Pope Pius xii and Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Who May be a Member?
Membership in the Knights of Columbus is open to any practical Catholic man in union with the Holy See who is not less than 18 years of age on his last birthday. A practical Catholic is one who lives up to the Commandments of God and the
Precepts of the Church.
There are two types of Knights of Columbus membership. Associate members belong to the Order and enjoy many of its benefits, but do not hold Knights of Columbus life insurance certificates. This distinguishes them from insurance members.
Unlike many fraternal organizations, the Knights of Columbus does not require the purchase of insurance for membership. It is voluntary. However, a man must be a member before he is
eligible to purchase insurance for himself or his family. Application for membership is made through the council in the community nearest the applicant’s place of residence. Applicants temporarily away from home, such as those in the
military, may apply either through their hometown council, the council on the military base to which they are assigned or another council in a community near them. Acceptance of the application depends on an admissions process and a vote of the
members of the council to which the application is made. Following a favorable vote the applicant becomes a member by initiation in what is called the First Degree. Subsequently he advances through the Second and Third degrees.
There are modest initiation fees and annual dues set by the local council in accordance with regulations established by the Supreme Council. Priests and religious brothers who have applied for membership and attended the ceremonials become
honorary life members and are exempt from the payment of dues.