How many times have you heard the phrase “separation of powers” or “separation of church and state” or “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?” If you haven’t heard it before, maybe study up on the laws and rules of this country they didn’t teach you in public school. In short, it means the church is a separate body, not to be governed by any state or government entity.
In particular, the Catholic Church has been bleeding members for quite some time; basically, in a given year, about 30 members would join the Catholic faith at our church. On average, we lost at least that many due to death in an average month. The numbers do not add up. When the shutdowns started, the church (via the bishop, the controlling entity for the Diocese) said it was ok simply watching Mass on TV or the Internet or listening on the radio, and not participating in the Eucharist (Holy Communion) was ok. Even though the Catholic faith says you must participate in the Eucharist weekly, the church bowed to the State.
While the church did eventually open up outdoor services, it was very limited, and sparsely attended. We started a live stream, but again folks didn’t attend. The church made it comfy for folks to watch Mass in their pajamas while sipping coffee. A few weeks turned into months, which turned into a year plus now. While churches have re-opened, it was to smaller crowds; 100 folks max. They made it easy to opt out as the bishop continued the “you don’t have to attend in person, it still counts” decree.
My point here is a habit is formed over time, and it takes discipline to really form a habit. You have to hold yourself accountable. In the case of the church, folks broke habit. After missing for a couple weeks, it became months, then a year plus. These folks are not likely to return. This is similar to a workout regime at the gym. It takes a while to form a habit, but it can be broken, and once broken, it’s hard to get started again. It’s easy for folks to wake up and turn on the TV. Lord knows, as Americans, we consume enough of that already!
A new habit has been formed, and not a good one for the local parish.
Speaking of the local parishes, let me again use my parish as an example. We have 5 masses each weekend, and weekly collection (AKA the offering) ran about $17K a week prior to Covid. Now it runs about 5K, and I feel that is drastically overstated. Our priest gave a long diatribe about how we are required to give 10% of our annual income to the church. Keep in mind, I have never heard that amount before, and in the Catholic faith, the word “tithing” was always used to describe the Mormon religion, one the Catholics view as a cult. Our priest used his entire sermon to speak about money and finances, lacking any self-awareness that the church shut down for about a year. During that time, many folks hearing his words were out of work or otherwise adversely impacted.
My father remarked that he was surprised that most of the congregation “regulars” at the early Mass had yet to return, speculating they may not have been vaccinated yet. While this thinking is all well and good, the demographics at that Mass are almost exclusively 70 plus in age. These folks have had about 6 months of time to get the shot, and by now, its likely most have received it; however, they just aren’t going to attend service anymore. Think about it, the excuse was “the church is closed” “I will return when I get the shot,” now it’s, “I will return when the numbers go down.” These folks ain’t coming back in large numbers.
The church bent over for the Governor and the state government. It, like any other organization, showed its true colors. They talk a good game, but … The consequence of their action is that most watch EWTN or some other form of online church and have no intention of returning. They are spinless and they showed it. The folks holding out hope for a mass return to the church will be vastly disappointed, its hollow words as far as I am concerned. Nowadays, there is no separation of Church and State and the bishop here proved it to be true. Now the church is concerned about money…yeah that’s rich.
The editorial board was meeting at an undisclosed location when an urgent communication came across the live feed. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church AKA the world’s richest man, aka social justice warrior, aka #notmypope decided same sex folks in a union (I guess we are still fighting the civil war) would be allowed in the church. Wait for it…. Wait for it……ok we wound him up, that’s Jake the Snake’s music …..time to turn him loose.
Seriously what Bible does this clown read from….I would say the Gospel of Marx AKA the heretic’s Bible! Literally, this social justice warrior wannabe feels the need to channel his inner Aaron Park spewing his stink all over everyone. Seriously I listened to this “pope” Francis AKA Bergoglio talk about needing to grow the church and that we are all God’s children……..ummm ok. I haven’t seen a constant flow of sewage like this since I drank the water in Mexico.
