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Changing of the guard: Knights of Columbus makes dramatic change in uniform

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This news was causing a stir on social media today:

The Knights of Columbus, long associated with swords, capes and chapeaus, will be going through a significant uniform change.

The traditional regalia worn by the Knights’ Fourth Degree members will be replaced, announced Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson during the Knights of Columbus 135th Supreme Convention being held in St. Louis Aug. 1. The address was available via livestream on EWTN.

Throughout the years, the regalia of the Fourth Degree, known as the patriotic degree, has gone through changes, Anderson said. When the Fourth Degree was first established, the uniform included white ties, top hats and tails.

In place of a tuxedo with a black bow tie, members will be wearing a blue blazer, an official Knights of Columbus tie and a beret, all with the Fourth Degree emblem on them, along with a white shirt and dark gray slacks.

There was no mention as to whether the swords would remain a part of the uniform.

Read on to learn the thinking behind this.

UPDATE: Matthew Bunson has some insight over the National Catholic Register: 

How does the new uniform compare to the other groups typically seen at major liturgical events in the life of the Church in the United States. Two, of course, leap to mind: The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (commonly called the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre) and the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (commonly called the Order of Malta).

It is important to qualify any discussion, of course, that the members of the Holy Sepulchre and of Malta belong to ancient orders of knighthood, while the Knights of Columbus belong to a great but nevertheless fraternal Catholic organization. The traditions of the two orders are thus much older, and the vesture reflects that noble antiquity.

He goes on to describe the uniforms involved, and adds:

…The new uniform for the Knights of Columbus is reminiscent of the Maltese service uniform. Like that of Malta, then, it is one of service. Given the work of the Knights of Columbus, it is a fitting symbol.

Read more. 

Photo: Wikipedia 

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Deacon Greg Kandra
The Deacon's Bench
Deacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York. For nearly three decades, he was a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to a variety of programs and was honored with every major award in broadcasting. Deacon Greg now serves as Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA.) He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York.
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