Knights of Columbus Secrecy

My husband recently was initiated into the Knights of Columbus. I am so happy and excited for him, because he is always working so hard to grow in his faith. This is a great opportunity for him to put himself out there, to meet people, to experience community interaction, and really to express himself as a Catholic gentleman. I am in full support of the KofC.


He took an oath of secrecy and can’t tell me anything about his initiation. While I logically can understand that this is no big deal, it is biting at me a little bit. If when we are married two become one, then how can any Catholic society require a man to not share with his spouse?

Even while typing and reading this, it is clear to me that I shouldn’t actually have an issue with this. But I do. Does anyone have any tips for just letting go and allowing him to have his secrets? It shouldn’t hurt me to know he can’t tell me something, but it does a little bit. How irrational is that?! :slight_smile:

Most fratneral orginzations are like this and phrobit disclosing to non members anything that takes place during regular business meetings.

Edit: I’m a member of the Elks and t’s the same way. Even if I could, I don’t know how to describe the initition process, but like the Knights, there is nothing that one would find to be objectionable.

Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing bad. There is nothing secret about the organization other than what goes on when giving the degrees. Anything else he can tell you about, just not the ceremony itself.

I am a Knight of the third degree. Rest assured, NOTHING amoral or against Church teaching is done during the initiations.

When I was younger, my dad was a Knight and he wouldn’t say anything to my mom and me about the ceremony. It used to bug me to no end. I’d think, “I wouldn’t like that if I was Mom, my husband should tell me everything!”

Now, my own husband has recently become a Knight, and I’m finding that it’s not such a big deal anymore. Husbands are their own person with their own thoughts and minds–you’re not meant to be the male/female clone of each other! :slight_smile: It’s just the ceremony itself that he’s not allowed to talk about with non-members. It keeps that one thing just for the Knights. And yes, it is quite common among fraternal organizations. They don’t want certain things getting around to non-members. If they allow all the men to tell their wives, then eventually the non-Catholic sister-in-law finds out, and then her husband, and then his good buddy… etc.

This always struck me as like having a secret recipe that you won’t share with anybody. I’ve never been convinced that this business of encouraging people to feel like “insiders” and “in the know” particularly encourages virtue in general. But that is in general. You can’t know why people who keep secrets keep them, even when you can guess at possible secondary effects of the secrecy.

Besides, it is healthy to accept that not every thought in your spouse’s brain and not every experience your spouse goes through is something you are entitled to know about. Marriage involves trust, too, including trusting your spouse to be appropriate in where they speak and where they hold their peace. You want your husband to be prudent about what he tells you, and trustworthy to his friends. He ought to have room to keep a discrete secret, when doing so wouldn’t harm you, not to mention when it might hurt you to disclose what he knows. Think about it: a husband who really did tell you every little thing that you’d find a significant piece of information would not really be an ideal, would he?

IOW: Be careful what you wish for!! :eek:

From a male POV, If my wife and I were still together, and IF my wife was a Catholic and a member Catholic Daughters or the Ladies Guild, I could care less what would go on during their business meetings.

To all have responded, please be aware that I have no concerns about what actually happened in the initiation. I fully support the KofC and believe that these “secrets” are harmless. It’s an irrational upset that I am feeling, and I know that. I am just hoping for some tips on how to let go of that irrational upset. It’s more about not being allowed to know than it is about not knowing.

That’s a good point… I know I just need to let it go. :slight_smile:

[quote=SummerSmiles]When I was younger, my dad was a Knight and he wouldn’t say anything to my mom and me about the ceremony. It used to bug me to no end. I’d think, “I wouldn’t like that if I was Mom, my husband should tell me everything!”

Now, my own husband has recently become a Knight, and I’m finding that it’s not such a big deal anymore. Husbands are their own person with their own thoughts and minds–you’re not meant to be the male/female clone of each other!

Exactly. Why do people think spouses have to share everything with each other? Are there married couples that actually live this way?

My tip would be to enjoy having some time to yourself to do your own thing when your husband is attending a meeting and know that he’s doing something that benefits your Parish and the community.

My dh is a 4th Degree Sir Knight who tells me a lot of things about what they do and what they’re planning, etc., but he has never told me what they do during their ceremonies and I have no problem with it. Men’s groups need this kind of thing to be secret because it’s too intimate and spiritual a thing to tell to everyone. It puts me in mind of the secrets Our Lady entrusted to those who saw her, such as the 3 Fatima children and St. Bernadette. Some things are just not for everyone else to know. The Knights have started allowing family members to be at the first part of the Exemplification ceremony. I attended one of those and really, there was not much to it, and I didn’t feel like anything said or done was really all that necessary for the families to sit through. It was nice to know what the KC symbols stand for, but that’s about all I took away from it, so it’s really not that big a deal.