Maybe “Pope” Bergoglio should visit one of his churches, literally in the vestibule (for all you heathens, that’s the common area when you walk in the front door of the church) there are a couple brochures saying and I quote “Homosexuality is a mortal sin” which means you will not be granted eternal life in heaven. Yet this jackhole says all are welcome? HUH? It’s a mortal sin, but that’s ok?
Perhaps we should discuss the Pope’s handling of a local priest in this area, Fr Jeremy Leatherby. For many decades, the Leatherby family has donated both time and treasure to support the Catholic Church, as well as Prop 8, banning gay “marriage” in this state. Their “family business” something you will know nothing about running by the way, was vandalized in the midst of standing with the Church and its teaching, not a word from you or any of your ilk. Where were you when I heard several sermons about needing to vote for Prop 8 for the sanctity of marriage? And you pay back Fr Leatherby by having Bishop Jaime Soto defrock him? Well thank God we now know what it takes to get a member of clergy defrocked, have sex with a young child is ok, dare step out and not recognize the Pope’s authority for making socialist proclamations in the Name of Christ…..and he’s gone!
In closing, if you get a chance to get up close to this very reclusive Pope maybe ask him; why do you go against God’s teachings about homosexuality? Why do you discuss climate change when it is conveniently not found in any Bible I have read? Are you actually really Catholic? When did you become so out of touch with the Catholic Faith? Does your okaying of homosexuality release the priests who committed this alleged “moral sin” or is that why you have stopped the investigation child sexual abuse every step of the way? Sorry “Pope” but this won’t absolve the sins of those you have covered up for.
Pope Bergoglio you are a jerk! You tell us common folk to do your bidding, in regard to charity, giving, tithing and more, yet you won’t even police your own flock. You are the worst kind of person. Keep focusing on homosexuality you bozo, whilst ignoring the fastest growing segments of Catholicism are; Blacks, Hispanics, and Filipinos. And not to educate you, but those groups are among the most hostile to homosexual “marriage.” So, what is next, abortion is ok, only if you didn’t mean to get pregnant?
Maybe do us all a favor, speak to Pope Benedict and ask him, maybe if these are ok? Actually, never mind. Screw it, keep peddling your half truths about poverty, climate change, and homosexual marriage. Too bad you don’t have any time to proclaim the Gospel, I think the world needs that a lot more than another idiot with a collar extolling the virtues of Karl Marx. Even the Pope can’t sever two masters.
Jake the Snake
Editor’s Note: For those doubting Jake’s position on this topic, I wanted to bring up the following passage which states that some in Corinth were homosexual until they believed. Paul makes it clear that you can’t be a believer and an cling to your sin.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11a
I celebrated Easter this past weekend like most religious folks try to do. I woke up, poured a cup of coffee, sat on my couch, and logged into a “live stream” Easter service. To be very frank, this was the most forced, pathetic let down I have witnessed in my years on this earth. Allow me to explain.
First our head priest “abandoned the flock” by returning to the Philippines to mourn a relative who had passed. I do not take issue with his mourning, as that is not my place, but the timing was horrific. It left our associate priest in charge, and with English being his 2nd or third language I feel he takes a back seat on everything that doesn’t involve the Spanish mass. The music was live played recordings from YouTube….yes, we even got treated to the commercial advertising prior to the songs being played. After the homily (sermon) I had to turn it off, it may have been a valiant effort, and the devil was likely smiling at my decision, but it looked forced. The priest was literally reading his homily off an iPad, and during the hymns he had a mono-toned voice, which again seemed very forced.
I was a little taken aback that we never were treated to the typical Christmas and Easter ode where the priest apologizes to all the folks who only show up to mass twice a year. It’s honestly a tradition unlike any other…and I’m not talking about the Master’s. It’s hard to fathom but yes, most all Catholic Priests apologize in hopes these folks will start showing up weekly to service….it never occurs. I never understood why someone would eschew the regulars in hopes that a couple additional folks will resume full attendance at mass.
