There are four Principles of the Order. Each princple is exemplified in a Degree.
The first principle is Charity. As St. James reminds us, "faith without works is dead." Therefore, as Knights we are committed to charity, easing the plight of those less fortunate.
The second principle is Unity. In unity there is strength. Existing in an environment that was openly hostile to Catholics, the founders of the Order relied on the strenght of unity to remain steadfast in the Faith while claiming their rightful place in society. Today the Order uses that strength to speak out for religiously-grounded moral values in a culture that has forsaken them.
The third principle is Fraternity. In the 19th century America, life insurance was beyond the financial reach of many poor Catholics, and social services did not exist. Through the Knights of Columbus men were able to band together as brothers to help one another in times of distress, sickness, and death.
The fourth principle is Patriotism. One of the reasons the Order was founded was to emphasize that Catholics are proud citizens of their countires. Today, the Fourth Degree Knights in full regalia, the visible arm of the Order, serve to withness to the values of devotion to God and country, the bedrock of patriotism.