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Scouting Article on InsideCatholic.com

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The website InsideCatholic.com recently carried a rather positive article about Boy Scouts and teh 100th Anniversary.

"Raising Men: 100 Years of the Boy Scouts of America" by Chuck Piola




In the comments on the article there is mostly positive feedback, but at least one person had some very deep seated objections to the BSA because they do not think it takes "duty to God" seriously due to an incident involving a unit they were once a leader for.


In any case feel free to check it out, comment on it here or there.

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The witch business is an interesting case study.


In most cases, I don't think it would be a big issue. I'd guess most families would prefer to keep such beliefs private rather than publicizing them in a pack or troop.


Even if they want to make it an issue, I don't think you have to give them an opportunity to do so by appointing a parent the Troop Chaplain!


Let people have their own beliefs, and the pack or troop can continue with the prayers and Scout Sundays they usually do. I don't see that this has to be permitted to be a major issue.


I might add that as Scoutmaster I had a Jewish Scout whose father was Cantor for his synagogue --- I think that meant he helped lead prayers as well as sounding the "Shofar" or ramshorn bugle.


When invited, he would call the troop to prayer with the Shofar, and when invited he would give Hebrew prayers followed by English translations. He had a great voice and I still remember that those prayers often began "Lord God, Master of the Universe....."


Wow! I remember that thirty years later! That added to the program.


Different than witchcraft, of course!

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Interesting article. I wonder if they immediately reverted back to the Inquisition state of mind? Or were they Scout like, Helpful & Friendly at first, and offered to help find a Troop that would be more in line with the families religious viewpoints. NAH, probably not.


Then again, they probably didn't look upon it as an opportunity to possibly passivey show someone not of the faith, how to come to the faith.


I wonder how the Troop committee would have looked upon a Jewish or Hindu boy asking to join the Troop.


We have a IR priest that ois our DIOCESAN COMMITTEE ON SCOUTING chaplain. He was suprised at how many of the scouts in his unit had not worked on their religious emblems, only to find out that more then half of his unit was not Catholic.


Maybe these committees need to meet with their IR's and see if the goal of the IR is to have a more or less closed unit, like LDS. Yes it can be done, bit then they better be willing to direct those not of their faith to another Troop. Granted, it is easier to have a closed Crew then a closed Troop or Pack.

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It sounds to me like the beef of the guy with the complaints on the comments thread was really that his charter organization didn't back him and some of the others up in their position. For some reason he blamed the BSA for the fact that his CO was open to someone he considered a spiritual danger to his kid. No one should in good conscience put their child in what they believe to be deadly danger for light reasons, so in a way I get the guys point.


There are a lot of people who have the idea that because BSA uses the wording "duty to God" that is meant in the particular, monotheistic or Judeo-Christian way, and I suspect a poll of both BSA members, alumni, and the general public would show this to greater or lesser degrees. I think it likely that the earliest drafts of the Scout Oath did in fact have that meaning in mind.


Over-all I think the article is good press for BSA.


And I will let the Inquisition remark go, but just know that it was logged by a secret Vatican computer that records all electronic communication globally and at any time Opus Dei may start looking into your background and you should probably keep your eyes open for albino monks from now on.

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In all seriousness, I think the idea of heads of chartering institutions (that is what IR indicates?) better understanding what Scouting is, how their organization views Scouting, and setting out their own goals more clearly would be a good idea. Way too many times all sorts of assumptions are made and things are not clearly communicated. I suspect 8/10 organizations think of the BSA units they charter morre as outside groups they let in, rather than owned and operated parts of their own program. Of the others, 1/10 think everyone in their unit is part of their organization and agrees with their institution, while perhaps the last 1/10 understand what is going on.


I have no idea what the Scouts in my troop believe, or what our charter org thinks regarding people of very different faiths. Who knows, they may even think I am one of their members since I am the CC, but that certainly isn't the case.


As to Catholic units, there is no reason they could not be open units, but there are some limits to that too it would seem. After all the Catholic Church has a particular understanding of its relationship to other Christians, to Jews, to Moslems, and to pagans, atheists, etc.


I don't think in that guy's case his unit was chartered by a Catholic Church, but that isn't quite clear.



I really didn't know what part of the forum to mention this article in. If it should have gone elsewhere, I am sure some sort of moderator will move it.

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Proud Eagle,

I'll bet you he is Catholic. Why else would he be reading articles at Inside Catholic?

