Washington D.C., Dec 26, 2018 / 15:00 pm
A Washington, D.C., council of the Knights of Columbus has invited two U.S. senators to join them in charitable service, after those senators objected to a federal judicial nominee's membership in the organization.
The Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle Council 11302 of the Knights of Columbus published this week an open letter to Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), addressing the senators’ recent objections to social and political positions affiliated with the Knights of Columbus.
The letter said the council had “read about statements which expressed the fear that the Knights of Columbus held many extreme beliefs. It is our great pleasure to assure you that this fear is not grounded in any truth. The Knights of Columbus in general, and O’Boyle Council in particular are dedicated to the three fundamental principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.”
The council, local to Washington’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, said that in recent months it had “worked with local parishes including St Peter’s (House-side Catholic church) and St Joseph’s (Senate-side Catholic church) to raise funds and give away over $4,000 worth of coats to neighborhood children, collect soda and beer can tabs to donate to the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute which helps the developmentally disabled, and collect diapers and other supplies for new mothers in need.”
“Over the course of the past year we donated an ultrasound machine to a clinic, picked up trash around Nationals Park, and donated supplies to a local school. We do all this as well as social gatherings and spiritual events.”
The letter was published in response to reports that Hirono and Harris had challenged the Knights of Columbus membership of Brian C. Buescher, an Omaha lawyer nominated for the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska.
The senators said the group’s positions on to same-sex marriage and abortion could interfere with Buescher’s ability to fairly judge federal cases.
In written questions sent Dec. 5, Hirono said that “the Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” among them supporting campaigns to ban same-sex marriage. Hirono asked whether Buescher would quit the organization if confirmed, “to avoid any appearance of bias.”