Sadly it all boils down to $$$. More folks in the pews = more $$$ on the plate, and more money in the bank account. That being said, I was more taken aback by an email I received from the Bishop of Northern California Diocese. I will paraphrase and not include the email, but it talked about “tithing” which is a “highly suggested amount of required giving to the church of your before tax salary.” I literally was stunned. While I do not pretend to know anything about this Covid-19, I do know this, people are scared, and church has been closed for about 4 weeks now. A closed church means very, very little money donated. I feel for the church, even though ours is not struggling; we have almost 2 million in the bank. However this has to be one of the more tone deaf things I have heard. We have almost 22 million folks nationwide unemployed, most of which are all in the same sectors, meaning their unemployment is going to be long term. I thought churches were supposed to charitable. Why is it we have shut down entirely, yet we demand folks….check that….guilt trip folks to keep giving? I hate to say this but when an economic crisis like this occurs, folks need to take care of themselves, and I hate to break it to clergy folks, but at the moment, you are not the most important thing in people’s lives. Homes, cars, and food on the table are far, far more important. Church giving, and other charitable giving are optional.
However an organization I love to beat up on outdid the “Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Church” I’m talking about the Knights of Cash…. I mean Columbus. Check this out. Our first vow, one of charity should be in full force right now. Our local food bank has made a desperate call for volunteers, and donations; for both food and money. However this plea fell on deaf ears. Instead, both the state office and the supreme office have sent out email blast upon email blast saying now is the best time to recruit new members. Think about that one for a minute, rather than actually do some good and help the folks who actually need it, at the local level, we are being told to recruit???? Increasingly I have begun to be distant with this cult, as I feel it has turned into a pyramid type scheme. Seriously only an organization led by an incompetent jackhole like Lee Ann Harper could possibly think this is a smart idea.
Not to be outdone, here at the local level, we were going to have a ceremony to promote to the 4th degree, this ceremony requires folks to pack in shoulder to shoulder in a church…again this is mostly older folks mind you. For a day long ceremony, followed by a banquet, where the usual folks promote themselves for sainthood all while this virus is killing folks in this demographic group! Yes you cannot make this up….even doing this over the priest’s objections! When the event was finally cancelled, the email focused more on how upset the leadership was that the recruits would now count toward next Columbian Years numbers! I swear these folks must all belong to a local Amway chapter; the absolute lack of common sense is befuddling to me. Again, this virus seems to kill folks who are elderly, which happens to be the age of all our new recruits…. but what’s a few lives when a silver star for recruiting is at stake.
It’s very disappointing to me. Great moments come from great opportunity, and while I won’t say Covid-19 is a great opportunity, it has presented a challenge for which the Church or the Knights could shine. Instead both have decided to ignore the Bible and its teachings and put money and recruitment above all else. How tone deaf can you be? While in the midst of a crisis, you are guilt tripping folks into giving money while not having the compassion to understand this economic depression that we are entering into is wrecking families. No one at my church, or my Knights Council will be lifting a finger to help those in need, and frankly why should they? The lesson seems to be that money should be hoarded and, in such times,, who the heck cares about the needy or charity? Maybe the Bishop should question why Planned Parenthood gets to remain open rather than asking us to reach deeper into our wallets? Maybe he should come out of his ivory tower and recommend we help at the local level, set our swords and shields down for a minute, and volunteer? What better tool for candidate recruiting or growing the church or Knights Council than needy folks seeing local groups step up? You know like the Rotarians, or Elks? The church may be in for a day of reckoning soon and not just falling membership…. changes to Prop 13 and our tax-exempt status may be coming soon. You think the state/county/local government wouldn’t love getting a piece of that 2 million?