I am Chritian, and been on both sides of the fence, raised in a Protestant denomination, and am now Catholic. I was raised to be tolerant of others, and their beliefs, even if those beliefs are different then mine. Should everyone be Catholoic? Who cares as long as they're Christain. Should everyone be Christian? It would be nice, but won't happen. As long as they learn to be tolerant & respectful of others, that's fine.


As stated by others posting on the IC article, BSA requires members to believe in a higher being. "Do my duty to God" should be changed to "...to my God", probably to the chagrin of many. But it would open the eyes of many that we're not just talking about our God.


As for INSTITUTIONAL REPRESENTATIVE/HEAD's & CHARTERING ORGANIZATION REP, yes, most as silent and not actively involved with what is happening in their units. We had a unit chatered by a Catholic organization (KofC), that at the recommendation of the CC & leaving SM, accepted a 21y/o female SM. Not normally a problem, except for the fact she a pregnant and not married. Other parents didn't have a problem since the young lady had come up through their Crew. District had an issue. KofC blew a gasket when informed, and were then informed that they had the right to remove whoever they wanted. Needless to say, thay became real involved, and cleaned house. But it is like pulling teeth to get the IR/H & most COR's to be involved.


It is also hard top get some Council's to cater to some of the different faiths at large events. I, as the Council Religious Relations Chair, had to pull teeth to try and get a slot for a Mass to keep units from leaving our Camporall to head to town for Mass. "What is wrong with the Scouts Own service?" This coming from a Catholic SE & Program Director. So much for being on the soapbox.


Yes, the article was very good. To bad it isn't in the mainsteam media. That is where we need the good publicity, specially here in NE Ohio where we are being rocked by two major arrests dealing with YP issues.


Proud Eagle, I'll also keep an eye put for anyone from the PS nosing around. Love the Dan Brown references. LOL.

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I'm Catholic, and am a WDL for a Cub Scout Pack and Advancement Chair for a Boy Scout Troop, both chartered by the Catholic Parish I belong to. I would have no problem with the Wiccan/pagan boy being in either the pack or the troop with my sons. I don't see it as a danger to their spiritual well being.

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ASM915, yes I think the disgruntled one is Catholic, but I don't see any reason to think his unit was Catholic chartered. It may have been, but that was not indicated.



clemlaw, I would agree that is not the sort of person that seems an appropriate leader and it is further a sign of a hands off CO, which is often a problem of its own. In my experience the LDS units are the only ones that consistently have the sort of CO relationship that is supposed to exist with every unit. My own parish charters a pack, troop, and now a crew. The pastor wants to have scouting in the parish, but otherwise is hands off about it. As seems to be the norm in too many churches, the meeting times are not published in any of the usual places you find parish meetings listed, the yearly listing of ministries never lists the scouts in any way, etc. Another troop in town at a Methodist Church had a problem with their scouts, and instead of contacting the unit leaders contacted the council, because they had the idea that all the Scouts were operated by the council and were just being allowed to use their building.


On the other hand, I live near (now retiring) Bishop Gettlefinger's diocese, and he has things done rather better regarding scouts diocese wide.


Also a parish in my own diocese in the next county over has a very Scouting positive pastor, who while not fully hands on, is at least far more aware, interested, and involved.


I think the CO/Scouting relationships is one of the key areas for long-term Scouting success, but it is sadly one of the most disfunctional parts of the system in many cases.

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As to Catholic units, there is no reason they could not be open units, but there are some limits to that too it would seem.


Actually the pack and one of the troops I was a a member of as a youth were both chartered by Catholic churches, and we had Protestant and Jewish members and leaders (ok no Jewish leader, just a member). Only thing that the churches required was the COR to be a member of that church. In fact the SM lived out of town, so even he wasn't a member of the church's parish.


Only conflict the troop ever had was getting home early from a trip to find that our storage shed was blocked by cars going to mass. ;)(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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peri asked:


Do Scout units have to take any boy, or to be relevant, can you have a Catholic only (or Methodist only or Jewish only) Scout unit?


The answer is "it depends."


IF the Chartered Partner in question chooses to operate a closed unit, that is within its rights under the Charter Agreement: "Respect the aims and objectives of the organization and offer the resources of Scouting to help in

meeting those objectives."


Now, if the Chartered Partner chooses to operate an open unit, then there's plenty of guidance which prohibits proselytizing: This one is from the Manual for Chaplains and Chaplain Aides: "At no time should the chaplain proselytize."


Clear as mud?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Proud Eagle,

On rereading the article, I agree, he doesn't mention who the CO is. I was initially misinterrpreting what I read, assuming (Oh no!! There's that "A" word)since it was in a Catholic site, that everything was Catholic. Shame on me. "That will be 10 Hail Mary's". LOL.

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