The Principles of the Knights of Columbus


Charity is the first principle of the Order. Knights are followers of Christ and men of faith. As St. James reminds us, “faith without works is dead.” Therefore, as Knights we are committed to charity, easing the plight of those less fortunate.


Unity is the second principle of the Knights of Columbus. In unity there is strength. Existing in an environment that was openly hostile to Catholics, the founders of the Order relied on the strength of unity to remain steadfast in the Faith while claiming a rightful place in society. Today the Order uses that strength to speak our for religiously-grounded moral values in a modern culture that has forgotten or forsaken them.


Fraternity is the third principle of the Order. In 19th century America, life insurance was beyond the financial reach of many poor Catholics, and social services did not exist. Through the Knights of Columbus men were able to band together as brothers to help one another in times of distress, sickness and death. In the years since its founding in 1882, the Knights of Columbus has also become one of the largest and strongest life insurance companies in North America.


Patriotism is the principle of the Fourth Degree. One of the reasons the Order was founded was to emphasize that Catholics are proud citizens of their countries. Today Fourth Degree Knights in full regalia, the visible arm of the Order, serve witness to the values of devotion to God and country, the bedrock of patriotism.

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