Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
David CO

Vatican Scouts?

Recommended Posts

WOSM has been increasing reluctant to allow more than one WOSM recognised association in one country. Where they already exist they are increasingly being brought under umbrella bodies such as in Germany.

My understanding is that not only are they being brought under umbrella bodies (which I think has already been accomplished in all cases where "official" scouting associations are divided along religious lines) but those federations are being pressured into merging into single associations. This is what happened in Ireland (though to be fair, I don't know whether that was due to pressure from WOSM or not).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a member of a Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, my number one desire is a way to identify Catholic families participating in non-Catholic units. We have a mandate and desire to offer our religious emblems and other ministries to them, yet we have no good way of communicating with those families. I hear very similar thoughts from the scouting committees of other church bodies. Probably the majority of Scouts (other than in LDS units) are generally not members of the chartering religion, and likewise the majority of the scouts of a given religion are in units of another faith or a civic organization. This makes religious emblems and other religious ministry through scouting much more difficult. (Has anyone else noticed that religious preference isn't on the medical forms anymore either?)

 

I would be perfectly happy to see some sort of more autonomous form of Catholic Scouting in the USA, but still formally in relationship (even if only as a licensee) with the BSA. Frankly, I think if BSA had been built on a federated model rather than constructed as a rigidly uniform national corporate/bureaucratic organization, many of the present issues and controversies could have been avoided. It still could take a federated path, though I think it unlikely.

 

I don't think there will ever be a global Catholic Scouting organization that reaches from the Vatican directly to the individual Scouts. (Plus the Vatican is often as poorly run as the glass tee-pee in Texas that oversees the BSA, old saying about the Vatican goes: technology should be updated every 75 years if it is needed or not.) However, I do sometimes think some form of international Catholic Scouting honor society, based on a chivalric model, could have some real potential. Imagine the selling power of an organization that had Papal Knighthoods as its top honors.

 

Another note, take all statements from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting with a bit of skepticism. The NCCS-BSA is specifically charged by the bishops with maintaining good relations with BSA. It doesn't really have the option, on its own, of terminating or significantly modifying the Church-BSA relationship. It can't even offer a clear rebuke or criticism, all it can offer is mild statements of disappointment. The NCCS doesn't even really have any clear policy making authority at all. Likewise, the members of the NCCS aren't really objective, most are very deeply embedded in the Scouting system, to a degree that may compromise the independence of the members (I say this with full awareness that I myself am not able to be fully objective on these questions, either).

 

I fear that the more liberal sorts of Catholic parishes will increasingly become the place of refuge of scout units booted out by churches that wash their hands of BSA, meanwhile I suspect more conservative Catholic parishes will convert their BSA units into some other form of youth ministry (alternate "Scout" programs, Columbian Squires, Knights of the Altar, young men's ministry, etc.).

 

Also, the "Troops of Saint George" (BSA persists in its heavy handed monopoly on "Scout") actually does exist. I signed up for their mailing list just to keep aware of what they are up to. Like the Federation of North American Explorers, I expect their growth path to be very gradual, but I think both the FNE and the Troops of Saint George are better fits for Catholic parishes than Trail Life USA. I just don't see a Catholic future in Trail Life from where I sit.

 

Now, the big question is, is there a Catholic future in BSA?

I am increasingly skeptical and cynical, but not yet convinced in either direction.

Edited by Scouter Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the Scout Law is to be reinterpreted in such a drastic way as to make it impossible for  Catholics to accept and obey, than no, there is no Catholic future in Scouting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the Scout Law is to be reinterpreted in such a drastic way as to make it impossible for  Catholics to accept and obey, than no, there is no Catholic future in Scouting.

Then it needs to be interpreted as Fr. Sevin interpreted it instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be perfectly happy to see some sort of more autonomous form of Catholic Scouting in the USA, but still formally in relationship (even if only as a licensee) with the BSA. Frankly, I think if BSA had been built on a federated model rather than constructed as a rigidly uniform national corporate/bureaucratic organization, many of the present issues and controversies could have been avoided. It still could take a federated path, though I think it unlikely.

The days of WOSM recognizing a federation of scouting associations are long gone. It would be interesting to see what would happen if an existing national association "devolved" into a federation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then it needs to be interpreted as Fr. Sevin interpreted it instead.

 

Interpreted or spun?  :)  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interpreted or spun?   :)

Seeing as how Fr. Sevin knew Lord Baden-Powell and undertook his work with his approval, I'll go with "interpreted." :)

 

B-P had high praise for how Catholic associations were using his program. He even allowed his named to be used by the Belgian Catholic association -- the Baden-Powell Belgian Boy and Sea Scouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suggest this thread be shifted to the  "Faith and Chaplaincy " thread....  when it gets created....

 

Meanwhile, 

""Father forgive us for what we must do
You forgive us we'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing in heaven.""

 

Thank you, John Prine.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in a very Catholic area and just about all of the parishes operated a grade school.  The majority of those with schools also chartered a Pack and Troop.  Sometimes smaller parishes/schools would partner up to make a decent sized scouting program.  The units would vary in their degree of Catholic-ness in the program depending on their leadership.  I think my Pack and Troop were a little more Catholic-centered in our program than most.  While not everyone in the group was Catholic, it was understood that the Unit was a Catholic one.  We had regular prayer at meetings and outings, we would always attend Mass together if camping over the weekend, religious emblems weren't required, but got plenty of promotion and most boys ended up doing them.  We regularly provided service to the parish that chartered us, and even helped plan and run a few of the Diocese's Catholic Camporees.    

 

If the leadership of the Scouting Unit and the Chartered Organization really want to make Scouting an extension of their youth ministry, it can work great within the confines of the BSA program.  No separate organization is needed.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a local RCChurch that charters a Pack and Troop.  One must profess the Catholic faith to be a Scout in their units.  Small, but active and well supported.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×