Knights aim to practice faith, charity

Charles “Chuck” Page, state deputy

During his tenure as state deputy for the Colorado Knights of Columbus, Charles “Chuck” Page will continue to encourage the membership, as well as the extended Catholic community, to “be not afraid.” The main theme we’re using right now is ‘Be not afraid, become one in the spirit,'” Page, a member of St. Patrick Council 9993 in Colorado Springs told the Denver Catholic Register. “We shouldn’t be afraid to practice our faith; and when you look at faith, it’s all about charity.”

Charity is the main principle for the Knights of Columbus, he said, along with unity, fraternity and patriotism. Page, who began his two-year tenure as state deputy last July, hopes to build on the charitable history of the men’s organization.

“We gain our knowledge through the Holy Spirit,” he said. “You learn to use that knowledge in the community and be visible.”

More than 17,000-plus Knights in 146 councils in Colorado—including new councils in Mead and Erie—are visible in many ways including pro-life efforts such as the Ultrasound Initiative Program, by supporting “men in uniform” through the Military Chaplain Scholarship, assisting people with disabilities through fundraisers such as Tootsie Roll drives; and helping with state disaster relief efforts through Coats for Kids, food vouchers and as Second Responders (see sidebar for details). Knights are visible in parish life in countless ways such as Masses, prayer vigils, Lenten fish fries, social events, food drives and pantries, and serving youths, among many other ministries.

They exhibit the service and dedication described in a quote Page regularly shares from Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, before he was selected pope last year:

“Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask,” Bergoglio said. “Become the Word in body as well as spirit.”

“I think what it comes down to is the feeling you get at the end of each day if you can say: ‘Today I performed an act of charity toward others,” Page said. “It’s that feeling you get when you help someone, do something to help someone long-term, or plant seeds to help others practice their faith through their actions.”

The Knights in Colorado have continued to plant seeds and grow steadily—currently at 17,111 members, up from 16,821 last year. Page hopes to see membership grow.

“The more we grow,” he said, “the more we can do.”

It just takes one person, one act, he added, to grow the faith.

“When Father McGivney was trying to build the order, he was trying to build a community of support,” Page said. “He was really ahead of his time as far as involving the laity in the life of the Church.”

Father Michael J. McGivney established the fraternal organization for men in 1882 in New Haven, Conn. Today it has grown to more than 14,000 councils and 1.8 million members in the United States and around the world.

For more information on Knights of Columbus in Colorado, visit www.coloradokofc.org or call your parish.

Colorado Knights’ charity
Below are updates on some of the Knights’ priority initiatives on a state level during the last year.

Ultrasound Initiative Program – Since 2009 eight ultrasound machines have been placed at pregnancy centers in Colorado, including a portable one in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. The Knights are close to adding three more in towns in the Diocese of Pueblo (La Junta, Westcliffe and Montrose) to help serve pregnant women in more rural areas. While costs vary, machines can cost up to $40,000.

Military Chaplain Scholarship – The campaign to support priestly vocations in the military began in 2012. The Colorado program pledged to raise $200,000 a year for five years to support men seeking to become Catholic military chaplains. So far, they have collected $12,000 this year.

Partnership with Special Olympics – Knights statewide have raised $188,000 from Tootsie Roll drives and other activities to support the Special Olympics, and other programs for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. A donation was made to each Colorado diocese to support people with disabilities: Denver $10,500; Colorado Springs $9,000 and Pueblo $8,500.

Coats for Kids and disaster relief efforts – This year’s Coats for Kids efforts were combined with disaster relief efforts in Greeley and Longmont following Front Range flooding last September. The Knights donated more than 1,600 coats, as well as funds to Catholic Charities to provide food vouchers and other assistance to flood victims. Knights’ councils mobilized during floods and wildfires to assist first responders, as part of a national Second Responders’ initiative being rolled out across the country.

COMING UP: Banned books: Pushing back against the new ideology

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How would you know if you were being brainwashed? When something plainly false — contrary to common sense and right reason — is so constantly forced on you and you are not allowed to question it, it’s a good indication. This is the nature of ideology: imposing a position without truly establishing it or allowing it to be criticized. We have seen that something clearly opposed to the basics of scientific fact, such as the nature of sex as male and female, can be forced quickly upon American society through the influence of media and public education. And, perhaps not too surprisingly, even something as clear as 2+2=4 has been called into question by progressive educators, such as Dr. Rochelle Gutierrez, turning it into a sign of alleged oppression.  

In our time, dystopian novels have become reality. George Orwell best described the use of ideology in modern political regimes through doublethink, newspeak, and thoughtcrime. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the main character, Winston Smith, is coerced to accept that 2+2=5, showing his allegiance to ideology over reality. Orwell speaks of the way ideology gains power over the mind: “The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them.” This domination does not broker any opposition: “It is intolerable . . .  that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be.” If the truth can circulate freely, then ideology will fail.  

