Saturday, August 20, 2011


The Fourth Principle of the Order - PATRIOTISM

Who is the Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus?  He is a patriot, enlightened and informed by religion.  He is a Catholic citizen.  The purpose of the Fourth Degree is to promote a love of country and inspire the duties of citizenship; to publicly symbolize the presence of Catholics in a civil society and to draw attention to the Order and the Catholic Church.  A Sir Knight is dedicated to informing himself of his duties as a citizen and to carry out these duties in the best interest of the Catholic Church and country, to promote respect for law and order, and to practice his religion consistently and faithfully.  A Sir Knight must conduct himself in such a manner that he brings nothing but credit upon our Church and our Country.

The regalia for the Fourth Degree is taken from and patterned after pictures of Christopher Columbus:  a black Prince Albert coat, black trousers, black soft felt hat with an ostrich feather circling the crown, a reversible cape -- black on one side and scarlet on the other, white cross and silver belt, sword and gauntlet.  Modifications have been made over time and different colors added to designate the rank of officers.

Symbols of the Fourth Degree:  the Emblem, the Cross, the Flag, and the Sword.

The EMBLEM - A symbol of Catholic Patriotism.  It consists of a triad emblem featuring a dove and the earth.  Both the dove and the globe are mounted on a variation of the crusader's cross.

The CROSS - The Cross of Christ.  A symbol of our reverence. It is the bulwark of national honor, the inspiration of patriotism, and the guardian of personal worth.

The FLAG - A symbol of Our national independence.  The flag embodies the essence of patriotism. It prophesies the triumph of government, civic and religious liberty, and national righteousness throughout the world.

The SWORD.  The sword is worn in church to show reverence for the Eucharist and respect for the Bishop or Hierarchy.  Members of the Honor Guard are publicly acknowledging their willingness to defend their church and priesthood.  The ceremonial sword is used to render a salute out of respect, love and honor for priests and dignitaries.  It is worn as an outward sign of commitment to protect the Church and defend the faith and stand up against bigotry. The presence of the sword adds to the beauty and pageantry of our liturgies.  All units must first consult with the Bishop or Pastor before participating at any church function in their uniforms wearing a sword.  The wishes of the clergy will be respected.  While in the eyes of Knights of Columbus member, his sword is symbolic of his willingness to defend, rather than deny the faith.  It is not worn if in the opinion of Bishop or Priest that it would be viewed as portraying violence or militancy.

To become a member of the Fourth Degree, you must be a member of good standing (3rd Degree) for at least 6 months prior to the exemplification of the Fourth Degree, be at least 18 years of age, and a citizen of the country in which you reside.

Extracted from the 4D Newsletter, July - August 2002.

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