Jake the Snake
Editor’s Note: Jake this change in religious practice was all predicted 16 years ago. At the time we thought it was a joke but considering that Bill Gates is at the epicenter of the pandemic modeling that closed your church maybe…
“we will make the sacraments available on-line for the first time”
“You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution — even reduce your time in Purgatory — all without leaving your home.”
Lee Ann Harper serves as the manager of the “Office of Youth Protection” for the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut. Sounds like a really important job and I guess in some respects it is. This office was created in response to the Catholic PRIEST sex abuse scandals, because… well, let’s ignore the priests and focus on regular married/single churchgoing volunteers. Yes, you read that right. If you sign up to join the Knights of Columbus—a non-profit men’s group whose purpose is to serve the church—you, not clergymen, must undergo a background check and get fingerprinted prior to being able to volunteer on church property. I found this idea somewhat objectionable because who ever heard of a crisis in Catholic Church volunteers and because KOC members hardly ever work with youth. Despite my misgivings about the need for such a review of my past—I had nothing to hide and was an officer in our local council—I complied with the request. This was four years ago.
I later found out that the results of said background check were sent to the local parish office, not the mothership in New Haven, Connecticut. I have major objections to this, as a close friend of mine was recently told by the parish office that he needed to be checked again because they lost his results. These folks in the parish office, are not Knights, we do not serve them, keep in mind the parish office or diocese (governing body of the Roman Catholic Church) have no jurisdiction over us.
This past year I moved into the important “Deputy Grand Knight Role.” In essence, a position comparable to the Vice President (the Grand Knight is the top dog). In this position, I also had to take the title of Family Director. Family Director is a largely symbolic position as we have an older parish. As a result, the Family Director does nothing as far as the church is concerned.
As a young single man with no family, I know my bounds. I NEVER volunteer at youth events nor volunteer my services to drive/chaperone. The parish office knows this… I do this because the optics look bad, and as a brother Knight, I took an oath to never bring scandal on the church, or our Supreme Pontiff (the Pope). I know my lane and I stay in it…it’s a symbolic position.
Given that the Family Director is just a symbolic position on the Knight’s generic org chart, I was surprised to find an email in my spam folder directing me to submit to a background check for this position, and of course I agreed.
This email was where issues began to turn ugly with the Knights. I found this out about 6 weeks later when I got an overnight FedEx letter stuck in my door. I opened said letter and it stated that due to my driving record, keep in mind my criminal record is clean, I was unfit to hold the position of Family Director and to contact this Lee Ann Harper to discuss my volunteering further.
Let me reiterate, the Knights of Columbus is a volunteer group, one which had no issue with my previous background checks. Again, this letter never specified which position I could not hold, and I hold a bunch of positions, as you will read later.
In response to the letter, I called the mothership and low and behold, Lee Ann was not working, so I spoke to her assistant. Said assistant was the definition of a re-moron (they can’t be classified as a retard or moron, so they get their own title) and I was told that my driving record makes me ineligible.
I hung up and sent Lee Ann an email, since she was out of town according to her hired help. She responded within 15 minutes, saying I could beg for my job back and she was so sorry this happened. This is the typical response of an incompetent Jackhole. First of all, her response was from New Haven, Connecticut according to my iPhone and second, I would never beg to keep my job in a volunteer group let alone a real job. Just to remind people, the background check was only required due to a ceremonial title, not a big deal.
Harper took matters as any other incompetent Jackhole would and decided to fire-off, yet another overnight FedEx envelop claiming I was unfit for the position and was removed as Family Director. You dunked on me pretty good sending this letter to our Grand Knight and Financial Secretary both of whom are great friends. I was embarrassed. Questions were asked, and again, I have no criminal record, not expunged or dismissed. I fielded calls from both men, and both were just as confused as I am. Your exact words in your ill-fated letter to my Grand Knight was that he was directly responsible to make sure I did not hold the position I took as Family Director. I could care less about symbolic positions that are in name only, what was interesting is the remark she made later in this letter “feel free to remain as a brother Knight and keep paying your dues.” Keep paying my dues, and remain as a Knight? Weird, kinda goes back to my other blogs here. The letter sent out by Lee Ann, essentially makes me out to be a person with pedophilia in my background, even though the “sins I committed” in their eyes lie in my driving record. Again, just to reiterate, I have no criminal record, and intentionally stay away from any youth events as the optic of an unmarried young man serving as a chaperone would look bad.
