Greetings to the 128th Supreme Convention

Pope Benedict XVI   
Pope Benedict XVI  
Cardinal Bertone   
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone  

Dear Mr. Anderson,

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was pleased to learn that from 3-5 August 2010 the 128th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus will be held in Washington, D.C. He has asked me to convey his warm personal greetings and good wishes to all in attendance, and in a special way to you as you celebrate the tenth anniversary of your election as the Supreme Knight.

The theme of this year’s Supreme Convention – I Am My Brother’s Keeper – calls to mind the spirit of fraternal solidarity which inspired the founding of the Knights of Columbus and continues to guide its manifold activities. It was concern for the welfare of working men and their families, born of Christ’s teaching and the Church’s long tradition of social engagement and charitable service, that led the Servant of God Father Michael McGivney and his associates to organize the Knights as a benevolent and fraternal association. From the beginning, this commitment to the Gospel imperative of love of neighbor has directed the various activities and programs of your Order, and today too, it is seen most evidently in the concrete gestures of charity and community service undertaken by the members of local Councils the world over. His Holiness wishes before all else to express his gratitude for this great outpouring of solidarity and love, which represents an outstanding witness to the charity of Christ and the saving truth of the Gospel. “Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity” (Caritas in Veritate, 78), and this, in turn, enables Christians, in the concrete circumstances of their daily lives, to become convincing signs of God’s goodness and the attractiveness of the Christian message.

His Holiness is personally grateful for the generous support which the Knights have given him in recent months, especially through their constant prayers and particularly in the Novena conducted on the eve of the fifth anniversary of his election. He remains deeply consoled by this testimony of fidelity to Christ’s vicar amid the turbulence of the times, and he asks that prayers continue to be offered up for the unity of the Church, the spread of the Gospel and the conversion of hearts. In a particular way he expresses his appreciation to the members of your Order for their spiritual solidarity with the clergy throughout the recently concluded Year for Priests. Here too, your traditional spirit of faith and fraternity found ready expression in the desire to stand, as your “brother’s keeper,” alongside your priests and to confirm them in their vocation to holiness and the generous service of God’s People. In the face of often unfair and unfounded attacks on the Church and her leaders, His Holiness is convinced that the most effective response is a great fidelity to God’s word, a more resolute pursuit of holiness, and an increased commitment to charity in truth on the part of all the faithful. He asks the Knights to persevere in their witness of faith and charity, in the serene trust that, as the Church embraces this period of purification, her light will come to shine all the more brightly (cf. Mt 5:15-16) before men and women of fair mind and good will.

In the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the Holy Father saw the present world economic crisis as a timely reminder that no area of human activity is exempt from moral responsibility (No. 2). At a time when fundamental moral norms, grounded in truth and inscribed in the human heart, are increasingly called into question and at times overturned by positive legislation, he is grateful for the efforts made by the Knights, in cooperation with other men and women of good will, to uphold the reasonableness of the Church’s moral teaching and its importance for a sound, just and enduring social order. He once more thanks your Order for its witness to the sanctity of human life and the authentic nature of marriage, and for its efforts to promote in the Catholic laity a greater consciousness of the need to overcome every separation between the faith we profess and the daily decisions which shape our lives as individuals and the life of society as a whole.

With these sentiments and with great affection in the Lord, His Holiness commends all assembled in Washington to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church. To the members of the Supreme Council, and to all the Knights and their families, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of abundant heavenly graces.

With personal good wishes for the success of the meeting, I remain Yours sincerely,

Tarcisio Card. Bertone

Secretary of State