ROME — Pope Francis praised the founder of the U.S.-based Knights of Columbus Sunday, a Catholic charitable organization denigrated by Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
“Yesterday, in Hartford, in the United States of America, Michael McGivney was proclaimed blessed: diocesan priest, founder of the Knights of Columbus,” the pontiff told the modest crowd gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for his weekly Angelus address.
“Dedicated to evangelization, he did everything possible to provide for the needs of those in need, promoting reciprocal aid,” Francis continued. “May his example be an impetus for us to always be witnesses of the Gospel of charity. Let’s give a round of applause to this new blessed.”
The pope’s words in support of the Knights of Columbus come at an important moment at just two days from the U.S. presidential election, especially since Democrat candidate for Vice President Kamala Harris gained notoriety in 2018 for her public criticism of the organization.
In the December 2018 confirmation hearings for district court nominee Brian C. Buescher, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) took issue with Judge Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, suggesting that such membership might disqualify a Federal judicial nominee.
The Knights of Columbus have taken “a number of extreme positions,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) stated in written questions sent to Buescher on December 5, in reference to Catholic opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
Kamala Harris asked Buescher whether he was aware that the Knights of Columbus “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and were against “marriage equality” when he joined the organization.
As the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed Buescher’s candidacy for the District of Nebraska, Senators Hirono and Harris went on to ask whether belonging to the Knights of Columbus could prevent Mr. Buescher from hearing cases “fairly and impartially.”
“This is the kind of thuggish behavior we expect from third world dictators, not United States Senators,” said Ken Blackwell at the time, a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
“That this attack on Catholics comes from the party of John F. Kennedy, who was proudly a Knight of Columbus, is particularly shocking and egregious,” he said.
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association, said that Sen. Harris has become “a ringleader of the anti-Catholic bullying that increasingly defines the Democrat party.”
Last August, the National Catholic Register warned that Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as running mate may hurt his appeal with religious voters due to her “aggressive pro-abortion and anti-religious freedom record.”
In her August 15 essay, Register writer Lauretta Brown noted that Harris’s stance on a number of issues directly collides with Catholic teaching and thus could “spell trouble for his efforts to appeal to religious voters.”
Catholic League President Bill Donohue similarly declared that Harris has a “Catholic problem” that could hurt Biden’s chances of winning over Catholic voters.
Harris has tainted herself “with the brush of anti-Catholicism,” Dr. Donohue wrote in an August 14 essay, by harassing Catholic judicial nominees and subjecting them to the equivalent of a religious litmus test.
While Harris’s stated objection to the Knights of Columbus stemmed from its pro-life position, Donohue observed, “her real target was the Catholic Church.”