The letters I received saddened me in several ways. First being I never wanted to join this group. I have always believed there is an ugly under belly in every church group and I wanted no part of “seeing how the sausage is made.” I worked a shift as a volunteer with my father who is a Knight, at the fireworks booth, and I met a good Catholic gentleman who I consider one of my closest mentors and friends. When I call, he answers and is always supportive. I still didn’t want to join; however, my father got a bad cancer diagnosis and told me it would mean a lot if I joined…so I did. My father is okay now, and my mother had two bouts with cancer and as a result I strongly believe in the power of prayer. I joined and was viewed at first as an ugly duckling; a young person who wants to volunteer when its mostly an older person’s group. It was a struggle breaking in at first, but eventually I was welcomed. I took time off work to help set up for our events, and while I was always viewed as wet behind the ears, I did my darndest to help out. The turning point was at a crab feed five years ago. I signed up to help in the kitchen and they had too much help. As a result, I was sent home but on my way out the door, I was told to “give this tray of pasta to the youth group.” They were the servers, and this was their dinner prior to the event. I did as I was instructed and was ready to head to the parking lot when a wife of a Knight told me they needed another bartender for the event…I said I would stick around and help. I was a little disappointed about not being needed in the kitchen, but I cannot blame them, and a motto I live by is “a setback is a set up for a comeback” so I helped-out. I wasn’t great. I was pouring for tips and was reminded, we aren’t at a Friday’s or Chili’s, it’s a fundraiser. The head bartender took me under his wing and my volunteerism skyrocketed. While most of my staff is deceased, I have been the bar manager for 3 years. It’s a tough job, but I am good at it now. I would even say really good, as I have been asked to bartend weddings and other events by other brother Knights.
3 years ago, our Grand Knight personally asked me to be his number 4 in command, a great honor. I chaired the Recruiting Committee last year as the number 3 and while the job is not easy, I did my job and again I was good at it. Now as the second in command I have the respect of almost everyone. I hold positions as head bar manager, Deputy Grand Knight, Chancellor of the Admission (new member ceremony) team, and the Warden (formation degree team). Most would say, if you need a guy to run an event ask Jake. In addition, I even raised over two grand for Special Olympics last year at an event I bar tended.
Yet despite my track record of service, incompetent Jackhole Lee Ann Harper wants to end all of this in a dispute over a position in name only, that does literally nothing. It’s funny that Lee Ann wants me gone so badly. In my real-world job, I’m required to undergo a background check annually and they have no issues with my record…oh, and they require that my driving record needs to be clear. In addition, I coach high school football, and both schools for which I volunteer ran my driving and criminal record yet have no issue with me coaching or even driving the players. The owner of this blog has no issue with my driving or background…yet you do?
Despite all this Lee Ann, you want me gone yet you ignore the other Knights who have never completed this type of background check upon joining. What about the leader of our youth group who has a lengthy criminal history… and is also a Knight? I even sent you his criminal record, yet he is permitted to remain and work with children. The owner of this blog knows my history better than you and he keeps me around. Furthermore, I would say he considers me a close friend.
Lee Ann take my advice, resign! I have previously written about your superiors screwing up and you’re irresponsible and arbitrary actions have made you my current target to write about. I have been in contact with our master who claims he has gotten people in your office terminated. You are an incompetent Jackhole and I’m coming for you. No one likes you. I’ve overcome more adversity that you can possibly throw at me. I was born despite my mother’s umbilical cord wrapped around my neck more times than I can count. I accomplish what I set my mind to perform. During the time that I played on my high school football team, we never lost; I have a ring to prove it, you Jackhole! I’m coming for you. Start checking the want ads, I heard your skillset works at Burger King.
