Another degree open to members in the Knights of Columbus is the Fourth Degree. The first exemplification of that degree was held in New York City, on February 22, 1900. The ritual added Patriotism to the three principles of the Order: Charity, Unity and Fraternity. Any Third Degree member, in good standing, six months after the anniversary of his First Degree, is eligible for membership in the Fourth Degree.
The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights' respective countries through active membership in local Fourth Degree groups (called "assemblies"). Fourth Degree members must retain their membership as Third Degree members in their council to remain in good standing with the Fourth Degree.
Certain members of the Fourth Degree serve as honor guards at civic and religious functions, an activity that has brought worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus.
||To the left is pictured the Fourth Degree Emblem. Bearers of this emblem are committed to conduct themselves honorably as Christian gentlemen in their private and public lives, as well as acting patriotically for the good of their nations. Likewise, the Fourth Degree sword represents the bearer's reverence for the Eucharist and the Pope, Bishops and hierarchy of the Church, and displays publicly his willingness to protect his Church and Priests.
The triad features the dove, the cross and the globe. The dove, classic symbol of the Holy Spirit and peace, is shown hovering over the orb of the Earth (globe). Both are mounted on a variation of the Crusader's cross, which was found on the tunics and capes of the Crusading Knights who battled to regain the Holy Land from the pagans. Spiritually, the sacred symbols on the emblem typify the union of the Three Divine Persons in one Godhead, the most Blessed Trinity.
- The Globe - God the Father, Creator of the Universe
- The Cross - God the Son, Redeemer of Mankind
- The Dove - God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of Humanity
The colors of the symbols are:
- A blue globe with the land of the Western Hemisphere in white
- A red cross with gold borders and gold knobs at the end of the points forming the ends of the arms of the cross, also known as the Isabella cross
- A white dove
Red, white and blue are the colors of the flag of the country in which the Knights originated. They are used to stress Patriotism, the principle of the Fourth Degree.
Considered under a religious aspect, we have the honor and privilege of wearing on our swords and our lapels the sacred symbol of the Most Blessed Trinity. This should always remind us to live a good Christian life, and that we should never bring dishonor on the emblem we have been privileged to wear. By this, others may see our good works, through which we will glorify our Holy Religion, our Honored Order and our Beloved Country.
Information provided by Supreme Council Knights of Columbus.