Knighthood and Chivalry
These two terms are often confused and require to be distinguished. The term knighthood comes from the English word knight (from Old English cniht, boy, servant, cf. German Knecht) while chivalry comes from the French chevalerie, from chevalier or knight (Low Latin caballus for horse). In modern English, chivalry means the ideals, virtues, or characteristics of knights. The phrases "orders of chivalry" and "orders of knighthood" have become essentially synonymous. However, Knighthood dates back to the Roman Empire while Chivalry arose in the middle ages.
The scholarly discipline of diplomatics, dealing with the study of old documents, derives its name from the same source, but its modern meaning is quite distinct from the activity of diplomacy.
Sphere sovereignty implies that no one area of life or societal community is sovereign over another. Each sphere has its own created integrity. Neo-Calvinists hold that since God created everything “after its own kind,” diversity must be acknowledged and appreciated. For instance, the different God-given norms for family life and economic life should be recognized, such that a family does not properly function like a business. Similarly, neither faith-institutions (e.g. churches) nor an institution of civil justice (i.e. the state) should seek totalitarian control, or any regulation of human activity outside their limited competence, respectively.
This is truly one of the most significant moral questions we face now at the outset of the 21st century and one of the least considered, reflecting an increasingly dysfunctional culture and a chivalrous void in our mainstream corporate world. As Knights of Hope, we firmly believe that a large part of our social, political and domestic problems flow directly from man’s inability to fill the void of the few chivalrous. Its influence effects us all, shaping international business, local business, how we relate to one another and how we treat and regard the world around us.
- Course creator: Msgr. Prof. [Dr. of Med.] Charles McWilliams
A fraternal order is generally defined as an organization wherein a group of men, women or men and women are bound together for the purposes of advancing their educational, social or other benefits. Some of the well-known fraternal orders include the Knights of Columbus, the Freemasons and the Protective Order of Elks. Surprisingly, late nineteenth century statistics illustrate the massive proliferation of membership in America fraternal orders. In 1897, W.S. Hardwood, writing at the peak of the "Golden Age of Fraternity," observed that "a total adult male population of 19 million provided five and half million members to fraternal groups such as the Oddfellows (810,000 members), Freemasons (750,000), Knights of Pythias (475,000) Improved Order of Red Men (165,000), and hundreds of smaller orders."
To account for what drove Americans to join these societies, one must analyze the practical as well as symbolic opportunities they offered. As a study of the incorporation of fraternal orders, this course will deal with fraternal orders as a means to acquire social benefits in a rapidly expanding industrialized society--which in time lead to its downfall.