Jake the Snake
Oh, I heard Lee Ann approved a member with pedophilia in his background…. stay tuned for my next blog.
I have written in this space recently about the Knights Insurance Program being a fraudulent racketeering scheme, we have linked the article here if you choose to revisit it. However just when you thought this scheme was coming to a halt, they find a new low. Get this, the insurance program is now open to not just current Knights and their immediate family, now it’s open to anyone! Yeah, they say only to practicing Catholics but how does one identify or define that these days? I know quite a few people who call themselves Catholic yet haven’t been to church in decades! Or better yet how about the “Chreasters” as I call them who only show up on Christmas and Easter? Better yet, the Insurance Agents who sell these policies have territories that cover multiple churches, no way they even know if these people are confirmed into the church!
So now anyone can sign up for our life insurance, annuities, 401k, and get this, long term care insurance! Pay most attention to the last one, almost no one sells long term care anymore because it is a huge money loser! CalPERS quit selling a long time ago and I cannot find any reputable carrier who sells these plans! So now we have opened the flood gates to anyone. The only requirement is…..wait for it……wait…….you must join the Knights within 60 days of buying the insurance. So in essence the Knights gain a member for each policy sold. So I guess this is a way to grow membership right?
Incorrect. This is merely a way to prop up their insurance scheme, that by the way, is seeing its coffers for paying claims getting closer and closer to zero. They will sell this product, then the insured will have to join a council, and in theory become a dues paying member. Here is the problem, if you are an insured member you do not have to pay your dues, because the order cannot drop an insurance member! Even if your dues are in arrears over 10 years…does not matter if you have an insurance policy that you pay on!
(Sounds suspiciously like the CRA membership model of not paying dues as long as you are willing to be a delegate to local endorsing conventions.)
But wait, there is more! The council that you belong to has to send a per capita payment each year to Supreme HQ back in New Haven, Connecticut, whether the local unit collected dues from you or not. Think of it like a pyramid scheme, the folks in New Haven get paid for every member from the local council, regardless of whether their dues are paid or not!
That my loyal readers is the definition of a pyramid scheme, and they have made us dues paying members subsidize the non-payers for the betterment of the fat cats in New Haven.
In a pyramid scheme, an organization compels individuals who wish to join to make a payment. In exchange, the organization promises its new members a share of the money taken from every additional member that they recruit. The directors of the organization (those at the top of the pyramid) also receive a share of these payments. For the directors, the scheme is potentially lucrative—whether or not they do any work, the organization’s membership has a strong incentive to continue recruiting and funneling money to the top of the pyramid.
However worst of all is they are poisoning their own local councils, due to the unknown. Rather than allowing the local membership to vet new candidates this process can be circumvented, allowing a member who is a complete unknown to have voting rights! Or even worse what if they try to spearhead a takeover? I used to belong to a church, who like any other Roman Catholic Church desperate for members let in quite a few homosexual couples, they worked their way onto the parish council (the governing body) and major changes happened. Suddenly the procession included streamers and dancers, the choir was replaced with a band, the congregation swayed during the songs, the sermon turned into something you would expect from a televangelist church! I no longer felt “in” and I left the church.
Sadly the same thing will happen to the local Knights councils. This is nothing but desperation on the part of a group who knows the gig is up. With no power to kick these members out, an aging population who uses the meetings and dinner as a chance to hide from their wives, or drink all you can for $7, the writing is on the wall. Word to the wise, I would buy no product from this group, as most of their insured membership will be looking up at the ground not down at it in the next 15 years.
The program is going insolvent and this is yet another last gasp effort to shore it up. The next step will be allowing any and every one to join the insurance program and the requirement of being a “practicing Catholic in accordance with the Holy See” will be removed. All this just so a group of incompetent jackholes in New Haven can make money off the dues paying members.
