Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 25, 2006
Supreme Knight meets Harper
Carl Anderson applauds PM's reopening of marriage debate
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper the day before the marriage motion was introduced in the House of Commons.
It was a friendly and historic meeting because it was the first time the Knights had met with a Canadian prime minister, Anderson said in a telephone interview from Knights' headquarters in New Haven, Conn.
Anderson saw the date as providential. He told Harper that he applauded him for taking the initiative to reopen the debate on marriage.
During the meeting, Anderson said, "there was general agreement" on the marriage issue, so it was not discussed at great depth.
"We did talk a bit of the burden this puts on religious people and religious institutions whose moral teaching is at odds with this kind of distortion of the institution of marriage," he said.
"From our side it was more of an input meeting and he listened very carefully. We were very pleased with that."
Anderson said he was disappointed with the Dec. 7 defeat of the motion.
"As far as we're concerned, we're going to continue to press home the point that traditional marriage is in the best interest of children, in the best interest of couples and in the best interest of the country," he said.
"The institution of marriage is not simply an arbitrary or historical construct. It grows out of the nature of the human person and men and women. And changing it will have many unforeseen consequences."
Anderson said no-fault divorce has had devastating consequences on children since it was introduced in 1968, not only during their early years, but for many decades after the divorce.
Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis Savoie, a Canadian who accompanied Anderson to the meeting, said he too was disappointed by the defeat of the marriage motion.
He was, he said, particularly concerned about the widening spread between those who voted in favour of traditional marriage and those in favour of retaining legal same-sex unions.
The Knights, however, will continue to fight for traditional family values and maintain their pro-life stand, Savoie said. The organization remains non-partisan.
In the last election, the Knights urged Canadian Catholics to get to know their individual candidates' stands on family and life issues and vote accordingly.
Savoie said he hoped the visit with the prime minister was not a one-time event, but that the supreme knight might be invited back, or that a future request for a meeting would be granted.
Harper has shown openness to meeting with Catholic organizations. He has met twice with the executive of the Catholic Women's League in less than a year.
Last spring's meeting with a CWL delegation was the first time in recent memory league members had met with a prime minister.