A Time for Resolution

Tony Slagle, Texas State Council Historian

January is a time when we stop and reflect on the year past, and with that reflection usually comes a promise, made to ourselves in the form of a resolution, to better ourselves in some way.

As Catholics, we are extremely lucky to have the benefit of the teachings of our Catholic Faith. As Knights, we are equally lucky that the tenets of our Order provide us a roadmap to improve not only our own lives, but through our actions and deeds as Knights, the ability to impact the lives of those around us for the better.  

January also marks the anniversary of the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court: Roe v. Wade.  It was 45 years ago this January that the highest court in the land weighed in on the abortion issue, stating that the “right” to abortion is constitutionally protected.  Since the Supreme Court weighed in on that case in 1973, our Order has been on the front lines of the cultural battle to preserve the “Culture of Life” in the face of a determined opposition that is antithetical to our Catholic Faith and the steadfast belief that life is sacred from conception to a natural death. Essential to this opposition is a history of our Order providing both members and nonmembers an ability to put this belief into concrete action. 

A year after the Roe decision in January of 1974, thousands of people participated in the first March for Life in Washington, DC. Our Order was an integral part of that event. The March for Life has happened every year since that inaugural march on Washington, and the Knights remain a vital part of each event, including hosting a Rosary Rally on Ellipse near White House in preparation for the March in 1978. The Order is involved in local and state marches held every year on the anniversary of the Roe decision and encourages Knights who cannot make the trip Washington to attend those events and to show support at the local level.  Texas Knights participate in the March for Life in the state capitol of Austin and the rally on the Capitol grounds on an annual basis, as do Knights all across the globe.

And as is often the case, Texas Knights have put their own unique spin on the call to action surrounding the Roe decision.  In October of 1973, a group of Knights in Garland, Texas, tired of all of the positive spin legalized abortion was getting in the media, decided to hold their mass rally to raise money for crisis pregnancy centers in the area and to shed a light on the other positive options available to mothers who found themselves in a “crisis pregnancy.”  Headed up by several dedicated local knights, the Hike for Life began from modest beginnings to become the oldest and longest pro-life event in Texas. Hikes have sprung up around the state with each passing year with Councils in Dallas, Fort Worth, Brownville and Bastrop now participating in the annual event.

In 2004, the Council at Texas A&M helped organize the very first “40 days of Life,” which is a program of prayer, fasting, and silent witness. This program surpassed everyone’s expectations by reaching over 25,000 households in that first year and making local, state, and even national news. However, the most important news was a reported 28% drop in the local abortion rate! The program went national in 2007 and in internationally shortly thereafter.

Of course, the Knights commitment to end abortion manifest itself many different ways.  Local councils across the county are involved in prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics and stories abound about women on their way into an abortion clinic changing their minds due to a prayer vigil outside of the clinic. Through advertisement and other media, the Order has tirelessly promoted a pro-life cause and supported initiatives to provide pregnant mothers other options. In 2009, the Supreme Council started the Ultrasound Initiative. State and local councils have teamed up with Supreme since that date to pay for the placement of ultrasound machines in pro-life pregnancy care centers in all 50 states, Canada, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Peru. 

While the Order as done it part to create and encourage a Culture of Life in the face of all the obstacles to that modern secular society has erected, we must not rest on our laurels. In 2010, and the annual meeting of the Supreme Council in Washington, DC, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson explains why it’s important, more than ever, to fight the good fight. Invoking the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and the specter of the Dred Scott Case, in which the US Supreme Court allowed slavery to expand into the western territories, the Supreme Knight Anderson said, “Abraham Lincoln could not accept that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case had settled the issue of slavery. And we cannot accept that Roe v. Wade has settled the issue of abortion.”

We must continue to do our part to put our Faith and the tenets of our Order into action. Take the opportunity that the New Year provides us. Resolve this year to take a greater role in pro-life activities. Resolve to do your part to defend life.  

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