Thank you all for joining me this evening. It is a pleasure to be here with you discussing my new book "A Civilization of Love."
SK Frank Zoldak, council 7667
Niceville, Florida, USA
What one thing do you think Pope Benedict would change at this moment to make the world a more loving place?
I think the pope has answered this in two ways, first, in his encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," where he made clear that we must love God in no small part by loving our neighbor. Second, at Yankee Stadium he made clear who he believes needs our help most, when he said: "They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world – including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother’s womb. In a world where, as Pope John Paul II, speaking in this very place, reminded us, Lazarus continues to stand at our door (Homily at Yankee Stadium, October 2, 1979, No. 7), let your faith and love bear rich fruit in outreach to the poor, the needy and those without a voice."
With the news media publishing the negative aspects of the Catholic Church's teaching on contraception and expressing the need for Pope Benedict to change the teaching on birth control, how would you explain the Church's teaching? Does your book touch on this issue of the difference of using someone and loving someone - starting at the core of marriage...family...society?
Chapters five and eight of my book deal with these issues in detail, and I hope you will enjoy reading these chapters. In terms of explaining the Church's position, I think we can learn a great deal from the pope's statement to the German press on this very issue. He said: "Firstly you have to know what we really want, right? Christianity, Catholicism, isn't a collection of prohibitions: it's a positive option. It's very important that we look at it again because this idea has almost completely disappeared today. We've heard so much about what is not allowed that now it's time to say: we have a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other, that the scale of sexuality, eros, agape, indicates the level of love and it's in this way that marriage develops, first of all, as a joyful and blessing-filled encounter between a man and a woman, and then the family, that guarantees continuity among generations and through which generations are reconciled to each other and even cultures can meet. So, firstly it's important to stress what we want. Secondly, we can also see why we don't want something."
Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
What makes you optimistic that in this age of spiritual confusion that our church is equipped with enough Love to conquer challenges such as those leaving the church, crime, hunger and violence around the world? How do we make your words real?
When I spoke to the students at Harvard University about my book, I told them, if in our own lives we implement the principles articulated in the book, we may seem to do so as individuals, but if millions of us did so, that would be a civilization. I think the key is to witness to society one person, one family, one parish, one council at a time. If we do this, we can, together, build a civilization of love.
Amery, WI 54001
If God loves us so much why did He give us a free will (specifically our first parents) since their initial sin ruined mankind's relationship with God?
Free will is actually one of God's greatest gifts to us since it allows us to choose to love God. Love doesn't force itself on another, but loves and hopes for that love to be reciprocated. God, in truly loving us, couldn't force himself upon us. Also, we should remember that it was original sin, which began the process that led to our redemption by Jesus Christ. So here we have a clear example of why it is true that "God works all things together for the good."
Congratulations. Any thought to developing a study guide for councils to use to discuss the book? The questions at the end of each chapter are great, but are more personal.
We are in fact looking into the development of a study guide for councils, schools and parishes. I hope that many will find it to be a useful tool in building this civilization that our faith and our pope have called upon us to build.
What would you attribute your inspiration for writing this book to? Was there any one particular experience that ignited your desire to pursue this exploration of hopeful possibility in our current society?
Certainly my interaction with both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI contributed immensely to my desire to write this book. Of course the Knights of Columbus holds as its first principle "charity," and it has become increasingly clear to me that only our witness to love will be able to change the world and to create this civilization.
Just before the pope' visit, the Knights released a poll that found that 80 percent of Americans didn't know very much or anything at all about Pope Benedict. It may be soon to tell whether that's changed. How would reading your book build upon the pope's visit to ensure greater knowledge and appreciation of his ministry and vision?
Now that the pope has left the United States, the question is, where do we go from here? The answer is simple. We live out our Christian witness as Pope Benedict called on us to do. We do that by witnessing to love in every aspect of our lives, from our home life, to our work at the office, to the charitable work we perform with the Knights of Columbus. It is this witness which will ultimately allow the world to see the effect of the pope's message.
North Haven, CT, United States
What do you see as the role of college students specifically in "A Civilization of Love"?
As young people about to embark on the rest of their lives, college students represent the future and thus have a great contribution to make to the "civilization of love." By the way they live their lives on college campuses and in their ability to bring the message of the gospel to their peers; college students are well suited to furthering this civilization.
Miami, Florida, USA
Thanks for this outstanding work that truly promotes a practical approach to building a Civilization of Love. I believe service to others is very important to living the Catholic faith, and that we probably have enough to do in our own backyards. However, what further international expansion plans does the Order have and how can local Councils assist?
Do you have any suggestions about the countries we might go to? I think overseas expansion is going to focus on Poland and Mexico, but there is tremendous potential for expansion right in our own countries. With 67 million Catholics in the US and 13 million in Canada, I believe we have only scratched the surface of our potential to grow domestically.
The title seems a little too dreamy or idealism. How can we build such a civilization when there is so much evil and enemies in the world? Don't you think it's been tried before and knocked down?
Like it or not, we are stuck with the commandment to love our neighbor, whether it sounds dreamy or not. If this is a personal commandment, then it also has very real social implications. In a way, the more hostile the culture, the greater the opportunity and the greater the necessity for our action. Pope Benedict wrote in Salt of the Earth "We are actually once again before a new beginning and that this also contains the hopes of a new beginning. The task to believe completely out of freedom and in freedom and to believe while witnessing against a weary world also contains new hopes, new possibilities for expressing Christianity."
