At a Massachusetts state convention, a member proposed membership suspension for any member-politician who supports abortion and same-sex marriage. The Supreme Advocate of the KofC, John Martella, brought the hammer down on that, declaring "a subordinate council may not impose fraternal discipline with respect to a public figure's official actions on matters pertaining to faith and morals. Rather, any such discipline must be made by or at the direction of the Supreme Board of Directors."
Now here's a key statement. He said that "if the public figure's bishop has not excommunicated him for his public positions on issues relating to matters of faith and morals, it would be highly inappropriate for the Knights of Columbus to do so,"
Marrella's logic is flawed in several respects. To wit:
- In that last sentence, he intimates that expulsion from the KofC is on the same par as excommunication from the Church. Not so. The KofC is a private organization. There is no reason to presume that excommunication from the Church is a prerequisite to expulsion from the KofC. I believe they do have the duty, per their charter, to discharge any member whose behavior is scandalous; such determination does not require excommunication.
- Anyone who materially facilitates abortion incurs automatic excommunication - latae sententiae. The bishop does not excommunicate such an individual. Bishop Olmsted made that clear a few days ago when he confirmed the automatic excommunication of the Catholic hospital administator.
That may be so. But dare I suggest another reason?
John Marrella, and the Supreme Board of Directors, may be acting on explicit direction from some of these bishops! Might that be a real possibility? Perhaps even probable?