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Catholic Church only wants Catholic Leaders and Scouts

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Welcome to the forums, Mike. Is the priest new? I'm just wondering if this is a new policy. Yes, the chartered organization (CO) can set membership rules, as long as they don't conflict with BSA policy (no gays or atheists). Usually, though most units are open to all. I would tell "Father" that it is up to him to explain to the non-Catholics why they are no longer welcome in the Pack, and view it as an opportunity to form a new unit that is more ecumenical and forgiving.


Good luck.

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Yes, he is relatively new (5 years?, before my time). Myself and my DE have a meeting with him this Friday and I have already casted a few nets out to see if there are any takers if we need a new CO. Thanks for the input, scoutldr!



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"His secretary called me today to say that he had approved two of the app's, but not the third one. I asked her why, and she told me it was because he did not belong to our Parish and Father did not know him. "

I'm 101% with the Priest.

The Pack is part of the Church.

You can bet your last dollar that if a Leader does something wrong the stand that the Council and the BSA will take is that the CO approved the adult leaders.

I wish that more CO would take a long hard look at the people that they allow to take charge of our youth members!!

Why the heck would anyone approve someone that they don't know?

As for looking to start a new Pack?

That is entirely up to you.

Somehow I don't see you getting much help from the Pack that you are now in.



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You should be so lucky that the CO cares enough about its pack as to actually select the leaders. Too many chartered orgs will take any old tom, dick, or harry. The adult that was not approved may well be a fine person. But the CO must consider whether the leaders it selects will also further the goals of the CO. If not, another person may be a better selection. That may be the case here.

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If the pack already has non-Catholic leaders, I would expect the priest to back down--perhaps he didn't realize that.

But I'm troubled by the idea that a COR who isn't directly involved with the unit would turn down leaders. In most cases, those are parents of boys in the unit--how will they react to being turned down?

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5 years is not new. What has caused him to take this stand now? Where is your Committee Chair & COR?


Maybe this is coming to a head now because this is the first time he has had to sign an application. If, in past years, you had an active Charter Org Rep who signed all of the applications, your Pastor might never have even been aware that he was responsible for approving/selecting leaders.


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"I noticed that the preist was asking a lot more about our Pack than he has in the past."


I suspect the youth protection issues in the Catholic Church over the past decade, have filtered down to this priest to be very careful about the selection of volunteers to work with youth.


In response to these issues, the Baltimore Archdiocese requires all adults (and now older boys, 14+) who work with youth in a capacity affiliated with the church to take a youth protection training course called STAND (can't remember what that stands for). This is pretty similar to the BSA youth protection training and our troop requires both training for any adult that may come in contact with a youth (pretty much everybody).


Perhaps mention to the priest the screening process that the CC and COR have performed, the unit's requirement that all leaders go through BSA youth protection training, and your appreciation for his taking a strong interest in the pack. He may not realize that his is overseeing the only pack in town and what an important community outreach program this has become for his parish.

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Our Troop is co-sponsored by a Catholic Church, but we do not meet there. In the past year, they have required every adult registered with the Troop, to take a 3 hr. class in person, "Protecting God's Children". So far, no one has rebel; even though it is a repeat of Youth Protection, and we have many leaders that are not Catholic. Every other Catholic Church that I know of, has started the same policy for anyone that works with youths.


In your case, I would recommend that you contact your Catholic Bishop, and ask it this is their policy: "That all members of the Pack must belong to the parish!" I think your priest is making up his own policies!

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One of the things I'd want to know is, would it matter if the priest met this person? He turned the application down because he doesn't know the person? Or because the person isn't a church member? These are separate issues and the first is obviously much easier to fix (arrange a meeting!) than the second.


Beyond that, if the priest is hung up on selecting only church members, which is within the rights of the CO, then he also bears a much deeper responsibility to help you find appropriate leaders. In other words, he can't realistically exercise a veto only and expect this situation to work. If he wants to be actively involved then he'd better do so pro-actively as well.


And a couple of other thoughts:

- is this church big enough to support a pack that is members-only?

- does the church actively promote the pack through its other activities (religious education, outreach, church-affiliated school, in the church bulletin or during announcements at mass, etc.)? If not, are they willing to do so?

- is the priest requiring that existing leaders who aren't church members be removed too? Or are they "grandfathered" in and it is just potential new leaders that the priest is veto'ing?



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I guess the whole question comes down to whose program it is. Since the Chruch is the CO, its up to the Insitutional Head to see to it leaders deemed acceptable are approved. Now, I don't see why non-catholic leaders would not be acceptable, but then again, I am not the IH for that church.


