Since 1882, membership in the Knights of Columbus has been open to men 18 years of age or older who are “practical” (that is, practicing) Catholics. Since that time, the Knights of Columbus have understood “practical catholic” to mean a Catholic who accepts the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, aspires to live in accord with the precepts of the Catholic Church, and is in good standing in the Catholic Church.
Charter Constitution and Laws of the Knights of Columbus
Candidates join local units, called “councils,” most of which are based in one Catholic parish or the community. The candidate takes part in initiation degrees that explain the four Columbian principles: (1) Charity, (2) Unity, (3) Fraternity, and (4) Patriotism.
A candidate is considered a “Knight” after taking his First Degree. Still, he is encouraged to advance through the Second and Third Degrees and on to the Fourth Degree, whose members promote the virtue of patriotism by serving as honor guards and color corps and promoting respect for the country and the flag.
Knights of Columbus have a proud heritage. The qualified Catholic man can share this heritage and build a more fantastic future by affiliating himself with this forceful, effective fraternal organization.