Last night, I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in the initiation of my 20-year-old son, Michael, into the Knights of Columbus.
I’ve only been a Knight for about seven years now, it is a source of tremendous pride to me. I am a member of the world’s largest lay movement, the most active and effective pro-life organization, and one of the staunchest supporters of the Church and our Holy Father in particular. It is an association of Catholic gentlemen, with a stress on both parts of that — Catholic and gentlemen.
I can’t reveal the details of the ceremony that brought my son into the First Degree of our Order, but suffice it to say that there was one proud father who was watching his son take an important step into manhood.
In our fallen society, “manhood” is too often associated with excessive behavior (alcoholic or sexual), or with the chronic shunning of responsibility (see the phenomenon of the extende adolescence). The “masculinity” recognized by our culture is typically seen as strutting, ignorant, misogynistic machismo .
To be a Catholic gentleman is the antithesis of that. Honor, gentleness, selfless service, patriotism, humility, integrity, kindness, courage, commitment, gift of self, loving, and religious. That is what it is to be a real man. Those are the ideals of a true Knight.
My son certainly isn’t perfect — how can he be with such an imperfect father? But the other night a transition took place in our lives, and I’m very, very happy about it.
My son moved further forward towards manhood.
My son became my brother.