Lee Ann Harper, I am coming directly after you in my next blog, after what you did to me! She is the definition of an incompetent Jackhole.
Back in August 2018, the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic Church volunteer group) was served a lawsuit by a vendor alleging insurance fraud and manipulation, essentially running a Ponzi scheme.
U.S. District Court in Denver against the Knights of Columbus, claiming the Catholic-charity behemoth is using “phantom” numbers to fraudulently inflate its 1.4 million insurance pool of mostly aging members.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Greenwood Village attorney Jeffrey Vail on behalf of UKnight Interactive and manager Leonard Labriola, accuses the charity of artificially claiming that it has 1.9 million insureds worldwide by counting members who have dropped out. It also accuses the charity of stealing the company’s trade secrets.
Another Catholic organization facing serious lawsuits stemming from misleading its members…heard that before? Sadly, as a member of said group, the lawsuit is wholly WITH merit, and not a baseless claim, as some may have you believe. See I work in the business and I can say there is manipulation and cooking the books taking place and has been for some time. I am here to tell you the insurance arm of this organization is a Ponzi scheme and will fail by 2033 if things don’t change rapidly. I will lay out my thesis and reasoning below.
First basic insurance 101: The company charges you a premium, and if nothing happens the insurance company gets to keep it, if something happens, they must pay out for a covered loss. One reason this line of work is very profitable is you pay them in today’s dollars, they pay out as long as 30 days after the incident, pocketing the difference. The monies collected can be invested, but a reserve enough to cover a certain threshold of claims must be kept liquid in order to meet obligations should they arise!
In the case of the Knights of Columbus (KOC) they only sell life insurance, annuities, retirement, and long-term care policies to members and their spouses. As a result, they have a very small pool from which to choose since members must not only be Catholics but a member of the organization! In the case of all these products, claims are not anticipated for years after buying the product; in many cases, life insurance never will pay out! However, the organization is aging and has not been able to attract younger members to backfill the monies now being paid out to dying members. Worse yet, every major player in California has ceased selling long term care as it is very underpriced and most companies with policies remaining are doubling prices annually just to tread water! Even worse, the Knight’s products are not priced adequately, many far below the premium of far more reputable companies such as the carrier I represent! Problem is, in recent years, the amount of money paid out, has far exceeded monies paid in, resulting in an operating loss.
“Indeed, the KC Supreme insurance program is only one step removed from a classic Ponzi scheme,” the lawsuit says. “This case involves an elaborate scheme of racketeering, fraud, deception, theft, and broken promises by the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council (KC Supreme) and two of their senior executives, Thomas Smith and Matthew St. John.”
The problem lies in a couple of areas, like many groups and organizations not involving drinking or trips to a gentlemen’s clubs, the membership skews older. KOC is no different. Over 30% are over the age of 70. Most of the Knights in this age group own multiple policies totaling several hundred thousand or possibly a million dollars. But that’s ok because what about the other 70% right? Well here’s the issue, they are inactive. They only joined because their parent/grandparent made them and has been paying their dues. (Think CRA but not as far down the drain.). The reality is that this group has not bought the insurance, thus saddling the KOC with an aging membership controlling most of the insurance liability to be paid upon death!
Most phantom members are younger men who quit because of the demands of raising children and families, the lawsuit says. Aging and retiring members tend to remain active, it says.
For example, KC Supreme advertised on its website that it had 45,000 new members in 2010, while counting phantom members and omitting the fact that with the numbers of members who died or withdrew, net membership numbers actually shrank, the lawsuit says.
This creates a reserve issue and here is where the racketeering comes into play, and this part of the fraud leads all the way to New Haven, Connecticut where the HQ is located.
A directive came out, saying we are not to drop a member for any reason if he has attained the highest degree of rank…the only way to drop a member is if he has not paid dues for over 5 years! Think about that; 5 years plus of non-payment! (again, very reminiscent of CRA.)
