Skip to comments.USCCB releases resource guide on Girl Scouts for Catholic parishes
Posted on 04/11/2014 4:14:13 AM PDT by NYer
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Responding to concerns about Catholic involvement with Girl Scouts, a U.S. bishops' committee released key points from its dialogue with Girl Scout leaders outlining major concerns of church leaders and the national organization's responses.
The aim of the resource, issued April 2 by the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, was not to support or oppose Catholic involvement with Girl Scouts of the USA, known as GSUSA, but to provide local bishops, pastors, youth leaders and parents with necessary information to determine their level of involvement.
Catholics have been affiliated with Girl Scouts for 100 years and there are an estimated 400,000 Catholic girls among the nation's 3 million Girl Scouts. In the past few years, questions about the organization have sparked online discussions, boycotts of Girl Scout cookies and the ousting of troops from Catholic parishes.
Concerns have been raised about the Girl Scouts' relationship with Planned Parenthood and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. There also have been questions about the organization's policy on human sexuality and contraception and its program materials and resources.
The bishops' committee spent one year gathering information about concerns and another year in dialogue with Girl Scout leaders in an effort to clarify the issues.
"The exchanges between USCCB staff and GSUSA staff were pleasant, informative and respectful. GSUSA staff was generous with their time, indicated a strong desire and willingness to work more closely with the Catholic Church in the United States," said the committee, noting that the resource materials are not only posted on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, but also the Girl Scouts site, www.girlscouts.org.
In providing the information it obtained, the committee said the decision for Catholics to participate or not in Girl Scouts is a local one and that "diocesan bishops have the final authority over what is appropriate for Catholic Scouting in their dioceses."
This material "does not intend to be exhaustive," the committee noted, nor was it an attempt to "make decisions or set out national norms."
It also recognized "the history of significant work and relationships between Girl Scouts and the church and the service Girl Scout councils and troops have provided dioceses, parishes and local communities."
In a question-and-answer section, the Girl Scouts said they have "no official relationship" with Planned Parenthood. They also said the way GSUSA is structured does not allow the national office "to prohibit local councils or troops from collaborating with or forming their own local relationships with Planned Parenthood" or other organizations.
Regarding WAGGGS -- an international group based in London that describes itself as advocating for the education of girls and young women and promoting "sexual and reproductive health/rights" -- GSUSA said it "only participates in select WAGGGS programming" and does not have "the ability or purview to criticize, explicitly distance itself from, or change particular advocacy positions within WAGGGS." Its contributions to the organization are only from investment income and not from cookie sales, dues or registration fees.
The Girl Scouts said their national office has a neutral policy on sexuality and contraception but that it doesn't "prohibit individual councils or troops from taking a position or sponsoring programming on human sexuality or other topics" if the troop has parental consent and other approvals.
In a question about Scout membership by youths who identify themselves as transgender, the Girl Scouts said: "Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority."
Within this resource, the bishops' committee stressed the need for communication between diocesan leaders and local Girl Scout councils as well as using a "memorandum of understanding" which is a form establishing mutual understanding between Girl Scouts and dioceses and parishes stressing that parish troops are "free from any programming or activities contrary to the church's teaching."
Robert McCarty, executive director of the Washington-based National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in Washington, and an adviser in the dialogue sessions with GSUSA and the bishops' committee, said there has been a long history of secular organizations partnering with the church and the cooperation needs "regular communication and a sense of accountability."
McCarty told Catholic News Service April 8 that Catholics working with secular organizations does not mean "blanket endorsement" of them. He also stressed that the dialogue between the bishops' committee and the Girl Scouts provides "a starting point" to "find common ground and move forward."
He said the Girl Scout leaders had "every right to feel criticized but they did not." Instead, he said they met with Catholic leaders and were willing to change things and even re-do materials.
McCarty recognized that the USCCB resource will not satisfy everyone and said that just that day he received letter from a Catholic who said people in her parish want her to stop leading the parish Girl Scout troop because of claims they had heard of its association with Planned Parenthood.
Gladys Padro-Soler, GSUSA's faith and social issues adviser, told CNS in an April 9 email that Girl Scout leaders "are confident that the USCCB's new Web resource will encourage Girl Scout councils and local dioceses that have experienced trying times during this period to reclaim the collaboration and communication they have always shared."
She noted that GSUSA "believes local issues are best solved with local solutions" and hopes that diocesan offices and Girl Scout councils use "memorandums of understanding" to clearly identify their partnership terms and to also alleviate "concerns a diocese may have about Girl Scouts' service to girls."
"Ultimately," she said, "it is the church's own parishioners that deliver the Girl Scout program and they are empowered both by GSUSA and the church to ensure the program meets their faith's tenets."
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Editors: The USCCB's question and answer guide can be found here: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/who-we-teach/youth/catholic-scouting-questions.cfm, and also on the Girl Scouts site: www.girlscouts.org/program/basics/faith/catholic_church_relationship.asp.
Typical political USCCB release. Reminds me of the self-justifying annual justification for CCHD.
This just confirms that no Girl Scout cookie will ever be allowed on my property or be eaten by this Catholic.
To summarize the USCCB position: “We’re a bunch of screaming liberals and we wouldn’t ban the girl scouts even if they had a ‘lesbian sex’ achievment badge and a ‘second abortion’ achievement badge. But we’re also not so stupid as to come right out and say that publicly”
To summarize the Girl Scout position: “We’re a bunch of lesbian, feminist, anti-Christain hags who are bound and determined to corrupt and recruit as many of your womyn children as we can, but we’ll never say that in public”
“Come out of her, o my people, and partake not of her cookies!”
So many words
I saw more than one paragraph and said oh they’re allowing the GSA
I appeal toy priests directly. Takes one paragraph and give references as they seem to live under a rock
So why do you keep supporting the machine by your allegiances? So long as “good” Catholics keep supporting the “church” structure, what incentives do they have to make any meaningful changes for the flock when they get all the cover they need from corrupt politicians?
You think I support the USCCB?
oui, je suis d’accord
One would think that by supporting the church from which this group emanates itself from . . .
Not casting dispersions on your personally, it is just like say four years ago when so many aligned themselves with anyone with an (R) after their name to be the saviors of our Republic . . .
Faith is in the soul, not in a building.
“...to provide local bishops, pastors, youth leaders and parents with necessary information to determine their level of involvement.”
To determine their level of involvement with an abortion supporting organization? Really?
Should’ve been a VERY short guide with two words...
I regard the USCCB the same way I regard its bastard child the CCHD: too deeply cross-contaminated with the world, the flesh and the devil.
P.S. I even teach my RCIA students never to equate the Apostolic Hierarchy with a clerical bureaucracy, and never to confuse Magisterial teachings with this month’s Public Policy statements.
So you don’t think that your Parrish does not have to pay an ongoing “franchise” fee to the “Church”? They all do. Just where do you think your Parrish derives the funds to pay that fee?
Essentially, USCCB says its up to bishops to decide, and the Girl Scouts says that any involvement with nasty abortion/homosexuality promoting orgs is decided at a local level. If bishops were concerned about rejecting the new “morality”, they would reject involvement with the GSA and start up a new Catholic organization.
What you’re asking is that we cease being Catholic. No thanks.
Deop the Girl Scouts and start
Little Flowers Girl’s Club.
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