The Knights of Columbus have provoked unease among members by making a dramatic change to their uniform.
The traditional regalia of the fourth-degree Knights, worn by about a fifth of members, is being replaced. Instead of a tuxedo and black bow tie, members will wear a blue blazer, tie and beret, all with the fourth-degree emblem on them, along with white shirt and dark grey trousers.
The traditional cape, gloves and chapeau, worn by those fourth-degree members who choose to join the colour corps or honour guards, are also being phased out – although the ceremonial sword is staying in use.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told the fraternal organisation’s Supreme Convention in St Louis last week: “The board of directors has decided that the time is right for a modernisation of the fourth-degree uniform. On a limited basis, assemblies may choose to continue using the traditional cape and chapeau for colour corps at public events and honour guards in liturgical processions.
However, the preferred dress for the fourth degree, including colour corps and honour guards, is the new uniform of jacket and beret.”
Many members are not thrilled. Joseph Meyer, from Mesa, Arizona, said the new uniforms lose a sense of the pageantry associated with the Knights’ fourth-degree level.
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