Grand Knight Robert Camilleri
Rosary Council 3741, Henderson, Nevada, USA
Could you please comment on what an individual Knight of Columbus can do to foster an ethical environment in his secular place of employment? As an aside, what did you think of the Fourth Degree Honor Guard during the U.S. Papal Visit of Pope Benedict XVI?
I was very grateful for our 4th Degree Honor Guard and their presence at so many of the papal events here in the United States. I think both my book and the Pope's comments here make clear the need to live one's Christian life at all times, whether at home or at work or in church. We cannot only be Christians some of the time.
This book seems to beg for another one, with more practical insight into how to build on love. Do you plan to write another book?
I find it very interesting that you would say this. At the moment, however, I am concentrating on getting the ideas in this book across.
Whitefield, Maine USA
Great book, now how do we as Knights bring the realization of your writing into the Order? I believe some of your inspiration came from Fr. McGivney. Reading the book a second time really lets it settle in!
Thank you very much. This is part of the genius of Fr. McGivney, that his organization is so relevant today and so in tune with the pastoral mission of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. One way would be for councils to use the book for discussion purposes either in their council meetings or at the parish level.
Congratulations on your coverage on Fox News of the Papal visit. Great Job. Question. Support of vocations is one of the KOC's primary commitments. Do you have any thoughts on the best way to support our priests and religious and actually help recruit them? Thank You.
In this regard, Pope Benedict was precisely right when he challenged youth to have courage and to realize that everyone has a vocation, and many of those vocations are to the priesthood. I think that living out our Christian witness through our love of neighbor and of family each day can also provide a fertile environment for future priests.
Tony Genco, Deputy Grand Knight
Woodbridge, Ontario Canada Council 13630
What can we do as Knights to get the message out in a meaningful and productive way?
One way is to discuss the principles included in the book, and to encourage people to read it to further that discussion. Of course, we must implement the challenges the book lays out in terms of living our faith in a very serious and loving way, and making sure that we as individuals are the building blocks of this civilization of love.
I enjoyed the book very much and found myself especially moved by Chapter 9, "A Continent of Baptized Christians" regarding our neighbors to the south. Do you have any suggestions about how councils or individual Knights and Catholics can help to provide support for Mexican citizens.
There are two things to keep in mind here. First, we must make sure that we help those immigrants that we encounter to keep their Catholic faith. Second, many of our US councils have partnered with councils in Mexico, and that can be a concrete way for your council to build a bridge to baptized Christians south of the border.
Bill Briere, I.P.S.D.
Thank you for writing this book, and congratulations on its success! Thank you, also, for giving your royalties to our organization's charities. With this being a best seller, your donation is obviously of tremendous value, and I am sure that my sentiment of gratitude is shared by all of your brother Knights. Beyond your financial contribution, the book's content is an even greater gift that will pay dividends for years to come.
Thank you very much for your kind comments.
How can one show love and compassion to a generation were violence, sex (i.e. pornography, pre-marital sex is everywhere in our media and society?
All of these factors make the message more urgent than ever. And, the pope's meeting with 25,000 youth at Dunwoodie seminary shows that not only is the message needed, but there are millions of willing listeners. Our job is to make sure that we provide a good example and positive message to our children and their generation.
Dear Mr. Anderson;
We are starting a ministry at our church to reach out to our Catholic brethren who fail to attend mass, to bring them back, to embrace them. I have read a few chapters in your book. I like this, Jesus said in sending his disciples out on a mission, "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me."
How do I get an autograph copy?
Glad you enjoyed the book. If you would like to send your copy to me, I would be happy to autograph it. We will remember your new ministry in our prayers.
While many of today's American Hispanic immigrants are Catholic or Christian, many immigrants from other countries are of different religions such as Islam or Hindu, how do we approach these new immigrants? Do we try to evangelize them or do we help them assimilate and afford them the same rights our for-fathers were given for religious freedom and allow them to peacefully co-exist?
I think we have to recognize their right to religious freedom, and at the same time show them the value of Christianity and of being a disciple of Christ.
Jeremy Radford, FIC
Blue Springs, MO
First a comment: Thank you for weaving so much of the life of the Knights, both fraternal side and business side, into your book. Too many of our members don't understand the value of our insurance program. Your book, I think, will help reduce this deficit. Also, thank for your generous time at the book signing event last week.
Much of the inspiration of the book comes from the dedicated work of so many of the KofC. And we have to remember that our fraternalism has too wings, volunteerism and the financial security we offer to our members and their families.
C. Richard Castleberry
East Falmouth, MA, USA
At what level did you write your book?
As I said earlier much of the inspiration of the book comes from my work for over 20 years with the Knights of Columbus and from teaching at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. It was meant to be accessible to everyone, but well researched so that it would be useful in colleges and seminaries, and I have been gratified by the positive response by a number of my former students and by seminarians.
SK Emilio Pelaez, PGK, DD
Rahway, NJ USA
Will your book be translated to other languages?
I hope so.
Thank you all for joining me tonight. I have enjoyed very much spending this time with you.