The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) has announced that it plans to study the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) new policy of including gay scout members before it makes any response about how Catholic institutions will respond.
The National Catholic Reporter announced the NCCS’ decision:
“A statement from the NCCS said that since the policy change does not take effect until next January 2014, the committee will have ‘adequate time to study its effects.”
” ‘The NCCS will determine how it may impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities. In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan Scouting committees,’ the Catholic organization said in a statement.”
Interestingly, local dioceses have already responded to the BSA’s policy change, with various reactions.
According to The Washington Post, two neighboring dioceses had different responses to the decision:
“Bishop Paul Loverde, the leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, issued a statement saying the vote would likely force the diocese to reconsider sponsoring troops in about 50 of its parishes, while the Rev. William Byrne, secretary for pastoral ministry of the Archdiocese of Washington, said the new policy is not in conflict with Catholic teaching.”
The Archdiocese of Denver also saw no problem with the new decision, according to The Denver Post:
“The Archdiocese of Denver stated it will continue to allow parish-chartered Scouting organizations, but would be ‘steadfast in articulating a Christian understanding of human dignity and sexuality.’ “
Such a statement makes one wonder if they had not been “steadfast” in doing so in the past. Perhaps if they had been steadfast in promoting human dignity, the exclusionary policy of the BSA might have been changed much earlier.
Another unusual Catholic response came from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Morning Call reports:
“Although an Allentown Catholic Diocese spokesman said local church leaders would take direction from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the change, an expert on Catholic doctrine said the Scouts’ new policy meshes well with church practices.
” ‘We stand for the inherent dignity of every young person while also standing opposed to the acceptance of homosexual behavior as something morally or culturally good,’ said the Rev. Thomas Dailey, a professor of theology at DeSales University in Center Valley.
“Dailey said that allowing youth members without regard to their sexual orientation but barring role models to young Scouts who are gay reflects those Catholic values.”
Why is it dangerous for a young gay scout to have a well-integrated gay scout leader as a role model? For that matter, why is it dangerous for any scout to have such a model? A positive gay role model in a leadership position would help both gay and heterosexual scouts realize that gay people can lead happy and productive lives. Why is that idea so dangerous?
The Diocese of Fargo, North Dakota, also announced that it would take a wait-and-see attitude, according to The Grand Forks Herald:
“Tanya Watterud, interim director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Fargo, said the local diocese did not have a statement on the matter.
“Watterud said she expected the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops would take a stance on the mater.
“ ‘We would follow their statement,’ Watterud said.”
Bondings 2.0 will continue to update Catholic responses to the new Boy Scouts’ policy, as relevant ones become public.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry