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Be Wary of the Knights of St. Francis


If you’re a Catholic and you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the sponsored posts. If you’re a person living in the DC Metro area, you’ve probably heard the radio ads, seen the posters at bus stops, or maybe even the full-page ad in the Washington Post.

These ads, from a San Francisco-based non profit called the “Knights of St. Francis,” are showing up everywhere, and unless the space is being donated, at significant expense. I decided to dig a little deeper to find out who was behind the group, and I didn’t have to look too far.

According the the group’s “about” page, their founder is one Angela Alioto. Her Wikipedia page lists quite a leftist pedigree, among which is that she is the daughter of former Democratic Mayor of San Francisco, Joseph Alioto, and that she herself is a former Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party. 

The Knights of St. Francis website states that the group

is an international and universal association consisting of single and married lay people, ordained clergy and men and women religious who share in a common spirituality and mission in equal partnership with its Interfaith Auxiliary Membership.

The Knights of Saint Francis’ first service is to Jesus Christ, Our Lord. In 2008, with this service, the Knights became guardians and protectors of the Holy Chapel: La Porziuncola Nuova at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in San Francisco, California.


We are servers. Where there is a need to serve the sick, the poor, the rich, the sad, the discouraged, the environment and of course, all of God’s creatures, that’s where we the Knights of Saint Francis can be found.

It turns out that Austin Ruse of C-Fam has done his own homework, and published a report about the Knights of St. Francis last week at Breitbart News:

The center piece of Alioto’s ad is the quote from Francis about God judging us by how we cared “for Earth.” But did the Pope really say that or could it be the product of an over-exited headline writer at the Associated Press?

An AP story headlined “God will judge you on whether you cared for Earth” certainly rocketed around the globe last May after Francis gave a homily to the Catholic relief group Caritas in Rome. But, the story does not contain that quote. In fact, Francis said that at God’s judgment, “…it will be revealed if [the powerful of the Earth] really tried to provide for Him in every person, and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.” Not even a close approximation of the headline in the story and in Alito’s ads.

It is at least remotely possible that Alioto got this quote from one of the impromptu back of the plane interviews that Francis is fond of giving. But either way such a quote hardly binds the consciences of Catholics as Alioto implies in her ads.

And what of Alioto’s own faith? Since she is holding D.C. Catholics to account for a single Francis quote of questionable provenance, does she adhere to actual and  fundamental teachings of the Church?

Alioto has certainly never taken out ads in Washington D.C. or elsewhere holding pro-abortion politicians to account for Church teaching on that issue, or on the issue of marriage either. In fact one can see in the public record that she has publicly opposed such teachings.

She authored a resolution calling upon the State legislature to fund testing of the abortion drug RU486. She voted for a resolution condemning a pro-life group that wanted to rally on the steps of City Hall. The resolution said it was ““an act of provocation when a right-wing Christian fundamentalist group brings their anti-gay and anti-choice agenda of intolerance to the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall.”

Alioto voted for a resolution opposing legislative efforts to limit marriage to a man and a woman. She also voted for a resolution opposing the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

So, how is it that a dissident Catholic from lefty San Francisco politics lectures D.C. Catholics using a questionable quote from Pope Francis? It’s that lefty Catholics have waited decades for a Pope who would give them a stick to beat conservatives with and they are taking every opportunity to use it, even if they have to invent the stick.

Guidestar has financial data for the Knights of St. Francis for 2012, and it’s quite modest. So how does a West Coast organization with less than six-figures of revenue just three years ago come up with a budget for a multi-six-figure carpetbagging ad spend in our nation’s capital in 2015?

One of the papal “quotes” the Knights of St. Francis wants you to know and share.

I have no idea. And I don’t have the investigative journalism resources to pursue it. But that’s big money for a local charity that mostly maintains a chapel and does outreach work in the community to start dumping into DC without big pockets funding it – especially so perfectly timed to exploit the release of Laudato Si. In fact, they have an army of quotes from the encyclical (mixed in with phony quotes, like the one about “God will judge you on whether you cared for Earth”) on a website primed and ready for social sharing. And with all that money going towards publicity, you’d think they’d have a big fundraising campaign to replenish their coffers. Nope. Just a teeny little Paypal donate button on their homepage.

Something fishy is going on here.

Let’s hope a news organization with the wherewithal to shed some light on this decides its worth exploring. Until then, I’d advise that you to share this story, and to warn family and friends not to be lured in by their prolific “quoting” of Pope Francis.

15 thoughts on “Be Wary of the Knights of St. Francis”

  1. One way I test a sites Catholic orthodoxy is to look at its Resource page. If it does not reference solid Catholic sources then it is a site to be avoided. Same goes for books and items they sell on their shop tabs.

  2. This organization does serve one legitimate purpose, though. It makes it clear that this pope, whether willingly or otherwise, has become a poster boy for left-wingers masquerading their pet causes as “Catholic.” But anyone with any sense knew that would happen given the pope’s penchant for lending his name to this disingenuous kind of operation.

  3. Good catch, I think there is no mystery here. Angela Alioto wants to be the “nuns on the bus” of the current presidential election cycle and the Democratic establishment see her as a good bet since she founded a group that is basically just a little diocesan confraternity group except that it is being instrumentalized with Democratic political goals. I used to be a very active political progessive and we were very interested in religions and harnessing them for the implementation of progressive politics. There is no mystery at all, this is just a highly-funded instrumentalization of a church group for political goals. I am currently reading “School of Darkness” the autobiography of Bella Dodd, the Communist party operative who reverted to Catholicism and testified to congress, she makes the comment that it surprised her initially that Communists often utilized small organizations, but she came to realize that when you are trying to influence public opinion through the media a small organization will do the trick just as well as a larger one, but a small one is easier to control.

    • By the way, political progressives who are religious really honestly think they are sincere about their religion, I think some don’t even really notice how really progressive politics is their guiding ideology and their religious faith is secondary and has to yield in every significant way that it differs from progressive orthodoxy (abortion, homosexual behavior, etc), it is like they regard progressivism as a kind of super-religion that corrects/perfects (and ultimately merges) every other religion and is the ultimate in compassion. Becoming disillusioned with the relationship that we as progressives had to religion and how our relationship with God was warped and there could never be a truly religious surrender and obedience to the Catholic Church (which I notice by reading the writings of the Saints they ALL firmly insisted on, this definitely included St Francis of Assisi) and in this way to God (“The Catholic Church is, by the will of God, the teacher of the truth” –Vatican II), was part of what led me to question progressivism and come home to the Church. Once I returned to the Faith, I began to learn the basis for why the Church taught things I used to ardently disagree with as a progressive… and it was a real education, I feel I understand being a human being for the first time. As a progressive, I had been wrong about so many things, and really grossly underestimated and undervalued human beings. The very ideology of progressivism thwarted being the loving person that we thought we were trying to be as progressives, and had very emotional illusions about.

      • Thank you so much for this information- a very illuminating look into the thoughts
        of progressives and religion.

    • I believe the term “progressive” was a deliberate change by Communists, Socialists, atheists, agnostics, and left-wing political “religious”, to couch the truth of what their ideology, when put into practice, has wrought for humanity. The revolutionaries against Truth have always re-defined themselves to hide the realities of what their real purpose is.

      And they never really define what progress they are hoping to achieve, unless it means they hope to kill more people, impoverish more people, destroy the faith of more people, destroy families and lives, and gain absolute political and economic power in order to have absolute control over every aspect of human life to continue this destruction in perpetuity. This must be so because they always support all of the social, political, educational, and economic proposals and practices that have done all of these things.

      I think what you have pointed out is the truth that for them, it is fidelity to the revolution that is primary and whatever tools one can use-religion, public-policy, economics, social structures, the media, education- must be used to succeed. It is revolution that is their true god.

    • “There is no mystery at all, this is just a highly-funded
      instrumentalization of a church group for political goals.”

      That IS the mystery. Where are such exorbitant amounts of
      cash coming from? There are way too many of your posts here, trying to obscure what
      the article is trying to expose. You seem to protest too much, methinks.

  4. Liberal Lefty’s are such hypocrites. I remember the DNC which attempted to removed the word “GOD” from their Democrat Party platform before the last election. Once the word leaked out they were doing this, quickly the subject was dropped and God was left in their platform, FOR NOW.

    Now they are using religion to bolster their money-making climate change scam and recently, President Obama used the term “God help us” or some such language in one of his speeches.

    These people have no shame but I believe in a higher power so they better watch out as that higher power is watching them.

  5. There are days I want to say: “When will all this just stop!” But then I remind myself of Our Lord’s words. “In this world, you will have distress, but have confidence, I have overcome the world.”

  6. And Skojec dares to use a Breitbart article as a reference? Hah! No shame, same as Breitbart. Being of the left automatically implies the “far far left.” This is the label attached to anything liberal. Any doubts I had about the Knights of SF (San Francisco?) haven’t been dissipated but I will go to other sources besides this on and Breitbart.

    And the ever present updated far far right?

    The Republican Party panders to their real and pretend birther crazies. That’s just one example.

    I saw articles from the normally sane The American Conservative by Mr. Con-servative himself Pat Buchanan sending praises to Russia’s Putin as an example of “moral” leadership. Both Buchanan and Guiliani preferred Putin over their own President in the run-up to the Nov. 2014 Congressional elections. (Hey, it worked. Look who swept?) This is b/ c Putin is said to be a regular at church (over and above Bush who never went. How about Cheney?), opposes gays, quibbles about the causes of global warming etc. **Hey, what’s not to like?**

    I can hear it now, “conservatism is a big tent comprising many points of view.” LOL

    Along with a lot of 1950’s toxic baggage still pushed and successfully mainstreamed by the populist always at war at home and abroad right wing that has more $$ than they know what to do with. An awful lot like Putin’s RT. And the Republican Party and Putin have what in common? Besides oil? And the sliding price of same?


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