Carl A. Anderson

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Carl A. Anderson (2009)

Carl Albert Anderson, KSG (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.

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, the National Catholic Educational Association as well as the supervisory council of the Vatican Bank. He also holds a seat on the International Board of Advisors of the Wheelchair Foundation.


Anderson holds degrees in philosophy from Seattle University and in law from the University of Denver. 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, The Pontifical Theology Academy of Kraków and St. Vincent’s Seminary, Latrobe, Pa.

Career in public policy and academia[edit]

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. 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.

From 1983 to 1998 Anderson taught as a visiting professor of family law at the Rome session of the Institute, [clarification needed] which is located at the Pontifical Lateran University. Anderson became the founding vice president and first dean of the Washington, D.C. session[clarification needed] in 1988.

Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus[edit]

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 1.8 million members. Before his election in 2000, Anderson served as assistant supreme secretary and supreme secretary for the Order. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as the vice president for public policy and two years as the State Deputy of the District of Columbia jurisdiction. Anderson is a member and Past Grand Knight of Potomac Council #433 and a member of the James Cardinal Hickey Prince of the Church fourth degree assembly, both in Washington, DC. The University of Notre Dame awarded the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal to Anderson and the Knights of Columbus in 2015.[1]

Anderson has been active in promoting the Catholic Church's recent Religious Liberty campaign. In an article in the Knights of Columbus publication, Columbia, written in September 2012, he argues that certain actions taken by the Department of Health and Human Services at the request of the Obama administration violate the religious liberty of Catholic institutions by requiring them to provide services on employee health care plans that are contrary to official Church teachings. He sees this as an attack on the type of religious freedom guaranteed in the first amendment.[2]

Collaboration with the Vatican[edit]

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 the Family and to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He was an auditor at the World Synods of Bishops in 2001, 2005 and 2008. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named Anderson and his wife, Dorian Lounsbury Anderson, as members of the Pontifical Council for the Family and named Anderson a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. In 2009, Pope Benedict appointed Anderson to the board of the Institute for Works of Religion, also known as the Vatican Bank.[3]

Anderson is also a consultant to the Pro-Life Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and is a member of the International Scientific Council of the Studium Generale Marcianum (Venice). 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 author[edit]

Anderson's 2008 New York Times bestseller, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World,[4] was published by HarperOne. He has also co-authored with Father José Granados Called to Love: Approaching John Paul II's Theology of the Body[5] and Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love[6] with Eduardo Chávez Sánchez, Postulator of the Cause of the Canonization of Saint Juan Diego.


Carl and his wife, Dorian, are the parents of five children. He is also a Knight of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great (KSG). Anderson was also the winner of the Patronal Medal for his "distinguished service in the advancement of Marian devotion, theology, or general appreciation of the place of Mary in the life of the Catholic Church." Anderson dedicated his tenure as Supreme Knight to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and is the author of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love.[7]


External links[edit]

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