Knights of Columbus Archives

Anti-Catholicism

Included in this record group is general information on anti-Catholic activities (1920-1961) as well as material on:

•The Bogus Oath  (1901-1981) an oath falsely attributed to the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus and circulated as such beginning in 1912 and as recently as the 1960 U.S. Presidential election campaign.  These files contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications and other information on many anti-Catholic groups which circulated this oath. Included in this collection are: the booklet Criminal Libels produced by the Knights of Columbus in 1928 in response to the circulation of this spurious oath as well as a March 1915 article from The Columbiad on the Commission on Religious Prejudice established by the Order in 1914.

The Mexican Persecution Files (1914-1977) detail the Order’s activities from 1926-1937 to publicize and protest the persecution of Catholics in Mexico.  Correspondence, newspaper clippings and copies of many of the pamphlets produced by the Order during this protest are included such as this Resolution on the Mexican Situation adopted by the Supreme Council on August 5, 1926 and a Jan. 7, 1935, letter from Archbishop Leopoldo Ruiz, apostolic delegate to Mexico, to Supreme Advocate Luke E. Hart.  Additions to this collection include material relating to the beatification and canonization of members of the Order who died during the persecution.

• The Anti-Communism Files (1913-1975) detail the Order’s activities to combat communism, and include radio transcripts of the “Safeguards of America” and “Foundations of Our American Ideals” programs and pamphlets relating to this topic such as The Perils of Communism by George Herman Derry published in 1938, and Fight for American Ideals in 1947.

• Oregon School  Case (1921-1929) These files detail the efforts of  the Knights in support of defeating laws aimed at compelling students to attend public schools.  The Catholic campaign was led by Archbishop Alexander Christie of Portland, Oregon.  In 1924 the law was declared unconstitutional by a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. A November 13, 1922 letter to Supreme Knight Flaherty from the State Deputy of Montana urged the Knights to take action on this issue.  A June 3, 1925, letter from Oregon State Deputy P. J. Hanley (1922-25) rejoiced in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that affirmed a parent's right to choose Catholic education for his child.