Being a Third Degree Knight, I asked why our ceremonies were secret…a good explanation I got (among others) is that at the initiation ceremonies we have important lessons to learn (really, just reminded of), and if we knew ahead of time, the value of the lesson would be diminished. It’s an effect even most high school teachers use to instill the lessons into the students (my mom was the best at this).

This alone keeps me out of the organization. I do not care how much good they do, or how fraternal it is. To maintain the trust that I have in my marriage, I cannot join an organization which contains such secrecy. I believe that it undermines my marriage.

you are right

First, don’t confuse secrecy regarding the initiation ceremonies with KofC being a secret organization. Outside of the initiation ceremonies, he can tell you all the exciting news about the fund raising, charitible work, and thrilling play-by-play from the business meetings…

Second, think of it as if he read a book or saw a movie and doesn’t want to spoil it for anyone else. It’s one of those secrets that we keep for the benefit of letting others really enjoy or benefit from a bit of mystery… Or think of it like those good deeds and prayers we do anonymously…

Finally, be proud that you have a husband that can make a promise to keep a secret and honor his promise. You know if he will honor a commitment like that to an organization, he can honor the far more important promises he makes to you. And don’t test his resolve, praise his integrity, thank God for an honorable husband.

Do you mean something like the irrational hurt of not being invited to a birthday party that you wouldn’t have wanted to go to, anyway?

At any rate: the brain researchers say that it is essentially impossible to “not think” a thought. Tell someone “don’t think of elephants”, and they can’t do it. You have at least two choices for what to do instead of either compulsively thinking about this or fruitlessly telling yourself to “not think” about it, then.

One is to watch the thought go by from the outside, as if you were watching a leaf float down a river, not violent about getting rid of it, but willing to let it go. Just let it float by and away. I find this one works better for distractions than for compulsive thoughts, though.

Another way is to give yourself a positive command, something else for your brain to do. For instance, “Every time you are tempted to think of an elephant, think of every predator on the American continent that you can think of. Visualize those predators, from the biggest to the smallest, down to every hair and feather, how they move, why they’re shaped the way they are, everything.”

Give your irrational mind a bone to chew on, then. Think up a thought you’d like to think in place of the thought you don’t want to be thinking. Whatever works. You could think of what kind of ceremony you’d have, if you could have a secret ceremony no one else could know about. You could substitute silly thoughts about it. You could change the subject with your brain entirely. Every time you think of it, you could try to name a saint with a name starting in every letter of the alphabet. Or you could try to see if you could recite a Eucharistic prayer from memory, or memorize a Psalm, or a poem in foreign language…whatever!!

At any rate, do not worry about it too much. It is evidence that you have something God needs to work on. What of that? Of course you do. You’ll never get along without God working on you. This is just something obvious to bring that home, a reminder to get back to the work at hand! It may even be that just realizing that one fact may be all it takes to let this go. :thumbsup:

This is the explanation I got as well when I joined, and it’s a good one, but…

I still don’t like it. I swore not to tell anyone, and I won’t, and I understand why they have that requirement, and I recognize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with my being unable to tell anyone, and if I had made the rules I may very well have also put the secrecy requirement in there, but it still bothers me. Not that I can imagine even having any particular desire to tell anyone (except perhaps a wife if I were to marry), but I just never liked secrets, even when fully justified.

So I can understand that it bothers the OP not to be able to hear. My only recommendation is to accept intellectually that it’s ok (and I can promise that, no dark dirty secrets), then just to try not to dwell on it.

Once upon a time there were three bears, and they all lived happy ever after.

That was a boring story!

Don’t we like a little suspense and adventure in our story?
Don’t we like to find out who the good guys and the bad guy is?
Aren’t we interested in whether the heroine gets her man?

That’s why many film reviews have this:

That’s why the initiation ceremonies for the Knights are secret.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the K of C does GREAT work, but . . .

c’mon, really? Secret initiation rites?

Pretty juvenile in my H. O.

I have been asked to consider joining the K of C on several occasions. This is one of only many reasons I have thus far declined, most of them having nothing to do with the K of C, but with my other time committments.

I am a Knight of Malta, and my investiture in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by then Cardinal Egan was during a Mass, a public event.

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