This past December, a candidate for the U.S. District Court, Brian Buescher, was under review by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Several members of the committee raised questions on Mr. Buescher’s fitness to serve given his membership with the Knights of Columbus. I am not going to delve too far into the questions and responses, although I do recommend reviewing the written questions and answers. Instead I would like to focus on one statement made while setting up one of the questions: “The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions”. My initial response to this was dismay, to put it mildly, however on further reflection there might be some truth to this statement, although not in the manner I suspect the Senator who raised it intended.
To be a Catholic is to want for the best and act to bring about the best for the other. This extends even to an enemy, or one who would not reciprocate. This if, of course, best observed in the example of our Lord who lowered Himself to become like us so that He might give up His life on our behalf. For all of the advances since our Lord walked amongst us, the spirit of humanity has been and continues to be in opposition to this radical notion of love. In this world where personal gratification, accumulation of personal wealth, and dehumanizing our fellow human beings are not only common place, but in fact celebrated as virtues, the very model of proper living exemplified by our Lord is an extreme response to the contrary. Likewise, the principles of our order: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism are extreme positions in contrast to the materialism and divisive tribalism that unfortunately plagues our public discourse.
Brothers, as we start a new year, let us continue to exemplify the extreme position of the Lord’s radical notion of love to a world that so desperately needs this witness. And, in a radical, extreme departure from a spirit of ingratitude, let us give thanks to the Lord for a new year and whatever opportunities He may provide us to serve others.
James Valenzuela, Grand Knight