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Carl A.
Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus
Carl Albert Anderson (b. 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 Conceptionmarker, and the National Catholic Educational Association. He also holds a seat on the International Board of Advisors of the Wheelchair Foundation.


Anderson holds degrees in philosophy from Seattle Universitymarker and in law from the University of Denvermarker. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbiamarker and is admitted to practice law before the U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker.

Anderson has received honorary doctorates from The Catholic University of Americamarker, The Pontifical Theology Academy of Krakowmarker and St. Vincent’s Seminary, Latrobe, Pa.marker

Career in Public Policy and Academia

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 Romemarker session of the Institute, which is located at the Pontifical Lateran University. Anderson became the founding vice president and first dean of the Washington, D.C.marker session in 1988.

Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus

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 1.75 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, DCmarker.

Collaboration with the Vatican

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 Religionmarker, also known as the Vatican Bank.

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 Jerusalemmarker.

New York Times Bestselling Author

Anderson's 2008 New York Times bestseller, A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World, 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 and Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love with Msgr. 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 Order of St. Gregory the Great.

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