By Georges Buscemi

November 23, 2009 ( – The world's number two Knight of Columbus, Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis Savoie, was the keynote speaker at Knight's dinner in North Hatley, just outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec on November 14. The goal of the dinner, which was organized by a local Knight and co-sponsored by Quebec Life Coalition, was to reaffirm the Quebec Knights' core mandate: to defend the Catholic Faith, and to promote a culture of life.

Judging by the warm reception given Mr. Savoie's rousing speech, the event – attended by about 50 guests, including Quebec Supreme Director Yves Duceppe and 20 local Knights, and other local notables, including Sherbrooke Archbishop André Gaumond – was a success, and should mark a fresh start for the Quebec Knights and their mandate to defend life in a Quebec culture that seems increasingly bent on killing the vulnerable.

Mr. Savoie started his speech by comparing the 3000 deaths from 9/11 to the over 3000 daily deaths that result from abortion. “Why,” he wondered out loud “were we so stunned and bewildered by the 3000 deaths on 9-11 when we're so silent about the 3000-plus deaths that occur each day in North America from abortion?”

Mr. Savoie explained that it is this silence that the Knights want to break with the “Culture of Life Fund” they've put into place in 2008, with a tax of $2 per Knight. In Quebec, that would mean about $200,000 would be generated for the fund per year. “We knew there would be some grumbling about this new tax, just like there is for every tax,” Mr. Savoie admitted. But the organization (headquartered in New-Haven, Connecticut) felt that a serious commitment had to have some serious money behind it, especially given that the opposition had “millions and millions” to promote its agenda, the deputy supreme Knight said.

Savoie commented on how the Knights can be effective when they really put themselves behind a movement, such as the push to pass Proposition 8, which was a November 2008 California ballot proposition to preserve the traditional definition of marriage as a union between husband and wife. “The Knights played a key role in getting Proposition 8 through,” said Mr. Savoie, “and that despite the fact that Planned Parenthood poured three million dollars in one weekend in an attempt to defeat Proposition 8 at the last minute.”

The deputy Supreme Knight conceded that there is certainly some resistance to the pro-life movement in the Quebec Knights grass roots. During the speech he even went so far as to repeat two of the complaints he had received about the Culture of Life Fund and the tax imposed to supply it. One letter writer admonished the Knights Headquarters by stating that abortion was no longer an issue in Quebec, the complainant stating flatly, “Up here it's legal.” Another remarked that “in Quebec the debate about abortion is over. We've moved on.”

But Dennis Savoie was clearly in disagreement with these opinions. He said that all Knights of Columbus, no matter where they may be, have the same purpose and the same fight: to defend the Catholic faith and to defend life, from conception until natural death.

He said it was easy to be Catholic and to be pro-life at a Knights meeting or in church, but the challenge, he said, “was to be pro-life in public, in a family setting, at work.” Mr. Savoie concluded his speech by taking a page from the late John Paul II, and told the assembled “'don't be afraid' to publicly defend your pro-life beliefs and values.”

In a question and answer period following his speech, he clarified the mandate of the Culture of Life fund: although a lot of activities could be called pro-life, he stated that at this time the Culture of Life Fund “should only be used to defend against abortion and euthanasia.”