrant damnation? This is not an “extreme position.” This is biblical. Let us remind those around us that it is Harris and Hirono who are extreme.

Brian Buescher does not need to be a martyr for the faith. He simply needs to be judged on his merit to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. If being Catholic disqualifies him for this, we had all better stand and take notice.

Vivat Jesus.

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Written by
Deacon Gregory Webster

REVEREND DR. GREGORY WEBSTER is a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate by Francis Cardinal George in May 2014 and is assigned to St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Old Mill Creek, Illinois. Deacon Greg holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Northern Illinois University, M.A. in Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary and an M.A. in Bioethics and Health Policy from Loyola University of Chicago. Deacon Greg and his wife have been married more than twenty-five years and are blessed with three beautiful daughters and two pretty cool terriers.

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Written by Deacon Gregory Webster