The Boy Scouts of America’s decision in May to admit gay youth as members has had a lot of repercussions in the Catholic world, where many parishes sponsor Scout troops. We’ve reported on some of the early and more high profile responses–both positive and negative–that the decision sparked.
Yet, there have been many more responses that developed over the last two months. We’ve compiled a list of articles about Catholic responses, with each item containing a link to the original article.
You’ll notice that the list contains some references to Catholic parishes which have severed ties to the Scouts because of the new policy. I’m waiting for a parish to sever ties with the Scouts because they did not extend the new policy to allow gay men to be Scout leaders. That will be a great day when a parish or Catholic organization decides to take such a stand!
Here’s the list:
1) One Catholic parish in Wisconsin is considering joining a possible alternative scouting organization, to be called the Catholic Scouts of St. George, which will not admit gay youth, reports the Kenosha News.
2) Similarly, a Christian lay leader has formed “OnMyHonor.net,” as an alternative to the Boy Scouts, reports The National Catholic Reporter . Like the Catholic group mentioned above, it will not admit gay youth.
2) “The change in the Boy Scouts’ membership standard, in itself, does not seem to me to be in conflict with Catholic teaching,” wrote Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in an op-ed in that city’s News-Sentinel. Rhoades said he has been inundated by inquiries about the matter.
3) Monsignor E. James Hart, pastor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Keller, Texas, has cut parish ties with the local Scout troop because of the new policy, reports The Dallas News. Hart wrote a letter to his parish explaining his decision, in which he stated:
” . . . do you honestly expect me to believe that when the time comes in the life of the Boy Scouts of America that there are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old boys put together in over-night situations, some of whom with a self-professed same-sex orientation and attraction, that nothing undesirable is going to happen? Would you have me run the risk, and use the souls of the boys involved, some of them likely your sons and grand-sons, as part of the experiment? I cannot. I will not!”
4) The Catholic bishops of Washington State issued a letter stating their support of the Boy Scouts’ new policy, reported the Kitsap Sun. The letter, in part, stated:
“The Catholic Church teaches that all people are to be treated with dignity and respect. The recent change in the membership policy of the Boy Scouts of America does not affect the teachings of the Catholic Church or the manner in which the Catholic parishes in Washington state conduct the scouting program under their sponsorship.”
5) A Catholic parish in Bremerton, Washington, was one of the first to sever its ties with the Boy Scouts, sparking Catholics United, a political organization, to deliver more than 5,500 signatures on a petition to Seattle’s Archbishop Peter Sartain, requesting that he support gay scouts. A news article in The Seattle Times quotes Catholic United’s Executive Director James Salt’s comments about the parish severing ties:
“It’s a startling reminder that the Catholic Church is drifting from its long-held teachings against discrimination.”
6) A Knights of Columbus chapter in Bennington, Vermont, will vote in August on whether or not to renew its sponsorship of a local Scout troop, reports The Troy Record. A local K of C official had already stated that if the Boy Scouts of America allowed gay youth as members that the chapter would end its sponsorship.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry