Addresses and Homilies
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada
Remarks at States Dinner
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, Brother Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Deacons,
Dear Friends :
|States Dinner Program|
I thank you very much for inviting me to share some thoughts at this solemn International Convention 2009 of the Knights of Columbus here in Phoenix, Arizona. After the Convention 2008 in Québec City on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the city, it is a pleasure to experience the spirit of the Knights here in the Western part of United States. May this Fraternity continue to develop its Catholic identity and continue to spread the Good News in deep unity with the whole Church. Je tiens à remercier les Chevaliers du Québec pour leur support croissant à bien des égards et à souhaiter que l’unité qui doit caractériser nos rapports fasse de nouveaux progrès.
I would like to congratulate the leadership of this Convention for its choice of the theme of the Convention : We stand with Peter in Solidarity with Our Bishops and Priests. I consider it very relevant at this point of time and very inspiring. After the hard winter the Holy Father Benedict had to go through, it is comforting to see the Knights taking the initiative of reaffirming their strong support to the Pope and the Bishops and also in solidarity with them.
The service of unity in the Church is the main task and responsability of the Petrine ministry and also of the episcopal ministry. This is not an easy task. Everyone knows how much Pope Benedict had to suffer this past year in his effort to bring back the Schismatic Group of the Lefebvrists to full communion with the Church. For this and for various other reasons, he was harshly criticized both within and outside the Church and was not adequately defended by those who share his ministry. At every level of leadership in the Church, unity with Peter and solidarity with him has not been a great achievement in this past year.
It is fully time to take action and stand with our Holy Father who is himself so admirably peaceful and coherent in fulfilling all his duties. We are greatly blessed by the quality of his teaching. Let us read again his letter for the conclusion of the Pauline Year, his Letter proclaiming a Year for Priests and the recent Encyclical Caritas in Veritate. In these documents we have a solid body of doctrine and clear teaching leading us to « God as Love » at this time of confusion and scepticism.
Once again the Knights have come forward, showing the way of a true Catholic spirit of unity with Peter in solidarity with the Bishops. As lay people deeply committed within the Church you give witness to a spirit of Faith and obedience to the vicar of Christ on Earth. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us all to give stronger witness to our loving loyalty to the Church and its Chief Sheperd, successor of Peter. Unity in the Church is the key to the realization of its mission. Unity among the bishops with Peter was the key to the success of the last Synod on the Word of God. Unity between bishops, priests, men and women religious, members of the new and old movements in the Church was the key to the success of the Eucharistic Congress of Québec last year. When there is a lack of unity within the Church we quickly see a decline in vocations and in Church attendance and desintegration of family life.
Dear Brother Knights, tonight is a time of celebration but also a moment of committment. Committment to unity within this Fraternity of the Knights and within the Church. Committement to Reconciliation within our own families, our Counsils and our dioceses. Let us stand with Peter’successor, our Pope, at this challenging time courageously taking up our Christian duty of building unity and solidarity everywhere.
Vivat Jesu !