Why Knights of "Columbus"?

Of all the great people and saints out there to name something after, why did they pick Christopher Columbus?

He may have had some good, but he was also quite brutal, violent, and would be considered a criminal today.

Looking for a real answer, not just stirring the pot. It just makes no sense.:shrug:

Im of (1/4)Choctaw descent on my mother’s side.I think it was completely demonic what the spaniards/portuguese did to the americas and native americans,especially the Tainos .things like sexual slavery and mass killings are contrary to catholic faith,they stole a whole lot of wealth from the natives aswell.their legacy is selfhate,identity issues and poverty in that part of the world.was it Good spaniards brought christianity to the natives?Yes.does that excuse their Genocidal crimes?no

I think the French in canada and lousiana are a good example of what could have been in terms of native-euro relations.the french did intermrry but it wasn’t by conquest or force but mutual support (The natives would marry their daughters in exchange for guns or other usefull items)and the French did not wipe out the natives as the protestant anglos in their manifest destiny.

The french converted many natives thru peacefull trading.the spanish and anglo ways will always be a stain on history .I am catholic but I do no support Eurocentrism or european colonialism and caste systems.the future of christianity is in the ‘‘third world’’ anyway.

I found this article that may be helpful to you: kofc.org/en/columbia/detail/2012_06_columbus_interview.html.

My dh is a 4th Degree KoC. Trust me, they do not oppress anyone, but rather help people all over the world who are in need–physically as well as spiritually. :slight_smile:

I get that they help people - but it makes no sense to name the group after such a man - no sense.

Yes they help people - but the name and thinking that went in to choosing it I totally do not understand.

Did you read the article?

The 2 names - “Columbus” and “Knights” - which could be considered controversial as well - reflect a certain moment in history. In the late 1800s every Christian group was trying to link themselves back in time. Catholics were getting labelled as newcomers to the US, with no roots here, like Real American Protestants. Naming something after Columbus shows Catholicism was in the Western Hemisphere early. But it also shows a unity with all North and South America, we are all, in a way, grand nephews and nieces of Columbus.

Columbus the man was a product of his times. In some ways very good, as in navigation or his overall assessment of the shape of the planet. In some ways very bad, not only against Native Americans but sometimes against Europeans who accompanied him. (He was about to execute some disobedient European sailors until he was stopped). He was a dreamer, someone who persisted and persisted and persisted. He died poor, apparently was trying to follow the ideals of Francis of Assisi in his later years.

I bet there were many American men in the late 1800s who would have trouble relating to an organization named after a European saint, and back then almost all the saints were European. There were very few well known American Catholics they could have named the organization after, and almost no laity. (Columbus wasn’t American, but had American connotations).

The K of C includes deeply religious men, but also attracts average men, including myself. There are loads of movements that attract only those who are already religious, but the K of C tries to bring the **average **man closer to God.

Columbus had bad points, by 2017 standards. He also had virtues - he was a dreamer, he was incredibly persistent, he took incredible risks - that are almost unheard of today.
People who live today in comfort and security, who never needed to take any real risk, who have the globe already safely mapped out for them, and 100 advantages Columbus did not have, will condemn Columbus - and to some extent rightly so.

He would not be someone you should name a religious order after. He might, plausibly, be an appropriate namesake for a movement aimed at the **average **man, judging him by the standards of his time, now ours; though even in 2017 dreamers, persistent men, and risk takers, are also in very short supply.

Alot of things would be considered politically incorrect nowdays.

Really good points. I also appreciate the article that was posted above.

I’m also reminded of when I took a legal history course in college and we were warned on day 1 by the professor that the course would include viewpoints that, by today’s standards, would be very unacceptable, sexist, racist, etc. He stressed that when looking back in time we need to view historical thoughts, materials and figures “within the social construction of their reality” and not judge them by the standards of today.

Does that make Columbus, or lots of other Catholics in history, perfect people? No. I seem to recall even some saints (specifically thinking of St. Thomas More) occasionally acted in ways that in today’s society with today’s knowledge we would find pretty awful. And this is a good thing that society evolves and gains in understanding and kindness.

But from a standpoint of the average person of their times, it’s easy to see Columbus as a model for the average man, and More as an example of the well-above-average man who became a martyr and saint.

This, and also the Columbiettes; the ladies division of the KOC; who do they same work.

In our area they’re called the Ladies Auxiliary, but they’re no doubt the same thing. It’d be great, IMHO, if the ladies’ support groups could be nationally recognized by the Order. They aren’t, as it stands now.

Agree, we sometimes raise even more monies for charity. We need to work on this.

If the founding fathers had been politically correct, the United States wouldn’t exist.

History happened. Could it have been done differently? Yes. Could it have been done better? Who knows?

Could it have been done differently while achieving the same results? No. Unqualified no.

The Kof C was founded by Fr. McGiveny in the very early 19th century (about 1820 I think). The understanding of Columbus and his discovery of the New World was quite different back then. To the Italian immigrants to America, this was a blessing and revelation. Columbus was, as one poster has already said, more universal than say, the Knights of Thomas More.


Washington, D.C. is named for Columbus, all cities named Columbus, Colon, Columbia, etc. did you want to change that as well?

Some would disagree that the US and Western Europe are **gaining **in understanding and kindness!!!

Better to say “evolving” and leave it at that. Some kinds of kindness and understanding are stronger than before, but other kinds of actions and omissions in 2017 reflect a culture of cruelty that is growing, worse than in Columbus’ time.

Don’t think of the K of C as upholding a role model of sainthood, such as Dominicans or Franciscans do. There is no Columbian spirituality we try to emulate.

At a time when Protestant Americans were attacking the Mass as a weird innovation on our shores, the K of C pointed out the Mass was offered near here (priest brought by Columbus) long before any Pilgrims had their Protestant services here. The reference is not to the individual Columbus but to a whole “outreach” that included Christianity. The fact that some of his sailors were likely criminals who sailed as an alternative to getting hanged does not invalidate the name’s purpose. Nowadays we don’t try to establish a historical pedigree, we have different kinds of standards - not better, not worse.

I think we will see the day when Mt Rushmore will be blown up; the only question is whether it will be sooner (by terrorists) or later (by the government).

There is a large statue of Christopher Columbus near Union Station in Washington D.C…so apparently there are others who also see a need to honor the man.

As pointed out, he was a product of his time, but I must have missed the evidence that he was either brutal or violent. Where I live, every November the pressure is building to cast the Pilgrims as brutal violent racists also (anti-Catholic I grant). and to discourage traditional Thanksgiving observances insofar as they reference Plymouth and the Pilgrims. Same school of agenda-driven revisionist history.

Seriously - I don’t consider naming of religious groups the same as secular things.

Not wanting to start a dispute, just wondering if there was a reason.

It just would not have been my first choice, with the huge number of holy people we have to pick from that don’t have the mixed issues.

I think there was less of a “mixed issue” when the K of C was started.
Once these organizations get established and build up a lot of tradition, as well as legal documents and brand recognition in the name over many decades, it’s not that easy to just change the name because it’s become fashionable to decry Columbus.

Plus, the way history goes, give it another hundred years and people may be taking a more balanced view of the man again.

Because Columbus was Italian, and everyone wants to be Italian.

What am I missing here?:confused:


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