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Knights of Columbus plan drive to protect religious freedom

Catholic World News - August 07, 2012

The mission of the Knights of Columbus today is “a combination of defending liberty, working for a culture of life and also building a culture of life by being our brothers keeper, in reaching out in works of charity,” says the group’s leader, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.

As the Knights of Columbus prepare for their annual convention in Anaheim, California, Anderson reminded Vatican Radio that the fraternal order was founded in large part to “combat prejudice and bigotry against Catholics” in 19th-century America. With the threats to religious freedom growing in America today, he said, the Knights of Columbus are returning to that foundational purpose.

In a message to the Knights’ convention, Pope Benedict XVI referred to the “unprecedented gravity” of dangers to American religious liberty. Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the Supreme Chaplain of the group, echoed the Pope’s message that religious freedom is at the heart of individual liberties. Archbishop Lori—who is also chairman of the US bishops’ newly formed committee on religious freedom—said that the papal statement also showed that the universal Church recognizes the need to preserve and protect American religious freedom. The campaign begun by the US hierarchy toward that end “is not in any way partisan, either in its spirit or in its funding,” he said.

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