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Peters: Attacked by politicians, Catholics, Knights of Columbus do important charitable work

In lieu of a recent pick of a candidate for one of the highest offices in our nation who previously went on the record to attack Catholics and the Knights of Columbus, it seems as important as ever to remember the many charitable works of the Church and the Knights. Although these good deeds cannot be denied, many politicians try to smear these organizations because they oppose abortion.

In particular, this candidate claimed that an individual could not be fit for a judgeship because the Knights of Columbus called abortion “a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths” and was “the killing of innocent on a massive scale.” Of all the accusations, it seems the strangest to attack Knights for describing facts. If anything, the Knights underplayed the number, as, by some statistics, more than 61 million babies have been terminated through abortion since Roe v Wade.

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It is possible that the candidate merely criticized the use of the words “killing,” “innocent,” and “massive scale.” No one can deny that the number is massive, and how could anyone ever declare a baby as anything but innocent. As to the final part, fighting over if abortion kills or not is semantics, and no one can truly deny that a potential life was snuffed from existence.

So, was abortion really the motivation for the attack? It is possible that the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Church, represent the potential for good deeds and helping others beyond the limits of government, and this was the true issue. That is uncertain.

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What is known is that the Knights of Columbus have always been one of the leading forces in American charity, having provided support to widows and orphans, fed the hungry stateside and overseas, and provided billions in charitable work each year. Additionally, they have been a force for legal good, being one of the few groups to stand against the Ku Klux Klan and even risking their lives during the 1920s and 1930s in the fight.

Furthermore, the Knights stood by the Christians persecuted by the atheist socialist government of Mexico during the Cristero Wars. During this time, they were opposed in their efforts by the KKK, and the racist antagonizers in the United States even tried to get America to back the persecution. Fortunately, the Knights were able to undermine the KKK’s influence.

In recognition of this proven history of good deeds, Pope Francis wrote that he was “grateful for these and for the many other countless ways in which the Knights of Columbus continue to bear prophetic witness to God’s dream for a more fraternal, just and equitable world in which all are recognized as neighbors and no one is left behind.”

It is strange, then, to live in an age where someone who hates one of the biggest charitable organizations in the world could become vice president. Even if one disagrees with the Knights, that person should still recognize that the Knights views are based on clear moral principles and have shaped our nation for the better.

Jeffrey Peters, a graduate of Catholic University with a doctorate, attends St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester. Reach him at 17peters@cardinalmail.cua.edu.

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