The charity props its membership rolls by forcing 15,392 local Knights of Columbus councils to continue paying nominal dues for former phantom members after they drop out, the lawsuit says. The charity requires councils to recruit a new member before allowing them to drop an old one, the lawsuit says.
Based on such rules, one local council in New Jersey reports that it has 316 members when it actually has 54 members, the lawsuit says. When a Dallas council asked to remove more than 80 “long-delinquent” members from its rolls, KC Supreme only allowed eight to be removed, the lawsuit says.
I say the only way, because the other ways to drop someone are automatic…felony…no longer a Catholic…those things. The root issue is the younger members aren’t buying policies and have no intention to do so in the future, and since many members aren’t paying dues for themselves, they are being kept around to artificially inflate the membership rolls. This is where the racketeering scheme comes into play, as the KOC can lie to credit rating agencies about how solvent they are. KOC Insurance company can hide behind “…well we have 1.9 million members we can sell our products too…so we can be solvent if given an opportunity.”
While local councils do volunteer and charitable work, KC Supreme, generates billions of dollars tax-free every year selling life insurance, the lawsuit says. The Knights of Columbus’ KC Supreme website falsely advertises that its membership of “brother knights” grew for the 44th consecutive year and will soon top 2 million men, the lawsuit says.
“In fact, the true membership of the Knights of Columbus without these ‘phantom’ members is only about 1.4 million — their published number represents an approximate 36% overstatement!” the lawsuit says.
The insurance is pushed very hard by the organization. It’s mentioned at all 4 degrees (steps) you go through to full knighthood. You are required to meet with the agent after joining the knighthood, and insurance is pushed at every meeting. The agents are similar to your neighborhood AMWAY sales guy, essentially programmed to take a “No” as a “Yes”, and to keep pushing for the sale, it’s a turn off. These insurance reps are paid a slave wage and become commission only after about a year, and only get 4 councils to sell to, many having aging populations who won’t be eligible for the products. Turnover is high, and usually you buy a handful of policies on yourself to advance the scheme in the sense of putting food on your own plate. Isn’t this taking advantage of someone which runs contrary to the church’s values? Think that is odd, try the “retirement” of Chief Investment Officer Tom Smith, who stepped down just after the lawsuit was served…. let me guess impeccable and unrelated timing, right? Probably said he needed to spend more time with his family. I think Smith knows this Ponzi is about to hit the fan. Why else would he resign from a job paying him $900K a year?
The fraternal order has $105 billion of insurance in force written against only $22 billion in assets, the lawsuit says. It says the Knights of Columbus organization “may very well be on the verge of financial collapse.”
I can say firsthand that the issues here are very real and true, heads are going to roll, and Pharisees and tax collectors described in the Bible will be shown in real modern form. I can say our council has 17 non-payers, and likely has at least that amount in next of kin whose dues are paid for by poppa.
A District Deputy (think regional manager) in Illinois has a council, that lists 300 members, but none have paid dues in years, and the council has not had a meeting in years. This narrative plays out everywhere leading me to believe the 1.9 million is closer to 1.1, making the “insurance pool” far less than advertised. A very heavy emphasis is put on recruiting, almost unhealthy emphasis, we just want a warm body capable of fogging a mirror, because they can buy a policy, thus buying time for the order.
My advice: Stay away from this group and if you have an insurance policy make sure the KOC belongs to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which in layman’s terms means if something were to happen and the insurance arm goes bankrupt, other companies step in to pay the claims/absorb the policies.
This is actually a very big deal, as many members have been misled about the insurance program and its long-term viability. The Chief Insurance Officer retiring, is likely more of a sign of a rat scurrying off the ship. Tom Smith is a coward of a human, yet no one is able to call him out. This story does not end well, and hopefully no one has any retirement monies invested in this scheme. Sit back and watch the dominoes fall boys and girls….and the Catholic Church wonders why it’s dying off.