National Catholic Committee on Scouting Supports Boy Scouts’ Inclusive Policy

National Catholic Committee on ScoutingThe National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) has announced that it will support the Boy Scouts of America’s new policy to allow gay youth to become scouts.

Religion News Service (RNS)  reports on a letter that NCCS Chairman Edward P. Martin sent to Catholic scout leaders in which he said that his committee found no contradiction between the Scouts’ new policy and church teaching:

“ ‘We should be encouraged that the change in BSA’s youth membership standard is not in conflict with Catholic teaching,’ Martin said, asking that ‘Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment.’ ”

RNS also described a bit of the process that NCCS went through to arrive at this conclusion:

“Martin said that in the week following the vote, he and his colleagues consulted with the BSA, with other faith-based Scouting groups and with Catholic experts, and weighed feedback on social media before declaring themselves satisfied that the new policy would not conflict with Catholic teaching.

“One of the experts Martin cited was Edward Peters, a canon lawyer popular with church conservatives who wrote that while he disliked the new policy it was not contrary to church doctrine.”

Bondings 2.0 readers may remember that Peters was involved with Detroit Archbishops Vigneron’s statement that Catholics who support marriage equality should not present themselves for communion.

The NCCS letter details their understanding of what the new policy means


  • “A youth will not be prevented from receiving a rank award or religious emblem simply for being gay.
  • “A youth will not need to hide the fact that he is gay if he doesn’t want to.
  • “A youth thinking or knowing he is gay should not be afraid that he will be bullied or expelled by the Scouting community by disclosing his sexual orientation.”

There had already been some discussion about whether Catholic dioceses would support the new policy, with different statements made by different places.  One pastor in Bremerton, Washington. had already announced that it would cancel Scouting programs in the parish.

The NCCS’s support is not binding on local bishops who can decide on their own policy.  Accoring to RNS:

“Each bishop can decide whether the new membership policy is acceptable. Guglielmone has written to every U.S. bishop, and Martin said the NCCS would develop a plan to ensure ‘a consistent message is delivered to dioceses, parishes, Catholic Scouters and the media’ on the church’s views about allowing gay Scouts.”

New Ways Ministry applauds the NCCS statement of support, and particularly the fact that they were able to elicit endorsement from one of the country’s most conservative canon law scholars.  We urge all Catholic dioceses to support the Boy Scouts’ new policy, and we hope and pray that very soon the Scouting organization will also allow gay men to be scout leaders, which the new policy did not cover.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Related posts:

May 30, 2013: Anti-Gay Letter from Catholic Priest Is Inadequate Response for Boy Scouts

May 24, 2013: National Committee and Local Dioceses Begin to React Boy Scouts’ Decision

May 24, 2013: Catholic Bishops Should Go At Least As Far As Mormons Have on Gay Scouting Policy

May 23, 2013: Why the U.S. Catholic Bishops Should Support Gay Boy Scouts

May 18, 2013: Boy Scouts’ Proposed Change Finds Catholics on Both Sides of the Debate



10 thoughts on “National Catholic Committee on Scouting Supports Boy Scouts’ Inclusive Policy

  1. Quintin June 1, 2013 / 8:34 am

    You have left out an important aspect of the new policy in regards to the NCCS support …

    *sexual activity of anyone of scouting age is unacceptable and a violation of scouting principles.

    You see, the Catholic Church recognizes same sex attraction as an affliction that affects a percentage of the population the same as an urge for fornication or adultery do. However, The Church is unwavering in the teaching that homosexual acts are sinful and that those afflicted with same sex attraction are called to rise above they’re sinful urges the same as we all are called rise above the sinful afflictions we each have as individuals.

    So, with sex off the table there is no sinful act. The Church does not condemn or judge for simply having the urge to commit a sinful act.

    Now, if you get you wish … The inclusion of adult, homosexually active leaders … That will be the end of Catholic parish sponsored scouting units. That would be a policy of acceptance of activities that are in direct contradiction of Catholic teaching.

    • Terry E. Christian June 2, 2013 / 12:14 am

      Quintin, being gay is no more a “sinful urge” than is being heterosexual. The primary “urge” that makes one gay is to fall in love and live happily ever after, only in gay people’s cases, that urge only naturally applies to someone of the same gender. Sexual activity is no more or less relevant to gays as it is with heterosexuals.

      The Church will never reform its theology about gay people as long as she continue to delude herself about what being gay truly means.

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