You might ask how the acceptance of ideology differs from accepting the mystery of faith, which requires our obedience to God. A key difference is that God’s revelation makes sense even while beyond reason. God does not shut down our thinking but wants us to ask questions and continue to come to know him and his creation throughout our lives. Faith cannot contradict reason because they both come from God, from his gifts of revelation and creation. You know you are facing ideology, however, when it refuses any discussion of contrary views. Catholics have been accused of hate for refusing to go along with the new ideology of human sexuality. This ideology claims to speak truly of the reality of human life, although it doesn’t add up, contradicting itself and the clear facts of science. The fight for the future focuses on speaking the truth. Without the ability to think, discuss, and read freely, it will be hard to respond to the ideological wave overwhelming us. 

Throughout the country, however, great books and humanities programs are being shut down for their emphasis on the Western tradition. Cornell West, an African American philosopher at Harvard, writing with Jeremy Tate, speaks of the spiritual tragedy of one American university closing down its classics department: “Yet today, one of America’s greatest Black institutions, Howard University, is diminishing the light of wisdom and truth that inspired [Frederick] Douglass, [Martin Luther] King and countless other freedom fighters. . . . Academia’s continual campaign to disregard or neglect the classics is a sign of spiritual decay, moral decline and a deep intellectual narrowness running amok in American culture.” For West and Tate, cancelling the Western canon shuts down the central conversation of the pursuit of wisdom that touches every culture.  

Canceling the pursuit of wisdom hits at the integrity of our culture itself, as Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, another dystopian novel, focused on saving books from the fire set on wiping them out, explains: “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.” Books proved hostile in this all-too-real futuristic American society portrayed by Bradbury, undermining the state of contended distraction provided by an omnipresent virtual reality. The fight for truth necessarily entails the books we read and teach.  

In our current cancel culture, Catholics too are being silenced for speaking about reality. Amazon recently cancelled Ryan T. Anderson, who studied at Princeton and Notre Dame and now directs the Ethics and Public Policy Center, blocking the sale of its book on its platform for questioning transgender ideology. The book, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement (Encounter Books, 2018), provides a well-researched and thought-out response to the movement overturning common sense and millennia of acquired wisdom. Even more than that, Anderson shows how we are experimenting on our children, subjecting them to practices of hormone therapy and surgery that have not been proven safe or effective. Anderson provides evidence of ideology at work, through its coercive attempt to force us to accept what contradicts clear scientific evidence: “At the heart of the transgender moment are radical ideas about the human person — in particular, that people are what they claim to be regardless of contrary evidence” (29).  

Anderson does not deny the need to help those who suffer from gender dysphoria, although the heart of the books focuses on whether or not we are willing to accept reality and to help others to do so. As Anderson explains, “determining reality is the heart of the matter, and here too we find contradictions … Is our gender biologically determined and immutable or self-created and changeable? … At the core of the ideology is the radical claim that feelings determine reality. From this idea come extreme demands for society to play along with subjective reality claims. Trans ideologues ignore contrary evidence and competing interests; they disparage alternative practices; and they aim to muffle skeptical voices and shut down disagreement. The movement has to keep patching and shoring up its beliefs, policing the faithful, coercing the heretics and punishing apostates, because as soon as its furious efforts flag for a moment or someone successfully stands up to it, the whole charade is exposed. That’s what happens when your dogmas are so contrary to obvious, basic, everyday truths” (47-48). Not only philosophers like Anderson, but many educators, doctors, scientists, and politicians have been cancelled for standing up to the blatant falsehoods of this ideology. 

Does 2+2=5? Is a man a man and a woman a woman? No matter the effect of hormones and surgeries, every cell in the body points to the biological reality of sex, along with a myriad of other physical and emotional traits. Shutting down study and debate does not get to the heart of the matter, the truth of reality and the way to help those who suffer. The ideology does not truly focus on tolerance of others or creating reasonable accommodations, as it seeks to impose itself and coerce us. The reinterpretation of Title IX manifests an “Orwellian fiat” by which sex discrimination, meant to protect women, now becomes a means to discriminate against them: “The Women’s Liberation Front highlights the strange transformation of Title IX into a means to deny privacy, safety, education opportunity, and equality to women” (190). Anderson’s book provides an essential overview of the goals of the transgender movement and how to respond to it from a philosophical and scientific perspective. We should not allow the book to be cancelled! 

The goal of this new ideology is not simply to accept and tolerate a particular position, but, as Orwell recognized, to change us. It constitutes an attempt to redefine what it means to be a human being and to change the way we think about reality. Anything standing in the way will be cancelled or even burned. The quick success of this movement, and other ideologies as well, should make us pause. Do we want our children to think freely and wisely or simply to conform to what is imposed on them without question?  

As Catholics, we are called to think in conformity with faith and reason, upholding the truth, even when inconvenient. We are called to continue to form our own minds and accept the reality of how God made us and how he calls us into relationship with him, as the true source of overcoming suffering and difficulty. If you are uninformed and unable to judge rightly and logically, you are more likely to become prey to the new ideology, especially as enforced by government control and big business. We need Catholic freedom fighters, those willing, with charity, to stop the burning of the great ideas and the cancelling of our own faith.  


Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash