Catholic fraternal organisations


Is anyone here a member of a catholic fraternal organisation?

I am considering joining one, The Knights of St Columba (;:wink: I had considered it for some time, but thought membership was mostly a family tradition for Catholic men, whereas my Dad comes from nominally Protestant lineage.

However, this Sunday they held an appeal for prospective members at Church, (end of the mass), and so I have considered acting on my interest.

I just wondered has anyone experienced negative perceptions or reactions from others, regarding their membership of such an organisation? (eg non-Catholic family, friends or workmates)

Where I am from, it is not uncommon to find perceptions that these organisations are secretive, practice nepotism, or even that they are some Catholic equivalent of the Orange Order, or the Masons.

As an example of these negative perceptions, the Knights feel compelled to state the following on their website:

The K.S.C. is not a secret society. The Order is completely open and potential members may attend meetings.

Admission ceremonies often take place in Church during Mass.

While Catholics know these suggestions are bogus, how do you deal with those who are misinformed, or may perceive you differently due to your membership?

Thanks for any advice.

PS - my own, entirely non-suspicious, reasons for wanting to join are:

  1. It’s a Catholic men’s brotherhood (presently I know only one other practicing Catholic male in a social sense)

  2. To contribute to the good work they do (e.g, for pro-life group SPUC, and for the Catholic Community, such as stewarding at the recent Papal visit here).

  3. The Knights were formed in my City nearly a century ago, I am proud of this and I want to support the continuation of the organisation.


I've been a Knight of Columbus for some years - there are always people who will harbor suspicions about ANY group.. heck, I've even heard people seriously suggest that the Catholic Church is a secret society, just waiting for the opportunity to take over and impose "papist" practices on innocent "true believers".

"Stupid" and "Hate" go together far too readily.

Don't worry about what others think. If the subject comes up, invite them to come to a meeting if they are open to the public. I'll bet they will prefer to preserve their prejudices rather than see for themselves.


Hiya, there_and_back,

Thanks a lot for your reassuring response.

I guess you are right that stupid and hate are very much intertwined!

I will follow your advice and just be open about it, should anyone appear to have concerns or misconceptions.

How have you found the Knights of Columbus during your membership? Has it been everything you expected, has it been worthwhile? Any surprises you had since joining?

Thanks again for your response and for sharing your experience with me.


(I just thought both “your” Knights and “mine” will be related through I.A.C.K!)


My father was also a Protestant. I think you will enjoy the Knights. Visit your local council and check it out and see.

Catholic men 18 years of age or older who join the Knights belong to a council, or local unit. Many 18 to 22 year olds first join the Knights of Columbus in a college council. Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to men 18 years of age or older who are practical (that is, practicing) Catholics in union with the Holy See. This means that an applicant or member accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.


Hi! In the US, a lot of Catholic men join the Knights of Columbus. I'm sure there are those who are positive that the guys are conducting secret ceremonies reminiscent of "The Da Vinci Code", but it is really a great organization, both for the men who belong and the greater community they serve.

I hope you find your time in the Knights of St. Columba as rewarding as my husband has found the KofC.


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