But since this is about what to do, I would invite the priest to your next meeting, every meeting and a big invite for your Blue and Gold. What did you do for Scout Sunday? Can you get all the boys in their uni's in the front rows? Has the Pack volunteered to run Bingo a few times a year? What has the unit done to make itself visible to the Priest? To the church community? When you as Cubmaster walk down a chuch corridor does everyone know you are the Cubmaster? What about your Asst CM? Are they well known? The Den Leaders? Is the Pack seen as an asset to the church or are you that bunch of loud mouthed rascals that descend upon the church at intermittent periods?


I agree that that the priests actions are upsetting, but this may be an opportunity to schedule a meeting with him, discuss the Pack, the leaders and what both Church and Pack can do for each other

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"But I'm troubled by the idea that a COR who isn't directly involved with the unit would turn down leaders"

The Priest isn't the COR, he is the Executive Officer.

I'm more troubled that anyone would approve people that they nothing about.

At times in our area it's harder to adopt a stray dog than become a Scout leader.

The Pack is part of the Church, the Priest is the person in charge of that Church and that Parish.

If I was in his shoes, you bet I'd want to know who was working with the youth in my parish.

We have had a Bishop that was very pro-Scouting and did everything he could to support and promote Scouting. The Bishop that succeeded him was more of a numbers guy, he didn't want or didn't have the time to get involved in youth programs and was happy to give PP a free hand.

In our Parish we had a wonderful PP who was really active in all the youth programs, sadly he moved and the PP that followed really didn't like kids. But when we had new Leader app's I would make an appointment to meet with him and fill him in with the details of all the people who had applied.


As to:

"then he also bears a much deeper responsibility to help you find appropriate leaders."

This isn't how it works.

The Selection of new leaders is a job for the nominating committee or the organizing committee



If you follow the steps. The Organizational head is supposed to give his approval for the committee to ask the new adult, that is before he fills out the application. This should help avoid any hurt feelings.




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Yah, lawnboy. About 35% or more of our units up here are Catholic-sponsored, eh? So I'm pretty familiar. One thing yeh have to understand is that a parish pastor has a lot more autonomy then you'd think given the hierarchical structure of their church. It really is his call. You should look at the National Catholic Committee on Scouting web pages (http://www.nccs-bsa.org). There's some good stuff in the Literature section you can share with the pastor, eh? You might also post your question over on the Catholic Scoutin' list which runs out of Notre Dame (http://catalist.lsoft.com/scripts/wl.exe?SL1=CATHOLIC-SCOUTING&H=LISTSERV.ND.EDU).


Pretty much right now the Catholic parishes are in the "disaster reaction" phase, so there are a lot more hurdles than normal, eh? Kinda like not allowin' lip gloss on airplanes. Just recognize that for what it is. All the Catholic units around here now require everyone to do da Catholic Church YPT training ("Virtus"). It's better than BSA YPT in many ways, worse in others. Three hours plus on-line web follow-ups. They're also requirin' fingerprint background checks, not acceptin' the BSA checks.


Of course none of that stuff really matters, eh? Background checks and trainin' rarely stop a predator. Eamonn's right, the "real deal" in youth protection is only puttin' people in kid-contact positions who you know and trust, eh? So I think on the leadership side, you have to respect what they're tryin' to do. Resign yourself to buildin' a more active relationship. It might help a lot if you get a COR who the pastor knows and trusts and feels comfortable "delegating" to.


As far as the "no non-Catholic members" bit, that would be within the pastor's purview but would be fairly unusual. Catholic schools are a much bigger and more expensive ministry, and they tend to admit non-Catholics; in some urban areas, 80% or more of the students are non-Catholic. So usually they view scouting units as "ecumenical outreach" and welcome everybody who is comfortable participatin' in a Catholic unit. I dunno, that might even be a written guideline somewhere.


There's also a Catholic men's service organization, sorta like da Elks, that seems to be increasingly involved in scoutin' work. They might be a good liaison with your pastor, or even a good chartered partner or source of volunteers or donations, eh?;) They're called the Knights of St. Christopher or somethin' like that. I bet your parish has a chapter.


So yah, I think yeh probably have to start a respectful conversation, eh? You might find that it makes the Pack stronger in the long run.

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If the priest and church want to take a more active role in the Pack by making it part of the church's religious program, that's great - tell him that you look forward to the church encouraging all the boys in the parish to join the Pack.


Does the priest know the pack has non-Catholic boys now and in the past? Ask him specifically if those boys need to leave the pack, and if he says yes, you'll need to talk with your DE about starting a new Pack for those boys. (Ask the largest local Methodist Church is they would charter a pack - scouting is generally part of the Methodist men's ministry.) One pack for a small city (I wouldn't call 10,000 a small town - my whole county is ~50,000, and the biggest town is ~2,000) isn't very much - I'm sure the population could support a second pack, particularly if the Catholic Church encourages membership in the existing pack and the new pack reaches out to all the other churches.



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