Recently, the Boy Scouts of America decided to allow openly gay adult leaders and employees to serve in its ranks at the national level. This decision has raised concerns about how it might impact local troops and councils, particularly Catholic-chartered organizations.
The National Catholic Committee on Scouting said in a recent letter that it appears the decision “respects the needs of Catholic-chartered organizations in the right to choose leaders whose character and conduct are consistent with those of Catholic teaching.”
I am a believer in the values of Scouting. I was a Scout myself and now serve on the board of directors for the Central Minnesota Council of the Boy Scouts of America. I also give strong support to Father Ben Kociemba, who serves as chaplain for our Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and who is renewing efforts to promote Catholic Scouting.
Scouting has many benefits. Yet, we must evaluate the situation at the national and local levels on an ongoing basis to ensure our youth benefit from activities and role models that impart values consistent with both the tradition of Scouting and our Catholic faith.
I would encourage all parents who have boys in Scouting, or who are thinking of enrolling their child in a Scouting program, to do the necessary research, ask troop leaders any questions they may have, and talk with their children about what our Catholic faith teaches.
Parents, ultimately, are the ones who must prayerfully decide what is best for their children, and this includes whether or not to participate in the Scouting experience.
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud