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Carl Albert Anderson (born February 27, 1951) is the thirteenth and current Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Anderson is vice president of the Washington session of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

Carl Albert Anderson
Carl A. Anderson.jpg
Anderson in 2009
Born (1951-02-27) February 27, 1951 (age 68)
TitleSupreme Knight
of the Knights of Columbus
2000 - Present
PredecessorVirgil Dechant

In addition, Anderson serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and is a former board member of the National Catholic Educational Association.



Anderson holds degrees in philosophy from Seattle University (1972) and in law from the University of Denver (1975). He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and is admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anderson has received honorary doctorates from The Catholic University of America[1] (his wife also received an honorary degree at the same ceremony), The Pontifical Theology Academy of Kraków,[1] Sacred Heart University,[1] Albertus Magnus College, Ave Maria University,[1] St. Vincent’s Seminary, [1] St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and Ave Maria Law School.

Career in public policy and academiaEdit

During the administration of Ronald Reagan, Anderson served in various positions of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, including special assistant to the President and acting director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. During that time, he, along with many others in the White House, disagreed with U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop about how to speak about AIDS, writing that "failure to make moral judgments on this behavior is why we have this epidemic".[2][3]

Following his service at the White House, Anderson served for nearly a decade as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. From 1976-81 he was a legislative assistant to Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). From 1981 to 1983 he served as counselor to the Under Secretary of Health and Human Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Secretaries Richard Schweiker and Margaret Heckler.

From 1983 to 1998 Anderson taught as a visiting professor of family law at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family located at the Pontifical Lateran University. Anderson became the founding vice president and first dean of the Washington, D.C. session of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family in 1988.

Supreme Knight of the Knights of ColumbusEdit

As Supreme Knight, Anderson is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization, which has more than 1.9 million members. Before his election in 2000, Anderson served as assistant supreme secretary and supreme secretary for the Knights of Columbus. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as the vice president for public policy in the Washington, D.C. office of the Knights of Columbus.

Pontifical HonorsEdit


Anderson was named one of the "100 Most Influential in Business Ethics" in 2014 and 2015 by Ethisphere. He was awarded the Order of Merit from the government of Poland and the Evangelium Vitae Medal from the University of Notre Dame in 2015. He has received the Patronal Medal of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for his "distinguished service in the advancement of Marian devotion;" the Archdiocese of Denver's Imago Dei Award; the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty's Canterbury Medal; the Path to Peace Foundation's Servant of Peace Award; the Pontifical North American College's Rector's Award; the Sisters of Life John Cardinal O'Connor Award, and the Gold Palm of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

Collaboration with the VaticanEdit

In 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed Anderson to the Pontifical Academy for Life and in 2002 to the Pontifical Council for the Laity. In 2003 he was named a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named Anderson as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. In 2009, Pope Benedict appointed Anderson to a five-year term on the board of supervisors of the Institute for Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank.[4]

In 1994, he was a member of the Vatican delegation for the Fifteenth Meeting of the International Catholic Jewish Liaison Committee held in Jerusalem.

New York Times bestselling authorEdit

Anderson's 2008 New York Times bestseller, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World,[5] was published by HarperOne and Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street and the Media (Doubleday, 2010). He is the co-author with Father José Granados Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body[6] (Doubleday, 2009) and Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love[7] (DoubleDay 2009) with Eduardo Chávez Sánchez, and is the co-editor with Livio Melina of The Way of Love: Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (Ignatius Press, 2006). His books have been published in French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Korean.


Carl and his wife, Dorian, are the parents of five children.

Further readingEdit

  • "Center for Ethics and Culture to Award Evangelium Vitae Medal to Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus". University of Notre Dame. Archived from the original on September 9, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  • "University and National Shrine to Award Patronal Medal to Supreme Knight". Nov 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-27.


  1. ^ a b c d e "46th Commencement Honorary Degree Recipients Announced". Sacred Heart University. April 1, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  2. ^ Anderson, Carl (28 May 1987). "Memorandum for Mari Maseng". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
  3. ^ Geidner, Chris (2 February 2015). "Nancy Reagan Turned Down Rock Hudson's Plea For Help Nine Weeks Before He Died". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Supreme Knight appointed to board of Vatican bank". Catholic News Agency. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  5. ^ ISBN 978-0-06-133531-0
  6. ^ ISBN 978-0-385-52771-2
  7. ^ ISBN 978-0-385-52772-9

External linksEdit

Religious titles
Preceded by
Virgil Dechant
Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus