Warsaw, Poland, Oct 14, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).
The Catholic Church in Poland has honored Carl Anderson, the former Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.
Anderson received the Totus Tuus award — known as the “Catholic Nobel” in Poland — at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on Oct. 9.
The Polish bishops’ foundation “Work of the New Millennium” gave Anderson the award “for the promotion of the person of St. John Paul II and credible international implementation of the values that he proclaimed.”
Receiving the honor, Anderson, who served as supreme knight from 2000 to 2021, said: “John Paul II changed the history of Poland and the United States. He changed the history of the world.”
“He was a great advocate of human rights, solidarity, and freedom. He always defended the truth about the human person and his dignity.”
“Modestly helping to fulfill his mission and carry on his legacy has been the greatest honor in my life.”
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal order, was founded in New Haven, Conn., in 1882 by Blessed Michael J. McGivney.
It has 1.8 million members worldwide who perform volunteer service and advance the order’s principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism.
Under Anderson’s leadership, the Knights established a shrine in 2011 in honor of St. John Paul II in Washington, D.C. The U.S. bishops designated the sanctuary as a national shrine in 2014.
In an interview with the Family News Service, Anderson discussed the central themes of John Paul II’s pontificate, which lasted from 1978 to 2005.
“The message of Pope John Paul II was mercy, reconciliation, forgiveness, recognition, and respect for the dignity of every human being,” he said.
“It wasn’t just an abstraction; it was something personal, and you could see that in the pope. Now, I believe that this is what gave his teaching such power.”
The Polish pope appointed Anderson as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life in 1998 and the Pontifical Council for the Laity in 2002, and as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2003.
“So many people have been kind and supportive to the Knights of Columbus, including the Holy Father John Paul II. So, we are very happy to be here in Poland,” he said.