In 1998, Dechant was the recipient of the National Right to Life award along with Senator Jesse Helms. Mr.Dechant is the vice president of the Vatican Bank, a Gentiluomo di Sua Santità, and a Councillor on the State Council for Vatican City. He had the honor of escorting President George W. Bush to the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
He stepped down as Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus on September 30, 2000 at the age of seventy; after serving the longest term ever by a Supreme Knight. He was succeeded by Carl A. Anderson.